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Not So Typical French Basics Your Wardrobe Needs

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There are some things that pop into our brains right away when we think of a French wardrobe. There are the “cliche” things such as a striped top, beret, trench coat…you get it. Then there are the not so cliche things such as great denim, cashmere sweaters, and ankle boots. But then there are more things that are a little less iconic, that make up this very timeless and yet very attainable closet. Curious what the French basics are? Keep reading!

Not So Typical French Basics Your Wardrobe Needs

1. Sheer black tights
You won’t find many nude/flesh-colored tights on French women because they don’t believe they are that realistic! Sheer black tights or tights with a slight pattern are better than trying to matching your skin tone. Also, this is a great hack for women 50+ that don’t want to show off their legs completely. Get more tips on dressing like a French woman over 50 here!


Why you need it: You can switch out your leggings for tights during the fall season for something a little more elevated. Add some class to your “going out” looks by pairing tights under your mini skirts and dresses!

2. Pencil skirts
Amidst the classic denim and cropped ankle pants, pencil skirts have a strong place in a French woman’s wardrobe when it comes to timeless bottoms. They are chic and the length is super feminine.

Why you need it: Pencil skirts are not only great for work, but they’re great for any time you need to dress up. Not only that but if you want a classy, casual mix then you can wear pencil skirts with sneakers too!

3. White sneakers
Though sneakers are usually thought of as an “American” thing, they’re pretty essential to French women as well. However, they are still worn in chic ways-not thrown on with sweats and hoodies!

Why you need it: Switch out your running sneakers for a pair of classic white sneakers to elevate your casual looks. Or wear them to make dressy outfits look more casual! They’re very versatile and great for spring & summer.

4. Black lace bra
Maybe you’d consider it risque, but French women consider it tastefully alluring. Most French women would consider it a fashion faux pas for visible bra straps (if they’re not stylish) or those clear plastic bra straps. Instead, have a bra that’s worth showing off a little!

5. Cardigans
Want to know a really popular outerwear choice? And no, it’s not a trench coat…it’s a cardigan! Cardigans definitely get worn a lot and in all seasons, whether it’s layered or on its own.

Why you need it: It’s a wardrobe staple that can be worn in every season. Yes, there are ways to wear this in summer too! Plus, you can repurpose them to get even more mileage out of them. Check out this post for more ideas on that!

french basics

Want more posts on French fashion? Check out my ultimate guide where I’ve rounded up my top 30 posts on this subject!

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french basics


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.