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How to Create a French Capsule Wardrobe for Spring & Summer

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From Jane Birkin to Jeanne Damas, French women always seem to have that certain je ne c’est quoi when it comes to style. One of the secrets to achieving that effortless and timeless style is the capsule wardrobe. By limiting your shopping (and spending) and focusing on some key items, pulling off that fabulous French style becomes a whole lot easier. With a little bit of inspiration from our French sisters, we can put together our own French-inspired capsule wardrobe that’s perfect for spring and summer!

French Capsule Wardrobe for Spring + Summer

Before you begin putting your French capsule wardrobe together, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping. First, you’ll want to think about versatility. French wardrobes are usually relatively small and comprised of just a handful of versatile items. This means the items they do buy have to be absolutely perfect!

Secondly, when in doubt, French girls keep things simple. This means plenty of neutral colors with a few choices pops of color throughout. By filling your capsule wardrobe with colors like white, nude, brown, and black, pairing everything together is made much simpler. Now let’s take a look at some of the essential items for your spring/summer wardrobe that perfectly emulate classic French style.

french spring and summer capsule wardrobe

Now you know that the secret of the French wardrobe philosophy is choosing pieces that can be mixed and matched into multiple stylish outfits. This means you’ll need to find stylish, high-quality basics, but also mix in a few fun, season-appropriate items for a pop of color. So let’s put your capsule wardrobe together!

Without further ado, here is a rundown on some of the key pieces to add to your French capsule wardrobe.

White Button-down — Let’s face it – no wardrobe is complete without the perfect white button-down. This versatile piece can be dressed up with a blazer and dress pants, or down with a pair of shorts and sandals.

White Blouse — In addition to the white button-down, an elegant white blouse is a great simple piece for making additional outfits.

Floral Blouse — It is spring, after all, so you have to have some florals in your life! Going for a floral co-ord set is a smart idea so that you can have an additional outfit option.

Cropped Tank — This warm-weather basic is one that you’re going to reach for time and time again. It’s perfect for layering underneath a cardigan or simply wearing it alone with shorts and accessories.

Straight Leg Jeans — A great pair of jeans is an essential component of the French girl style. This spring, try going for a pair of straight-leg jeans. This style is universally flattering and looks a bit more put-together than the usual skinny jeans.

Denim Shorts — This is a no-brainer! Denim shorts can be used to create a laidback casual look or even act as a swimsuit coverup.

Floral Skirt — For the days when you’re feeling a bit more feminine, a floral skirt can be paired with any basic top for an easy and breezy look.

Floral Dress — Whenever you’re having trouble deciding what to wear this spring, you can’t go wrong with a sweet floral dress. Puff sleeves are a huge trend this spring and I love the button details on this midi dress. However, you can also go for a wrap dress, which looks great on every body type.

Trench Coat — It’s safe to say that no item represents a French wardrobe quite the classic trench coat. A camel trench goes with everything and is the perfect way to make even the most basic outfit look straight from the pages of Vogue.

Cropped Cardigan — For those chillier days, you’ll be needing something a little warmer – that’s where a cute cropped cardigan comes in! You can wear this item buttoned up as a top or over your cropped tank or dress for some added coziness.

High Waisted Bikini — With the weather beginning to heat up, you’ll want to have a couple of stylish swimsuits handy. The high-waisted bikini is a current trend that probably isn’t going anywhere for some time.

One-Piece Swimsuit — A one-piece swimsuit is one of those great classic pieces that are both elegant and timeless. Better yet, you can even wear this piece as a top underneath a pair of shorts or jeans!

Espadrilles — There’s probably no shoe that defines spring and summer quite like the espadrille. A classic white, nude, or black pair can go will almost any outfit and add a chic feminine flair.

Sandals — A pair of slip-on sandals are perfect for stylish casual comfort. Black shoes are great for a little contrast with a more light-colored outfit, but a nude or tan pair works perfectly as well.

Low Block Heel — For a bit of a height boost with none of the discomfort of stilettos, block heels are a perfect choice. This wardrobe essential is ideal for casual wear or even more formal occasions.

Chunky Sandal — Chunky sandals are great for keeping your feet cool and adding a chic style to your look. While you can definitely go for more neutral colors for these, you may also want to go for a colorful pair in order to add some color to your look.

Accessories — Great accessories are the key to really making the most of your capsule wardrobe and tying everything together! Some classic gold jewelry pieces will add a luxury factor that takes a nice look to a truly stylish one. Summer classics like a chic pair of black sunglasses and a leather and straw bag are also great to have on hand.

parisian summer capsule wardrobe
parisian spring capsule wardrobe
french summer capsule wardrobe

Related: 6 Parisian Inspired Summer Looks

These timeless pieces will make getting dressed this spring and summer way easier. If any of these items don’t fit your personal style or lifestyle, don’t be afraid to make some switches! Not into heels? Switch them out for a timeless pair of ballet flats.

Do you want to keep things more neutral? Swap the floral dress for a more classic little black dress. You can even add in a few classics like a leather jacket, cashmere sweater, or ankle boots during spring for an easier transition from the winter season.

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Now that you know the French wardrobe essentials you need for spring and summer, you are ready to look like a French woman without any effort at all!

For an in-depth look at the items you need more summer, keep reading!

Up Next: What You Need for a Parisian Style Summer Wardrobe

french capsule wardrobe spring


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 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.