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What To Wear for a European Summer (Whether You’re Traveling to Europe or Not)

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There is just something about the French Riviera aesthetic that screams chic, relaxed, and classic. It would make anyone want to jet off to the South of France and dress up in elegant summer outfits, but of course, not everyone can. Not only is there the planning and budgets to think of, but then you have work, time off, and childcare that all need to be considered as well. However, you don’t need to be in the south of France to enjoy this coastal European fashion aesthetic. You can rock espadrilles and classy swimsuits on your staycation or even in your backyard. Here’s what you need to put together a French Riviera-inspired look to enjoy your very own European summer!

1. Black, White, or Striped Swimsuit

Nothing says European summer quite like a neutral swimsuit. If you only pack two swimsuits in your suitcase (or wear laying out in your backyard), make it a high-waisted two-piece and a classy one-piece in black or white.

These colors and styles are the most versatile and can easily match the rest of your summer wardrobe, not to mention moonlight as clothing pieces by wearing your swimsuit as a bodysuit with jeans or wearing your two-piece top as a crop top with a high-waisted skirt.

The French Riviera style is all about class, so it’s best to save your neons and cut-outs swimsuits for a different aesthetic. And once you’ve got your neutral swimsuit, get a striped one because, France!

2. Linen Shirt

It’s not a European summer without a linen shirt. The key to achieving the French Riviera look is by using a neutral color palette, so when choosing a linen shirt, consider going for a crisp white shade.

Wearing a white linen shirt is always a good idea for any summer occasion, but especially when in Europe or emulating the South of France look.

Whether it’s walking down the cobblestone streets or enjoying gelato, a linen shirt will get the job done perfectly. Plus, it’s so versatile! The styling options are truly endless. Pair it with denim shorts, linen pants, or even wear it over your swimsuit as a coverup.

3. White Wide-Leg Jeans

Even though it’s warm, white jeans are still a must-have piece for the European summer look. They look so effortlessly comfortable and chic and can be dressed up for dinner.

Choose a pair of cropped wide-leg pants and pair them with sandals or espadrilles for a classy European summer look.

4. Sandals

Ditch your plastic flip-flops and opt for a classy style instead. Minimalist leather sandals are a must-have for a European summer look.

For days when you want to pick up fruit for breakfast and fresh flowers at the farmer’s market, reach for these stylish sandals. When it comes to a French Riviera style, you want to choose a pair of slides that look luxurious.

5. Denim Shorts

Every summer wardrobe needs a solid pair of shorts. Denim shorts are simple, but that’s the beauty of them.

They can match everything from your white tank tops to even your swimsuits. To dress them up, pair them with espadrilles and a linen shirt.

6. Linen Dress

Besides the many white pieces you need for a European summer, other classic shades like light blue are a must-have. This color is perfect for a beachy destination.

Linen or cotton is the material of choice and puff sleeves add a cute, beachy vibe. Accessorize this dress with brown sandals and a straw bag and you have yourself a go-to European summer look.

7. Wedge Espadrilles

The French Riviera style is not only about slipping on flats. You can be vacation ready in wedge espadrilles too. These glamorous wedge heels are perfect for summer soirees too, should you stay stateside this summer.

Complete them with a linen dress and you are ready to hit the town or go out to dinner!

8. Breton Top

No European wardrobe is complete without stripes! This versatile and timeless top can be worn with your linen pants or denim shorts and will look chic with very little effort.

Dress it up or down with either your classic sandals or stylish espadrilles. If you get one thing this summer, let it be an easy striped shirt.

Related: What to Wear in Tulum | Fashion Guide

9. Tortoiseshell Sunglasses

To look like you are just about to step foot on a yacht in St. Tropez, amp up your summer accessory collection with tortoiseshell sunglasses.

These tortoiseshell sunglasses add a big style boost to your outfit. Use them to accessorize your swimsuit and bucket hat.

10. Basket Bag

It doesn’t get more classic than a sunshine-friendly basket bag. This bag will give your European summer outfit a French Riviera twist.

Take it to the beach and perch it next to you as you read your novel or magazine. Snap some photos and see how it looks like you are sunbathing in the South of France!

11. Pendant Necklace

For your European summer look, you are going to need jewelry that will go with all your outfits.

This coin pendant necklace is the perfect pick. Minimal and chic, the design is not too busy and will add that vintage touch to your outfits.

12. Straw Hat

Easy straw hats make up the majority of a French Riviera look. They give a swimsuit and a simple tank an instant update.

Embrace natural sun-kissed skin and natural beachy hair for a summer you’ll never forget.

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Knowing what to wear for a European summer and pulling off the French Riviera look may seem like a hard style to recreate, especially when you are not in the region. Luckily, none of these clothing pieces actually require being in the South of France to have the look!

Got traveling on the brain? If you’re headed somewhere tropical this season, then make sure you have the pieces you need to create numerous outfits. Find out what those are in A Minimalistic and Chic Tropical Vacation Capsule Wardrobe!

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What to wear for a European summer


Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.