French women seem to instinctively know how to look chic and stylish as they age. The reason older women might want to take style cues from French women is because they have mastered a functional wardrobe made up of chic basics that are timeless. Today I’m exploring how to dress like French women when we are over 50. As we head into our middle years and beyond, how to dress, over 50 and over 60 become THE question women ask. Intrigued by the chic older French women, and their style, I began to research how to dress like a French woman. The French wardrobe is classic, stylish, modern, and chic. The focus of the French wardrobe is on high quality, classic pieces that fit impeccably. The look is ageless, which makes it ideal for women over 50.
One of the interesting aspects of French women is that they take aging in stride. Their focus is not to looking younger, but to look their best at their current age. This doesn’t mean they don’t have their beauty secrets, French women are well known for their elaborate skin care regimens and are careful with their diets. Because of this, they can get away with very little makeup, sometimes it’s only a simple red lip.
What is French style and What is Parisian style?
French style is centered around eight basic principals which ensure the ageless and tasteful style many French women wear. When talking about French style, we are often referring to Parisian style, which is also called French Girl Styles–what ever you call it these women have great style.
- High quality timeless pieces. French women often invest more in single pieces in their wardrobe. They care for their garments so they can be worn and enjoyed year after year.
- Impeccable fit. French women are very specific about the fit and proportions of their clothes. They will often arrange for tailoring to ensure the perfect fit.
- They avoid logos and obvious “designer” wear. While the French love their designers, it is uncommon for a French woman to wear clothing with logos, or anything that draws attention to itself. The outfit is to enhance and celebrate it’s wearer, not the other way around.
- French women will buy one or two new pieces each season to keep her wardrobe current, rather than tossing everything to follow each season’s trends. When she adds to her wardrobe, a French woman will choose only items that look good on her and will stand the test of time.
- French women have a clear idea of the colors and styles that look best on her. As the years go by, her look becomes more and more a reflection of her unique style.
- What is worn under one’s clothing is as important as what is on seen by the world. French women love their intimate apparel. Feeling beautiful is as important as looking amazing.
- French women focus on a signature look that is theirs alone and focus on timeless pieces they keep in their wardrobes for years.
- Focusing on the little things, details such as buttons, stitching, the line and drape of clothing, and the way the garment is finished is key to stylish women in France.
How To Dress Like a French Woman?
You probably have many pieces in your current wardrobe that can be put together to create a French inspired look. Here’s a style guide:
French women dress with a casual chic style day to day, with looks centered around jeans, a simple t-shirt or blouse, oversized sunglasses and a well cut jacket. She may add a beautiful scarf or a hat. Shoes are classic, whether a well styled loafer, a pair of sneakers or the perfect boot.
A French woman’s wardrobe is built on a color palette which suits her individually, but usually contains neutral colors such as navy, black or charcoal grey as the base, cream, beige and or light grey as a secondary color way and a “pop” of color that suits the woman. While patterns are popular among French women, though they often choose solid colors to form the basis of their wardrobes.
Today’s French woman often wears jeans, black leggings, trousers, or skirts in the winter, and adds skirts and dresses in the summer. Depending on her lifestyle, dresses and skirts may play a larger or smaller role in her wardrobe. One of my favorite looks is the white blouse with leggings and ankle boots.
Emphasis is placed on tailored pieces such as blazers, jackets and coats which are worn over a pair of beautiful trousers or jeans, and a simple top, such as a t-shirt, a white shirt or oversized sweater.
Accessories are kept simple, a beautiful handbag, simple jewelry, and boots, shoes or trainers to finish off the look in great style.
Creating A French Capsule Wardrobe:
French style lends itself well to being a capsule wardrobe because care is taken in choosing the key pieces and the intention is that the pieces will go together and can be worn in several different ways and across the seasons. Even though most French women have certain “essentials” they manage to create looks that emphasize their personal sense of style. The key pieces in a French woman’s wardrobe are as follows:
Key French Girl Essentials
- Black, Blue and White jeans
- Black pants, often velvet or leather
- Simple Black Dress
- Pencil skirt
- Black, beige and cream oversized sweaters, turtle and round necks
- White button down, striped button down
- Black leather jacket, black or white blazer, pea coat, trench coat, tuxedo jacket
- Loafers, high heels, ballet flats, black heels, combat boots, ankle boots or booties.
- Good handbag, preferably structured such as a saddle bag.
- Classic, simple jewelry.
How to Dress Like A French Woman Over 50?
The good news is that the overall esthetic is ageless, chic, and stylish. Best of all, we have most of the pieces in our wardrobes, so dressing like a French woman over 50 is easy.
French Style Resources:
As I began researching French style, I looked to a couple of books to learn more, and for outfit inspiration. The Parisian Chic Look Book is great because it has a list of clothing items and outfit “prescriptions” with photographs. This makes it easy to experiment with your wardrobe and helps you determine what you might want to add to embrace the French style. These books have been a source great inspiration.
- French Women Don’t Get Fat
- Why French Women Wear Vintage
- French Style How to Think, Shop, and Dress Like A French Woman
- Compare French style to Italian Style my friend Andrea has written a great post on this subject.
Shopping French Fashion On Line:
For some months now, I have been enjoying Sezane, a French shop that sells beautiful clothing sustainably made. I have been very pleased with the quality and great style. Here are a few shops to try:
How to Dress like French Women When You Are Over 50
What’s Wrong With American Style?
Oh how I loooooove this post!! YOu’ve got this down to perfection! And- being a Montreal girl-and living in this French province, you can say some of this has rubbed off on us here quite a tad:) We are laissez-faire here too…except we are way more audacious with our love for colour. But in terms of joie de vivre and making the best of our age- I can say we’re on board with that! I’ve read the first book you listed but will definitely check out the second on vintage. Bonne fin de semaine- or Bon weekend my beautiful friend… Read more »
I love these styles! I love a classic look and am a blazer girl myself. Gorgeous on you! I have a collection of motos I love wearing, makes for ease of dressing. I just bought a few silky tops to wear under my jackets/blazer, love the cream on you are wearing.
thanks for linking!
It’s my pleasure! Thank you for your kind words about my outfit. Hope you are well.
Nina, this was super fun to read. I am seeing a lot of posts circulating right now about French fashion. I love the classic minimal styles for a beautiful structured look. You look amazing in your what you have styled for this post! Thanks for sharing and linking with me.
it’s always a pleasure to stop by your website! I’ve been enjoying diving deeper into various types of looks, breaking them down, and trying my hand at styling them. Hugs!
Love this article! You completely nail these outfits and that blue suit – you look absolutely stunning! I am very inspired by the elegance, pared back and sophisticated look. Thank you,
thank you so much Michelle!
Living in Northern California, we typically do not have ” style” mostly women wear very casual and uninteresting clothes. I am challenged with ideas and this article is inspiring. I have been looking for fashion inspiration for years and this is fantastic!
I’m in the same boat. I follow a few inspiring women on instagram, and try to find interesting and exciting things to wear. In the over 50 age group, it can be hard but I do what I want to and what inspires me.It’s nice to hear from another fashionista.
Finding “the” perfect blazer is literally like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack for me….I do love that one that you are wearing in your first picture. Would you kindly share the brand so I can begin scouring the internet for it 🙂
That jacket is by a Designer called Veronica Beard–they have gorgeous blazers! I have three and they fit like a dream.