The French-Girl Starter Kit
Written by: the Editors of goop
Published on: October 9, 2017
Updated on: August 31, 2022
Fashion editor: Sandra Slusarczyk
Street style photos courtesy of Sandra Semburg
French-girl style: The term is ubiquitous but hard to define—perhaps that’s why so many definitions lean hard on the phrase “je ne sais quoi.” The truth is, this particular brand of effortless chic is less about specific pieces and more about how you wear them: with confidence and intentionality. That said, there are certain nonnegotiables, like Breton stripes, a sleek black dress, and a killer pair of jeans. Ahead, your French-girl-style crib sheet.
What started as a seaman’s go-to rose to popularity thanks to the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, and even Pablo Picasso (the artist often wore his while working on the French seaside). A true marinière has 20 navy-blue stripes, each 10 millimeters wide, spaced 20 millimeters apart, but sailor stripes of any…stripe have a classic buy-now, wear-forever appeal.
A key component of the French-girl styling equation: a great pair of jeans. Go for something in a season-spanning wash with well-placed rear pockets—not too far apart, not too close together, but juuust right.
We love the mod-like vibe of these black oval frames—they manage to be simple and striking at the same time.
This one is, in a word, parfait. You want something with a bit of texture (quilting) and subtle hardware (chain strap) that will elevate any outfit without feeling too fussy.
A tailored blazer is the easiest way to make an outfit look put-together, even if it’s just jeans and a T-shirt.
The Five-Minute French-Girl Uniform
Some shoes are so iconic, you can build an entire outfit around them. Case in point: Chanel slingbacks. Just add stripes (to pick up on the black), a cute miniskirt (we love this one’s utilitarian details), and minimal makeup (click here for tips from Chanel’s first-ever brow artist, Jimena Garcia).
LITTLE BLACK DRESS
The ultimate closet workhorse: A Parisienne’s LBD is demure but hits all the right notes, particularly when it has a square neckline and a coquettish thigh-skimming hem.
Think of these as your sartorial secret weapon—they lend an edge to any look without reading full-on rock-and-roll.
About as effortless as it gets. Don’t ruin it by overthinking the accessories—the sunglasses and handbag from above will do.
EVERYDAY RED LIP
Tip: Use a lip brush to create precisely defined edges, or dab it on with your fingertip for a beautifully diffused stain.