French Minimalist Style: How to Effortlessly Master the Look

If you would define your style as simple, elegant, and chic, and you love neutrals, French minimalist style is for you. You might also describe your style as classic, timeless, and minimalist and have French minimalist style as your unique style personality.

neutral french minimalist wardrobe

This article on French minimalist style is the next installment in the series on unique personal style where we are exploring fourteen different style personalities. The purpose of this series is to help you define your unique personal style and provide focus for creating outfits that you feel amazing in.

“The magic of wearing clothes that truly complement your personality is that it enhances your entire being in a subtle but incredibly profound way.”

 Blanchard, Veronique. French Chic: The Ultimate Guide to French Fashion, Beauty and Style; Dress Classy and Elegant on Any Budget (French Chic, Style and Beauty, Fashion Guide, … Parisian Chic, Minimalist Living, Book 1) . Kindle Edition.

Knowing your style can provide focus when shopping and putting together outfits. Getting dressed is a breeze once you know what message you want to convey with your clothing choices.

What is French minimalist?

French minimalist style is a way of dressing based on the French women’s less is more philosophy.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.

Coco Chanel
coco chanel sketch

Parisian style is a classic and minimalist French fashion that many women consider when creating capsule wardrobes. A few key quality pieces make up the French minimalist wardrobe. If you’re struggling daily to get the perfect outfit, now is the right time to have a French minimalist style.

If you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, you may already be familiar with French style minimalism. It’s all about eliminating the extraneous outfits to make room for the things that bring you delight and true worth.

A small selection of joyful, flattering items in your closet is considered a minimalist fashion.

The present consumerist narrative is the opposite of minimalism, and for a good reason. Minimalism says, “In a world where consumption is encouraged to increase, have you ever considered making a conscious effort to have less? Less expense, less mess, less worry, and fewer belongings.”

French women do not mind repeating outfits and wearing the same clothes over and over. Adding cheap fast fashion and lesser quality items does not enhance the French minimalist look. Instead, it downgrades the elegance of the style.

neutral outfit french minimalist style
Young fashion beautiful woman in sunglasses on a city street

The Principles of French Minimalist Style

  • Femininity: choose to wear soft, feminine clothing.
  • Modesty: Many people prefer modest clothing over short miniskirts and cleavage-baring tops.
  • Simplicity: Less is more for Parisian ladies.
  • The basics: Parisian women condense their closets to the most appropriate items for their lifestyles. For example, a pair of jeans, a little black dress (LBD), a white shirt, a black skirt, a black jacket, and a white T-shirt. 

The Elements of French Minimalist Style

french woman in navy dress
Elegant French woman in Cannes, at Le Suquet

Silhouettes

Clothes for French minimalist style should fit well and are neither too tight on the body nor too loose. Tailored looks are esential.

Colors for French Minimalist Style

Neutral colors mostly including black and white, denim, cream, and other hues of grey and blue are utilized in this style.

Navy blue is a popular color choice for French minimalist style as well. You may find red or wine in deep shades and a few pastel colors in this wardrobe.

Black is very popular because it suggests elegance, and it is always classic and chic. If it is too harsh for you, opt for navy or soften it with pearl accessories or a scarf.

Patterns

Parisians rarely wear patterned or flowery textiles since they are more difficult to match. They pefer Breton stripes instead. Patterns are kept to a minimum and are small.

Fabrics

Use textured materials like lace or tweed to give an outfit more intrigue. Quality natural fabrics will be preferred over synthetics as they tend to have higher quality and last longer. Silk, wool, and pashmina are popular fabrics for scarves. Cotton and linen will also be included in a French minimalist wardrobe.

What clothing should you wear to dress like a French woman?

The French minimalist wardrobe is essentially a capsule wardrobe with carefully selected pieces. The goal of building the minimalist French capsule wardrobe is to have a timeless wardrobe.

Therefore, you must stick to the basics in style, colors, and silhouettes. Basic clothes like white tank tops and black crewneck tees tend to stay in fashion longer than the patterned alternatives.

  • Denim Jeans

As long as the pair of jeans is not ripped, distressed, or printed, they should always be a part of your capsule wardrobe with a French influence. Dark wash jeans are always flattering.

  • Black Dress

A black dress is a must-have item for any French minimalist capsule wardrobe. Similar to basic tees, little black dresses are timeless essentials for brunch with the girls and date night.

  • White Tee

In any wardrobe, a white t-shirt is a timeless essential. When it comes to bottoms, white tees go great with anything, whether jeans, a maxi skirt, or any other simple bottoms.

  • Silk blouse

Choose a white or pastel shade that flatters you and that goes with the rest of your wardrobe. A silk blouse will immediately upgrade any outfit

  • Dark Midi Skirt

A basic midi skirt should be a part of your French minimalist capsule wardrobe because it’s versatile and goes well with many different tops and outerwear options. Wear a basic top and some white sneakers with a dark midi skirt for a laid-back day out.

  • Black Trouser

Make sure your capsule wardrobe has a pair of tailored pants for semi-formal business functions. These pants look great with mules, heels, or even simple white sneakers.

  • Trench Coat

Undoubtedly, a trench coat is a must-have for any French minimalist wardrobe. Trench coats are fantastic if you want to dress up a simple outfit while staying warm. Furthermore, wearing a trench coat makes you appear infinitely more sophisticated.

  • Faux Leather Jacket

The black faux leather jacket is necessary for a full French minimalist capsule wardrobe. Any boring outfit can be spiced up with a leather jacket, adding an edge to your overall appearance. It creates a win-win situation because it keeps you comfortable and fashionable simultaneously.

Footwear: In the winter, a pair of boots is appropriate to attain the French Minimalist style, as are simple ballet flats or sandals in the summer. Additionally, neutral-colored shoes make it simple to mix and match them with many outfits.

black flats for french minimalist style

Flats- A pair of classic flats in a dark color and one in a light color- nude or tan- will be sufficient for daily errands and activities.

  • Camel Mules

One of the oldest shoe trends is probably the mules. They’re elegant and sufficiently comfortable to last the entire day of strolling around despite being straightforward and minimalist.

  • Black heels

Of course, your simple French capsule wardrobe won’t be complete without a pair of black heels. These shoes are classic and go with every ensemble.

  • Nude Heels

These also go with every outfit. Low to mid heels may be a better choice if you aren’t comfortable in higher heels. Being comfortable and confident is essential to looking elegant.

  •  White sneakers

White sneakers go with any outfit since they are so adaptable. White shoes are your closest companion if you’re going for a more relaxed, informal appearance. Veja white sneakers are a great investment choice.

Accessories: It’s the exciting part of the French Minimalist Style. Concentrate on a few well-selected, high-quality accessories to complete an ensemble and create a unique appearance.

  • Black Leather Tote

Nothing beats a simple leather designer tote to keep everything in one place. Don’t go too big.

  • Tan Crossbody Bag

Thanks to its ease of use, functionality, and hands-free design, you can move throughout the day without carrying a bulky handbag. Tan also goes with every item in the capsule wardrobe.

  • Scarves

Choose high quality fabrics and different colors and textures. Use scarves to add a little color to your outfits.

  • Jewelry/watch
accessories for french minimalist style

As with the rest of the French minimalist wardrobe, jewelry is kept simple and minimal. A quality diamond necklace on a delicate chain might be a signature piece for someone with French minimalist style. A pearl necklace is also a key piece.

A nice gold or silver or mixed metal quality watch is essential and will upgrade any look. Choose a high quality classic design.

Hair and makeup

Natural Hairstyle: Hair is an essential element of a stylish appearance. It’s kept in good shape and worn in various straightforward, down, and up fashions. Choose a style that flatters your face shape and is low maintenance.

Skincare and cosmetics: Makeup is worn to enhance features and is not overdone. The boldest makeup look in French minimalist style will be a bold red lipstick.

woman in black and white french minimalist style

What Not To Wear for French Minimalist Style

Shorts

Many find them unflattering and they rarely fit the definition of elegance.

Exercise clothes or athleisure

In France, exercise clothes are worn for exercising and not as part of an outfit for errands and events.

Graphic tees or clothing with logos

While these pieces might be fun, they don’t reflect the elegance of the French minimalist wardrobe.

Worn out clothing

You won’t find a French woman in clothing of poor condition. Once an item is faded, torn or has lost its shape, replace it.

Where to Shop for a French Minimalist wardrobe

woman in grey outfit french minimalist
high fashion portrait of young elegant woman outdoor. Grey сoat, cat eye sunglasses, grey wall background

You don’t have to shop French brands to have French minimalist style, but you can. Many French brands can be found in U.S. retailers. Remember, French minimalist is about having a few pieces in your wardrobe of higher quality.

Some stores and brands to consider:

Nordstrom

Net-a-porter

Frankie Shop

MatchesFashion

Selfridges

Claudie Pierlot

Boden Not a French brand, but their Breton stripe tops are always a popular choice.

Bloomingdale’s

Mango Though not French, this retailer has minimalist and polished pieces that fit the vibe of the style.

Shop Bop

JCrew

Love the look but not the price tag? It’s still possible to have french minimalist style on a budget. These retailers carry tailored neutral pieces at affordable prices.

H&M

Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory

JCrew Factory

Does french mininalist style fit your style personality? If you love having neutral, tailored and elegant outfits, this is the style for you.

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