How to create French summer style

This post show you how to achieve that sought after French summer style that all Parisian women seem to have.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX

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The first summer I went to Paris I was in awe of how effortlessly put together EVERY woman looked. I was living in a somewhat stylish city (San Francisco) at the time, but these ladies put us to shame.

The more I paid attention, the more I realized that what they were wearing was so simple. They didn’t have on a ton of jewelry, color, or makeup. They weren’t super trendy, but they looked amazing.

French summer style is a look that sometimes feels so far out of reach, but it’s pretty basic and easy to achieve. If you know a few of the principles behind it. 

How do you dress like a Parisian (woman) in the summer?

There are a few principles you need to know to achieve this look.

  • Keep your colors neutral. Lots of whites, blacks, and taupe with pops of navy and red. Color is usually in scarves, shoes, etc. But not a lot of head-to-toe colors.
  • Minimal pattern. Parisians love their stripes. They also wear florals, polka dots, and gingham in the summer. But other than these, not many women venture into other prints.
  • Quality over quantity. French women buy high-quality pieces that are timeless and last season after season. They don’t do a ton of trends or fast fashion. Trendy pieces tend to be accessories, shoes or they mixed in with their high quality items. 

If this is sounding familiar to you, it’s because these are all similar to how you build a capsule wardrobe.

What do the French wear in the summer?

The basic principles are great, but what are the specific garments women in Paris wear in summer. 

I’ve done some research and while this is a pretty comprehensive list it’s not everything I came across. I’m making this more about how to dress like a French woman over 50 in the summer. Click the photos or links in the captions to get more details on each item.

Some French summer staples are:

White pants. These can be linen, jeans, cotton whatever feels good on you is what you should include in your French summer capsule. 

Plain t-shirt. The preference is white, black, or gray. But they should be plain with no embellishments, graphics, or design.

(insert 3 t-shirts)

Sundresses. Nothing better than a French summer dress in a floral print. But black or white are strong contenders as well. 

Straw tote. Everywhere you look on the streets of Paris in the summer, women are carrying a straw bag of some sort or another. 

A sun hat of course to protect your face and add another element of style to the outfit. 

Sandals are the perfect shoe to pair with a Parisian-style outfit. They keep you cool and pull the whole thing together. Tan, black, and gold are the most popular colors. 

Oversized sunglasses add an element of glamor, anonymity, and style to your french summer look. 

Linen shirts are a must for that chic French style. Oversized shirts are currently the rage.

Striped t-shirts. Nothing says summer in Paris like a striped tee. 

Espadrilles are a classic French summer style and are just as popular this summer as ever.

Tailored denim. Usually paired with a linen shirt, or a t-shirt and sandals. It’s a classic French girl look.

How can you make this your own?

If you are heading to France this summer or want to embrace the French style of clothing, follow the few steps above. Grab what you have in your closet then fill in the gaps with a few things here and there. Keep it simple. Less is more in this instance. 

Once dressed in your French summer style, close your eyes and pretend you’re at a bistro in the bustling Marais district about to head out for a day of shopping. Those are my big summer travel plans. You??

Me pretending I’m headed to a cafe or Parisian boutique. My take on French summer style.

Have fun creating your version of French summer style!



I show women over 50 how to get noticed, stay relevant, and be connected through their wardrobe. Getting dressed is something you have to do each day, why not make it fun.



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