How To Create a French Fall Capsule Wardrobe

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“French girl style” is a universal term; everyone knows what it is, and yet you cannot totally define it. This is the magic of French girl style — you know it’s classic and simple and chic, but there’s an element of je ne sais quoi that makes getting dressed more of an art form than a routine. However, there are key pieces that will help you achieve that undeniably chic French-girl style, no matter where you are in the world.

These pieces must be comfortable enough for leisurely strolls, layered properly for whatever weather changes might happen in the afternoon (nothing is less chic than shivering from the cold or sweating from the heat), stylish enough for the best possible occasion (you never know who is going to take your picture or where you’re going to end up), and classic enough to be in style from Coco Chanel’s first runway show to Choupette‘s last Instagram—those are some big ballet flats to fill! Here are the pieces for fall that will help you achieve that classic, comfortable, effortlessly chic style that the French are so famous for. Now all you need is a spritz of Chanel No. 5 and your own je ne sais quoi. 

 

 

Outerwear

 

Leather Jacket

When thinking outerwear, you want timeless pieces that will work over any outfit combo your closet can throw at them. A leather jacket is the perfect everyday layer over casual jeans and a tee but also adds a little pizazz to more feminine dresses or silhouettes. 

Madewell

Washed Leather Moto Jacket

5 colors available

 

Classic Trench

There is nothing better than a really good trench — instant class.

 

Wool Coat

When I ascend to heaven it will be on the wings of all my wool coats—they may be my most favorite thing (after Peter Kavinsky, of course). While they can get pricier, a well-cut and classic wool coat is an investment piece in your future chicness.

 

Boyfriend Blazer

The perfect way to wear a blazer? Slightly oversized, thrown oh-so-casually over a tee and jeans. Add red lip as necessary.

 

 

Tops & Dresses

Source: Sezane

 

Striped Top

Is there anything more perfectly French than a really good striped top? I rest my case.

 

Silk Button-Down

Elevate your everyday button-down in luscious silk; you can take it from the office to after work drinks in a flash. Bonus: silk has this subtle luster that makes you glow while wearing it. This is not scientifically proven but you can trust me, cool?

 

Cashmere Sweater

There is no better basic for fall than a cashmere sweater. It can be remixed endlessly—on its own, over button-downs, over dresses, under blazers, tucked into skirts… it’s the wardrobe workhorse that also feels hella nice on.

Naadam

The Essential Cashmere Sweater

10+ colors available

Everlane

The Cashmere Crew

7 colors available

 

Basic Tee

Speaking of wardrobe backbones, you don’t need me to tell you how essential a basic tee is to any capsule. Choose your own adventure with your tee depending on style/use: slightly oversized, boxy, tight and just-the-right-amount-of-thermal, etc.

Madewell

Cotton Crewneck Tee

4 colors available

Caslon

Woven V-Neck T-Shirt

2 colors available

 

Easy Dress

Choose a dress that you can easily take to the 9-5 or on a first date or to a wedding. This is your all-occasions dress that you actually want to wear. A unicorn dress, if you will.

 

 

Bottoms

 

Black Ponte Pants

Think Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Pair with a black mock-neck, loafers, and tons of attitude.

 

Ankle Crop Skinny Jeans

Specifying an ankle crop style because they’ll be the perfect backdrop for your ankle boots, loafers, and ballet flats.

 

Leather Leggings / Pants

If you think you “can’t wear” leather pants, you are SO wrong. You can wear them, you fierce and fabulous lady, you. If you’re nervous, start with a legging style or “leatherette” jean that will feel a little more comfortable/normal and be a little easier on your wallet.

 

Miniskirt

To pair with black tights and a liberal dose of je ne sais quoi.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Vegan Leather Mini Skirt

2 colors available

 

 

Shoes

 

Ballet Flats

Ballet flats date back to the 16th century—they are the epitome of classic. Go for the OG style, tiny bow and all.

 

Ankle Boots

Fall isn’t fall without a really good ankle boot. That is all. Or, more accurately, that is fall.

Steve Madden

Howler Chunky Boot

6 colors available

Marc Fisher LTD

Ulani Pointy Toe Bootie

9 colors available

 

Heels

To pair with everything from jeans to formal wear. A good pair of heels is an investment—go for neutral colors in luxe fabrics and make sure the heel height is walkable while still giving you that extra lil oomph.

JEFFREY CAMPBELL

Fluxx Sandal

Steve Madden

Honey Slide Sandal

4 colors available

 

Loafers

How does one function without a pair of loafers in their wardrobe? We aren’t sure.

ZARA

Lug Sole Loafers

2 colors available

Madewell

Frances Loafer Mule

2 colors available

 

 

Accessories

Source: @alainakaz

 

Sunnies

Think classic Céline—oversize, slightly squared off, head-turning.

 

Silk Scarf

Très chic, mais non? 

Amazon

Silk Neck Scarf

10+ colors available

 

Tote Bag

Go for a size large enough to fit your laptop, yet sleek enough to bring along to drinks after work if necessary. If you’re going to invest somewhere, we recommend starting with a great work tote.

Madewell

The Transport Tote

3 colors available

Cuyana

Classic Leather Zipper Tote

10+ colors available

 

Watch

Keep time without endlessly checking your phone. Plus, it’ll look great on the ‘gram (okay so the checking the phone thing needs some work).

Olivia Burton

Mother-of-Pearl Bracelet Watch

2 colors available

 

Minimal Gold Jewelry

Understated jewelry lends a touch of polish and sheen—the perfect complement to everything from a finely tailored blazer to your knockabout jeans and tee.

Etsy | GLDNxLayeredAndLong

Ultra Dainty Necklace

Catbird

Threadbare Gold Ring

2 colors available

 

 

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