We've Finally Worked Out the Real Difference Between French and U.S. Style


There’s no denying the fact that we’re obsessed with French-girl style. As we’ve discussed pretty tirelessly, Parisian women dress in a way that, for whatever reason, other women aspire to achieve. Normally, we ask our favourite French girls all about the items they’re buying, wearing, loving, etc., so that we can all go off and make our purchases accordingly, but this time we wanted to switch it up. Intrigued yet?

We reached out to a handful of our favourite French women and asked them what, if anything, it is about American style in particular they don’t “get”. I tried guessing before I asked them the daunting question, but my answers were nowhere close to what they had to say. When it comes to the differences between American and French style, these Parisian ladies have quite a few things to say. Ahead, find out what French girls said…

“Sometimes I am a bit surprised by the ‘more is more’ party dress code, for example. I mean shiny makeup, hair done, glitter dress, high heels. I think it’s silly—just not at all what I used to do.” — Chloé Harrouche

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Style Tip: If your dress has a festive adornment like feathers or crystals, opt for some more subdued shoes to let the real party pieces shine. 

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Style Tip: However, if you want to go all out the French way, make sure to choose pieces that are neutral in colour and unique in silhouette, like these crystal-fringe pants.

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Style Tip: Make an all-black party look pop with sparkly accessories.

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“From my years living in New York, I remember lots of girls wearing at night super-mini and tight dresses with high platform shoes. The girls were a little over the top.” — Géraldine Boublil

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Style Tip: Even the simplest of black dresses can be made more interesting with the addition of statement shoes.

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Style Tip: Tone down a skirt that’s really “extra” with unusual counterparts like cowboy boots and slim sunnies.

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Style Tip: Instead of a minidress and platforms, try a velvet suit and manageable pumps.

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“I definitely would say leggings. In L.A., it looks like all the girls are going to the sports hall.” — AnneLaure Mais Moreau

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Style Tip: Pair a bold-coloured top with leopard pants for a truly trendy look. You’ll look cool with minimal effort.

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Style Tip: Wearing checked trousers? Opt for a contrasting checked accessory, such as a bag, to make your look feel more forward and less dated.

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Style Tip: Toughen up preppy checked trousers with a graphic T-shirt.

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“Something that I’ve seen a lot on American girls is heels! They wear heels every day, everywhere, while in France, we wear sneakers—even at the office.” — Kenza Sadoun-el Glaoui

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Style Tip: Make your timeless wardrobe staples feel fresh by way of chunkier trainers. 

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Style Tip: Even your work trousers can feel more exciting with quirky last-minute additions like colourful sneakers and a shiny puffer.

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Style Tip: Instead of reaching for your tried-and-true pumps when rushing to get to the office, slip into a sleek pair of sneakers.

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“I actually find that most Americans are now trying to dress more European. But I do think super-high heels are silly. Less is always more in my opinion.” — Christina Caradona

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Style Tip: It’s not the heel height that will make your outfit a knockout; it’s the heel shape. This season, opt for square toes and low block heels.

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Style Tip: White shoes will always make you look polished, no matter how low the heel.

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Style Tip: And if heels aren’t your thing, this photo is proof that you can still look sleek sans heels, even while wearing sneakers. 

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This post was previously published and has since been updated.  This piece originally appeared on Who What Wear U.S.  Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2020 fashion trends you need to know. 



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