While Americans are doing back-to-school shopping, French women have la rentrée. It essentially means “the return” and describes the back-to-school period, however, it’s more an acknowledgment of new beginnings (like the American New Year’s). Not only are children going back to school, but parents (and politicians) are going back to work after practically everyone has been on vacation for the entire month of August.
When it comes to fashion, French women don’t reinvent their entire wardrobes for la rentrée. After all, French women are all about style staples, not fast fashion trends that come and go. But they do look for ways to change their look with the pieces that give them that celebratory feeling at fall’s arrival.
When it comes to a fall wardrobe, just as with any season, French women have their go-to items that help them to feel feminine and chic all season long, while still updating their wardrobe a bit from the summertime. Fall is all about basics and layers, two things that French women excel at. So just what are they wearing all season long? Well, I’ll tell you.
1. A Striped Sweater
Something about the return to fall makes us all want to break out our sweaters. And for French women, this is sure to include stripes, particularly the classic Breton stripe. Something about it creates a back-to-school vibe for me, so it’s the perfect choice for celebrating the season or la rentrée.
2. A Trench Coat
When the temperatures start to cool down, the trench coat makes the perfect transitional piece. It will pair well with everything you own, and if you invest in a good quality coat, it’s something that could last you a lifetime. Shopping like a French woman means considering value before cost.
3. A Plaid Blazer
The plaid blazer is a true fall French style staple. If you love Parisian style and you don’t already own a plaid blazer, you should consider adding one to your closet for this season. It’s easy, chic, and not too heavy for days when it’s not super cold out.
Having any type of blazer in your wardrobe is key to taking more summery items like a floral skirt and updating them for the fall season. And who doesn’t want to get more use out of their clothes?
4. Or a Plaid Coat
One equally amazing option is the plaid coat. This is a great staple to have in your wardrobe. The longer silhouette could be more flattering depending on your outfit and your frame.
5. A Teddy Coat
Even French girls get on board with trends sometimes, and this one has been steadily in style for the past few years, so it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay. The teddy coat – you need to get one in your wardrobe. They’re super comfy and cute at the same time. You can surprisingly dress them up quite a bit, but they’re just as easily worn with loungewear. Equally as cute is a faux fur jacket!
6. A Sweater Vest
Obviously, fall is the perfect sweater weather, but if you want to change things up a bit, then a sweater vest is the perfect way to wear something different. Plus, these have come back into fashion via TikTok trends of academia-inspired aesthetics.
7. Slingback Heels
When espadrilles are out of season but you just aren’t feeling like wearing boots every day, take it from a French girl, slingback heels are the perfect option. Open-toed shoes are a better fit for spring and summer, but who says you can’t show a little heel? They’re perfect to wear before the temperatures really drop.
8. A Cardigan
Whether you wear it on its own, button it over something, or just leave it open, a cardigan is a fall must-have. Start out with the basic neutral shades that you can mix and match with everything you own and then move on to bolder choices if you find you really like wearing them. French girls are all about finding what they look good in and then wearing a lot of that thing.
9. Straight Leg Jeans
If there’s anything French women know about, it’s denim. Still on the quest for the perfect pair of jeans? Follow the lead of French women. The straight leg jean is where it’s at. Bonus points if you can find a pair of vintage Levi’s that don’t have any elastic stretch.
10. A Leather Jacket
With la rentrée, French girls know that it’s time to break out leather. Whether you have a leather blazer, jacket, or coat, they will all work for the French girl aesthetic. The key is to balance it out with more feminine elements. You can start with a leaner silhouette rather than something super boxy, layer it over a dress or skirt, or wear heeled boots. Even if you’re scared by the edginess of it at first, you’ll find it’s a lot more versatile than you think.
And when all else fails, add a classic French girl red lip. It’s the accessory that will truly match absolutely anything you own. Have no fear, we have a shopping list of all the best red lipsticks to try out and another article all about how to wear them the right way.
The French girl style is my dream style aesthetic for pretty much every season and fall is definitely no exception. And because French style is really all about your basics, if you own these pieces, you’ll find you pretty much have the perfect French-inspired fall wardrobe. And from there it’s all about how you personalize it to you. That’s what style is all about anyway.
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