If I had to pick a favorite style aesthetic, it would definitely be the French girl look. The way French women dress differs from the way American women dress, but you can learn how to dress more like a French girl or like classic French style icons such as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin.
So as you can imagine, for someone like me who loves French girl style, I often find myself asking, “Where did she get that?” And luckily, during my research, I ended up finding out the answer to my question. The shoes? One very popular choice among French it-girls is Carel Paris.
The French shoe brand opened in 1952 and has been making beautiful, high-quality shoes since then. Trust me, you’ll want to own every single pair. But keep in mind before you fall in love with them that true to French women’s fashion principles, these shoes are investment pieces (a.k.a. not cheap) and are meant to stay in your wardrobe for much longer than just a season.
Black Mary Jane Heels
Perhaps their most well-known model is the Kina. It’s essentially a combination of a typical Mary Jane and a kitten heel with the twist of having three straps. What’s so great about this shoe is that it’s not so high that it’s uncomfortable for daily wear.
A French woman can easily wear these with her floral dress to the market or with jeans and a nice blouse for lunch with a friend. It’s versatility makes it a great addition to make your wardrobe just a little more French.
And if you’ve fallen so in love with the Kina that you now want them in every color (same, girl, I don’t blame you), then you’re in luck because there are a ton of different colors to choose from. Red happens to be really popular among French girl influencers and is easier to wear than you would think!
If you can’t get enough with the red and black, there’s always navy (as well as a bunch of other colors). Seriously, check out the website.
The Kina has even gotten Alexa Chung’s stamp of approval. (I know, she’s not technically a French girl, but she’s a modern fashion icon and model who is just lovely and has great style.)
Two Straps Instead of Three
If the Kinas have just too many straps for you, a great option is the Alice, which has two instead of three. Or better yet, for just a single strap go for the Caren, loved by French it-girl Jeanne Damas.
Knee High Boots
I know what you’re thinking, do they only make Mary Janes? Nope, not even close. How great are these leather boots? So perfect for fall and winter with basically anything in your closet!
They make quite a few different styles, so pick the style that works best with the clothes you already have, and, bam, just like that you’ve upped your fall and winter style game.
And because every girl needs the perfect pair of ankle boots, there’s the Estime. These are the shoes that will have women you don’t even know asking you where you got your shoes from. (Best feeling in the world, right?) Ankle boots are a fall and winter style staple, so it’s worth investing in a pair you absolutely love.
Come summertime, Carel is a great place to get leather sandals to wear with all your pretty outfits. I love the Soroya because it has the heel show but is still a closed-toe shoe. Perfect for all of us who just don’t always have perfectly painted toenails at the ready. (Shhh, I won’t tell if you won’t).
But if you’re someone who is really good about getting really regular pedicures or doing them yourself (more power to you!), then there are definitely some gorgeous open-toe options to choose from.
Bright Flats and Kitten Heels
Their spring and summer collections always include lots of pretty, colorful flats and kitten heels that are just to die for. Keep the rest of your outfit neutral, or coordinate it with the colors in your summer dresses and skirts. So cute!
My personal favorite is the two-toned. I think it’s a nice eye-catching detail that adds something special to a pair of flats.
How To Wear the Shoes
Hopefully, this article has shown you how easy it can be to style shoes that aren’t sneakers. Just look how great the Mary Janes look with jeans and a simple blouse.
In the spring or summer, that’s a great way to wear the brand’s Mary Janes, flats, kitten heels, or sandals if you need a more casual look. But they’re just as easily dressed up a bit with a dress, skirt, or even a romper.
In the fall and winter, the boots will be all the rage. You can honestly wear them with any of your typical winter outfits.
And the beauty is that the black and red Mary Janes will still work. They’re truly a year-round shoe if you need them to be!
If we’ve learned anything from Carel Paris it’s that French girl style (at least shoes) is all about kitten heels (especially Mary Janes), flats, and great boots. So while Carel Paris shoes are definitely expensive, I think if you choose wisely and generally focus on buying investment pieces rather than lots of cheaper items when you shop that you’ll find they’re completely worth it.