Dress Like the French: Summer Edition

by olivia hoffman

© Marie Marot x J.Crew

There is no question that French women have an impeccable sense of style, and summertime in France is a particularly special opportunity to make this point clear.


With the shining sun acting as a natural spotlight from the early morning to late in the evening (the sun sets around 10pm and later in the summer!), French women take the outdoor catwalk quite seriously – while appearing effortless of course.

Drawing inspiration from the fashionable streets of Paris and the seasonal activities les français take part in, we walk you through how to dress like the French this summer from head to toe.

What to Wear

For Picnics in the Park

One of the most popular summer weekend activities among friends and family in France is a leisurely picnic at the park or in the garden.

This is a casual affair that requires comfortable clothes since it is customary to sit on the ground or perhaps on a lawn chair. A button-down shirt is perfect for looking effortlessly chic paired back to chino shorts or cropped jeans. In a similar vein, this shirt dress by French designer Marie Marot takes the classic shirt look one level up. Wearing breathable material in the sun is also an important element to consider, and we love the cotton gauze used for this jumpsuit which is a very trendy silhouette in Paris this summer.

For Drinks on the Terraces

French terraces are abuzz with clients enjoying cold rosé and refreshing spritzes from early afternoon to late in the evening.

It’s common to see the seats filled with fashionable French women in colorful floral dresses as well as all-white ensembles replacing the typical Parisian all-black look that abounds during the colder months of the year. Texture is also more diverse in summer attire, like this lightweight pleated midi-skirt – a popular item in French women’s wardrobes.  

For Office “Summer Fridays”

The French understand the importance of enjoying time off work to soak up some essential vitamin D. Therefore, many offices graciously let their employees off early on Fridays.

To achieve the tricky balance of work-to-play attire, a fabulous summer dress is a simple solution. Sézane has plenty of options this season for formal yet playful dresses including textured frocks, loose-fitting shirt dresses, and comfortable cotton options.

How to Accessorize

For a Day in the Sun

This summer, netted bags in both flexible and structured materials are the “it” bag for daytime use. On the MFCH Boutique, we have a range of options* to keep you on trend from string bags with wooden handles to rattan totes with leather straps. The other essential daytime accessory is sunglasses, and we love the collection available at Sézane this season.

*Also check out our summer travel kit which includes a string market bag!

For a Night on the Town

With the sun setting later in France, evening accessories should blend from day to night. The Milo Classic bag is both fashionable and functional, allowing you to hold everything from sunscreen to lipstick. With a solid leather bag, you can add pops of colorful patterns in unexpected pieces like a silk wristwatch or transparent socks!

The Right Footwear

Summer Espadrilles

A traditional footwear favorite among French ladies in summertime is, without a doubt, espadrilles. The jute rope material used for the insole evokes a nautical spirit, ready to hop on a sailboat at any given moment! On the MFCH boutique we offer the classic canvas espadrille in a range of colors, and J. Crew’s collaboration with French designer Marie Marot has a limited-edition cotton and leather version.

Stylish Sandals

Espadrilles also look great in a sandal version – one of the many adorable options available in Sézane’s summer collection. From casual strapped flats to dressy low heels, the French make sure to have sandals on hand for every occasion.

Comfortable Sneakers

As for comfort and practicality for those active summer activities, sneakers are the best option – but that doesn’t mean the fashion needs to be spared! We love the sneakers at Eileen Fisher which come in breathable materials like linen twill and stretch knit. They also feature platforms which give a little extra height without the arch of a high heel.

And there you have it! Follow this guide and you are ready to dress like the French this summer for any occasion.

Read next: Packing for the French Riviera

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