How To Spot A French Woman In The Wild

It’s been rumored they exist outside of their natural habitat. Sightings are reported every now and again. They’re like bigfoot (if bigfoot wore Chanel °5 and smoked 2 packs a day).

French women.

They’re out there. And they’re coming to a city near you. But how do you spot one in the wild?


– HAIR –

Whether they have long hair or short, bangs or a bob, curly hair or straight, French women sport tousled hair that speaks to that effortless aura we identify with them. The goal here is ease, so you will see blunt cuts past the shoulder or at the neck with bangs to frame the face.

Now, don’t go living your life thinking every person with disheveled hair is French (you’d be surprised by how many people just don’t shower on a regular basis…).


French women opt for a neutral palette with a mix of affordable basics and finer statement pieces that fit a timeless aesthetic (bye-bye, passing trends!).

French woman usually has one stand-out aspect of her outfit; everything else is understated to create a balanced composition. A loose blouse would be paired with a tailored cigarette pant or jean and vice versa.

What I’m trying to say is, when the woman in aisle 3 is sporting a tailored ankle-cut dark denim jean with a dark blouse and an oversized coat (and maybe if she’s smoking in the store while holding a round of brie cheese and a baguette, too), her name might be Marie-Antoinette.


The rule for this one is KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!

In the spirit of effortlessness (aka doing the least amount of work for the maximum payoff), French women wear a minimal amount of makeup.

In regards to eyes and lips, only one of the two is emphasized, with both being understated a good majority of the time. Remember – balance is key! A bolder lip is paired with a nearly-naked eye. In turn, if the eye is bold, the lip is natural. 

This one might be harder to spot, but not wearing makeup is only French if the hair and clothes fall in line (pajamas and no makeup in public are just a sign of a hangover, not a je-ne-sais-quoi – sorry to disappoint).


Scarves, bags, and shoes – OH MY! When I’m French-spotting (can we turn this into an Olympic sport?), the most identifiably French things I look for are the accessories.

Scarves. Basically, if it looks like someone has a giant blanket wrapped three times around their neck, you can be pretty sure they’re French. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Bags. French women with usually be seen with one of two styles of bags; a large, slouchy leather tote or a square canvas bag. Both speak to that classically nonchalant quality we’ve identified with French women in their look and usability.

Shoes. A leather or suede heeled boot (black or tan) is a staple of a French woman’s outfit. It goes with everything, looks stylish, and is comfortable. You will also spot a lot of French women wearing grey gym shoes (neutral colors for the win!).


Identifying what gives a French person that je-ne-sais-quoi (cliché, I know) will give you the tools to begin emulating those same qualities. On your mark, get set, GO! 

What quality of French women do you wish you could adapt in your life?
What else do you want to know about the French?

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