French Wardrobe Staples For Fall

August 22, 2023

French Inspired Fall Capsule Wardrobe

Whenever I’m feeling uninspired with my closet I always go back to the basics. I think about what I would wear if I was in Paris and lean into the staples that I love in my wardrobe. What I love about French girl style is it doesn’t try too hard. It is classic, full of neutral colors and simple yet chic. It’s also formulaic once you have the right staples in your wardrobe. It’s never more true than as we enter the Fall season.

French Inspired Fall Capsule Wardrobe I wit & whimsy

Newly refreshed for this year and the forthcoming season, here are all my recommendations to build out a French inspired capsule wardrobe full of staples that’ll give you endless outfit opportunities. French fashion is simple, classic and timeless. I hope you’ll enjoy this comprehensive list and keep scrolling for some additional outfit inspo using a lot of the pieces mentioned!

French Wardrobe Staples For Fall

Cute Trench Coats for Fall

A trench coat.

A timeless trench will always be a good investment. I like to layer mine over my leather jacket when I am in Paris to handle the unpredictable weather in the Fall. 

This style is classic from J.Crew as is this one from Sezane both of which I own (I’m wearing the Sezane one above).

A bodysuit.

Speaking of layering pieces, if you’re not yet on the bodysuit bandwagon, you’re missing out! I became obsessed last year with their ease of styling. I pop one on and then add my favorite blazer or tweed jacket and a pair of jeans and am out the door. My favorites are here and here.

Alex Mill Striped Tee

A striped tee.

Breton striped tees are oh-so-French. I will never tire of striped tees as a base layer. I wear them solo or under blazers and tweed jackets. You can’t go wrong with a striped tee topped with a blazer and paired with a classic loafer.

Tee above found HERE.

A leather jacket.

If you want to get instant Parisian cool girl vibes, top  your outfit with a leather jacket. I still wear my Vince leather jacket I bought back in 2014 so much. If you’re looking for a good investment of real leather, I suggest this Madewell leather jacket or this Sezane leather jacket.

Heeled booties.

French women know that a timeless bootie is essential for Fall. I own and love this style and this style. A low, practical heel makes it French. I also like these and these as timeless styles.

This is another boot I always pack for Paris in the Fall. They are so comfortable and held up with 20K+ steps a day. 

Classic sneakers.

I swear by my Common Projects as they are so sleek and go with everything from dresses to jeans. You’ll see these sneakers all over France. Parisians also love their classic Converses and Sezane Jack sneakers, too. I’ve rounded up a lot of sleek white sneakers in this post.

Wear everywhere jeans.

By now you know my go-to, feel-like-a-million-bucks jeans are the AGolde Nico High Rise jeans. They are the most flattering fit on and so easy to style. I wear them in a size 27. See more of my favorite, go-to jeans here

Weekend jeans.

I love the more casual vibes of my beloved Levi’s Straight Jeans styled in the above photos. French girls don’t really do distressed jeans but rather straight or kick flare or raw hems to add some edge to an outfit otherwise made up of classic pieces. Finally, a pair of dark wash jeans are a must. 

Styling Classics I wit & whimsy

A timeless button down.

I have gotten more wear out of my Sezane button down (size US 8 / FR 40) than I could have ever imagined. It is so timeless in style and such high quality that it wears well time after time. I love it tucked under jeans or into midi skirts or work pants. Super French in style is also this oversized button down that goes so well with jeans and ponte pants but also layers under sweaters and blazers well. I also really love the Everlane silk blouse for layering under sweaters.

A timeless sweater.

I believe in investing in quality cashmere sweaters that you can wear over and over again without much upkeep (poor quality cashmere will pill easily).  I recommend the quality of the Jenni Kayne Cashmere sweaters.

For a more affordable option, Everlane fits the bill but you will have to remove pills after a lot of wear.

I also rely on striped sweaters for chillier Fall days in Paris. My favorites are by the brand La Ligne.

MM.LaFleur Jardigan Review I wit & whimsy

Flats you love and that are actually comfortable.

Look for comfortable yet timeless flats. I love ballet flats and own two pair from Chanel but for more affordable options I’d recommend include these, these or these.

My other personal favorite is the Sarah Flint Natalie. It’s such a feminine yet timeless style and they’re so comfortable that they are worth the investment. You can see me style them here

Sezane Fall Collection I wit & whimsy

A classic coat silhouette.

A classic wool coat is the perfect timeless silhouette to top any outfit in a simple, French inspired style. I recommend this classic car coat by Sezane. The Sezane Johnson coat is so stylish on (size up) and incredibly versatile.

I also love adding a ruffled collar top under coats or sweaters in the Fall. Perfect for a feminine French detail.

Ann Taylor Casual Blazer I wit & whimsy

A blazer to style often.

By now you know my love for the J.Crew Regent blazer. This wool blend blazer is utterly timeless and has the best details to make it so flattering on. I wore it here, here. I own it in a size 6 in camel and in black but I think the dark blue is also beautiful and very French.

Want some more color or texture in your wardrobe? This is my favorite oversized blazer that I own in every color and pattern. I size down to a size 2. Want to dress up the look? Try a double breasted blazer!

If you don’t have a black blazer that you feel great in, there’s no time like the present. It’s an instant mood booster and can be restyled throughout the year in loads of ways. I never go to Paris in the Fall without packing a black blazer.

This one is a great affordable option. For an investment one, this is my favorite. The Sezane Christie Blazer is also great and I own it in two colors in size 6.

A tweed jacket.

I love tweed jackets as a counterpart to my favorite blazers. Mango is my go-to for tweed jackets. This style is also similar to the above.

MM.LaFleur Jardigan Review I wit & whimsy

Sweater Jacket

A sweater jacket is one of my favorite pieces to carry to throw on top of a tee and look instantly more leveled up. This one is my personal favorite and I own it in two versions!

The fabric is particularly well suited for travel as it doesn’t wrinkle easily. It’s also got a nice weight to it so you can use it as more of jacket on warmer Fall days. It comes in several colors and the neutrals lend themselves well to being a travel wardrobe workhorse.

Above I paired mine with my favorite Sarah Flint Natalie flat.

Ponte pants.

The M.M.LaFleur Curie Pants (shown on above) are so versatile and so flattering. I recommend pairing them with a blazer or button down untucked or an oversized cashmere sweater. I also love the J.Crew everyday pant.

A staple loafer.

An iconic shoe silhouette that is so French in style. Favorite loafers of mine include these that are comfortable and don’t break the bank.

A comfortable heel.

The Sarah Flint Perfect Pump are so comfortable that you won’t wince at the idea of wearing a heel. I styled them two ways here. And also I love my Chanel slingbacks and never am without them when I am in Paris. 

Lace Cami I wit & whimsy

Silk Camis

My silk camis get year round wear. Above I am wearing this silk cami.

If you prefer no lace – I own and love this tank and this tank, too.

A practical bag.

I love a fit-all tote and the Cuyana leather totes have been my go-to for more than five years.

A crossbody bag.

For on the go styles, I love a chic, timeless crossbody bag. Current favorites of mine include this one, this one and this one.

Layering tees.

Having a great, quality t-shirt in black and white that you feel good in is a closet must-have.

Simple yet striking jewelry you won’t tire of.

I am a big fan of subtle, dainty and feminine jewelry. My everyday jewelry.

Paris Blazer Outfit

Silk Scarf

One of my favorite ways to accessorize my French woman-inspired wardrobe is to add a silk scarf onto my look. I do so by adding it to the handle or strap of the bag I am carrying or around my neck. 

Paris Photo Spots I wit & whimsy

Sweater Dress

Perfect for Fall & Winter, a sweater dress with over the knee boots and a good tailored jacket is a great way to look chic from day to night. I love my Stuart Weitzman Lowland boots for travel because they are so comfortable for logging lots of miles. I’ve had mine for seven years, worn them loads and they still look relatively brand new!

I also love pairing a sweater dress with sleek sneakers:

How to Escape to Paris Virtually


Shop the Capsule


More French Girl Inspired Outfit Inspo

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. . .

Shop my French Capsule Wardrobe edit and drop any questions below!


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comments +

  1. Shelby Etheridge says:

    I love your style so much. So glad I found you to follow!

  2. Libby says:

    This is amazing because it is making me realize that I have the majority of these staples in my closet!! I just replace jeans with tights, and boom theres my French capsule! I love this style so much, it is so simple, yet incredibly chic, and that is the look I love!! Thanks for putting this together, Meghan! Hope you have a great Wednesday! 🙂

    xx Libby

  3. LJ says:

    So many great classic styles across all price points! Pretty sure you’ve finally convinced me to buy a bodysuit.. haha they seem so easy!
    Also here to say those Sam Edelman Loraine loafers are INCREDIBLE! I have them in 3 different colors and they take no time to break in. My comfiest shoes for sure.

  4. GF says:

    love this roundup, and it’s perfect for fall fashion inspo as the weather finally starts to cool and I reach more for my topper coats and jeans!

  5. MM says:

    Thank you for this!! I’ve been a silent reader for just at a year now and have loved every post! I do have a suggestion for something I’ve been looking for but have found anywhere. French inspired formal wear. I attend three to four black tie events a year and I struggle w that. I have a capsule but it doesn’t feel me (maybe too prom-ish or bridesmaid y?). Lady tux, long black gown etc?? And then what about accessories?! Egads it’s frustrating!!

  6. Sharon says:

    Love this post(s)!!!! Thank you for so many great staple wardrobe ideas!!
    I need a major fall/winter closet purge. These ideas will help me reach my goal (hopefully ?).

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