This is How French Women Are Styling Flats This Summer

Flat shoes are a long-standing style staple for French women. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel ballerina dates back to 1984. It pioneered the flat footwear innovation, with plenty of ballet flats following in its wake. The swoon-worthy shoe set the precedent for flush-to-the-ground variations and struck an appreciation for elegant and understated styles.

The creation was donned by many, from Bridget Bardot to modern-day style mavens – including French editors and influencers. The two-toned flat swiftly became synonymous with Parisian flair and it engineered the appeal of easy-wearing styles. The popularity of ballet pumps is prevalent on the cobbled streets of France.  Brands from Repetto to French Sole have long-produced chic almond toe flats and retailers continue to fuel that demand and churn out classics.

Quintessentially French designers have cornered the footwear market and it doesn’t stop at ballet flats either. The variety of flats extends to buckled loafers, slingbacks, open-back flats, sandals and jute espadrilles. Following the lead of Chanel, the Hermes Oran sandal has also proven to be a popular style with French natives.

It’s the way French women wear flats that give the down-to-earth renditions that much more flavour. Comfort is pivotal, as is the art of subtle mark-ups—like contrast colour toe caps and horsebit adornments.

French women experiment most with accessories, so it’s no surprise to see modern footwear updates trickling onto the streets of France. Ruched ballet flats, chunky loafers and low platform flip-flops are among some of the latest introductions. Although they aren’t the minimalist styles we’re accustomed to seeing on French women, they complement feminine silhouettes and are equally suited to straight-leg jeans and blouses.

If you’re looking for some chic French fashion inspiration, or need reminding that flats are indeed cool, keep scrolling for eight French-inspired outfits. When experimental accessories adhere to comfort, there’s no getting in the way of French women!

Style Notes: Knit dresses are my go-to. As demonstrated by Chloé, you can extend the wear of sleeveless styles during the summer months. I’m particularly fond of the discreet panelling used to elongate the maxi shape even further. Pair with slip-on sandals and the matching handbag for a refined look.

This wool-rich blend has a beautiful silhouette that hangs off the body.

I mean, it matches the shoes. How adorable!

The charm of a woven shoe is well suited to the French style aesthetic.

Style Notes:  This outfit is evidence that basics are the building blocks for an understated look. Tuck the t-shirt into the skirt and wear it with an overshirt and classic basket to emulate the ultimate (and fuss-free) French style. The magic is in the accessories. The raffia bag and nude flats soften the look through the use of subdued colours, supple textiles, and natural fibres.

This blue shirt is a vibrant addition to the neutral outfit. I also think it’s a wardrobe staple for maximalists and minimalists alike.

I like the delicate look of a thin strap vest.

A French wardrobe classic for everyone!

There are many ways to wear the bandana – a neckerchief, hair accessory or tie a twilly.

Loewe’s 2022 Ibiza release has a relaxed feel in comparison to the hard-shell palm.

Another classic shoe offering by Arket.

Style Notes: Denim dresses are a staple piece for French women. The recent popularity of heavy-soled footwear works wonderfully with juxtaposing feminine styles. It’s also an elevated flat, quite literally. A supple bag rounds the entire look off.

I’ve recommended this dress for a few months now and I still attest to the quality and fit.

A throw everything in whilst looking chic type of bag.

These moccasins measure up to their premium counterparts.

Style Notes: At first, scrunched ballet flats were associated with the minimalist Scandi aesthetic but as seen on Sylvie, French women are now embracing this unique shoe shape. It’s only right the pioneers of ballet pumps don the expansive style offerings.

Chocolate brown on suede is a classy pairing that oozes sophistication.

A fluid trouser with an added belt loop. The (high-waisted) possibilities are endless.

Retro chic.

This Wandler bag is exquisite. This rings true for their other bag offerings this season.

Like the tabby shoe, these scrunched ballerinas are marmite. However, if the veterans of the ballet pump approve then so do we!

Style Notes: The LBD is a classic, but the cut-outs offer a fresh update. Team with two-tone ballerinas because two classics are better than one.

The perfect way to wear cut-out casually.

Chanel made sure the two-toned flat would become a forever staple and this Marks and Spencer pair certainly fits the bill.

Style Notes: The perennial loafer is a Parisian footwear staple. Paired with jeans, a tweed jacket and a fresh white T-shirt, it makes the ultimate transeasonal outfit. J’adore!

Classic tweed with a fringe trim. Stunning!

If you’re in the market for a good quality t-shirt that holds its shape, I solemnly vouch for this one.

I’ve tried these on and they are similar in shape to the coveted vintage Levis 501s.

Top-handle bags bring an element of structure to an outfit. This style features an additional adjustable strap, so it can be worn cross-body.

Black moccasins are celebrated worldwide. Essen’s design is a high-quality pair that will see you through the years.

Style Notes: I love how Tamara takes the figure-skimming slip dress and adds a subtle hint of androgyny with the flatform sandal. French women have donned the thong slipper for quite some time, so it’s not surprising that the inched-up version is also gaining traction.

This dress is a hardworking piece for every type of occasion, from soirées to day events.

As per, the Loewe basket needs no introduction. 

These Mint Velvet platforms are amongst some of the top contenders this season. The white version pulls all of the neutral accents together.

Style Notes: This outfit comprises head-to-toe basics which look great together and interchanged. Each element can be worn in a multitude of ways. The strappy sandal is a seasonal update that compliments paired-back looks. Tie the straps high or low, depending on your preference.

Arket basics are a cut above the rest. Crisp poplin shirts allude to luxury tailoring.

The epitome of a basic with a very subtle twist (in the form of a tie).

The hero sandal of 2022 has a long-standing appeal.

A concealed pouch is a welcomed addition to basket bags this season – style and security.

Coming Up, 10 Timeless Items French Women Have in Their Wardrobes