7 Outerwear Essentials for a French Wardrobe

Ever find yourself searching for a jacket or coat that you don’t have? Yep, I’ve been there. It got me thinking: what outerwear essentials are necessary to have a complete French wardrobe? What colors would I need? What materials?

I narrowed it down to seven. These outerwear pieces are all French style approved. Obviously, if you’re a fashion addict like me, you’ll probably have even more than what’s on this list, but I think this is a good place to start if you’re just going for the essentials.

It’s the bare minimum of jackets and coats that I like to have ready to go.

French Spring Summer Outerwear Essentials IMG_9285

France has some very cool autumns and chilly winters, even if the season isn’t as intense as our snowy American winters. Nevertheless, this outerwear will help you stay warm throughout the season – whether you’re walking the streets of Paris in January or skiing the slopes of the French Alps.

Come March, I start to swap out my winter coats for my French spring/summer outerwear. From thinner fabrics to lighter colors, there’s definitely a difference between the jackets I use in spring and summer versus the colder months.

Here is everything you need!

A Classic Trench Coat

French Outerwear Essentials Trench Coat

For rainy days and cool spring mornings, a beige trench coat is a must. I got mine from A.P.C. and it’s been a blessing on so many occasions. It’s waterproof, has pockets, and cinches at the waist thanks to the wrap-around belt. You can read a review of my favorite A.P.C. trench coat. The camel Sézane trench coat is a reader favorite.

A Breezy Linen Jacket

French Outerwear Essentials Linen Jacket

A light linen jacket is great for cool summer evenings when you want to cover up, but also be able to remove your jacket easily. 

A Chic Black Evening Jacket

French Outerwear Essentials Black Evening Jacket

A high-quality black evening jacket is still on my ‘buy’ list. This is a jacket I would wear to a dinner or upscale event. I could wear it over a silk dress or even dress up a blouse and jeans with it. The Saint Laurent Smoking blazer is the most iconic style of this jacket. Currently, I’m using a black velvet blazer from Mango.

The Perfect Fall Wool Blazer

French Outerwear Essentials Wool Blazer

The wool blazer is a classic fall wardrobe staple for French girls. They often come in plaid or brown wool but you can find quite a few varieties. This piece is typically worn a bit oversized. I love this blazer by French designer Isabel Marant.

A Simple Beige Wool Coat

French Outerwear Essentials Beige Winter Coat

The long beige wool wrap coat is an outerwear piece I see all the time on the streets of Paris! I think opting for beige or camel instead of black helps to brighten the winter days just a little bit. I am looking for a thick wool wrap coat in beige or camel personally, like this one by Max Mara. You could also get this style in a teddy coat or shearling coat. At least one great basic winter coat is a must!

A Cozy Puffer Coat

French Outerwear Essentials Puffer Coat

It does get pretty cold in Paris and since I visit my family in Connecticut pretty often in the winter, I need a good puffer coat that really withstands the coldest of temperatures we face in northern Europe and the northeast US! It would also have to be snow-proof. I like this style coat in beige but you could also go with a classic black version.

An Upscale Black Wool Coat

French Outerwear Essentials Black Wool Coat

Similar to the beige winter coat, I’d also go for a black winter coat, probably made of thick wool. It could be a structured winter coat or a more feminine wrap coat, but it must be a solid black color. This is a coat I would use for special events like an important work meeting, a special occasion, or a night out.

Lastly, I always have one beige and one black cardigan on hand for spring and summer days when you need to cover up but don’t want to wear a jacket. Cardigans can easily be stuffed into my handbag when I arrive somewhere and pulled back out when I need them. They are great for those days when the temperature swings a little too much throughout the day!

What do you think of this French outerwear list?

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