How to Look French and Talk About Clothes in French

Talking about clothes in French might seem intimidating. After all, France is the most stylish, sophisticated, fashionable country in the world, right?

Not exactly….

There is some truth behind France’s legendary reputation for style and elegance. But not every French person dresses like they’re on a runway or in a movie. Keep that in mind, and it may make learning and talking about clothes in French a little easier!

From vocabulary, to how to dress like a local if you come to France, here’s everything you need to know about clothes in French!

What are the grammar rules of talking about clothes in French?

Clothes are an aspect of everyday life, and with that comes a lot of flexibility and function. Whether they’re nouns, verbs, or adjectives, most clothes-related words in French can be used as you’d expect. 

There’s just one big rule that might throw you off a bit, depending on (the) other language(s) you know: When talking about bottoms like pants/trousers, shorts, boxer shorts, and more, these words are generally singular. So, if you want to buy a pair of shorts in French, you want un short, not des shorts.

Other than that, as far as major rules go, only the standard rules of French grammar apply.

French clothing vocabulary

Here are the words you should know if you want to have a basic conversation (or shopping experience) involving French clothes. You’ll find some of them accessorized with helpful facts and additional information.

les vêtements – clothes/clothing

les fringues (f)– clothes (slang)

Être fringué – to be dressed (slang). Mais regarde Ghislaine! Elle est fringuée n’importe comment ! (Look at Ghislaine ! She’s just thrown any old thing on.)

une tenue [de] – an outfit. This can be used on its own or with de and another word to specify what kind of outfit. For example: -Tu vas porter quelle tenue ce soir ?  – Ma tenue de cowboy ! (What outfit are you going to wear tonight? – My cowboy outfit!)

s’habiller – to get dressed

être bien habillé(e) – to be well-dressed

mettre – to put on. Example: Je mets ma veste et j’arrive ! (I’ve just got to put on my jacket and then I’m ready!). 

se mettre – to put on oneself (when no other information is present). This seems a bit redundant when you see that mettre already means “to put on” but tends to be used when there’s no direct object. For example, you’ll often see/hear the phrase  Je n’ai rien à me mettre. (I have nothing to wear.). The verb is reflexive here for clarification reasons. If you said Je n’ai rien à mettre, there’s this sort of lingering question of “Put what, where?”  

porter – to wear 

foutre – to throw on. This term is extremely informal, even borderline vulgar, since foutre is a versatile word that’s always at least a little bit rude. When it comes to putting on clothes, you’ll most often hear this in the imperative – for example, Fous ton pantalon et on y va – on va être en retard! (Throw on your damn pants and let’s go – we’re going to be late!).  NEVER say Je n’ai rien a foutre to express “I’ve got nothing to wear”, because that particular phrase means “I don’t give a fuck” (I told you foutre) was a versatile word!

se saper – to dress (slang). This term has a special significance in many African and African expat communities. In these communities, sapeurs are men who wear bold, often bespoke suits and accessories. In many African cities, they often walk around peacocking and striking dramatic poses. Essentially, they’re dandies, despite the poverty of their surroundings. Although what they do seems to be lighthearted, at its heart, la sape is about defying hard circumstances and putting charm, beauty, and originality into the world wherever you are. To quote Oscar Wilde, a dandy from another culture and era, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” If you’re a fan of Solange Knowles, you’ve probably seen sapeurs without realizing it – a real group of sapeurs from South Africa are in the video for her song “Losing You”. You can learn more about la sape (that is, la Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes ) here and here.      

essayer – to try on 

une cabine d’essayage – changing booth/dressing room (for trying on clothes)

les sous-vêtements – underwear

un caleçon – boxer shorts

un slip – men’s underwear (briefs)

une culotte – women’s underwear (panties/knickers).Historically, culottes were short pants. That’s where the French Revolution-era term les sans-culottes comes from; the nobility and upper classes wore short pants with stockings, while the lower class and poor wore trousers and so, were sans culottes (without culottes).  Today, this word mostly means women’s underwear.

un soutien-gorge – bra.  Yes, this quintessential piece of women’s clothing is masculine!

un soutif’ – slang for soutien-gorge (bra)

les chaussures (f) – shoes

les chaussettes (f) – socks 

les chaussons (m)– slippers 

les baskets(m)/tennis(m OR f)/chaussures de sport(f) – sneakers/trainers/gym shoes. In France, or at least in the Paris region and on TV, les baskets tends to be the most common way to say this. In more formal contexts, or when speaking to an older person, as well as on websites that specialize in various different kinds of shoes adapted to different sports, chaussures de sport is used. Interestingly – and frustratingly – les tennis can apparently be either masculine or feminine. Then again, that’s actually a good thing, since for once, us non-native speakers can’t mess up a word’s gender!

les talons hauts (m)– high heels

les ballerines (f) – (ballerina) flats. You may see some other terms for this in French-English dictionary, but currently in France, as well as on French websites, the most common term for women’s flats is this one.

les bottes (f) – boots

les bottines (f)– boots that go roughly to mid-calf, rather than just below the knee. Usually this term is only used for women’s boots – men’s are usually bottes regardless of height. On very rare occasions, you may see bottillon used to describe a low men’s boot. 

les bottes de pluie (f) – rain boots/wellies

les godasses (f)– an informal term for shoes. The suffix -asse in French tends to be offensive or vulgar, but for some reason, that’s not the case with godasse. Still, keep in mind that this is an informal word, albeit one that’s used by nearly every generation.

les souliers (m)- shoes. This somewhat old-fashioned term still crops up quite a lot, especially in book titles (my personal favorite: Les souliers du mort (The Dead Man’s Shoes),a book starring the notorious thief Fantômas), poetry, song lyrics, and proverbs (as you’ll see a little further on)

les hauts – tops

un t-shirt – t-shirt 

une chemise – button-down shirt

un débardeur – tank top/singlet

un blouson – a thick jacket (usually used when talking about bikers)

une veste – a jacket. This sort-of false cognate can be tricky for native speakers of American English. Check the next word for how to say “vest” in French. 

un gilet – a cardigan/sweater or vest/waistcoat. “Yellow Vests” in French is “Les Gilets Jaunes”.

un pull – a sweater/jumper

un sweat – a sweatshirt.  If you’re an English native speaker, be careful not to pronounce this like the word “sweat” – trust me, no French person will understand what you’re talking about. It’s better to say “sweet” with a French accent.

un hoodie/un sweat à capuche – a hoodie (hooded sweatshirt). This is the word I see most often on French clothing websites, in French fashion/celebrity gossip magazines, and hear on TV, to describe this garment. But older generations may not understand it. In that case, you can say un sweat à capuche (a hooded sweatshirt).  You can also use this in countries like Canada, where English words aren’t borrowed into French as often as they are in France.

un manteau – a coat/overcoat 

un imperméable – a raincoat/mackintosh

les bas-bottoms

Remember the rule that garments with two leg holes remain singular in French.

le pantalon – pants/trousers

le short – shorts

la jupe – skirt

les tenues (f)-outfits

la robe – a dress or gown. This term is surprisingly all-encompassing for a French noun; usually the French love precision, and the fact that une robe  could be anything from a sundress to an evening gown is surprising. That being said, of course context plays a role, and there are many ways to describe a dress if you need to be precise. For example, une robe de soirée is a more precise way to say “evening gown”. An online store like Zalando is a great place to find adjectives and specific terms for particular types and styles of dresses.  That said, of course, if you don’t need to specify a type of dress or gown, using une robe is fine. For instance, I might see one of my friends wearing a pretty sundress and say, simply, Quelle jolie robe! (What a pretty dress!). 

le costume – a suit, usually for a man, unless, for example, a woman is following the currently extremely chic red carpet trend of wearing a version of a man’s suit). 

un tailleur – a women’s suit. Yes, this also means tailor -it depends on the context.  Ex: Sara n’aime ni les robes, ni les jupes. Au bureau, elle préfère porter un tailleur. (Sara doesn’t like robes or skirts. At the office, she prefers to wear women’s suits.)     

une salopette/un bleu de travail – overalls/dungarees. As you may imagine, salopette is the more general term; bleu de travail tends to be more related to work or a sort of rebelliously informal look.

une combinaison – jumpsuit. Note that this can be any kind of jumpsuit, from one that’s used by housepainters, to one used by astronauts (that is, une combinaison spatiale).

le pyjama – pajamas/pyjamas. Here’s another word that’s plural in English and singular in French. The idea here is to think of pajamas as a set or a single garment, not individual pieces.  Example: En France, personne ne sort dans la rue en pyjama. (In France, no one goes outside in pajamas.)

les accessoires (m) – accessories

le chapeau – hat. You can find some descriptors for hats on the list towards the bottom of this Word Reference page.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may also remember that Chapeau is also a (delightful) way to say “congratulations” in French, suggesting someone doffing their hat in appreciation.

le bonnet – a knit hat/beanie, or a bonnet. Although this word is used when talking about old-fashioned women’s headwear and baby bonnets, nowadays  you’re more likely to come across it as the equivalent of knit hat/beanie.

la cagoule – a balaclava (knit head and neck covering that leaves the eyes and mouth exposed). This accessory is often associated with robbers, but it’s actually fairly common to see law-abiding citizens wearing them in cold weather, especially on ski slopes or when children are out in very cold weather. French comedian Michaël Youn made la cagoule notorious in a different way, by creating a funny rap song about it that became a hit. You can listen to Fous ta cagoule (Put on your balaclava) – and read the lyrics – here.

la casquette – a cap (baseball cap)

les lunettes (de soleil) – glasses. Alone, this word is used for glasses you use to see. With de soleil, you have sunglasses.

un sac (à main) – a purse/handbag. Sac  is the general word for “purse”, and you’ll often see it used on its own, but sometimes if you need to specify that you’re talking about a purse, you’ll use un sac à main, even if the bag in question is a big bag you wear on your shoulder, not a handbag per se.  To find the precise term for a particular kind of purse, do an internet search for “types de sac à main” – but be warned: Many online stores and fashion magazines use their own particular terms for less well-known types of bag, including simply just reverting to the English term.

un sac à dos – a backpack/rucksack

des bas (m) – stockings. This is a rare exception to the two-leg holes-is-singular rule. I think it’s because, in the past, stockings were often put on separately.

un collant/les collants – tights. For those of you who often get stockings and tights mixed up, tights tend to be more sheer and dressed up.  Note that this word can be singular, but it’s often plural, too, so feel free to use what you feel comfortable with. 

un maillot de bain – a bathing suit

un slip de bain – a short, briefs-style men’s bathing suit; a Speedo. In France, men are required to wear these in any public pool. Swimming trunks are only allowed on beaches and lakes.

le bonnet de bain – bathing cap. Another ‘must’ if you want to go to a French public pool. Luckily, most of these have vending machines that sell bathing caps and other accessories for a few euros. (Many French public pools also sell basic swimwear.)

le peignoir – bathrobe/dressing gown.  Doesn’t this word sound so much more elegant in French?

une cravate – a tie. Another illogically-gendered noun! 

une ceinture – a belt

des gants (m) – gloves. This can be used for gloves you wear to keep your hands warm, boxing gloves, etc.

des mitaines (f) – mittens. Fun fact: In French, the bogeyman is le croque-mitaine (“The mitten biter”). 

un foulard – scarf. Although un foulard can be made out of a variety of materials, this word suggests that they’re still fairly light. For a wool scarf, see the next word. It may seem cliché, but believe it or not, scarves really are an essential part of a typical French wardrobe – for both women and men!  Not only do scarves add a little visual energy and pop of color or pattern to an outfit; the French also HATE drafts. They are terrified of catching cold. Really. So, scarves are a big deal. I’m always impressed by how easily French people seem to know how to fold their scarves. It’s a real art, and one I fear I’ll never get the hang of, no matter how much I enjoy wearing a scarf now and then, myself. You can watch this scarf-tying tutorial by a Frenchwoman for some ideas. The most typical way you’ll see a French person wearing a scarf is “European-style”.  You can also get a glimpse of actual French people (especially, in this particular example, Frenchmen) wearing scarves as they go about their day, in this somewhat voyeuristic video. Speaking of which, there seem to be a whole series of videos like this – they can be a good way to see how French people dress in everyday life. 

une écharpe– a wool scarf

un cache-nez – a wool scarf or muffler. Although this term isn’t quite as common as the previous one, it always makes me smile when I hear it. I love how it describes exactly what to do with a scarf or muffler when it’s cold and windy outside!

les bijoux – jewelry

une montre – a watch

un collier – a necklace

un bracelet – a bracelet

des boucles d’oreille – earrings. Notice that oreille remains singular, since it’s simply describing where the boucles (in this case, earrings) go.

une bague – a ring

une chaîne – a chain

un pendentif – a pendant

These are just the basics when it comes to talking about clothes, of course. You can do a specific online search for different types of clothes not on this list or look at online stores or catalogues in French to increase your vocabulary even further.

Useful words for describing clothes in French

Cute Yorkshire Terrier with Clothes

Good news: Even if you have a basic level of French vocabulary, you already have lots of different ways to describe clothes and accessories!

For example, you probably already know how to use words like grand(e) and petit(e).

You can probably also talk about whether you like or dislike something, and whether you think it’s beautiful/pretty (beau/belle/joli(e)) .

You probably know some basic adverbs like très and trop. You can probably talk about colors, too. And if you know your numbers in French, you can ask if your size is available. Bravo – or, rather, Chapeau! – you’re well on your way to describing and discussing clothes in French!  Here are some other helpful words:

serré(e) – tight

ample – loose/roomy

à la mode – in style

démodé(e) – out of fashion

ringard(e) – a slang and sort of rude way to say démodé(e). Both words can be used to describe anything that’s out of fashion or old-fashioned, not just clothes. 

sur mesure – custom-made/made-to-measure/tailor-made. If you want to say something is custom-made without using this phrase as an adjective, you can put du in front of it. For example: André a économisé pour pouvoir  s’offrir un costume sur mesure (André saved up money to buy himself a tailor-made suit.)  OR: Tu aimes mon costume? C’est du sur mesure. (Do you like my suit? It’s tailor-made.)

prêt à porter – ready-to-wear; in other words, mass-produced, off-the-rack clothing – the opposite of sur mesure

original(e) – unique, eccentric. This word can have other meanings, of course, including “original”, but if someone tells you this about your outfit or style, they mean it’s unique. Whether or not this is a compliment, depends on who you’re talking to!  Personally, I love it when someone says this about what I’m wearing, but I know they don’t always mean it in a positive way….

la taille – clothing size

la pointure – shoe size. Sometimes, especially with product descriptions that have been translated from English, you’ll see this replaced by taille

la bonne taille/la mauvaise taille – the right or wrong size

tailler petit/tailler grand – to tend to run small/to tend to run large. In other words, even if you choose your normal size, this particular clothing brand might fit smaller/larger. You’ll often see one of these phrases on reviews or descriptions of clothes you can buy online.

grande taille (adjective) – plus-size. Selon des études de marché, les vêtements grande taille se vendent très bien. (Market studies show that plus size clothing sells very well.) 

le tissu – fabric. You can find a list of common fabrics in French here

de marque – made by a designer brand. Example : Elle est si riche qu’elle ne porte que des chaussures de marque. (She’s so rich that she only wears designer shoes.)

une démarque/démarqué(e) –a mark-down, a sale/marked-down, on sale. It’s funny : when de marque becomes one word and takes on an accent, it has a different, and sort of totally opposite meaning!  Let’s have some fun: Personnellement, je préfère une démarque aux vêtements de marque. (Personally, I prefer a sale over designer clothes.) 

dégriffé(e) – de-branded clothing. Confession: Though I love to shop, I’m not into designer labels. I see this word all over shops in France, especially in Paris, but I’ve always thought it was simply a reduction on branded clothes. It turns out that de-branding clothing is a whole thing, which you can read about here, if you want. Essentially, if you want to buy clothes by a famous designer but can’t afford them at that particular designer’s shop or website, you may come upon them at a shop or on a website that sells de-branded clothes.

soldé(e) – on sale, marked down. This is a word I’m much more familiar with than the above! Every year, there are two official full months of sales in France (generally January/February and July), called Les Soldes (more on that a little later on). There are also sales in individual shops and online as well, of course.

French expressions with clothes

clothes on hanger

There are a number of French idioms, proverbs, and phrases related to clothes. Here are the most common. : 

se mettre sur son 31 – to be dressed to the nine’s – that is, dressed up and looking great!

habillé(e) comme un sac – poorly dressed. This literally means ‘dressed like a sack’, an image I’ve always appreciated, even though I’m sure that no matter how hard I’ve tried not to, I’ve probably had a few days where someone could have said this about me.

L’habit ne fait pas le moine – Clothes don’t make the man. You can read more about this expression in our article about common French sayings.

une fashion victim – someone who loves and follows fashion. This term is a bit of a false cognate. In English, a fashion victim is someone who blindly follows trends and doesn’t really have an innate sense of fashion. In French, a fashion victim is someone who’s a slave to fashion, in a good way – they’re always wearing the latest trends and wearing them well. Another slightly confusing thing: Although this phrase can apply to men or women, it’s always feminine, because the French word victime is feminine. 

faire du shopping – to go shopping. This is used specifically for clothes shopping. Otherwise, you could say faire des achats or faire les courses (run errands).

être bien dans ses baskets– to be comfortable in your skin. Literally, to be good in your sneakers/trainers. You can also hear another version of this,être bien dans ses pompes

se faire remonter les bretelles – to pull yourself up by the bootstraps – in other words, to compose yourself and toughen up and face whatever challenge is before you.

une blague au dessous de la ceinture – a dirty or suggestive joke. You can use au dessous de la ceinture (literally, “below the belt”) to describe any kind of statement, etc., that’s like this.

se serrer la ceinture – to tighten your belt (stop spending money and make sacrifices)

comme cul et chemise  – thick as thieves/like two peas in a pod. (Literally, “like bum and shirt”) For a bit more of an explanation of this expression (Why not say comme cul et slip?), check out this interesting article

rire sous cape – to secretly laugh/to laugh in one’s sleeve. I love the image of an old-timey villain laughing into his cape! « Mais, ça alors ! Ma vase a disparu ! » dit le duc, perplexe. Arsène Lupin rit sous cape. 

How do French people dress?

You probably have an image in your mind of how French people dress – French women, especially. Maybe you’re picturing a perfectly tailored designer dress, elegant high heels, and a chic silk scarf around their neck. Or maybe it’s a more low-key look, like impeccably fitting jeans, a blue-and-white striped shirt (une marinière) and a trench coat.  

French people do dress like this, especially in big cities.  But the average French person doesn’t always se mettre sur son 31 or wear perfectly tailored clothes. That might make you feel a little disappointed, but look at it this way: If this way of dressing intimidates you, you won’t have to worry if you come to France and don’t look the part.

Just like in most countries, there’s actually a big variety of styles in France. The classic, bourgeois buttoned-up look is favored by, well…classic, bourgeois, buttoned-up people. The more relaxed, classic French look of well-fitting basics in muted colors is something most French people could probably come up with if they dug into their closets, although younger generations would wear Converses with their jeans and marinière

Street style is also very popular – including caps with US sports team logos for men. And bobos (bourgeois-bohemians, sort of a cross between hipsters and hippies) tend to wear either typical hipster looks or eccentric, embroidered dresses, skirts, and tunics. 

In areas with a global population, you’ll also see immigrants wearing styles from their native place of origin. For example, in my neighborhood in Paris, you’ll find people in professional work clothes, lowkey typical “French style”, hipsters, teenagers wearing the latest street looks, and immigrants from Africa in brightly colored dresses and fabrics. 

That being said, there are two constants for dressing in France: 

1. In France, whether you’re in a formal setting, at work, or just stepping out to grab a baguette, you DRESS UP.

You could be wearing sweatpants, trainers, and a hoodie, but they’ll fit properly and be clean and neat. No one ever goes out in pajamas, even students on college campuses or someone checking their mail in front of their house or in the lobby of their apartment building. Athleisure is a no-no outside the gym. 

Although they’re becoming more popular, shoes like flip-flops and UGGs are generally frowned upon by the mainstream French population, as well. They’re too informal and not particularly elegant.

This doesn’t mean you won’t see some people wearing them, but one thing you will for sure never see is a person walking around with messy hair, in pajamas, sloppy sweats, or gym clothes.  

2. People in France dress for the season, not the temperature. 

Say there’s a sudden, unexpected heatwave in winter.  It’s 20 degrees outside (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit), but French people will still wear heavy coats, sweaters, and general winterwear.  Say it’s springtime but the temperature suddenly skyrockets into the 30’s (around the 80-90’s Fahrenheit) – it doesn’t matter; most French people will still wear long sleeves and a light jacket.

The only exception to this is that most French people prefer to be more covered, than less, so you might see them put on a jacket or wear a scarf if it suddenly gets a bit chilly in the summer.  But even then, they probably won’t pull out a winter sweater.

As someone who’s always hot, this unspoken French fashion rule drives me crazy, and I don’t follow it. l’ll get a few surprised looks when I’m in a short-sleeved spring dress during an unexpectedly warm winter day, but I chose comfort over blending in.  

This brings up an important issue: If you come to France, should you follow these fashion rules?  It’s really up to you. I would say the dressing up one is far more important than the dressing for the season one. It’s one thing to show up at your boulangerie in a sundress in February; it’s another to look messy and badly put-together.

Tourists do get a pass, of course, so if you’re only coming to France for a short time, you don’t have to completely change your wardrobe, unless you want to look more like a local. 

How can you look like a local in France? 

Keep what I’ve said in mind. This list is also a pretty good guide, although there are exceptions to some of the rules. 

For example, men can wear shorts on hot days (though not in an office setting) – but these would be more fitted and preppy looking, rather than baggy or cargo-type (although there are some people who have a sort of grunge style and will do the baggy shorts thing, but it’s generally not well-regarded).  For another, I do see women wearing UGGs, but it’s rare, and you’ll probably never see someone in an upper-class or bourgeois area dressing that way.

Neighborhoods where street style is popular also mean some exceptions, not to mention particular situations. If you’re at a club or fashion or street art event, you might dress more ostentatiously, for example. 

But as a general rule, when in France, try to dress as “chic” as possible, and you should be okay. 

An easy casual solution for a man is a somewhat fitted pair of jeans that’s flattering to your body type, with a fitted t-shirt and relatively close-fitting jacket. If you REALLY want to look like a Frenchman, if the weather is drafty, you can add a scarf (you can find tutorials for how to tie them online, as well as under the definition for foulard in the vocabulary section of this article). Whether you wear boots or sneakers, make sure your shoes are impeccably clean. And by “sneakers”, note that these shouldn’t be white athletic shoes or anything that looks like you’re doing a sport, but chaussures de ville – street shoes, with a bit more style (Converses, etc.).

For a woman, a very easy solution when you’re traveling is to wear a dress. If the weather is cooler, you can wear a fitted jacket or nice cardigan with it. If you prefer pants, jeans that fit well and a well-fitting t-shirt in a basic, muted color or a marinière are fine, ideally accessorized with a scarf. If you want to wear comfortable shoes, opt for ones that have a certain style to them, if possible – for example, Doc Martens or Converse for a rock n’ roll look, or flats or Mary Janes (these are often available as walking shoes with supportive soles, which is my personal shoe of choice when I’m travelling in France). 

You can get inspiration for how to dress in France by looking at websites for mainstream French clothing stores – for example, La Redoute, as well as  Kiabi and H&M. The latter two are international brands, but their French websites are, of course, adapted to the French market.

Are clothes expensive in France?

Woman in a Shopping Mall

That’s all fine and good, you might be thinking, but what if you’re on a budget?  People often tell me that France is expensive, but for every designer and high-end store, there are moderately-priced, or even downright cheap options, too. Trust me on this.

One of the cheapest options is secondhand clothing – often called la fripe. There are lots of ways to get great deals on lightly used designer clothes, or just everyday wear, including via sites like the iconic Le Bon Coin (a rough equivalent of Craigslist, but much less shady) and Vinted. Garage sales (vides-greniers) are also a big thing in France. For example, in Paris, you can find a list of garage sales that are being held every weekend in different neighborhoods, and in Lille, every year in September there’s the Braderie de Lille, a citywide garage sale. 

As I mentioned previously, there are also Les Soldes, a biannual period of national sales (once in January or February and once in July), and of course, any store or website could have a sale at any time during the year, as well.

There are lots of vintage (sometimes overpriced) and secondhand shops, in France, too. One of my favorites is a chain in Paris called Ding Fring. The clothes sold here come from clothing donation drops throughout the city and are available at very low prices, which makes it possible for people of any income to have nice outfits and accessories. It’s also a great way for a tourist with any budget to come back with a few new clothes from Paris – which always sounds chic, even if you’re talking about a regular old t-shirt.  

Whether or not you faire du shopping en France,  if you like the French style and outlook on clothes, why not try to incorporate them into your everyday life, wherever you live? Add a scarf to your outfit, or try to dress your best even if you’re just taking out the trash. It could be life-changing!

Now, let’s celebrate French clothes with one of my favorite traditional French children’s songs – Promenons-nous dans les bois. The song is about little people (in this version, animals), who are happy to be in the forest since the wolf isn’t there and won’t eat them. They keep asking if the wolf is there and if he can hear them, and what he’s doing. Each time, the wolf answers that he’s putting on a different item of clothing. Once he’s dressed, he’ll come find them! It’s a fun song to sing or act out with kids, and also a great way to practice your French clothes vocabulary – you can even add in clothing items you find particularly tricky. 

How do you feel about French clothes? Have you ever been shopping in France? Is there something you consider an essential part of French style? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg is an American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has lived in Paris, France, for more than a decade. She has taught English and French for more than ten years, most notably as an assistante de langue vivante for L'Education Nationale. She recently published her first novel, Hearts at Dawn, a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling that takes place during the 1870 Siege of Paris. You can read about her adventures here, or feel free to stop by her website.