Step into fall with style! Read on to discover the French fall shoes that are adorning the feet of stylish Parisiennes this season. From the understated elegance of ballet flats to the modern edge of chunky loafers, these French fall shoes capture the essence of Parisian chic.
This season also sees the resurgence of timeless classics like Mary Janes and riding boots, while chic white trainers and versatile ankle boots continue to hold their own as indispensable staples. Keep scrolling to discover the six French-style shoes to incorporate into your wardrobe this autumn, plus ideas on how to style them to achieve that quintessential Parisian chic.
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1. Chunky Loafers
Chunky loafers are one of my footwear of choice for the autumn season (I bought these gorgeous Tod’s Gomma Pesante loafers last year). Marrying the classic elegance of traditional loafers with a modern, robust sole, they offer an ideal blend of comfort and style. The chunky silhouette adds a contemporary edge to an otherwise timeless design, making it a versatile option for various occasions—from office settings to casual outings.
While the heftier sole might evoke a masculine undertone, this can be effortlessly counterbalanced. Pair your favorite chunky loafers with feminine pieces like a short tweed dress (like this Sandro dress with jewelry collar) or pleated tailored trousers (I love this Giuliva Heritage pleated pinstriped wool straight-leg pants). This autumn, opt for loafers in softer materials like suede or in colors like taupe (check out Tod’s embellished suede loafers) or burgundy to further soften the look.
2. Ballet Flats
Ballet flats remain a staple in the French woman’s autumnal wardrobe. And this fall, they are more relevant than ever! Its minimalist aesthetic and comfortable fit make it the perfect choice for those seeking both form and function.
To wear your ballet flats à la Parisienne, consider opting for a pair in a luxurious material like leather or suede and perhaps a neutral or black tone (like these Jennifer Chamandi suede and tulle point-toe flats) that can seamlessly transition from day to night. Pair them with high-waisted tapered jeans and a tucked-in oversized shirt for a casual yet polished look.
3. Ankle Boots
Ankle boots, whether in the sleek Chelsea style (I love these Sandro ankle boots with notched soles) or adorned with a modest heel in sumptuous suede, are a perennial favorite among French women during the fall season. These boots offer a harmonious blend of practicality and flair, making them an indispensable addition to any autumn wardrobe.
To channel the French approach to wearing ankle boots, focus on balance and proportion. Pair them with cropped jeans and trousers that allow the boot to be fully visible, thereby elongating the leg and creating a flattering silhouette. Choose boots in neutral shades like black, brown, camel, or navy blue for maximum versatility. This autumn, I have these beautiful Carel Estime blue stretch and white patent leather ankle boots and these Chloé Susanna ankle boots on my wishlist.
4. Mary Janes
Originating in the early 20th century, the Mary Janes are experiencing a renaissance among French women who embrace its nostalgic charm while infusing it with a modern twist. If you’re looking for the original style, consider opting for Carel’s Mary Janes (I have these gorgeous Abricot black & ivory slingback Mary Janes on my wishlist). Sézane has made a similar style with these Paula babies.
Les Parisiennes are adept at styling Mary Janes in a way that transcends their “schoolgirl” connotations. For a chic daytime look, they usually pair patent leather Mary Janes with classic tapered jeans and a crisp white blouse with a lavaliere collar and a blazer. For an evening soirée, a heeled version (like these très chic Gianvito Rossi velvet platform Mary Jane pumps) adds a sophisticated touch to la petite robe noire or a tailored velvet jumpsuit (I adore this Sandro velvet jumpsuit).
5. Chic White Trainers
White trainers have transcended their athletic origins to become a staple in the modern French woman’s wardrobe, particularly this fall. Their clean, minimalist aesthetic offers a blank canvas that pairs effortlessly with a multitude of styles, making them an ideal choice for those seeking both comfort and versatility.
The key to elevating white trainers from sporty to chic lies in the styling. French women often opt for high-quality materials like leather and avoid overly complicated designs to maintain a polished appearance (I love these new Sézane Léo trainers, which remind me of Nike’s Air Force leather sneakers). For a “chic-décontracté” look, pair your white trainers with tailored pieces such as a blazer and pleated straight-leg trousers. A monochromatic outfit in neutral tones (think grey, beige, or navy blue) allows the shoes to stand out as a subtle yet impactful statement piece.
6. Equestrian-Inspired Boots
Riding boots, with their equestrian heritage, have found a special place in the wardrobes of French women this fall season. These boots, often characterized by a flat or low heel and a tall shaft that reaches just below the knee, exude an air of timeless sophistication. This season, I adore these très chic Loro Piana Decker leather knee boots, whether in black or tan.
To achieve a chic look à la Française, consider pairing them with fitted jeans or black stirrup leggings tucked into the boots, allowing the footwear to take center stage. Add an oversized shirt and throw over an elegant overcoat (this season, I love this Totême Signature wool and cashmere-blend coat). Alternatively, they can be worn with a midi skirt and a chunky knit sweater for a cozy yet polished ensemble.
Et voilà! I hope this guide to the best French-style shoes for fall will help you hit the sweet spot between elegance and effortlessness this season.
Bonjour and bienvenue (welcome) to Leonce Chenal, a modern lifestyle platform created and curated by a French woman for lovers of everything French. My name is Leonce, and I’m originally from Annecy, France. I created Leonce Chenal to share my love for France and the French art de vivre (the art of living) with you. I genuinely hope my enthusiasm for this beautiful country encourages you to experience its wonders for yourself. Merci for visiting. Bien à vous, Leonce.