When you think of French women, you likely think of their effortless style, their sense of spontaneity, and that certain je ne sais quoi their American counterparts (including me) tend to envy. The previously listed qualities are all characteristics that we observe from the outside, but today, we are taking a look underneath it all. If French women exude a style that is essentially flawless, it’s safe to assume their lingerie collections are just as great, if not better.
Aside from figuring out their buying habits, we wanted to know about their mindsets and quirks. Rania Abu-Eid, the former creative director at Journelle (we interviewed her back in 2018 and have since republished this article), helped us out by diving into the buying trends of French lingerie on the brand’s website. From buying three pairs of panties for every one bra to rethinking your idea of loungewear, get the 411 on what goes through French women’s minds when shopping for undergarments. Keep scrolling to find out all the secrets to buying lingerie like a French girl.
“French women see lingerie as an essential extension of their wardrobe—so much so that they spend about 20% of their clothing budget annually on lingerie. For them, it’s about feeling good—not just on the outside but also underneath. This brings to mind one of my favorite Christian Dior quotes: ‘Without foundation, there can be no fashion.’ Take the time to get fitted and try out different styles of bras and panties so you can learn what works for your shape and makes you feel your very best. Just like the time and investment you put into buying that perfect pair of jeans, apply that to your lingerie,” Abu-Eid says.
“The French have a joie de vivre they carry in everyday life. It’s apparent in the beautiful detail you find in the cafés, the art, and the architecture. So when it comes to lingerie, French women wear it for themselves. Don’t save that bra or pair of panties for a special occasion or a partner—wear it on a rainy Monday for you! Create your own joie de vivre, or as we like to say here at Journelle, ‘everyday lovely,'” Abu-Eid says.
“French women always wear matching sets. As mentioned in my first tip, a well-fitted bra and panties are an extension of the French woman’s everyday wardrobe, so what is worn underneath needs to absolutely match. High-quality, well-fitting underwear is equally as important to French women as their bras—it’s not a category that they overlook.
“Since no one sees it, matching underpinnings can be the best-kept secret that will make you feel more confident and ready to take on the day. And as French women do, it certainly makes you ready for anything! I recommend buying three pairs of panties in the same color for every bra you buy,” Abu-Eid says.
“While their American counterparts unwind in sweats, French women embrace the art of lounging in silky slips and robes,” Abu-Eid says. “For the French, lingerie extends to a world beyond bras and panties. … Sleeping in a silk chemise or pajama is one of the most luxurious experiences you can give yourself. Embrace slips, rompers, and robes to lounge in!”