French men’s style: Fashions that would never fly with American men

Written by Diane on. Posted in on life in France

French-mens-style

French men are snappily dressed combining the perfect amount of class and polish for a look that’s all French all the way. But American men might not find French style so appealing. Here are some suave French men’s fashions that would never fly with American men!

GO!

French men’s fashion

Howdy, just want to preface this by saying that this post is all in good fun and I’m sure there are many Americans who would love these styles and French men who would never wear them. So please don’t take offense to me poking fun. Above all, wear whatever you’re comfortable with! And to all the French men out there, you look fab! 😉

So here’s a quick look at some fashion pieces you’d see if you took a walk around my town. Generally speaking, all of the more European looks below are fashions that American men wouldn’t wear (via Instagram):

Man purse

French men young and old love to rock the man purse, something in between a wallet and a handbag that you wear crossbody similar to a messenger bag. This small little sac holds all your manly necessities including your money, phone, some gum and, of course, a pack of smokes. They come in all styles ranging from plain leather to colored ones. In my area, the North African guys like man purses with designer logos.

Pantacourts

#megacombo #chausetteclaquette #pantacourt #chemisette #OMG

A photo posted by @hugojcq on

The French don’t have to choose between pants and shorts because they have capri pants for men called pantacourts. They’re usually somewhat fitted (and aren’t just baggy shorts that hit mid-shin). No matter your age or sexuality, the popular pantacourt — which is usually reserved for women in the U.S. — comes in a variety of colors and styles. Dead giveaway you’re European if you’re strolling around in pantacourts.

Scarves

No, we’re not talking about scarves for the winter weather that keep your neck cozy. We’re talking about the scarves French men wear to show off their fashion sense. Even in warmer weather, men are commonly seen with a lightweight scarf worn around their neck as an accessory.

Speedos

In French public pools, it’s prohibited to wear board shorts or any type of loose swimwear, so the French are masters at showing off their goods in an immodest Speedo. Totally commonplace and expected, the Speedo is a normal sight at the gym, French beaches and pretty much anywhere you go swimming (although the Speedo short is becoming popular too).

Any other French men’s fashions you’d add to the list?

And for women, check out how to look French >>

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Comments (24)

  • Anna

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    I’ve never seen the bag thing! It must be quite a recent fashion statement (i live abroad now).

    Reply

    • Diane

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      I can’t say they’re popular with everyone but they’re pretty common. Even my father-in-law carries a mid-size canvas one if we’re out for the day!

      Reply

  • Sara

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    Very fun post! I would add that men in France seem to wear dress shoes with a much more pronounced point at the tip than I’ve noticed in the US!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yes, excellent addition. The shoes are much more stylish in France. Very “smart” sneakers and for the dress shoes, Tom always makes fun of American ones saying they’re for grandpas and look like orthopedic shoes. Even ones I think are totally OK for a guy to wear. So yup, shoes are a marked style difference as well.

      Reply

  • Todd V

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    The sweater draped over the shoulds like a “cape”. Sometimes done in the US but not nearly as much.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Thanks Todd, I will have to keep an eye out for the “cape.” I feel like preppy guys do this in the US w/their sweaters.

      Reply

  • Cosette

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    Australians wear those Speedos too. They’re called budgie smugglers here. Man-purses are not popular, but it’s very common to see men with larger bags such as messenger bags and backpacks.

    Reply

  • Den Nation

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    My husband has all of these. He has a speedo somewhere, but since we never go swimming in a public pool I have never seen it. He prefers swimming trunks.

    His ‘man purse’ looks sporty, though. There’s no way he could show up at his work looking ‘too good’. In his line of work, looking good is suspicious. So it’s not a surprise that he often wears pantacourts, but only wears scarves when it’s cold.

    Maybe it’s just my husband, but it seems to me that more French men wear turtlenecks more than men in North America. I have only been in North America once during the wintertime over the past 12 years, so my memory is fuzzy. What do you think?

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yeah, I think I prefer swim trunks/board shorts on men too. Even fit, good-looking men, NO SPEEDOS. I always feel like I’m staring, whether it’s good or bad! About the turtlenecks, I feel like it’s more of an age thing. I don’t know many guys in their 20s or 30s that wear turtlenecks in the US. Maybe if you live in a really cold climate or to layer under something else when skiing? But just out and about, that might be more of a European thing — although I can’t say I’ve seen too many turtlenecks in France. My husband doesn’t own one.

      Reply

  • Jessica

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    My fashionable Parisian husband says that the man bags are a bit out of fashion now (this was, of course, after I bought him one for Christmas!). Silly me, not keeping up with the trends! 🙂

    He rocks the speedo though!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yeah, messenger bags seem more in style but hey, I’m a big fan of wearing whatever you’re most comfortable in (yes I wear stylish gym clothes to the grocery store and to run errands and don’t care if anyone thinks it’s weird. I like it ;-)).

      Reply

  • Edna

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    Brighter colors too — my French boss (guy in his 50s) would rock the most amazing pair of mustard cords that no American could or would dare pull off.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Awesome! I do see a lot of cool colored pants but I have to say I’d see that a lot back in NYC too. Maybe not in a professional setting though. Gotta give the French guys props for being bold. 😉 Thanks for checking out the post!

      Reply

  • Paperesse

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    I’d add colorful socks (not your average black and brown) with dress shoes. Also, fitted slim dress shirts with wider collors, and that trim in a different color, with cuffs with three buttons (never see these on American men). The suits are much more fitted and slimmer in cut. Oh, and shoes…more of the pointy dress variety on men here.

    Reply

  • ayu

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    bonjour ! stumbled across your blog and love it!! i would say french guys are daring with colours, pink, red, violet pants all go with them and they are all so well-kept regardless of age? why? must be the diet!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Thanks so much! Yes, I’m starting to notice the colored pants more and more. Definitely a European thing. Always with “sharp” shoes too, never sneakers.

      Reply

  • Colleen Camp

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    My husband and I just returned from a two week trip to Paris and Côte d’Azur . I noticed men with the cuffs of their pants rolled up to the ankle to show off those socks. I witnessed an occasional fedora. I also saw a lot of sneakers of all brands, not just Converse.

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Happy to see you’ve expanded your wardrobe to include some French must-haves. Maybe you’ll be rocking that Speedo next summer if that French influence wears off on you a little more. But in all seriousness, man purses are pretty useful!

      Reply

    • Diane

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      I have to say that out of all the French men’s clothes, I like the scarf the best. They look classy and sexy and Americans may catch on one day. The speedo and pantacourt, well, not so much.

      Reply

    • Diane

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      Yes the pantacourts really are a European phenomenon. Although I must say I haven’t seen guys wearing them lately. Guys my father-in-law’s age but 20s/30s not so much. Maybe they’re going out of style?

      Reply

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