There’s no fashion fix quite like French fashion fix. Just ask anyone who has found themselves at Charles De Gaulle forking out for extra baggage fees. Fortunately, for anyone with a love of French fashion, the past couple of years have offered up some fab Gallic retail treats, as beloved contemporary brands such as Maje, Sandro, Zadig et Voltaire, The Kooples, and Gerard Darel all have joined the US scene. But what if you’re on the hunt for winter-ready French fashion that is a little different, a little edgier or even a little less pricey than your average contemporary fare? Discover these five foolproof ways to get your shop on this season without jumping on the next flight to Paris.
1. La Redoute
Once a catalog institution, La Redoute now offers a massive online selection of classic, yet fashion-conscious own-brand fashion lines as well a limited selection of other European brands making it an affordable alternative to stores like Gap and Banana Republic.
Go for: Runway-meets-real-life special designer collaborations from the likes of high fashion label, Carven.
Stay for: A wider range of size options than available on other French retail sites. With classic, stylishly cut fine knitwear available up to US size 20/22, La Redoute offers pieces for Francophile fashion fiends who have often been excluded from the French fashion party.
Spend on: Pretty pieces (Peter pan collars! Frills! Ribbons!) from the Mademoiselle R collection that showcases all the je ne sais quoi of fresh French brands such as Claudie Pierlot, but without the contemporary price tag.
Shipping FYI: Enjoy free worldwide shipping on all orders over $119, plus a 30-day return policy.
2. Balzac Paris
Look no further for mid-priced picks from this niche brand offering small, ephemeral capsule collections with a literary slant.
Go for: Poetic slogan tees and sweatshirts that channel laid-back chic with a Parisian vibe.
Stay for: Romantic polka dot printed blouses, chambray shirts, and looks that telegraph boho-meets-Latin-Quarter-intellectual style.
Spend on: On-trend round purses, embossed satchels, and saddlebags that would have any French fashion influencer stop in their tracks.
Shipping FYI: Balzac offers flat-rate shipping to the US for €20 and a 14-day return policy.
With a storefront on Rue Berger in Les Halles area of Paris, L’Exception rounds up dozens of exclusive, luxury and contemporary labels all with a distinctly edgy, fashion-insider, concept store feel.
Go for: Directional asymmetrical pieces from experimental fashion houses such as MM6 Maison Margiela and Carven.
Stay for: Concept store finds including cool fashion periodicals, limited-edition accessories, and off-beat capsule collections from the likes of Christian Lacroix.
Spend on: Independent jewelry design you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Think: geometric earrings by Christophe Lhote, quartz-bejeweled bracelets by Medecine Douce, cheeky necklaces by Alice Hubert, and eclectic rings by 5 Octobre.
Shipping FYI: Free shipping on all purchases above €200. 48-hour DHL shipping and a 14-day return policy.
Founded in 1987, A.P.C. has made its name by serving up quality staples in cuts that strike the perfect balance between on-trend and minimalist, pared-down and classic.
Go for: Solid Breton knits that have what it takes to stand the test of time.
Stay for: Well-tailored shirts and impeccably cut pants in timelessly elegant yet cool designs.
Spend on: Cold-weather investment pieces you’ll come to rely on, like elegantly classic trench coats, sumptuous wool parkas, and cozy reverse sheepskin jackets.
Shipping FYI: Free seven-day UPS Ground shipping and a 14-day return policy.
5. Mon Showroom
This online storefront has been operating in France since 2006, offering a trend-conscious line-up of French fashion labels and European brands. Today, you’ll find an edited selection on their English-language US site.
Go for: Popular, yet harder-to-find contemporary brands such as the edgy and urban Eleven, Provençal-inflected Sessùn and classic-with-a-twist Les Petites.
Stay for: Their heavenly shoe department that teems with picks from boutique-favorite Avril Gau, Jonak, and more.
Spend on: Reasonably-priced everyday tees, knits and basics from Monoprix, France’s sleek and chic answer to Target.
Shipping FYI: While there are plenty of discount deals to be snagged on Monshowroom, shipping costs can mount, especially when you add the $29.25 before-tax tariff fee (plus $5.85 for every additional five items).