The appeal of French style is everlasting, and with good reason. Bringing together glamour, finesse and sophistication, the country is famed for its considered design approach that continually favours quality over quantity.
While some may picture France’s fashion scene as one dominated by high-end design houses and luxury garments, the rise of youth-focussed brands and contemporary boutiques over the past few years has taken French menswear from aspirational to accessible.
But the old guard hasn’t disappeared yet, with a couple of high-end houses enjoying their own moments in the sun. French style has arguably never been as diverse, and regardless of the way you dress, they’ll be an aspect of it that’ll be right up your street. Here’s where to go first.
Founded in 1987, A.P.C. (short for Atelier de Production et de Création) quickly made its mark on the industry thanks to its modern approach and pared-back urban menswear.
Designed for the stylish man about town, the Parisian brand’s minimalist aesthetic has earned it worldwide acclaim, becoming a go-to label for simple, high quality everyday pieces.
With a heritage dating back over 150 years, Louis Vuitton is one of the oldest luxury houses in the world, and it’s also up there with the most in demand today.
Since taking over in 2018, creative director Virgil Abloh has almost single handedly transformed Louis Vuitton into a behemoth of hype, with harnesses, glow-in-the-dark bags and new suit cuts all making waves amongst streetwear aficionados.
Arriving in the UK in 2010, The Kooples made its name thanks to clever advertising campaigns that saw the label dress real life couples in their wares.
However, marketing gimmicks aside, it’s the label’s passion for vintage styles and modern simplicity that has ensured its longevity, producing slick rock ‘n’ roll-inspired pieces for the contemporary man.
Expect sharply-cut suits, skinny black denim and edgy leather jackets.
This label may have been born in the eighties, but it is anything but brash. The brainchild of husband and wife duo Didlier and Evelyne Chétrite, Sandro quickly garnered a cult following due to its sleek silhouettes, striking prints and premium fabrications.
Its menswear collections continue to adhere to these guiding principles to this day, offering beautifully constructed, modern staples in both timeless neutral hues and eye-catching patterns.
Ami’s founder Alexandre Mattiussi cut his teeth at the likes of Dior and Marc Jacobs before going it alone, bringing his undeniable skill and eye for detail to his own label.
In much the same way as LV, Dior is enjoying a renaissance of its own under the direction of Kim Jones. There is nothing affordable here, oh no. Even a baseball cap will cost as much as £720.
The brand is making the most of the streetwear craze and has firmly moved away from the somewhat fusty place it occupied in menswear 20 or 30 years ago. Expect elaborate printed designs, unique wrap-around suits and hype sneakers galore.
Founded in 1927 in Paris, Vetra do one thing exceptionally well: the chore jacket. Known for being incredibly hard wearing and practical, they excel at the classic design, with two large patch pockets at the hip, and one chest pocket offering plenty of storage opportunities for tools, or your phone and wallet.
Today it produces the coat in a range of fabrics and colours – as well as the classic French hydrone blue. Expect moleskin, corduroy, brushed cotton and more. There’s also other workwear classics on offer including utility vests and cord trousers.
Who would’ve guessed that this hip young brand started out as a record label, before turning its hand to fashion?
Offering fun and funky separates injected with a generous dose of Parisian cool, Maison Kitsuné continues to electrify the global fashion scene thanks to its focus on traditional production standards mixed with a contemporary attitude.
Today, the label focuses on ready-to-wear pieces, turning out relaxed coastal separates and casual French classics alongside the expert tailoring it’s renowned for.
Saint Laurent has resided in its own distinctive slice of cool for some time now. Looking for rock ’n’ roll style inspiration? Look no further than the French house’s lookbooks for everything you need.
As has been the case for a while, slim or skinny jeans, plaid or wild printed shirts and leather motorcycle jackets (Jeff Goldblum loves his) are the order of the day here. Yes, they’ll cost you a bomb, but they won’t go out of style any time soon either.
This 1979-born Parisian brand looks to the USA for its inspiration, blending the nation’s sporting heritage with simple European elegance.
As a result, Hartford offers up a suave line of casual garments – self-named ‘alternative classics’ – which are perfect for the more active gent who still wants to look stylish.
Swimwear that will get you noticed at the pool, beach or bar is Vilebrequin’s speciality, with its designs originally inspired by the surfers of the 1970s.
Today, this luxury brand continues to produce high quality, quick-drying swim shorts in a variety of vivid prints – expect turtles, sailing boats and everything in between.
Arpenteur may be the ultimate French brand. It nails workwear, it nails smarter clothing and its garments boast design details unmatched at its price point.
Basically, if you’re looking for a new wardrobe, this should be your first port of call. Everything is made in France, including the embroidered caps, Cuban collar shirts and cargo shorts. Combine them and you’ll be the best dressed man this side of Brittany.
Relatively new to the fashion scene, 2012-founded Officine Generale brings together smart tailoring with classic workwear to form a strong masculine look.
Military influences also play a big part, epitomised by the predominantly khaki, beige and grey colour palette utilised within its collections. If you’re not a fan of anything “flashy or vulgar” (Officine Generale’s words, not ours), this label is for you.