Something must be in the air this summer because it seems like everyone is jetting off to Europe. My Instagram feed is a constant loop of crystal blue waters, amazing food, gorgeous views, and fabulous outfits. While there’s something so special about bringing a fun outfit on vacation, you don’t need to wait for an extravagant trip to channel the “European girl summer” style at home! There are some key elements of European fashion that you can easily incorporate into your closet at home to give it some je ne sais quois.
Pour yourself an Aperol spritz, and let’s dive into how you can achieve your European fashion dreams — even if you’re laying on the couch in New Jersey.
Europeans know their handbags. I mean, just think of all of the fabulous European designers out there: Gucci, Valentino, even Versace pre-TJ Maxx/MICHAEL KORS buy-out. However, your bag doesn’t have to come with a designer price tag to look chic. Rather than bringing your go-to tote bag, any structured, polished handbag will elevate your outfit. This Cara Benevenia bag features gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, hand-woven leather that makes for a great investment piece.
If you’re looking for something simple but still on-trend, this bag from ASOS has a unique crescent moon shape. TBH, you can never have too many bags.
There’s something about a neutral monochrome outfit that is always so chic—á la Matilda Djerf. But just because your outfit is neutral doesn’t mean it has to be boring. A head-to-toe pink monochrome outfit may make a statement, but opting for all neutrals can have just as much impact in a more understated way. Mix in some different textures, such as silk, linen, and leather, to break up the outfit. If you’re feeling stumped, look to the queen of European fashion, Elizabeth James from The Parent Trap. Her style is having a TikTok resurgence and is sure to give you some inspiration.
Midi skirts and dresses
It’s no secret that Europe can get hot in the summers — the temperature felt like 118 degrees one day while I was in Italy (it was actually 108 degrees, but same diff). A breezy midi is a tried and true European girl hack to keep cool. Midis are especially popular in Tuscan fashion, which is having a major moment right now. Pair yours with a basic cami, breezy button-down, or even a bikini top for a chic beach moment.
Just because European style tends to favor neutrals doesn’t mean you can’t inject some personality into your looks. When I was in Italy, I saw lots of great printed garments, but the difference was that the prints were a bit more toned down and understated. For example, the florals would focus on only one or two colors and were often paired with neutrals or solids — sorry to those who love pattern mixing, you won’t see much of that in Europe. A cute floral crop top like this one from Lulus would pair perfectly with the aforementioned midi skirts.
When in doubt, stick to the classics. The iconic, effortless French girl style is all about timeless pieces paired with light hair and makeup. French women just seem to perfectly execute that “I didn’t try too hard” style that we all covet. The best part? You probably already own a lot of classic pieces like a neutral blazer, trousers, and loafers. Dig around in your own closet and play around with your basics and I’m sure you’re going to find a new favorite outfit.
A block heel is both functional and stylish — who wants to walk down cobblestone streets in stilettos? They add just a bit more height without sacrificing comfort. Opt for a block heel sandal, booties, or even a kitten heel. I have my eye on this pair from Dolce Vita, they feature a braided leather strap and are perfect for European girl summer.
So, whether you’re packing for a European adventure or staying home this summer, you can use these pieces to channel a bit of trendy European fashion no matter where you are. Your style can be a means of self-expression and can transport you to new places, even if it’s just in your head. After all, isn’t fashion about having fun? Happy jetsetting (from your couch)!