WORDS BY STEPHEN YU
Think French sizing is the same as European sizing? Think again. With Paris being undeniably the fashion capital of Europe, if not the world (sorry Milan), if there’s one nation that deserves its own sizing system it’s the French –– and luckily for them, they do. But this means navigating your way through the ultra-confusing French sizing system. Not to worry though, we’ve simplified it all for you. Keep reading to discover your French clothing and shoe size as well as some of the best Parisian clothing brands to add to your wardrobe.
What is your French clothes size?
Firstly, when it comes to French sizing the number one rule is that there are no rules –– your French clothes size will change depending on the cut of the clothing, which brand you’re buying from, and what country the brand is from (French sizing is also used in Spain, Portugal and Belgium). Due to this, it’s difficult to make exact conversions to your country’s sizing and we always recommend comparing your own measurements to that of the garments.
Secondly, French sizing comes under two systems:
This is the simplified system where 2-3 numerical clothing sizes are combined onto a single letter size (XS/S/M/L/XL). Alpha sizing is typically used on casual clothing like T-shirts, baggy knitwear or sportswear which requires less precise sizing due to cut or use of stretch fabrics.
Your Alpha size is most likely going to be the same in French sizing, but you may need to size up as the average French body structure is smaller than in the UK/US.
The classic system where a number denotes the clothing size in relation to the female bust or male chest measurements. Usually used on ready-to-wear or tailoring where a precise cut and fit needs greater accuracy in sizing. Here’s how to calculate your French numerical size for both men and women:
Womens Numerical French Clothes Size:
French size = US size + 32
French size = UK size + 28
French size = EU size - 4
For example, if you're a UK size 6 then you add 28 which equals a French size 34. Simple right?
Mens Numerical French Clothes Size:
French size = US/UK size x 2.54
French size = EU size
French size = US/UK size + 10
French size = EU size
Otherwise, please consult our clothing size chart below to find your relevant size.
French Clothing Size Chart
Is your French shoe size the same as your European size?
Most French fashion houses and footwear brands use the EU shoe size (which is the same as the Italian shoe size) just like other European brands. But, France does have its own sizing system which a small minority of French brands use.
Note: Unless explicitly indicated by FARFETCH, the shoe size given for any French footwear is your EU size not your French one.
French shoe sizes are based around an antique measure established by French cobblers in the mid 19th century called the Paris point or ‘point de Paris’ system, which was thought to have originated from the original stitch length of the first sewing machines used in shoemaking. Equal to 2/3cm (6.67mm), a Paris point is used to measure the length of the last and therefore shoe size.
Again, it’s best to measure your foot and compare that to the relevant shoe size using our French shoe size chart, but you can also calculate your French shoe size using the below:
French size = US size + 31
French size = UK size + 32
French size = EU size + 1
Note: It’s rare for French shoes to come in half sizes so you may not be able to find an exact match. Just remember that French shoe sizes always differ by one Paris point (6.67mm) to figure out the best fit for you.
French Shoe Size Chart
French Brands and Fashion Houses
Successfully figured out your French size? Here’s a rundown of some of the best up-and-coming French designer brands and established luxury fashion houses that will now fit you perfectly.
A play on the French word for ‘friend’ and the designer Alexandre Mattiusso’s initials, AMI Paris blurs the lines between casual and chic with its range of slouchy sportswear, elevated basics, sharp tailoring and crisp shirting.
What Boramy Viguier creates at his eponymous label is undefinable. Part sportswear, part workwear, at its foundation is a focus on clothes with a function. Yet look beyond the utilitarian infused designs and you’ll see references to something altogether less tangible –– the spiritual, religious and mystical.
LVMH prize winner Marine Serre is hotly tipped to become the big French fashion label of the future –– just ask Beyonce or Dua Lip and the countless other celebrities who’ve been spotted in her moon crescent catsuits and turtlenecks. But more than this, her use of upcycled materials to create her range of couture sportswear places her at the forefront of sustainable yet still luxurious fashion.
Demna Gvasalia is responsible for changing the 21st century silhouette from skinny jeans to everything oversized. Now a couple of seasons into his tenure at legendary French fashion house Balenciaga, his knack for fusing the label’s house codes with innovative avant-garde design has resulted in some of the fashion world’s favourite street-meets-couture pieces like the iconic Triple S sneaker.
One of the most prestigious French fashion labels, Chloé is about one thing –– empowering women to allow them to be themselves. Under creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi, Chloé has modernised while remaining timeless, making it the brand of choice for the chic and effortlessly cool.
Prior to launching his namesake label in 1999, Pierre Hardy was the man behind luxury French fashion house Hermès’ most iconic footwear designs including the Oran sandal and the first luxury leather sneaker –– the Quick trainers. While designing Balencaiga’s footwear alongside partner Nicolas Ghesquière from 2001-2012, he refined his signature aesthetic of elaborately crafted silhouettes with bright textural elements.
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