WORDS BY STEPHEN YU & JOSEPH FURNESS
As with most things, the French approach to garment sizing is utterly unique – it’s entirely different from any other sizing approach. Yep, that’s right, the French sizing and European sizing systems are, usually, completely different! Obviously, this results in many fashion folk feeling frustrated when they can’t navigate their way through the French approach to sizing with ease, but, as always, we’re here to help.
To help you and every other individual who gives a damn about fashion effortlessly shop French brands, we’ve put together a guide that runs through the facts about French sizing and highlights a selection of familiar and fresh French brands that you may want to check out. We know, we’re good to you.
What is your French size?
The number one rule of French sizing is that there are no rules – your size may change depending on the cut of the clothing, the brand you’re purchasing from, and the country the brand is from (French sizing is used in Spain, Portugal and Belgium as well as France). Thus, we recommend always comparing your measurements to that of the garment.
It's also important to know that French sizing works under two systems: Alpha sizing and Numerical sizing. Let us fill you in about both sizing systems.
Alpha sizing is the simplified system where two to three numerical clothing sizing are combined into a single letter size (think S, M & L etc.). Typically, alpha sizing is reserved for casual clothing, such as tees, hoodies, joggers and sweatshirts.
Our best advice when it comes to alpha sizing is to either stick to your regular alpha size when shopping from French brands, or to size up as the French alpha sizing system isn’t as accommodating as other sizing systems.
The more classical French sizing system is the numerical sizing system in which a number denotes a size relating to specific measurements – say a male’s chest or a female’s bust. This system is used when a precise cut and fit is paramount. Below, we help you get your head around French numerical sizing.
Women’s Numerical French Clothes Sizing:
US size + 32 = French size
UK size + 28 = French size
EU size – 4 = French size
French Sizing Examples:
If you’re a UK size 6, you’re a French size 34.
If you’re a US size 2, you’re a French size 34.
If you’re an EU size 38, you’re a French size 34.
Men’s Numerical French Clothes Sizing:
US/UK size x 2.54 = French size (if you round the figure up to the nearest whole number)
EU size = French size
US/UK Size + 10 = French size
EU Size = French size
French Clothing Sizing Chart
Is Your French Shoe Size the Same as Your European Shoe Size?
Most French fashion houses and footwear brands use the EU/IT shoe sizing approach. Having said that, there are a select few French brands that abide by the French shoe sizing approach. Unless explicitly stated by FARFETCH, shoes from French brands on FARFETCH are listed in their EU sizes.
The French approach to shoe sizing is based on an antique measure established by French cobblers in the mid-19th Century. Originally, it was called the ‘point de Paris’ or Paris point system.
US size + 31 = French size
UK size + 32 = French size
EU size + 1 = French size
French Shoe Sizing Chart
French Fashion Brands
The name? A play on the French word for ‘friend’ and founder Alexandre Mattiusso’s initials. The aim? Blur the lines between casual and chic with a collection of elevated essentials, crisp layers and tailored sportswear. It's safe to say Mr Mattiusso is doing a pretty good job
What Boramy Viguier creates at his eponymous label is an unconventional yet functional blend of sportswear and workwear. Look beyond the utilitarian infused designs and you’ll discover references to the spiritual, religious and mystical.
Beyoncé wears it, and so does Adele. Dua Lipa too. Why? Well, not only is the crescent crazy brand at the forefront of fashion with its modest second skin tops, luxury face masks and avant-garde yet practical handbags, but it’s also reliant on upcycled materials. In short, it’s sustainable sophistication.
Demna Gvasalia is responsible for many of the biggest fashion trends of the 21st Century – including oversized clothing. His current work at Balenciaga involves fusing the label’s house codes with unorthodox innovation. Thus far, his MO has led to crucial moments in contemporary fashion, including the Balenciaga Track Sneaker release, Balenciaga x Gucci runway show and the Balenciaga Hourglass Bag invasion.
Above all, prestigious French fashion label Chloé is concerned with empowering women. Under the eye of creative director Gabriela Hearst, the brand has adopted a bohemian sensibility that’s timeless and effortlessly cool. Plus, Hearst has ensured that sustainability is a top priority for the luxury label, meaning that style connoisseurs can invest in Chloé pieces with a clear conscience.
Prior to launching his namesake label in 1999, Pierre Hardy was the man behind Hermésmost iconic footwear designs, including the Oran sandal and the Quick trainers. Today, his footwear and accessories designs act as the secret sauce to the jet set’s sleek and sophisticated ensembles.
Isabel Marant – a luxury fashion label founded by its namesake in 1995 – is filled with refined, easy to style wardrobe heroes. In other words, it’s a brand for those who want to make an effort to look like they never make too much effort – they simply wake up looking flawless. We certainly see the appeal.
While most French brands focus on encapsulating Parisian chic, Simon Porte Jacquemus seeks inspiration from the provincial towns of Southern France whilst designing collections for his eponymous label. Most specifically, he’s influenced by the areas surrounding his hometown of Salon-de-Provence, a commune located just outside of Marseille. The outcome? A rustic cool fits paired well crafted, colourful accessories.
Thanks to its founder Manfred Theirry Mugler, Mugler was the moment during the late 20th Century; now, on account of Casey Cadwallader, Mugler is the moment once again. Sexy, dramatic, futuristic, powerful and invariably suave, it’s easy to understand why the brand continues to capture the imagination of millions, decades after it was established.
As we all know, Saint Laurent – once known as Yves Saint Laurent, or YSL – is the stalwart French brand that embraces the rockstar side of Parisian fashion. Current creative director Anthony Vaccarello is pleasing all fans of the brand by embracing both classic Saint Laurent notions with the edge and grittiness brought to the brand by his predecessor, Hedi Slimane.