Upon reading an interview on the Sartorialist of this very stylish Parisienne named Victoire Chopinaud (a very sexy name I imagine, when pronounced correctly) there were some of the usual responses, like “oh I study at the same school of couture that Yves Saint Laurent and Dior attended.” And as I wallowed in the Frenchness of it all, and in the fact that I will never have one ounce of her French style, I read on to find this little gem,

“Button downs are better when they smell like and belong to a boyfriend.  I have this perfect faded army shirt by Arrow and a bunch from YSL, Dior Homme and The Kooples.  I wear them the ‘French way’ (aka no bra) mixing cologne from a boyfriend with Chance by Chanel, a scent I’ve been loyal to since I was 15 years old.” 

The ‘French way’ aka no bra? French women don’t wear bras? Is that part of the je ne sais quoi? 
 Are you to tell me that if I stop wearing a bra under my button down shirt I will be one step closer, okay one inch closer, to looking like a Parisian? No no, I would never presume that I will ever look French, but would this help? I suppose I can see that the super-extra-padded-push-up-to-your-ears bra is an American invention courtesy of Victoria’s Secret, and that maybe French women wouldn’t be into that. And I know that the bra of the moment are those barely there triangle bras. But to wear no bra at all? I just had no idea that this was the ‘French’ way. And now that I do, I’m tempted to give it a try.
Ladies, let’s discuss.  
I so enjoyed reading your feedback on my tights + open-toed query that I’m starting this new series!
So let me know in the comments if you were aware of the ‘French’ way, and would you ever try it?
*Update, August 2017: I’ve recently come across this old post and snickered at how taken I was by the idea of not wearing a bra. Five years later I just wanted to report that I had completely forgotten ever writing this post, and I’ve since stopped wearing bras. I’m thankful to have this blog as a diary of what I have (and haven’t) been willing to wear over the years.


Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

SHOWHIDE Comments (15)
  1. I wasn’t aware of the “French way” and unfortunately I have too much boob to try it! lol But I’m not going to lie, if I had a little less I probably would try it..

  2. My breast are waaayyy to big to go without a bra and I didn’t realize going without a bra was French…nope I’ll pass on that and keep wearing mine. As matter of fact I’m still in search for the perfect bra for me

  3. While the “French way” makes the concept sound chic…I don’t think I would be able to pull it off. Unless I somehow lost a ton of weight and the concept of being braless also meant that wearing a bra was not exactly necessary, then I might consider it. I only go “French” if I’m in my house. =P


  4. Hmm … I think I’d feel too exposed and awkward to get any feeling of je ne sais quoi. Plus I think a good bra does wonders for enhancing a woman’s shape. 🙂

  5. My chest is small enough to get away with sans bra (I’m an A), but my main concern would be nipping…

    Don’t French women get cold? Do they not care that friends and strangers can see them nipping?

    Plus, bras do give you better shape…but the shapelessness might be what’s chic?

  6. Sundays are my “French way” (and while we’re at it) cheat diet days. In other words, they’re the days I throw on an oversized T braless and eat whatever I will. Sunday is effortless, lazy (not that those two are synonymous).

    But like binge eating, braless-ness for most girls is probably in the long run unhealthy. Long story short *too late* don’t want to sag when I grow up… …

    te amo,

  7. Oh man. If I wore a button down that smelled like a boy without a bra, I think people might assume I was a boy. haha. That being said, French girls do always look effortlessly chic – maybe that’s the secret…

  8. Nancy – I like that, go French at home!

    Carrie – Definitely could feel too exposed, like being without a safety blanket.

    Phoebe – I’m small enough too, maybe it wouldn’t be an issue with a loose-fitting shirt?

    Jessie – haha your Sundays sound fun

    Crissie – Me too, especially if I got that short haircut I’ve been wanting

  9. Frankly, I am French and this is not ‘the way’.

    This is something that would be typically said by a Parisian woman ( who by the way is not representative of all of us.)

    I am from the south… in terms of style, generally speaking this would be equivalent to a place like Miami (warm weather attitudes and dressing, including taunt glowing cleavage).

    The Parisian way is a LOT more masculine femme, a LOT less curvy & a LOT more black. So ofcourse they go without a bra often.

  10. Ha, this is funny. I also never realized it was the “French way!” I guess we can say I partook in the “french way” in 2005…..I rebelled against the bra and didn’t wear one for a while. But then I came to my senses and realized that was very unflattering on my figure. This is all very interesting, nonetheless.

    Anyways, greetings from Atlanta! Also, I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog – a cute silver pair of earrings! Check it out here! 😉

  11. How exciting! We got some input from an actual French girl! I like the Miami anology, Paris must be your New York. Thrilled to have your response!

    Mary Ann – how interesting, you’re the first one who has been willing to try/has tried this out! You’re more daring than most 🙂

  12. How funny you guys imagine her name to be sexy, while it acutally sounds really bad in French….

    Doesn’t matter though, but I must tell you one thing: French women do wear bras. All French women. I swear. Models probably don’t, but it’s cause they’re models then. I just don’t get why everybody thinks we do not wear bras…

    The French spirit must be somewhere else 😉


  13. Hahaha!

    Exactly a year ago I would laugh in your face if you told me not to wear a bra. Now, since I’ve had a breast reduction, I actually think the bra-less look wouldn’t look so bad.

    But what about the nips?


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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.