When the city sizzles, your wardrobe should too. But, when temperatures soar, figuring out what to wear while you're in Paris can be a challenge. So here's Summer Paris Dressing Rule Number One — women (and men) do not wear shorts. Period. Running shoes? — non, jamais! Wear running shoes and you might as well wear a sign on your back reading "Tourist." (Now, we're not talking about those trending fashionable sneakers. We like those.)
Beside good taste in fashion, there's another reason. You'll want to visit cathedrals and museums where bare shoulders and short-shorts will draw the wrong kind of attention. We want you to fit in, and feel comfortable. Parisiennes wear lots of pretty, loose-fitting, lightweight summer dresses in bright colours and patterns. They look great and they're so easy to pack as well. Parisienne women also manage to look cool and comfortable during the sizzling hot days of July and August with fashionable skirts and sandals.
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Light and pretty dresses and skirts are summer essentials.
Young and old, rich and poor, all the women of Paris have a selection of fashionable summer dresses and skirts. Younger women can wear shorter skirts, but the most flattering length for women of a certain age is around the knee.
You'll discover that skirts and dresses are far more versatile than shorts and can take you from a summer picnic to inside the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Spend a day in the Metro and you'll see why Parisiennes are addicted to comfortable flat sandals.
You will probably be doing a lot of walking during your visit to Paris. So you want a pair of sandals that can withstand the cobblestones, stairs, and the gravel paths in the parks of Paris. But that's no excuse for wearing runners or bulky walking shoes. There are plenty of sandal styles that combine fashion with comfort.
You'll also see that Parisiennes, especially the younger set, have taken to wearing fashionable sneakers…
Even though Paris days may be hot, temperatures cool during the evening and you'll want a summer sweater to protect you from the breeze.
We suggest you select either a featherweight cashmere cardigan (that you can wrap around your shoulders), or a cropped linen cotton cardigan that's light enough in fabric and style for summertime wear.
By choosing fashionable colours, your summer sweaters will also become fashion accessories.
Scarves, scarves, scarves.
Parisiennes are crazy about scarves even in summer. A summer scarves really finishes a look and will probably be the most important fashion accessory you can have in Paris. In fact, changing scarves can change to look of an outfit, so you can pack fewer clothes.
And no self-respecting Parisian leaves home without a scarf wrapped around his neck — especially from fall to spring.
Another essential for summer is a fitted jean jacket in white, dark denim, or even in a bold color. The great thing about them is their versatility — they look great over a summer dress, or paired with a t-shirt and feminine skirt.
We've seen Parisiennes of all ages pairing jean jackets with everything from linen pants to silk dresses. The contrast creates a stunning effect. One caveat — you never want to wear a denim jacket with jeans. The jacket should be fitted and have some design details that kick it up a notch.
Classic t-shirts can be worn with skirts and trousers. Opt for a luxury linen t-shirt with a few fashionable touches like a curved hem, a nubbly finish and feminine shape for a flattering silhouette. Unless you have the arms of Michelle Obama, avoid sleeveless shirts. A jersey cowl neck is a very flattering line and also looks great with summer skirts.
At all costs, avoid shapeless T-shirts — always be on the look-out for t-shirts with details like a satin trim, or a silk roll-sleeve T. As for color, neutral tones are your best bet for summer and give you more wardrobe options for mix & match wear.
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It's worth mentioning again that it's very easy to pack too much. A good piece of advice is to severely limit what goes into your suitcase.
For women, limit yourself of three tops plus a sweater, a pair of jeans, a skirt and for the summer months two dresses. Shoes? — pack just two pairs. You'll want to shop when you're in Paris so leave room in your suitcase.
Speaking of suitcases — does yours go back to the Bush administration? We love the new super-light options that also look stylish. Take a peak at the new generation of suitcases, including the one we bought for ourselves — the Delsey Helium Aero, in blue.
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