"What should I wear in Paris?" is one of the most frequent questions we're asked. And it's a good question — since Paris is a fashion capital you'll want to try to look good while being comfortable as you explore the city, visit museums, dine in restaurants, or shop in chic stores.
So, we rose to the challenge. Here we've collected our very best Paris fashion tips to help you look and feel like you belong — and not feel like a tourist. There's nothing like the experience of being mistaken for a Parisienne as you're walking down the street. And that's not as rare as you might think, if you walk with confidence while wearing clothes suited for the city known for its style.
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Parisiennes are masters of mixing classic style with up-to-the-minute fashion trends. Here is a contemporary mix of ten timeless and current looks, gleaned during Fashion Week in Paris, to help you pack your bag for your 2019 visit to the City of Fashion. It's time to embrace your inner Marion Cotillard!
Neutrals in tops and bottoms are always classic in Paris, now trending with edgy footwear to add pop, including cowboy boots, pointed black boots, snake-skin shoes and flats with interesting details like velvet, suede, and wrap around ties.
Another trend we're seeing is a feminine silk slip skirt paired with knee high boots and a slightly masculine-fitted top. Never slaves to fashion, French women know how to add in their own classic, timeless couture pieces like Dior and mix them up with a fun, sweater from H&M for their own individual look.
This year is all about straight leg jeans vs. skinny jeans. It's a small adjustment, but many of the trendsetters were sporting straight leg jeans, often faded denim or in white or black.
The magic in what French women wear is created by the combinations and the juxtaposition — a feminine skirt with a masculine top. Or a feminine skirt worn with edgy, black boots and pearls.
This staple is found in nearly every French women's arsenal, no matter their age. Neither tight, nor loose, it skims the body, has a v-neck with front buttons. It can be worn back or front and can be worn loose or tucked.
Sure, your outfit might be all neutral but French women know when to add a pop of WOW to their look — so don't be afraid to wear your trench coat with difference. Choose a shiny, vinyl fabric or opt for bright pink or a bold pattern.
Go head-to-toe in one color, in different tones. The fun comes with all the extra textures, the shades you add in shoes, jewelry and accents. A dark chocolate-brown suede skirt can be paired with a mocha silk shirt and shiny, brown knee high boots for an electric look.
Much of your Paris wardrobe — like scarves, simple dresses, and cashmere sweaters — will be good for any season, and any time you visit Paris. But there are other essential seasonal items you'll need to pack, depending on the time of year you visit the City of Fashion. So, before you pack, take a little bit of time to read our seasonal guides.
French women (and men) generally shop for quality over quantity. That's why, for instance, you'll see a lot of cashmere in Paris. Cashmere is soft, comfortable, and always looks great. A cashmere sweater is a fashion essential in any season in Paris.
Think simplicity when choosing a a cashmere sweater. V-necks and turtlenecks are a goods options for most women. We've found there's always a good selection in the Amazon cashmere shop.
A simple black dress is pretty much an essential and a fashion piece with multiple uses. Once you find the perfect black dress you'll be well on your way to completing your Paris wardrobe.
Make sure the dress is versatile — one you can wear to dinner, yet still casual enough to wear underneath a trench coat or under a pashmina.
Black doesn't always mean black, if you know what we mean. A simple solid-color dress of the trending color is always appropriate. Our top choices are simple and elegant dresses.
The first thing you'll notice when you hit Charles de Gaulle Airport are the scarves! Men, women and children wear them in Paris in winter, spring, summer and fall.
We want you to look (and feel!) like a Paris Insider, not like a tourist. That's why we always recommend packing a scarf or two, whatever the season. You will probably end up buying more scarves in Paris (you can't help yourself!), but it's better to come prepared. So, here's opne place we like to shop online for beautifully-made scarves —
The French have fallen hard for denim. That's right, what started out as rugged miners' gear and cowboy duds is now high-fashion on the streets of Paris.
So, the good news is you can wear your jeans in Paris, but make sure you uphold the Paris Insiders Ideal by only wearing jeans that are stylish and well-fitted. Even though they might seem fashionable, we recommend against rips, fades, and saggy bottoms.
Throw your soccer-mom jeans in the poubelle (garbage can) before you leave home. In fact, do it right now! We'll wait here until you're done.
You don't have to sacrifice beauty for comfort, and that applies to the boots and shoes you pack for Paris.
While you won't want to walk around the city all day in high heels, you can't help but notice the stunning flat shoes that women wear in Paris. Maneuvering stairs, gravel pathways, and cobblestones demands shoes with some structure.
In winter, you'll want to wear boots, but stylish ones. And, to say it again, in Paris, running shoes are simply not an option!
French women are famous for their au naturel look. They wear makeup to look like they don't wear any. With makeup, less is more.
Parisiennes tend to wear their hair in soft, natural styles to accentuate the overall effect. And they have their hair done often — the city seems to have a couple of coiffures (hair salons) on every block.
Something we recommend, if you want to treat yourself in Paris, is to pop into a coiffure near your hotel (or even on your adventures in the city) for le brushing (blow-out) or une coupe. Most salons in Paris do not require an appointment.
In Paris men dress up. Young men can be seen in slim-cut dark suits, and shiny black shoes — even when they're just going out to get groceries.
They all wear scarves and seem to know how to knot them expertly. This doesn't mean that men have to wear suits. Choose casual wear — tweed jackets, corduroy trousers, or heavy-knit sweaters. Stylish jeans are seen everywhere. And if you're planning to go to any high-end Paris restaurants you will definitely need a jacket or sport coat.
It's easy to pack too much. A few essential pieces will carry you from going out to dinner, to visiting museums, to long city walks. You can wear the same outfit, much like a uniform, but make it look and feel different with a few accessories.
For women, this means you should pack three tops plus a sweater and two bottoms — one pair of jeans or pants, and one skirt. One dress will do. For footwear limit yourself to three pairs. Remember, you'll probably want to shop when you're in Paris, so make sure you leave room in your suitcase.
Speaking of suitcases, does yours need replacing? What with airline baggage weight limits, it pays to to make sure the suitcase itself weighs as little as possible. And we love the new super-light options — in fact, we've just replaced our own luggage. (We went with the Delsey Helium Aero, in blue.) It might we worth your time to take a look at the new generation of suitcases.
Spring weather can be unpredictable — you'll need a stylish trench coat, a warm sweater for layering and water resistant shoes (not suede, for instance). Either throw a travel umbrella in your suitcase or plan to pick up an inexpensive one in Paris.
Paris in the summer can sizzle, so you'll want to pack summer skirts and dresses. Grown-ups in Paris don't wear shorts. Period. If you want to fit in, leave the shorts at home. For men, light-weight khaki trousers will do or, of course, linen pants.
Fall in Paris can be warm right into October but, much like springtime, it can be unpredictable. You'll need to packs clothes to layer, as well as that stylish trench coat and an umbrella.
Paris winters range from moderate to downright cold! You will need a warm, winter coat (for when the temperature drops down to freezing), boots, scarves and gloves.
But you don't have to dress for the arctic! Think stylish black boots, a long wool coat and more scarves. In winter, your coat and boots will become your official uniform, so you can reduce the number of pants, sweaters and shoes.
Just as there are some definite ouis in Paris fashion, there are a few nons-nons you should be aware of. Here's our own personal hit list —
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• December 2018…
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