Feeling intimidated by French fashion? If you're wondering what to pack for Paris, check out my easy tips on the staples you do not want to forget.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. If you purchase a linked item, I will made a commission, at no extra charge to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Of all the things that intimidated me about traveling to France, embarrassingly, having the right clothes was #1 (and yes, #2 was my French skills - rusty since College. To see how that went, check out my post 5 Ways to Charm the French). Of course, as I knew, the French were even more wonderfully well-dressed than I had been expecting - and thankfully I had all the right things in the suitcase, if largely by accident!
A few over-arching thoughts as you're starting to pack: though of course there's plenty of expensive fashion to be had in Paris, the French are not all splashing out huge amounts on clothes. They focus on fit - just because something is inexpensive doesn't mean it can't fit properly (and they get things tailored if they need it). Therefore, focus on packing your higher end items, not running out and buying random trendy pieces that are very "right now."
Additionally, their outfits are always "finished" - which means they add a scarf, or a belt, or a hat, or a necklace to top off the outfit. For example, almost every businessman you see will be wearing a scarf - to complete the outfit. So, don't forget to accessorize!
Here are the staples:
Light jacket/over coat
Overall, the weather in Paris is fairly mild. If you'll be there in the winter, you'll want to bring a winter coat, but our most recent trip was in October, and I never touched the one I brought. Even when it's not cold, the French often wear light, stylish overcoats (which appear to be more of a fashion statement than anything else). Luckily, I had brought a light jacket that I often wear to work, which turned out to be perfect, from Eileen Fisher - check it out, here. I also like this one (which I think is this year's version).
The tendency to wear (potentially unnecessary) jackets stems from the desire to "finish" the outfit, as I discussed earlier - without the jacket, I'm just wearing a shirt and a scarf, which doesn't look as polished!
The French love their scarves! I brought quite a few along, and picked up several others on the trip! For everyday, I'd recommend a large, silk scarf, such as this, or a more affordable version from Amazon. And, of course, and Hermes scarf makes a great souvenir!
I also saw quite a few bulkier, chunkier scarves, like this, especially amongst the younger set. India Hicks (granddaughter of Lord Mountbatten and head of an up-and-coming fashion house) also has some lovely scarves, such as this larger, white options.
And, of course, you must know how to tie them properly! Hermes has some lovely videos, if you want to study up in advance! I learned in the store and the first one they have on that page is the only one I can ever remember, on the fly!
Yes, they actually wear these. Saint James is the staple (I actually hadn't heard of them until our trip to Quebec, where I visited their store).
I saw mostly slightly cropped ankle pants, such as these. I would avoid blue jeans, unless they are chic, fit extremely well, and are dressed-up with the rest of your outfit.
Yes, loafers are in this year, but the French have a longer and storied love of loafers that won't be ending any time soon.
Personally, I love anything like these from Sam Edelman, and it's so affordable - Nordstrom Rack often has good deals on his shoes, if you keep an eye on it! If you're looking to splurge, Ferragamo and Gucci have the most phenomenal loafers.
Overall, just remember - emphasis on classics and fit (they aren't necessarily flashy dressers), and bring more coats and scarves than you might otherwise wear, based on the temperature! If you get hot, you can always take off the coat!
You may also like...
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies