Paris is one of the capitals of fashion, and it’s understandable you might not like to “look like a tourist”. The good news is, dressing like a Parisian is not complicated, just read the following guide on how to dress in Paris written by a Parisian (me)!
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What to wear in Paris – Packing list for Paris
What to wear in Paris: the Essentials
1. Wear black
If you want to pass yourself off as a Parisian, wear black. It’s the safest way to go. I would wear at least one black item – actually, it’s almost impossible for me to not wear at least one black item for any given outfits. Even though it’s not a total necessity, it is a huge part of the Parisian fashion. I regularly tend to purge some of the blackness of my wardrobe, but it always come back. What can a Parisian girl do? C’est la vie! Wear black skinny jeans (or slim jeans, honestly, I could never fit my calves in a pair of skinny jeans if my life depended on it!) day and night, or a black shirt, and pack a little black dress. You got the memo: black is the new black.
2. And stick to neutral colors
However if wearing all in black is not your thing, try to stick to a simple palette of neutral and dark colors: white, dark blue, grey, beige, you got the drill.
You can always uplift it with a bold red lipstick: très très Parisian!
3. ‘Less is more’ is the root of Parisian chic: stay simple.
The secret to Paris chic? Stick to simple. Don’t over do it, don’t wear crazy prints or crazy shapes all over.
Stick to a classical figure, or mix one close-fitting volume with a looser one.
Don’t over-accessorize, and go easy with the bling: one statement piece is more than enough, better yet: only wear pearl or diamond stud (they can both be fake, please) earrings, or a cute necklace, or a pretty bracelet and a couple of rings. Yes, that’s it.
4. Wear comfortable shoes
A pair of black heels will look better to get you to any place you want (I’m talking fancy places). But honestly, clean sneakers or ballet flats will too. I barely wear heels anymore and never had an issue getting in a place with sneakers, even in the poshest clubs, speakeasy, and 5* hotel bars.
Unless you really plan on going all in and want to pack some heels, just make sure to have comfortable shoes to walk around and climb the many stairs that you’ll have to climb in the metro. It’s going to be way more important and there’s a huge chance you’ll never use your heels in Paris anyway.
The essentials packing list for Paris
Of course, the perfect packing list for Paris will depend on the season and the number of days you’ll stay, as well as your travel luggage style. But here’s a good list to start from.
- Enough tops for your stay: at least a striped t-shirt, a white t-shirt, and numerous black shirts
- Jeans: perfectly shaped skinny or slim jeans. Boyfriend jeans will do if that’s more your style.
- A fitted black blazer: like these Paris-ready ones from Anthropology and Nordstrom.
- A little black dress if you plan on going out or want to be dressed-up for some place. Otherwise you could pack a dress if that’s your thing – especially in the summer – but they’re not essential. | My fav LBDs: 1. 2. 3. 4.
- A cardigan: a lighter one for spring and summer, and a warmer one for autumn and winter | The best stylish cardigans for Paris: 1. 2. 3. 4.
- A couple of scarves: light for spring and summer, warmer for autumn and winter | Check out these ones: 1. 2. 3.
- A coat according to the weather: you could do with a cardigan in the summer, look for a trench coat in autumn | perfect ones for Paris: 1. 2. 3. 4. | and a warmer one for winter (it can be very cold. It snowed A LOT in Paris last winter so be prepared!) | I like these 1. 2. 3. 4.
- A simple and practical bag: that’s more of a personal choice. A decently sized purse with a shoulder strap is always fancier | the best totes, purses and shoppers for Paris: 1. 2. 3. 4. |, but if you’re going to go around a lot, a cute backpack is a must-do | here are the most popular day backpacks in Paris 1. 2. 3. 4. |. Just be sure to close everything and be aware of your belongings in the metro.
- Shoes: at least a pair of comfortable sneakers for all the walking around | like these ones: 1. 2. 3. | . Optional: ballet flats | Parisian style: 1. 2. 3. 4. |, sandals in summer | preferably in one of these styles 1. 2. 3.|, and low boots in winter | bonus points if they look like these 1. 2. 3. 4.|. Super très optional: black heels.
- Simple jewelry like (fake) pearl earrings, (fake) diamond stud earrings, a cute necklace, a simple bracelet, a watch, and a few simple rings.
What to wear in Paris in Summer
About the short shorts and skirts
I feel like we’re more into long lower body clothes even in the summer, but we’ll definitely take out the mini shorts and mini skirts when the weather is just too hot.
If you don’t want to be immediately flagged as a tourist, do forget the tiny sports shorts. It’s just not in our culture to wear those, especially to walk around in the street. But take your tiny denim shorts, we love wearing those! Longer black shorts would definitely work, as well as short pencil / a-line skirts, denim skirts or skater skirts.
Dresses for summer in Paris
Maxi dresses? Hell yes! They look effortlessly chic, and there’s nothing more Parisian than effortlessly chic. Just stick to the less crazy prints and shapes. Effortless, we said.
Cute short sundresses are also definitely the hype in Paris, so pack at least one of those.
Summer footwear in Paris: leave the flip fops at home
Prefer cute sandals to flip flops. We’re not super fan of flip flops. But sandals are all the rage! With or without heels, high or low cut, whatever the color. Go for it!
Otherwise, sneakers for long days and comfortable ballet flats are going to be your best friends!
Black shorts: These Pull-on utility shorts from BCBGeneration would be perfect and I particularly like the Arabesque shorts from Splendid because they’re made of 52% linen which is super comfy in the summer.
Skirts: My favorite skirt is this denim skirt from BB Dakota it’s the perfect color, perfect length, and perfect mix of simple and cute. Otherwise I absolutely love this Oasis A-line scallop navy mini skirt, and this perfect high-rise cord mini skirt by Boohoo.
Summer dresses: I usually find Asos to be the place to go to buy my summer dresses and Simone (aka The Husband) generally has to physically remove me from the computer in order to save our bank account. In my favorites: 1 | 2 | 3. STOP ME before I also buy this polka dot mini sundress!!!!
What to wear in Paris in Winter
- Scarves. Take scarves. The bigger the better, in neutral colors (black, grey, dark blue, you know the drill) even though you could be a bit more color-creative with your scarves. Scarves are everywhere.
- Long and warm cardigans. Also, warm sweaters and anything that will keep you warm and look comfy and simple.
- Cute winter dresses or skirts with warm tights are definitely going around in Paris in the winter months so don’t hesitate!
- A warm flattering coat in black or neutral color. If you don’t have a warm enough coat for the temperature, put on a faux down sleeveless jacket under your coat.
- A cute beanie (but leave the animal ears at home).
- A pair of low boots to keep your feet warm, comfy and dry.
- An umbrella for the rainy days.
Scarves and beanies: I have so many scarves I just can’t count! For this season, I love this H&M cute jacquard-weave scarf in pink/brown ($18), this oversized Weekday scarf ($40), this Vero Moda color-block scarf ($32), and this super comfy check scarf from Stitch & Pieces ($35).
For beanies I usually steal my husband’s but for this winter I want: this navy pommed beanie ($58), this Adidas Originals ribbed beanie ($25), and this The North Face beanie in the most gorgeous blue-green ($28).
I think I actually love winter because of all the cute accessories….
Cardigans and sweaters: What I love with cardigans is that they’re great for layering and make you feel more comfy. I have lots of them, and I also “borrow” (ahem) my husband’s because they’re bigger and he has great tastes.
So this boyfriend cardigan from Asos ($40) totally does the trick. I absolutely adore this fleece cardigan in grey from Anthropology ($88) and this H&M knit cardigan is also a great cheap option ($18).
As long as you stick to neutral color, you can wear all the sweater shapes you want in Paris and look fashionable. My favs are: V-neck pullover like this gorgeous fleece one ($78) and this Woodruff one ($88) at Anthropology, and crew necks like this cute pink one from River Island ($54), this chunky sweater in rib from Asos ($40) and this Bershka one ($32).
Coats: This long pile coat from H&M ($99) would be perfect for the colder days, I’m totally partial to caramel winter coats like this one from cupcakes and cashmere ($175), and this black belted winter coat from H&M is the perfect Parisian chic coat ($70). Otherwise you could always opt for a duffel coat like this Asos one ($82).
Low boots / ankle boots: Everybody is wearing those in Paris in winter (and not only in winter, actually!).
Choose between this black studded casual ankle boots from Asos ($100), these New Look low heel tan ankle boots ($42), or these adorable Monki faux leather low boots in burgundy ($64).
Voilà! That’s your essentials on the “what to wear in Paris” topic. If you have any question don’t hesitate to reach my by email or through the comments section below, I’d love to answer!