Bringing along the right wardrobe can go a long way in helping to making your stay in Paris comfortable and enjoyable. The French capital generally enjoys mild temperatures throughout the year, but weather conditions can change rapidly over the course of the day. The key to packing for Paris is to be prepared for anything. Above all else, remember to bring an umbrella. Unexpected showers are a part of Parisian life.
WHAT TO PACK FOR SPRING
Springtime visitors should bring along a jacket, as nights can still be rather cold. Daytime temperatures can vary quite a bit during this season, so it’s best to pack clothes that you can layer. For example, a light shirt that can be paired with a cardigan allows you to transition from warm to chilly weather very easily.
WHAT TO PACK FOR SUMMER
Packing for summer is a more straightforward affair. Sunglasses, shorts or breathable pants and a mix of shorts and tops should cover most of your needs. A light jacket is recommended for exploring the city after the sun goes down. On sunny days, remember to stay hydrated and wear proper sun protection.
WHAT TO PACK FOR AUTUMN
Like spring, autumn tends to be a more variable. Warmer weather prevails at the start of the season, but temperatures drop very quickly towards late October and early November. To be safe, pack in preparation for colder weather. Bring along a warm coat, thick sweaters and other pieces that you can layer. A hat, pair of gloves and a scarf may also come in handy, especially if you plan on being out and about at night!
WHAT TO PACK FOR WINTER
Bundle up! Winter in Paris is a chilly affair. Wrap yourself up in your favorite winter coat - a long pea coat or something similar will help keep both your top and legs warm while you’re outside. Pile on the knitwear, hoodies and long-sleeve shirts, and don’t forget to pack your gloves, a warm hat and scarf.
GENERAL PACKING TIPS FOR PARIS
As a generally rule, you’ll want to pack shoes that you’re comfortable walking longer distances in. Keep in mind that when it rains in Paris, there will be puddles. As such, water resistant or waterproof shoes or boots can come in handy. Of course, if you forget to pack something for your trip you can always head out on a shopping trip when you arrive. There are few better places in the world to top up your wardrobe than the always-fashionable City of Light.
The French-Girl Cardigan
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.
CLASSIC V-NECK CARDIGANS
Statement Trench Coats
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.
A Neutral Color Palette
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.
Timeless What-to-Wear Essentials
- Cashmere - 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.
- The black dress - 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.
- A simple Scarf - 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. Here's a good place to shop online for beautifully-made scarves
- Denim and stylish pants - 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.
- Comfortable yet stylish shoes and boots - 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!
- Hair and makeup - 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.
Fashion for MEN
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.
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!
OVERSIZED BOYFRIEND JACKET
with rolled up sleeves, white t-shirt, straight leg jeans and high heels.
with a beige oversized t-shirt, white, straight leg pants and chunky black boots.
with a skinny belt and flat, wrap-around sandals.
sweater dress with tobacco-suede pumps.
OVERSIZED BRETON NAVY & WHITE-STRIPED SWEATER
front tucked into white jeans with a leopard-print belt and Chanel bag.
with a flared mid-calve suede skirt, suede cowboy boots, a turquoise belt and necklace with plenty of gold bangles.
over a faded jean jacket, white jeans, edgy pointed black ankle boots.
TEXTURED, NEUTRAL, SLOUCHY SWEATER
front tucked with wide-leg ivory-white trousers and dark, pointy shoes.
1980S OVERSIZED TOP COAT
with dropped shoulders, dark wide-leg jeans and velvet flat slippers.
LEATHER WRAP-SKIRT with a suede bag, snake-skin shoes and a neutral top.