What to Wear in Paris: Packing List and Capsule Wardrobe Ideas
To help you plan what to wear in Paris, Parisian shopping expert Chloe Johnston helps us create an authentic packing list for your travel to this extraordinary city.
Chloe runs a travel company featuring shopping tours in Paris–perfect for a fashionista! Originally from the US, she’s been visiting Paris yearly since she was 12 years old. She launched CJ Shopping Tours, which has her traveling to Paris at least 5-6 times per year.
Paris Clothing Style:
When considering what to wear in Paris, it is important to remember that the city style is tailored and chic, yet conservative with an edge. Parisians love neutral colors and adhere to the “No more than 3 colors” rule.
To avoid standing out as a tourist on the Parisian streets, avoid items like UGG boots, sneakers, flip flops, and sweatpants. You should look presentable at all times; your goal is to maintain a comfortable look, while exuding femininity and edge.
The perfect accessories to add color to any outfit are a handbag and a scarf. You can use your handbag, belts, and scarves to brighten up an otherwise neutral outfit. The perfect bag for Paris is a crossbody bag. To take your look from day to night, use a removable chain or strap to transform it from a crossbody into an elegant clutch.
And don’t forget the perfect daytime accessory for Paris: sunglasses.
Hotels and apartments often supply guests with umbrellas; however, it’s good to be prepared by bringing your trusty travel umbrella with you.
Shopping in Paris:
Paris is synonymous with fashion. It’s a city filled with luxurious designer fashion houses, but if you are looking for more budget-friendly shops, try these: Monoprix, Tati, and City Pharma, where you can get all your basic travel essentials.
What to Wear in Paris in Spring
A P C merino wool pullover / Pocket blouse / Cotton crew neck sweater / H M rayon blouse / Layering t-shirt / Vince Camuto white double breasted coat / Mango dark wash jeans /Sam Edelman leopard boots / Superga sneaker / Mango glass sunglasses
Weather: Chloe says: Spring in Paris is always unpredictable, so be prepared for anything and pack an item for all the elements.
Packing for Paris: That unpredictable weather means that preparation is key. Have a jacket on hand for cooler days; layering is essential. A stylish light sweater, long sleeve tops, and t-shirts are great to mix and match with long skirts and tailored pants, which you can wear with your favorite comfortable ankle booties.
Maxi dresses are perfect to wear under a light jacket on warmer days. Opt for a dress in figure-flattering black. Parisians love wearing black, so try to produce a wardrobe in black, to which you can add a touch of color with your accessories (your scarf, belts, or handbag.)
And if you want to feel a little more French, pack your prettiest undergarments into your wardrobe. It will leave you feeling glamorous!
What to Wear in Paris in Summer
Madewell eyelet dress / Mango grey top / J Crew drapey top / Rayon top / J Crew keyhole top / Mango flared skirt / J Crew cotton skirt / Vince Camuto keyhole dress / Lucky Brand ankle strap sandals / Sneaker / Vintage eyewear
Weather: Chloe says: summers in Paris can get very hot, but the weather is unpredictable and it can turn chilly. The hottest time of day is mid to late afternoon.
Packing for Paris: For cooler days in June, you’ll need a good pair of jeans in a darker shade, which you can wear tucked into your comfortable ankle booties. Summer is also the time to make use of your wedge sandals, which instantly give your wardrobe a summery touch.
Bring out your dresses! Belted dresses always look feminine and have a great fit. If you prefer a maxi dress or a summery cotton dress, those all work for summer and are a matter of style and preference.
To ensure you are prepared for unpredictable weather, don’t forget your waterproof gear, like a jacket or strong, fold-up umbrella.
Lastly, accessorize with sunglasses, a summer scarf, and jewelry–subtle yet stylish–to give you a touch of color and enhance your skin tone and outfit. Choose jewelry that you’d feel comfortable wearing on holiday (nothing too expensive or flashy) and that reflects your own individuality and sense of style.
What to Wear in Paris in Autumn
Weather: Chloe says: In autumn, the weather is cool and Paris is beautiful. Autumn colors create a picturesque setting; however, as in spring, the seasons are unpredictable.
Packing for Paris: Once again, ankle booties are perfect for autumn weather and will look great teamed with leather pants or dark jeans. Parisians love wearing leather, so use the autumn season to make leather your base. Leather is not only waterproof, but warm, so you will have added protection from the chill. Consider adding a leather jacket and a pair of leather shorts to your wardrobe. (If you don’t like wearing leather, try faux leather.)
Tights or stockings are ideal to wear underneath shorts or belted dresses. They provide some protection from the elements and modesty if you don’t want to bare your legs in the Parisian streets.
Pant jumpsuits are feminine and chic. Pair them with a stylish jacket or tailored blazer for an extra touch of sophistication.
Pack various t-shirts and long sleeve tops to create layers to mix and match your outfits.
And finally, your scarves can add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral wardrobe.
If you think you can’t pack light with leather clothing, check out my post on How to Pack for Europe’s Budget Airlines, where I squeeze in my leather and still fly carryon only!
What to Wear in Paris in Winter
Weather: Chloe says: you can expect cold and wet weather during the winter, with occasional days of sun.
Packing for Paris: The perfect footwear for a colder climate is, of course, boots. Waterproof leather is preferable as it is comfortable and durable; however, faux leather materials can perform a similar function. If you want added warmth, opt for boots with a warm lining like wool.
Tucked into your boots to create the perfect winter look will be your dark jeans or thick trousers. Layering is essential for colder climates, so pack long sleeve tops, a few sweaters, and even a t-shirt or two to wear underneath your heavy fitted jacket or warm coat.
Accessories not only add style to your outfit, but warmth! Opt for long, cashmere or silk scarves in the colors of your choice as well as a stylish hat and fingerless gloves. A pair of black leather gloves can look chic as well.
Since winter in Paris is a wetter season, don’t forget to pack weather-appropriate gear like a waterproof jacket or an umbrella.
A final tip:
Before heading out on your trip, it is very beneficial to learn a few key French phrases. Locals will have a warmer reception to you if you have taken the time to learn simple courtesy.
Drink a Kir Royale, enjoy the sidewalk cafes and museums, window shop, and most importantly, have fun!
Please note: Most of Europe’s budget airlines have this carryon bag allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airline’s individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
SUGGESTED TRAVEL RESOURCES:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring
- Lonely Planet Discover Paris
- Lonely Planet French Phrase Book
- 10-Step Packing Guide for Paris
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
MORE EUROPE PACKING LISTS
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish outfits and travel tips for 9 countries.
We hope this packing list helps you plan what to wear in Paris so you can dress like a local. Don’t forget to share the love on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
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