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What to wear on a trip to Paris

The city of Lights, Love and Chanel

Paris is one of those cities that makes you a bit nervous about your packing list. The home of legendary luxury brands and chic photoshoots in front of the Eiffel Tower requires sartorial respect.

If the thought of strolling through Rue Cambon for the inevitable trip to the home of Coco Chanel gets you both excited and worried about high Paris fashion standards, we’re here to help. Actually, deciding what to wear in Paris is much less dramatic than expected if you follow a few simple rules.

It’s usually the weather that dictates your holiday wardrobe, but in Paris it’s style that comes a step higher. Winter or summer, the wind or rain can get unpredictable, but you still need to look your best. Luckily, parisian chic is a quite understated affair so you don’t need the latest McQueen skull print to blend in.

La Parisienne don’t follow fashion blindly. I mean, really, because she thinks she is the one making the trends! She doesn’t follow trends, she just allows a few in her life.

paris-street-style-what-to-wearPhoto: Street Style at PFW 2014 |

Take a leaf out of al the Chanel runways you’ve seen and tone it down even more. The first simple rule to follow is the cliche “less is more” – more black, that is. Whatever the weather, black is a constant theme in a Parisian’s wardrobe. If it’s not really your colour or you’re visiting in the middle of summer, neutrals are a great option too. A dress in white, beige or any shade of grey will take you from day to evening with little fuss. Jeans are an option for all seasons, as long as they come in a  dark shade and with a classic cut – no distressed bits and no embellishments.

That being said, the French style is très chic, so a day look doesn’t differ much from an evening one – you’re always one pair of heels away from a night out attire. And if you must have a touch of colour, either go for a lively handbag or a versatile scarf, without breaking the ‘3 colours at a time’ rule. Scarfs are particularly popular as they will guard you from unpredictable weather and make for very chic accessories, either tied around your neck or attached to your bag in a nice bow.

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While we’re talking bags, a medium sized should bag will do the trick, giving you liberty to take photos while there’s just enough space for souvenirs. Also, throw a small umbrella in there, just in case. For chilly days and evenings, a cashmere cardigan or a casual blazer will come in handy too, while the cold days of winter require a classy black coat and a nice pair of leather boots.

As a general rule, the obligatory footwear is flat and comfortable, especially if you have a lot of sight seeing planned – cobbled streets are not heel-friendly (although you might get away with a nice pair of wedges) and neither are long touristy walks through the countless gardens of Paris.

Keep in mind that athletic wear of any sort is not acceptable in Paris; you might see the odd Converse-clad teenager but that’s more of an age appropriate exception. Also no flip-flops or tennis shoes, or you’ll stand out quite drastically.

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The basic understated pieces that you’ll pack can be dressed up with some jewellery, but one stylish piece is more than enough, try to limit the bling to either earrings, necklace or bracelet, never a combo. For a day look, the essential accessory are the sunglasses – that’s a must! And to truly blend in, don’t bother with elaborate hairstyles, just sport a chic chignon. Also, keep the make-up to a minimum and sample the local skin care routine.

But what you choose to wear in Paris is just the start of the adventure, check out the best places to visit from our Paris Insider Guides! And for those of you wanna understand La Parisienne I recommend to read the excellent article from Garance Doré.

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One Response to "What to wear on a trip to Paris"

  • Sara85
    March 3, 2015 - 11:30 am

    Nice story, love the Parisienne Style

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