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What to Wear on Your Trip to Paris

How to dress comfortably and chic in the City of Lights.

Paris from above

So you want to dress like a Parisian. I don’t blame you! They’re a properly chic set of humans!

When I visited Paris, I took pains with my wardrobe to make sure it was both comfortable and elegant. To be clear, I wasn’t trying to fool anyone into thinking I was Parisian. I’d never succeed. My French isn’t strong enough for one, and I think there’s something remiss about not wanting to appear like a visitor. Fact is you are a tourist in a foreign country every time you visit one. What you can - and absolutely should - be is a respectful visitor.

In Paris, that means learning a few phrases of French, starting every conversation with a cheerful greeting (a few pleasantries go a LONG way in France), and making an effort to look put together. The last one in particular, taking a little extra care with your appearance, is a thing that the locals will appreciate in the same way a party guest is appreciative when you obey the dress code on the invitation. It shows a level of respect for your environment and your hosts. And looking a little more like the locals means you’ll be less of a target for scammers!

So here’s the things I wore in France that I most recommend for the perfect balance between style and comfort.

a solo traveler in front of a fountain in Paris

#1 - Black Jeans

A black or a dark blue pair of jeans goes a long way in France! I wore, and lived in, my black skinny jeans on my trip to Paris. Sticking with a dark color brings a touch of elegance to your looks, and making them jeans instead of slacks helps keep you comfortable. It’s the perfect balance.

#2 - Elegant Pullover or Cardigan

Think a clean knit sweater or a linen blazer. The goal with this piece is something to keep you warm without looking bulky or overly casual. Pick something that you can wear with multiple outfits (to save space in your luggage) that looks classy. I wore a burgundy knit blazer almost every day in Paris, and it fit the bill perfectly. It was soft and warm, but kept my looks classy and my lines clean.

#3 - Classy but Sturdy Shoes

You will walk a TON in Paris, but a pair of athletic shoes are for sure going to make you stick out. Opt for a pair of classy slip-ons or loafers, or if you’ve visiting in the fall or winter, a tall black boot. I wore my tall boots for my November visit and they kept my feet dry and supported on my long wanders through the city, while keeping my outfits classy.

a street in the Latin Quarter, Paris

#4 - Muted Colors

The French tend to stick to a more muted or neutral color palette in their clothing. Think black and grayscale, browns, navy blues, and jewel tones. You’ll see some pops of color for sure, (I wore a mustard yellow jacket when the temperatures dropped), but keeping it neutral will help you fit right in.

#5 - Not a Beret

Look, I hear you, if you want a photo of yourself in a beret in front of the Eiffel Tower, you should absolutely do that. But don’t wear a beret around Paris expecting that to be the thing that makes you look like a local. With only minor exceptions, nearly every beret I saw in Paris was being worn by a pack of tourists. Wear one if you want, (you do you!) but know that that’s not what’s going to make you blend in.

Figured out what you'll wear in Paris?

Ready to prep your Paris wardrobe?! Remember these rules and you won’t go astray! Clean lines, dark colors, classy shoes that you can walk in. And you’re ready!

Want that glorious Paris wardrobe to fit in a carry on? Subscribe to Arts and Adventures today and you'll receive a FREE Packing Light List: the ultimate guide to packing everything you need and nothing you don't!

Love and Shenanigans,


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