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I know!! It can be so difficult to pick the right outfits for an overseas vacation, cause often peeps are dressed completely differently than at home and it’s never a comfy feeling to be identified as a tourist right away! And this is Paris! The fashion capital! But don’t worry… we live in Paris and we have you covered!
My first advice for everyone traveling to Paris is: Travel light!
- Paris is everything but barrier-free… if you ever dragged an oversized suitcase up and down the stairs in a Metro station, you’ll think twice about every item you pack. Trust me!
- Public transportations are often very full and sometimes it’s even difficult to find a teeny tiny spot for you’re feet to stand on – imagine yourself with a gigantic suitcase… it would be a hopeless mission to take that ride
- you’ll probably buy a few things in Paris anywhere and if you carry a foldable extra bag, you are on the safe side anyway
If you can, travel with a wheeled backpack, its versatility comes very handily when using Paris public transportation. (and gross plus: you’re not risking to roll your bag through stuff you’d prefer not to). By the way, you might be also interested in our very extensive guide on how to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris!
Not up for taking risks in Paris? Check our post about silly mistakes most first-time visitors are doing!
It doesn’t really matter when you come to Paris, as the general baseline is the same in any season: classy, subtle colors, and seemingly effortless.
Parisians are dressed classy but not overly styled. Did you know that most women are not even wearing much Make-up? Pack Mascara and lipstick and you’re good to go, girl!
But let’s do some straight talking: What to really pack to look great in Paris?
What shoes to wear in Paris?
Good news: Paris is a pedestrian town – folks walk: to the metro, to the bar, to the supermarket, and to a job. Many Parisians don’t even own a car or getting a driver’s license! Hence, the shoes to wear in Paris are flats or sneakers. Everybody does it and it’s completely normal and appropriate If you’re wondering which are the best walking shoes for Paris, well, that’s easy: You are good to do go with any fashionable sneakers. Just do not wear running shoes – unless you’re running. For real, like in a park on Sunday morning or if you are on the way to the gym.
Check also our post about the best walking shoes for Paris! Click here to find it!
As good as you can wear any fashionable sneakers in Paris during the day, you can completely wear them in the evening as well. Especially if you’re going to bars, pubs, and midrange restaurants. If your agenda is a little bit fancier, flats are still appropriate (isn’t that awesome?!)
Which bag is best for your Paris trip?
Keep it simple and do it like the Parisians 🙂 Most women are just carrying a little handbag -and a tote bag as backup. Alternatively, you can also use a backpack.
The backpack clearly has a strong point as it’s a versatile travel item that comes in handy as well during flights or train rides. However, if you prefer a sporty or fashionable backpack like the Kanken from Fjallraven (which I see very often in Paris… on my self for example :)), I’d suggest packing also a little evening handbag, especially if you plan to go out.
What to wear in Paris?
First of all, and I can’t stress this out enough – no one really cares about what you’re wearing.
If you decide to go full sporty with running shoes and sweat pants: please do if it makes you feel good and happy and if this is your style. This post is not supposed to tell you how you HAVE to dress when you’re in Paris – it’s rather a suggestion based on my daily observations and experiences on how to move around “undercover”, how to mingle best. How to dress like an everyday Parisienne. But really, no one cares if you don’t 🙂
How to dress in Paris – some general tendencies
The following list gives you a general idea of what you could pack for your Paris trip and what kind of items you are on the safe side.
– Are you wondering how the weather will be when you are visiting Paris? Check out our Paris for first-timers post and be prepped for any season!
Packing for a trip to Paris is pretty easy as the perfect Paris outfits are perfect for capsule packing. As mentioned earlier, the fashion in Paris is rather simple and discreet, yet classy. Pack a few basics, stick to subtle colors like black, white, blue, and grey and dress it up with a few well-placed accessories and you are perfectly dressed for Paris!
But let me go a bit into details:
You can’t do anything wrong with a pair of skinny jeans and cropped pants. Both are very versatile and can be easily up – or down-dressed depending on shoes and accessories.
If you’re not traveling in winter, you are good to go with an oversized blazer or a cardigan. However, it can be a bit chilly from time to time and if you’re traveling in mid-season I recommend you pack a down jacket – just in case.
Personally, I love my Ultra Light Down Jacket – it’s not taking much place in my luggage and it keeps me nicely warm if needed. The best about it is that I can wear it under my normal jacket, it’s not ruining my outfit but keeps me warm!
If you don’t have one already, you really should think about getting one, they are super handy – not only for Paris. Click here to see all down jackets on Amazon
Parisians aren’t fond of flashy colors – black, white, and grey are always a safe bet and they are making a perfect choice for capsule packing. Pack a shirt per day plus one or two fancy tops if you want to go out. Pack also a pullover, it can always get chilly and windy.
If you are traveling from November to April, pack at least 2 pullovers, and don’t forget your scarf, hat, and proper winter jacket! (or do like many here: wear a medium warm jacket and upgrade it with an Ultra Light Down Jacket!
You won’t see much bling bling in Paris – neither in jewelry nor clothing – Parisians like it classy and simple. Necklace, ring, belt, handbag, and fancy sunglasses and you’ve got the perfect accessories for your Parisian wardrobe. Sunglasses are a must though!
What NOT to wear in Paris?
If you want to mingle, the following items better stay home 🙂
- uncomfortable shoes and high heels
- bling bling jewelry
- clothes with bling bling application
- half of your make up
- sportswear – unless you wanna go for a run
What could MEN wear when traveling to Paris?
You won’t be surprised that the Parisian wardrobe for men is quite lighter and less .. complicated. Of course, there are exceptions but most men are keeping it simple. If you are packing for Paris, you should pack some (slim) jeans and chinos, some button-down shirts and t-shirts and/or polos, and some sneakers. If you want to go out in the evening, a pair of leather shoes can’t hurt.
Is there something men should not wear in Paris?
Again, and I really want to stress this out, you can, of course, wear what you want and whatever makes you feel comfortable. This is not a dress code, just a suggestion on how to dress like a local – and how to dress if you want to mingle without being recognized as a tourist right away.
so, what not to wear in Paris! As a man, you should leave all the bulky clothes at home. In the US it’s common to wear sweatpants and large shirts but that’s not really a thing in Paris. Men dress a rather slim flit, so leave your oversized shorts and shirts at home 🙂 Sweatpants or running shoes are also rarely seen elsewhere than in parks and gyms.
I hope this guide helps you when packing your bags to visit Paris. Please keep in mind that my packing guide is a general suggestion and not really aimed at a specific season. Upgrade it with a winter coat, a rain jacket, or tights.. or with a few summer dresses and shorts. If you need more inspiration, you can also take a look at our or more general Paris packing guides.