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What to Wear in Paris?

Traveling to Paris soon? Wondering what to wear in Paris? Living in France for a time I’ve always loved how French people dress, especially Parisians. But I read an article recently that said that some Japanese visitors were sad when they traveled to Paris. They called it, the Paris Syndrome, and it can happen to visitors from all countries but happens specifically to Japanese because Parisian fashion is idealized in Japanese advertising. Many Japanese truly believe that people in Paris all wear high-end brands and most look like fashion models. Is that true?

My first time in Paris I was actually ashamed with what I wore but I had no choice. I was 10 and I remember that I didn’t want to go to Paris wearing sweats like my mother had made me. Looking back on it, I’m sure it didn’t matter, but I always had the ideal that Paris is like New York. You just don’t show up in sweats and a collegiate t-shirt!

The truth is, of course, that it’s actually very rare Parisians wear high-end brands. However, they do make an effort to put together a stylish look. If you’re an American who loves to wear sweats and a collegiate t-shirt than you will surely stand out. By no means is this post meant to hate on Americans but rather to explain the Parisian style and what to wear in Paris if traveling there. I do feel it’s important, if traveling to a city, to respect whatever is normal for the people you’re visiting. So if in Paris, dress like Parisians do.

What to Wear in Paris?

Sophistication, Simplicity and Style are the 3 words that come to mind when thinking of the Parisian mindset on fashion. Parisians love anything that is fitted, great quality and has simple colors; sticking to mostly neutral, non-flashy or black. The goal is to keep your style effortless, modern, attractive, somewhat sexy but not overly sexual.

Women are wearing high-heels, flats, boots, jeans, dresses, skirts, pant suits, peacoats, cardigans, sunglasses, hand bags, fitted thin shirts and scarves. Make up is usually light and only is meant to enhance not to cover up. Girls want to look ‘naturally’ pretty and nothing should be overdone. Neutral patterns and colors are popular because it’s more slimming and flattering but over the top patterns are not.

The average Parisian women does not show too much skin and likes to keep her look like it was effortless. No caked on make-up or anything that would feel or look unflattering.

Men are comfortable wearing dress shoes, boots, sperry type of shoes, converses, dress pants, jeans, fitted blazers, jackets, suits, fitted t-shirts, peacoats, fitted collared shirts, ties and scarves. Notice I said fitted because the average Parisian male wouldn’t wear clothing that is too bulky. Dress shoes, sperry’s or boots are more popular than tennis shoes.

Scarves are also popular in the winter months and used to enhance an outfit and to keep warm. Bright colors are usually not worn and just like women, men like to have neutral colors. The rugged but fitted look is popular. Accessories are kept to a minimum for men. Stick with dark leather belts, a leather bag or sack, sunglasses, watches or wristbands.

Season to Season

The French ideal is to have summer and winter clothes that easily transition from one season to the next. Clothes that can be mixed and matched with one another for the entire year.

In Fall temperatures begin to drop and heavier materials come out like jackets, dark jeans, wool, and boots. However it fluctuates and it may be necessary only to wear a light jacket with some flats to be comfortable. Paris in Fall isn’t too extreme, although it can be chilly. Black, browns, blue are always a good go to for the French population. This is more like light sweater and light jacket weather. If you’re looking to be more creative and artsy with your wardrobe, pop in some bright colors to stand out.

In Winter most men and women wear some sort of combination of black or gray pea-coat, dress pants, tights, jeans, scarves, boots or high heels. Fitted cardigans or sweaters are favorites. Wool is a good insulator of the chilly winds and snows that Paris gets sometimes. When walking down a street during winter you usually see a sea of black pea-coats because black is a color that works with most items of clothing and is very functional. Parisians try to buy clothes that are easy to wear and will last. Most men and women wear scarves or some type of hat to keep warm. Jeans are popular but office workers will wear fitted dress pants with dress shoes. When traveling to Paris during the winter keep your style simple, neutral and black and functional.

In Spring it can be quite chilly in Paris or can be very warm. This season is the hardest to predict in terms of what to pack but I suggest some dark jeans mixed with brighter tops, lighter scarves, and if it’s warmer some dresses, shorts, blouses, and skirts.

Parisian women really like to bring out the colors so don’t be afraid to shed the grays and black. Florals may be cliché but they are popular in spring. Because the weather is a mixed bag you may be wearing a pea-coat or a jacket so don’t be afraid to bring a light-colored coat. The range for shoes is clear in these months and it may be cold enough to wear boots or warm enough to wear sandals, high heels or even flats.

What to Wear in Paris - Florals for spring

It’s more or less the same with men with the exceptions of florals. You will see a more casual to preppy look ranging from short sleeves, to a light jacket. In recent years looks from the USA like a jean jacket have been popular with men. Like the women, men are not afraid to add some color and they probably do it more often than American men. Men prefer low heeled boots, sperry’s, converses, or leather sandals if it’s warm.

What to Wear in Paris - Mens casual American look

Both men and women rarely wear tennis shoes in public unless working out.

In Summer go with more colorful clothing but don’t go over the top. Neutral colors mixed with brighter colors work well and hand bags, sunglasses and one type of jewelry could be added.

By June it’s usually warm enough to shed the jackets and coats and start to wear more short sleeves, shorts, and lighter colors. Because Paris is pretty chilly for much of the year, Parisian women take advantage of the short summer months and like to show off patterns, prints and textures. Don’t be afraid to add color to your outfit. Summer you won’t see many brown or black leather boots, it’s just too warm, but rather a lot of high heels, flats, and sandals.

What to Wear in Paris - Stripes for a spring and summer look

For men it’s the same with jackets and darker colors. Usually men like to wear short sleeves, polos, fitted t-shirts and shirts as well as fitted shorts and jeans. Style is still kept and there should be some color and patterns in the wardrobe. Stick with shoes like converse, sperry’s, and low heeled boots. Men around this time rarely wear heavy leather boots but it’s okay if you plan to be fancy and have a nice meal out, etc…

What to Wear in Paris - Mens summer casual stripes

In a city like Paris, it’s okay to add some color in your wardrobe in the summer. It can be hot walking around and so it’s wiser to walk around in something with lighter color; an outfit that doesn’t include heavy materials.

Parisians like fitting jeans and dress pants instead of the loose bagging ones preferred in the US. This keeps the look classic, making sure there is an ease of flow and comfort. Parisians understand that dressing correctly is essential in everyday life and you wouldn’t want to go to your job looking outdated and frumpy. And no creases! The look is simple, stylish, straightforward and owning your style and outfit is necessary. Confidence is key!

When traveling to Paris, dump your collegiate wear or anything that screams loud and lazy. No sweats! Scarves are always a great add-on for both men and women.

Also Parisian men and women wear cologne or perfume. Cologne and perfume are extremely popular in Paris and there is way more variety to choose from. It’s the way cologne and perfume makes you feel that is important. Just one spray or two.

Le Look

Surprisingly Paris is rather conformed and uniformed with their looks. Black is very popular and there is a reason the French like it. It hides unflattering parts more and works well with most colors. Parisians don’t wear too much jewelry and Parisians select favorite pieces that are not overly flashy and flow with the outfit. Too much jewelry is not necessary.

Women like to accessorize with pearls, diamonds, necklaces, watches, headband, sunglasses, and a handbag of course. For men keep it simple with something like a bracelet, necklaces, wallets, ties, type of leather or duffel bag or a belt.

Men carry around more leather bags or duffel bags compared to the US so perhaps think about adding a bag to your look. Only wear a few of these items at one time and no sports shoes.

Look Parisian?

Some Parisians may wear high-end brands but the most wear everyday clothes from their favorite department stores or clothing stores, like

  • Le Printemps
  • The Kooples
  • BHV
  • Le Bon Marché
  • Etam
  • Jules
  • Chanel
  • Yves St. Laurent
  • Lacoste
  • Longchamp
  • Decathlon
  • Sandro

Rarely do I hear Parisians buying high-end items but if they do they make sure they will actually use it. And always quality over quantity!! It’s better to have few quality items than a lot of cheap items. It’s absurd to buy such an expensive item and never use it.

If the clothing doesn’t fit right on the body then don’t wear it. Also think about how many times you will wear the piece of clothing and if can you combine it to work with other pieces of clothes? Functionality is important and your whole wardrobe should fit with your entire style.

In Basic

Sophistication, simplicity and effortless style is key. Only buy a piece that will flow with multiple outfits and only spend money on pieces that won’t get damaged easily and that you love. Basic shirts and pants try to buy cheaply. Dump anything messy, mediocre and that you don’t love. You must feel comfortable with what you’re wearing and have confidence.

Parisian men and women like to wear a refined, modern look that is easy to buy, wear and put on as well as looks great in the streets. If you’re trying a look that feels too over the top, then it probably is. Only buy items that work with other parts of your collection and only buy form-fitting, neutral colors with a little pop of color. Remember that if you aren’t going to wear it because it isn’t functional or stylish don’t even waste your time buying it. Contact me if you have any questions or leave a comment below. Feel free to share!

 

 

 

images by: jason, jason, jason, luc, anw.fr, plewicki, plewicki, plewicki, bob, fervente, dusty roses, lacedresses, voguemagz, fashionhoob, details, parisfashionweek, tommy ton, fashionhoob.com

88 comments

  1. Hi, I feel you have captured the essence of Parisian dress very well! I try to visit at least twice a year, but stress about it every time, lol. I try to blend in as much as possible, but as I am a little chunkier than les femmes in Paris, I stand out anyway! Thanks for a great post. :)

  2. My husband has a couple of Brooks Brothers collared shirts that are bright orange and pink checked. Would this be too bright for Paris in August/September?

  3. Another question, please…Is the same true for women? I have a bright salmon-colored thin sweater. Is this okay to wear with a black skirt and shoes (Aug/Sept)?

    • Yes in the summer it’s perfectly fine to where bright colored shirts for both men and women. Yes I think a black skirt and flats would work well. Just make sure they don’t clash too much where you have a bold black skirt and a bright light top!

  4. Leaving this weekend for Paris. Trying to decide whether to bring boots…will ladies be wearing boots the first week of September, do you think?

    • I say probably not. They take a view where if it’s summer they are probably wearing more flats and comfortable shoes since they wear boots for most of the seasons. However if you have some really great looking boots that go great with jeans, why not? Do you plan on going out at night? I actually wore boots last time I went and just wore them with jeans and a nice shirt. But if it’s warm you may be better with “lighter” shoes because boots can be a lot to take in your luggage.

  5. I’ll be leaving for Paris in a little over a week. I’ve looked online to get some ideas on what to take in mid-September, however, I get a mix of details on wear and weather. I know it’s a lot to ask, but do you have any advice on how to narrow it all down when it comes to clothes and avoid over packing?

    • Well it depends on how long you are going but I always travel with an international carry on which limits over packing by a lot. I also use Flight 001 Space Pack… Go to Flight 001 store online or if you live in the an area you can check it out. It helps organize your bag. But organizing your luggage and limiting how many pants, shoes and shirts really helps out. Also go to my resource tab and look at my Travel Light page, it has a lot of great advice.

      My general advice is carry just 1 or 2 jackets. Have one nice pair of shoes and then another more casual pair. Mix and matching go a long way and help to limit over packing. Don’t be afraid to layer as well and generally stick with on pair to 2 pair of jeans. You just don’t need that many! Consciously force yourself to take out things that you know you won’t wear or you may wear for only a couple of hours! Good luck!

  6. Genius! Can you pls recommend me what brand to wear when I’m coming to Paris at the end of November until mid December? Thanks a lot.

    • Well no particular brand, it’s always about the style and look and if you can get that down that you’ll be set. Where do you live and what are you shopping for?

  7. I am a woman ” of a certain age” off to Paris for a few weeks early Oct. I just bought a pair of straight leg jeans which have to be shortened. Unfortunately I can’t wear high heels or fancy flats but have a pair of black suede lace up flats ( a bit heavy looking). Do you have any idea on length, I am not very tall. Love this site – just discovered it!

    • Thanks for the support and your comment! They definitely do not do baggy over there so the goal, especially for women, is to have a more straight jean. You want your jean to rest on the shoe and not have any crumpling or “stacking.” It should be form fitting and straight down to the shoe. Remember Oct it starts to get cold so always wear appropriate socks to pull off the look!

      • Just back, fab trip. Your advice was right on. P.s. Love the men wearing scarves, very sexy. They are doing that in Montreal more & more.

      • Congrats on your trip; Isn’t Paris great! And yes the men are very cute with their scarves and cute outfits. I’ve been to Montreal once in the winter and I saw a lot of men wearing heavy scarves and jackets.

  8. Thanks for this very informative article. I will be in Paris in the first two weeks of October. I’m planning to pack a pair of boots and wear them with black knee high socks and skirts / dresses. What’s your take on this look?

    • Fall time in Paris, black is perfect! Boots are also popular at this time of year and it will be chilly through most of the day so boots with a light jacket will be fine.

  9. I am traveling to Paris in mid December, and then traveling to the south of France, leaving back to California on Christmas Day and have been reading up on Paris the fashion tips to prepare for the cold and wet. I want to be comfortable in shoes to do all the walking and know I need to find waterproof boots. I have never found any pairs of comfortable shoes as I have really narrow feet and shoes are always a problem. I know I need to pack light as well and stay warm. As I am a pants person, do you have a recommended winter boot that are comfortable and will keep my feet dry? I will be buying some dark slim jeans to tuck into the boots bc I think that is really my only option for mid to end of December? Love your blog!
    Katie

    • Hi Katie,

      Sounds like you’re on the right track with the jeans. Dark is the way to go, especially in the winter. And you’re right. Paris in the winter time can just be downright cold and drafty. So I’m not sure what nationality you are but you shouldn’t buy a NorthFace jacket. That look is not stylish in Paris and will definitely make you stand out. What you should find is a nice black winter pea-coat. I love stores like All Saints (pricey) but you could find a very stylish pea coat from stores like Express, Macy’s, Jcpennys, etc. Women really have many options. Again you could go for some color but you’ll find most women wear black or dark colors in the winter. Also think about a nice grey or unique scarf to layer with. Styling with a scarf is both comfortable and fashionable. Now boots can be hard but try stores like Nordstroms (because you have narrow feet, so do I) if you’re in the USA or shop online on like Amazon, Zappos, department stores, or if you have a brand in mine… With leather boots it’s better to buy the more pricey brands because they are just better quality, last longer, stylish, and will be comfortable to wear all day long. They will make the difference. Remember to not push yourself too hard when walking around. The truth is, your options are limited but you can narrow your search down but specifically looking at “narrow boots” on the websites I mentioned. You’re probably going to have to pay more and go with a brand that you may have not heard of before so perhaps go to a store first, then try online with a company where you know you can return them. You have until December. I took a glance and it seems brands like Bella-Vita, Naturalizer, Clarks, Munro, etc all specialize in womens narrow boots! I hope this helps!

  10. I’m glad I stumbled onto this site. Thanks for the tips. I’ll be going in late November with my sixteen year old daughter for five days. Just a dad/daughter trip. This site will be a big help. I don’t want to be the ugly American, haha. I love the French and their devotion to America (our first and oldest ally). Great culture and people. This will be my first time in Europe.

    • Thank you so much for your support and for reading! And have fun in Paris with your daughter, it’s truly a lovely experience, especially your first time. And it is true, France is our oldest ally!!

  11. I’m so glad I stumbled across your site. I’m grateful for the information. I’m 50 (but not a frumpy 50 at all) and am going to Paris, Provence, Champagne, and Nice in June 2016 with my daughter. I’m so concerned about shoes and a jacket. Are black flat booties okay to wear during the day while walking/touring…even with dresses? Also, is a denim jacket to “American” or casual to wear? I live constantly with mine here in the states but not sure how it would work in France. Thank you for any input you can give.

    • Hi there and thanks for stumbling on my website! Yes absolutely you can wear black flat booties. They are stylish enough and blend in with the general look. Yes and your denim jacket could be worn and there is definitely a current trend in France to borrow more American style. However it’s not too common yet so you may stand out but I don’t think in a bad way if done properly. Btw those all sound like great places to visit! Have fun.

  12. Hi Shawn, Leaving for Paris with my wife tomorrow. Before I do my final packing, do I need to bring a wool coat or heavier jacket this time of year or will a blazer layered be fine? Mostly concerned with evening strolls. Thanks

    • Blazer layered should be fine at this time of the year. Although you could wear wool since Paris can be damp I don’t think it’s necessary. Looks like this week highs are in the 60’s during the day and 50’s at night. Walking around can get people hot so I think you’ll be fine with some layers. No need for anything heavy.

  13. Thank you for your comments…they are mostly spot on! But – I have a pet peeve. Why is that drop down blue thingy always dropping down when reading posts…actually bloody annoying!!! Otherwise your blog is insightful.

  14. So I realize it’s a bit sporty – but I have Teva Capistrano boots and they are black and waterproof – if I pair them with tights, black or gray jeans, do you think they won’t look too out of place in early December in Paris? Honestly?

  15. Good day, I am going to Paris in July and I am a slim tone military guy. I love black, grey, cream and yellow colors. I am a fan of Burberry. I am African American male and want to know what is proper or best for me to wear.

    • Blacks and greys are always in in Paris however since you’re going in the summer some color is great. You won’t need a burberry scarf but perhaps a jacket. Colors are fine in the summer but I feel the French like a more muted look instead of vivid colors (like bright reds or yellows). Also make sure your clothes are form fitting. So nothing oversized! Converse shoes or sperry type of shoes are a good idea. Anything that is comfortable to walk around in because it will be on the warm side. Muted tones for shoes are also popular.

  16. I have light to medium brown pants and yellow and cream colored shirts for evening events. Also converse, several colors and skinny jeans, several types. I am around 140lbs so all of my clothes are form fitting. Different types of polo shirts from diesel to Abercrombie. Thanks for the advance tips on what to wear in paris

    • You’re welcome. Typically the French don’t go for obscene colors and love to keep it pretty straight forward, simple with a touch of style. Skinny jeans and converse will be a good fit.

  17. I’m plannin to backpack across Europe starting with Paris/France and some other countries in Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland) around mid August to the End of September in 2016. Would it be ok to those hot (jeans) shorts and sleevless tshirts? What kind of clothes do I need so that I blend in with the locals and also dont over pack?

    • Yes it will be fine. I think jeans are always a good idea, even in August. August tends to be the warmest for Europe so I would pack some shorts as well. You will find women and men wearing shorts, jeans, dresses and slacks. It’s summer and in Europe there is only a few months where they can enjoy it. So you better believe they will be out with shorts and short sleeves. You’ll be fine with collared shirts, blouses, some t-shirts, jeans, shorts, etc.

  18. My first trip to Paris is coming up and with far too much notice. As a 5’9″ 165 lb American I am scared to death about how I might present. I am only in town for a few days for business so there won’t be much out and about time. I’m thinking sleek black skinny pants, neutral silk blouse, and blazer for one day with black booties and simple pearls for day one. Black pencil skirt, deep red loose silk blouse, unsure on the top cover (black blazer again or open flowing long cardigan), and silver jewelry with black silk pumps. The relaxed Parisian I can grasp. It’s more the office Parisian and large speaking engagement group I am concerned about. Ugh!

    • Don’t stress! I think what you have will be fine. Remember the French style is classic and timeless but that doesn’t mean necessarily over the top! Black is always a great choice, especially in winter but remember simplicity is the key. They love straight lines and non clashing colors. Flow is important. I think what you have will work.

  19. Paris in late March to visit my tres chic friends. I just bought a knee length, wool, nipped waist Brooks Brothers coat, which I adore. I am always cold, I should add. Black jeans, neutral shirt, showing a tee, and the ubiquitous assortment of cotton ? scarves. I like the sporty scarves combined with the more formal dress coat for style and warmth. If the weather in Paris and/or Strasbourg, another stop, should get warm, I,ll layer up. Thanks, in advance, for your help. Great site.

    • Hey there, sorry for the delay, I have been traveling a lot lately. It sounds like you have the right idea. Comfortable yet stylish. Remember that you will be walking around a lot and it’s not necessary to over do with too much style. Black and neutral colors are always a good idea, at least for a base and then throw on some color with a scarf of some kind of accessory. In March northern France is still somewhat cold but it sounds like you’re preparing for that. Sounds like you’re in the right direction. Have fun!

  20. I am going to Paris this Saturday and we plan to do a lot of walking instead of riding. I read that it is OK to wear sneakers during the day as long as they are black. A Swiss friend suggested I get some black Puma’s and they would fit in fine. What are your thoughts?

    • Yeah I mean even on top of that, as long as they are stylish. Black is a good color because it doesn’t look out of place. The French wear a lot of black. It’s rare to see a Parisian in tennis shoes. But yeah if it’s stylish and works for the outfit and is comfortable; that works.

  21. great tips thanks Shawn. Basically don’t look like you are from the westside of Indianapolis, Indiana. :-) Pretty easy !

  22. Traveling to Paris in late April with my wife and kids and I’m a bit unsure of what to wear. I definitely prefer to wear a t-shirt or polo with jeans and tennis shoes (new balance). A bit chunky so I’m self conscious about tight fitting shirts and such and don’t have much style sense and generally very self-conscious in button-downs and the like. Any ideas, particularly on the shirts and shoes? going shopping this weekend, so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi, yes well I wouldn’t encourage you to wear tennis shoes but a polo and jeans are fine. If you can find some nice shoes like sperrys, boots, chukkas and match that with the jeans and polo or a t-shirt, it can be a nice look. I do like button downs and you’ll see that a lot in France but it’s not for everybody. Nothing has to be too tight fitting, just as long as it fits appropriately with your body type. You’ll see all different types over there as well but the difference is that they wear nothing too loose, a lot of grays and black with a mix of some color, and generally dress more of what we think as “work casual,” even in everyday casual life. T-Shirts are fine, just make sure you don’t wear anything too flashy, like collegiate wear or you will stand out as foreigner. Remember it will be April and still cold weather. You may need a coat or jacket. Look at the weather before traveling.

  23. Hi! Traveling to Paris late May, early June- 3 days in Paris, then riverboat down the Siene, then to Lourdes. I have no idea what to pack/wear! mom of 4 in my late earlies! any suggestions you can make will be so much appreciated- my traveling companions say dresses!? I”m more of a mix and match- gives me more options- but I will do either! Help! and thank you! have a great day, Eileen

    • Hi Eileen,

      Dresses are easy to do and if done right can look great. Modern French women wear a lot of varieties to be honest. I’ve seen jeans on the more casual end. Woman in France also like black so perhaps some black pants? Shorts are common but only in casual settings and when it’s warm. Which I think in July will be warm.

      Dresses are pretty popular and I have a lot in my photos. I’ve seen a lot of woman wear them and I think they are stylish. A certain amount of comfort is expected but I wouldn’t wear tennis shoes or sneakers ever. They love layers, so anything with a good pattern underneath with a nice solid color on the outside will work. Greys, white and blacks are popular in France and then the women add a touch of color. Boots are pretty common but in the summer sandals are an option for shoes. Also some type of flat. Don’t be afraid of adding some color. French style is all about simple and chic. They love good form fitting clothes that drape well on the body. If anything that is the most important. Nobody wants to look frumpy.

  24. Oh my goodness! I love reading all of your responses and advice. You are so kind! I am 29 and consider myself fairly fashionable. My feet are pretty flat so wearing anything with a heal is unfortunately, out of the question for me when walking around a city.

    I had two questions. First, should I leave my white converse high tops at home? I would pair them with jeans, a blazer, scarf, and white or striped tee possibly. Second, I have a matching boucle two piece (high waisted shorts and a boxy top) that look conservative yet fun. Both pieces are fashionable but I read that shorts are usually not a good way to go either. I would wear my collarless grey coat with this outfit and some grey pointy flats. Any advice? At the end of the day, I guess shouldn’t care so much…but I do. :)

    • Sorry for the late reply! I have been busy planning other adventures in my life!

      No I don’t think white converses are a bad idea at all. That is better than sneakers. I think you have the right idea in terms of matching them.

      Well it depends on the weather with shorts. I don’t see anything wrong with shorts, especially in the summer, because French women do in fact wear them. Now I wouldn’t wear them to fancy places but during the day while you’re touring, there is nothing wrong with those! It’s just that it can remain quite chilly for long periods of time.

      Neutral colors are always a go to for me. I’m very visual with the looks that I love so I tend to like grays, white and blacks together and honestly so do the French. However Spring and Summer, people start wearing more colors and temperatures fluctuate all the time. Just be aware of that. There is nothing wrong with a stylish grey coat mixed with grey pointy flats. As long you’re comfortable walking all day.

      I’m also a big fan of scarves and French woman love them. From soft ones to thick ones. They were them a lot and I think it adds more sophistication when you want it!!

  25. such a great article! the best one i’ve found while searching to prepare for our trip. thanks so much for sharing!

  26. I second Luci’s question about white Converse…This spring American websites are pushing white sneakers like Chucks or Sperrys. I don’t mean white running/athletic shoes. You have a photo of a woman in a dress and white Chucks. So are those OK?

    Also, what about shorts?

    • Yes I think so. I can’t see why not. If you have to sacrifice a little bit of style for comfort, that’s okay in my book. I don’t think tourists are expected to wear high heels all day but yeah some thing with a little bit of style and comfort like chucks, sperrys or converse are ok.

  27. Hi Shawn, I am so glad I stumbled upon your site!!
    I am travelling to Paris in July, and am on the larger side (UK 16). I have a lot of neutral coloured (plain solid colored) tunics and dresses that are knee length that I plan to carry. I wanted to know a couple of things that could help me pack.

    Firstly, do you think it will get chilly in the evenings, enough for me to carry a jacket of some sort?

    And also, since I cant wear heels, would VANS/KEDS sneakers or ankle boots be ok to wear? I mean these arent my running shoes or anything.. just comfy sneakers that I can walk in.

    • These all should be good. Remember that Paris is all about walking so I do think it’s important to wear comfortable shoes.

      And yes it can get chilly at night. Can but in July it’s usually warm. You’re from the UK so I think you’re weather is a little cooler than Paris and what most Americans expect. For me it would be chilly but for you it may not. I say probably a light jacket or maybe nothing at all. Actually I was in Paris in July and I wore a blazer some night and was totally fine.

      Yes all those are good to wear but make sure the style flows together and fits comfortably on you. Things that don’t fit well will be uncomfortable to wear all day and not worth the hassle. Style is important but it also has to be comfortable which is the hardest to fine. I recommend buying shoes and walking a lot to test it out first. Like I said make sure the colors are not clashing. The French like easy sophistication.

  28. Found your article just in time for my trip. A quick question though, is it more preferable to wear Sperrys or Converse Chuck Taylors?

  29. Hi shawn , iam traveling to paris in may 1 to may 13 2016 , how the weather, is it okay to wear dresses or short around this time, or is it to cold, thanks

  30. Hi Shawn, I will be visiting Paris in June 2 – 7 and I am wondering if my black suede Mephisto cross walking shoes would considered appropriate. They have a more low key appearance.
    Thanks so much!

  31. BRIAN ANDREW BUTTERY

    Hi Shawn
    Are Birkenstock sandals OK for daytime in Paris? (July)

  32. Hello, I’ve enjoyed reading though all of the questions and responses. My husband and I are going on a Mediterranean cruise (Rome to Barcelona )) starting mid Sept followed by a post cruise trip to Switzerland and then to Paris on the 25th of Sept until Oct. 7th to visit friends. We each will have a 24 inch checked suitcase & a carry all bag. We plan to fit all of the items we will need for the entire trip in these.
    We’d appreciate any suggestions what to pack for after cruise trip as we transition from cruise wear to colder weather. Thank you.

    • Well this is actually how I travel most of the time. I carry a SpacePak organizer and it has changed my life! Cold weather can be somewhat of a problem but how I deal with this is pack clothes that can be reworn several times. Because with little luggage, it’s harder to fit bulky sweaters and jackets. Oh and I always wear my colder weather gear on the plane or at least try to. So the jackets, boots, etc. I know kind of annoying but panes are mostly cold anyways. Also I invest in things like NorthFace and Uniqlos’ jackets that can be rolled up and placed into a bag. They are space savers, fashionable enough and most importantly keep you warm. Also really try to limit the amount of shoes, socks, belts and jeans that you bring. For the most part you’ll only need a limited amount of those. Bringing thin sweaters are a good idea, especially when you feel cold. Smart organizing is what you’re after. Those SpacePak organizers are a life saver.

      • Great suggestions . Thanks. BTW we’re both in our 60s & I still wear skinny pants & planning to bring a pair as well as a cashmere sweater for Switzerland & Paris since we’re visiting Brittany & Normandy 1st week of Oct. Are skinny jeans ok ?

      • Yes skinny jeans are great!

  33. Of all the articles I’ve read on what to wear in Paris, yours is by far the best. My son and I will be traveling to London & Paris at the end of the summer to celebrate his 16th birthday. I’m not concerned about what I will be wearing as I live in NYC and do have some fashion sense. My problem is my boy. All he wants to wear are his old stretched out high tops, t-shirts and those so-very-ugly basketball shiny shorts in bright colors. Any ideas?

    • First thank you very much for your comment. That’s very nice. Yes boys, especially young boys, are probably harder to dress. Plain and simple, he will stand out. As Americans we already tend to stand out but perhaps you can introduce slightly different outfits, like the ones above over the summer. French young men wear just tighter clothing all around, I say more fitted. My suggestion is definitely take out the shiny shorts. T-shirts if done right are alright, especially if it’s hot. I wear them all the time in France. The high tops are but definitely invest in a solid, well fitting jeans and new shorts from the stores listed above. It’s not like he has to go fully for the European look, even I don’t fully. But it is about finding appropriate clothing to wear on your vacation.

  34. Hello i will be traveling to Paris at the summer in july and i want take photograph package wear black dress an black tights and suede floppy hat with chanel handbug do you think İts ok in summer and if its not what do you prefer ?

    • Black dress may be hot to wear for the entire day. July I think is the 2nd warmest month if not the warmest in Paris. Nothing wrong with that look. Black is always in, in Paris.

  35. Great article Shawn, and very helpful! I am visiting Paris at the end of August and wanted to know what men and women in their 40’s might wear to restaurants at night. Not fancy restaurants, just a mid level place. Would darker blue jeans be OK w/ a blouse for me and a dress shirt for the hubby?

    • Yes darker blue jeans are perfectly fine at a mid level place. Blouse or Dress shirt is great too. I wear a dress shirt for most of my time in Paris.

  36. Sheenah Dior Benjamin

    Hi! I will be traveling to paris in July 2016. I have an idea on how to dress in the daytime but I’m undecided on what to wear for nighttime, going out to a club, bar, or lounge. How do the women in Paris dress at night when going out? Do they wear flats or heels with their dresses or skirts? Thanks for your advice

    • I see a lot of both but I’d say majority is heels. I know that when going out, especially to a nice club or bar, heels are preferred. Doesn’t mean you must wear heels though!

  37. I’ve not read anything about white jeans–would they be acceptable, or should I bring black jeans, instead? We are traveling to Paris next week. Also, do you have any advice for nail color? I’ll get a mani/pedi before we go, but want to choose a color that won’t stand out. Thanks!

  38. Hmmm, after going there in June, I wouldn’t be so keen on white jeans as they would get dirty and as for the nails, keep them au naturale… Parisian women like theirs that way. Made it that much simpler for me!

  39. I’m traveling to Paris the 1st week in August for 5 days. Please tell me if wearing white low top Chuck Taylor converse is acceptable. I need comfort for walking around Paris during the day.
    Appreciate your guidance or other suggestions if converse is not a good choice.

  40. While I was there in July, I saw that most guys wearing various combinations of black, navy blue, pink, and khaki colors. Some wore jeans, others wore chinos, either long or as shorts in each case. The long pants (whether chinos or jeans) seemed to always be cuffed (rolled) at the bottom, and the shorts were as well, whether they were jeans or chinos. Shorts seemed to be at knee length or slightly below the knee, even after being rolled. Shirts seemed to be fitted, and either short-sleeved or if long-sleeved, rolled up around the elbow. The sperry shoes seemed to be very popular. I had three pairs of shoes with me: my Birkenstock milano dark brown leather sandals, my Birkenstock black leather shoes, and my Ecco brown casual shoes. I had two small-patterned long-sleeved plaid shirts with me, which I found to be extremely popular, as were my brown chinos and dark blue Apt. 9 jeans. I bought a lot of clothes at Le Printemps and Celio, some of which I shipped home unless I was planning to wear them while I was there.

  41. I’m off to Paris in mid-October for a whirlwind week of sightseeing. I am in my mid-50s. I wear black leggings with tall boots ( 1-2 inch heels–I’m already 5′ 11″!) and long “artsy” tunic tops/ dresses here in the US. Is this look okay in Paris? (Ha–I don’t even know if this look is “okay” in metro Detroit where I live!) Also, can I get away with bootcut, dark jeans? Help!

  42. I’m heading back to Paris for the first time in more than a decade in June, and your advice has been helpful in planning. One question: I need to wear a hat in the sun. I’m guessing a ball cap on an older man would be out of place. Advice on hats for men in June? Something that would work as well in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco?

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