“French women don’t have too many clothes – a few good pieces that last for a while and are classic and timeless.” –Mireille Guiliano
It’s important to keep two things in mind when you’re packing for Paris: 1) You’re going to be walking a lot. 2) French style is effortlessly chic; While Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world, there’s no need to overdo it. If you’re at a loss when it comes to French style, look no further than the stylings of one of our fave French fashionistas – Marion Cotillard – or a few of our favorite French fashion bloggers featured in this post.
While it’s fine to bring a pair of heels for the club scene, you should bring a couple of comfortable pairs of flats, sandals, and/or booties for activities outside of that. In my humble opinion, Paris is more of a city for booties and boots in the fall, and sandals, flats, and low heels in the summer. Women do wear sneakers, but if you’re going to wear them, leave your gym kicks at home and opt for a trendier pair or classic Converse lace-ups.
Keep in mind that you’ll need a mix of clothes and shoes for sightseeing, wining and dining, going out, and exploring the city.
Parisian stylist Camille Seydoux said it best when she described the essence of French girl style to InStyle, telling the mag, “I think French girls pretend to be lazy when it comes to style. She’s not going to admit that she spends 50 minutes getting ready. She needs to look effortless, like ‘oh, my hair is naturally like this,’ when in fact, she uses hair product and styling tools. She’ll look as though she just kissed her boyfriend, but really, she dabbed her lipstick on with a finger. We love to look like everything is completely natural.”
Depending on the season, make sure to have a combination of these staples in your arsenal:
For fall – 1) a leather jacket; 2) skinny jeans; 3) ballerina flats; 4) striped top; 5) structured blazer; 6) crossbody bag; 7) loafers; 8) white and black tops; 9) chic shades; 10) LBD; 11) flat boots; 12) sneakers
For spring/summer – 1) skinny jeans; 2) high-waist skirt; 3) straw boater hat/fedora; 4) stylish sunnies; 5) crossbody bag; 6) staple day dress; 7) printed/statement day dress; 8) high-waist shorts; 9) white/neutral tops; 10) sneakers; 11) espadrilles/loafers.
As for color schemes, Parisians generally stick with the classics, but feel free to add in pops of color to make it your own. “With a petit penchant for black, navy blue and white, set off with gold, silver and red, Paris style is still highly influenced by Coco Chanel,” – Vogue stated in its Parisian fashion guide, for example.
Most importantly, pack clothes that you will feel comfortable in and don’t be afraid to infuse your own style into the Parisian girl rules of fashion.