The Struggle is Real When You’re Trying to Figure Out What to Wear When Traveling to Paris!
Figuring out what to wear when traveling to Paris can be tricky.
As an underdressed American, I typically rock a ratty sweatshirt and yoga pants since well, elastic is ALWAYS my friend, especially when cookie dough is involved.
So what’s an American to do when she has no idea what to wear when traveling in Paris?
Well, you’re in luck because even this fashionably challenged, elastic loving American figured out what to wear in Paris (or what not to wear in Paris as the case may be).
I even had people speaking French to me!
Yeah, I consider that a major win! So leave the Sketchers Shape Ups at home and be prepared to look slightly more European in some of the killer Paris outfits that are listed below.
A Brief Intermission to Discuss European Style with my American Homies!
How do I put this Delicately?
Americans, in terms of fashion, tend to be a bit more casual than their European counterparts. I mean, we wear pajamas to the grocery store. Need I say more?
So while that look may work in the States:
It’s kind of a no-no in Europe.
No, you won’t get publicly shamed because people are nice. But everyone will know you’re a tourist.
Kind of like if you wear Sketcher Sneakers, a Martha’s Vineyard Baseball cap, a pair of yoga pants, a sports bra, and a Northface Backpack.
Oh and Don’t Forget the Enormous camera with an insanely large lens to really round out the whole tourist ensemble.
So leave the super casual attire at home; a common mistake to avoid when traveling to Paris for the first time.
Instead, you’ll want to stick with a Paris wardrobe that is a bit more polished, with a cohesive aesthetic.
And no, I’m not talking about rocking a Hillary Clinton power suit. LoL.
In Paris, you’ll find chic, ultra modern or ultra vintage looks that emphasize darker colors (not a set rule but a guideline when creating your Paris travel wardrobe).
So when Planning Your Paris travel Outfits:
Think minimalism, layering, and a whole lot of mixing and matching; perfect for minimalist packing where you pack less and use accessories more!
So When Creating Your Paris Packing List, Less is More!
On this little Girl with the Passport Blog, I get a lot of questions, comments, concerns, and complaints.
Number One Complaint?
People pack WAY too much and have to lug all their crap around.
I did this for 6 weeks in China and it was NOT fun, especially when the hotel didn’t have an elevator.
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So Here are some Paris packing tips to consider before you plan out all your outfits for Paris.
1. If you are a long-term traveler, don’t pack for your entire trip.
Update your wardrobe as needed based on the season, the activities you will be doing (aka I never pack hiking boots because yeah, I don’t do hikes), where you’re traveling, etc.
2. Pack neutral patterns and colors.
This way, you can mix and match all your Paris outfits, creating a ton of different looks, as opposed to wearing the same outfits over and over again (when I do this, my Instagram looks dull and I start to look like I don’t wash my clothes. Lol).
3. Pick Items that are Easy to Wash and that Can Get Destroyed without You Having a Nervous Breakdown
When you travel:
Things get ripped, rained on, ruined, and lost. Therefore, don’t pack anything that is really difficult to take care of or that is super valuable.
Because When You Pack Less:
You have to do laundry more. And if you bring clothes that need to be dry cleaned, that’s gonna get expensive fast.
Leave that insanely large rolling bag at home.
Ain’t nobody got time for baggage fees or to wait around at baggage claim for a bag that is either lost or damaged beyond recognition.
Yeah, a travel backpack is the way to go as you decide what to wear when visiting Paris.
But it can be hard choosing the perfect backpack for you. So consider this:
If Paris is your home base then definitely get the Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack, one of the best travel backpacks for Europe.
Not only is it durable, but the weight of the bag is evenly distributed, making it easier to carry.
This bag is also super durable and can be used as a carry-on, while still having an impressive voliume of 44 L.
One of my all-time favorite backpacks and price wise, it’s pretty reasonable as far as travel backpacks go.
What if you’re planning on staying in Paris alone and then traveling to basically every country in Eruope?
Then, the Hynes Eagle 40 L is the best carry on backpack is for you!
Slightly smaller than the Kelty bag, this bag is water resistant carry on is easily converted from a backpack into a duffle bag.
It has adjustable compression straps that make this bag comfortable for anyone, no matter their height.
Safety First! Before We Get to the Fun Stuff!
So you know how mom and dad INSIST that you buy travel insurance, even though you never actually use it?
And you know how it can be tempting to try and save money by NOT buying travel insurance?
A first aid kit is kind of the same thing. Sure, it isn’t sexy but it’s helpful when you are… trapped down a well (where’s Lassie)! Kidding! It’s much more likely that you’ll get a blister and need a band-aid.
So Not Usually End of the World Stuff:
But a travel first aid kit is one of those things that you should always pack because while you don’t usually use it, if you need it and don’t have it, you’ll regret it. Like Big Time.
So check out this super nifty and super compact first aid kit. I love it and use it on all my trips.
It’s a Satchel, it’s s Tote, it’s a Man purse, it’s a backpack…It’s the Perfect Carryon!
The Quest for the Perfect Travel Carryon.
Yeah, that’s a tall order. I mean sure, you want something sturdy, that can carry all of your stuff, but you also want something that looks cute, photographs well, and that doesn’t scream, “ignorant tourist”.
I choose the Baggallini Mendoza Convertible Backpack! Not only is it an adorable bag that comes in a variety of different colors, but it is a convertible bag. So use one strap and you can make it a tote. Use two straps and you can make it a nifty backpack.
It has an elegant shape and style that can hold all of your carryon travel essentials without being overwhelmingly enormous and giving you scoliosis.
Now for the Good Stuff: Clothes, Glorious Clothes
As Stated Before:
This “what to wear while visiting Paris” list is gonna be all about layering neutrals and creating different outfits.
I suggest 2 short sleeves, neutral tees. Preferably in different colors so that you can mix and match (all day, every day)… Like a boss!
Also throw in some long sleeves, neutral tees. Bonus points if one is casual and the other is formal.
Also, throw in a chunky knit sweater. Not only is it a cute way to jazz up a Paris outfit, but it’ll keep you nice and warm on those notoriously cold, long-haul flights (way nicer than a sweatshirt).
In Terms of Pants:
I never pack jeans. They”re bulky and retain odors so sadly, I always leave my fave pair of jeans at home, where I have regular access to a washing machine.
I pack two pairs of black leggings. Not yoga pants! Leggings are comfy and look a little nice than workout gear; a great answer to the eternal question, “what to wear sightseeing in Paris?”
I also pack two neutral skirts that I can wear on their own, or with a pair of leggings, in case it gets chilly out.
You need something to sleep in. Honestly, I never really put too much thought into this and generallly just pack something that is easy to pack and that is super comfy. Generally some old clothes that are no longer socially acceptable to wear outisde.
They don’t call me fancy pants for nothing. Lol. Total joke.
I also like to pack two A-Line dresses since they are flattering to my figure.
I mean after all:
We gotta do it up in Paris for the gram!
You can go with a longer dress if you want but I always look like a smurf in them since I’m vertically challenged.
I opt for the dress below. Cheap, looks nice, easy to care for, comes in a ton of patterns and colors. But most importantly, I don’t look or feel like a whale when I wear it.
The all black one is A LOT cuter but Amazon is being annoying and didn’t pick the one I like.
Now We Need Something for the girls:
AKA a bra. I’m not going to go into specifics because it depends on your preference and size (i always need an underwire or I might poke someone’s eye out), but I generally pack one nude strapless bra, one sports bra, and one traditonal nude bra.
Try and stay away form vibrant colors since you can’t wear them under light colored clothing.
What About Undies?
Typically, I pack a week’s worth of underwear and then wash them throughout my trip because dirty underwear is nasty.
To make my life easier, pack quick dry underwear. Not only is it easy to care for, but when you wash it you can literally wear it the same day and you won’t feel like you’re sitting in a wet diaper.
***As a random aside, since this post is geared more towrads what you should wear in Paris, and not a complete Paris packing list, don’t forget to pack a quick dry towel. Not only are they super effective, but you won’t have to worry about packing a stinky, moldy, and nasty smelling towel ever again. It also doubles as a great picnic balnket.”**
I also pack a week’s worth of socks since my feet get cold and I wear them to bed.
And while everyone else is over there being practical…
I rock these bad boys and love every minute of it.
Don’t forget to rock a pair of mirrored sunglasses, no matter what the season.
Nobody wants to be squinting through their entire Paris vaction. Plus if they’re mirrored, no one can see where you’re looking. Therefore, if you’re busy checking someone out, no one will know!
See, there’s a method to the madness!
And get something cheap since I always break my sunglasses like the total spazz that I am.
But before You Finish Deciding What to Wear in Paris:
You need a jacket, in case it gets chilly.
I generally look for one that looks nice, has a hood, and is waterproof.
I think Amazon has some weird perriwinkle blue fetish. I promise, I picked the black one and then Amazon went all rogue and picked this. Well, scout’s honor it’s a nice jacket and I prefer the black one since I think it looks a little nicer.
Speaking of Warmth:
When figuring out what to wear to Paris, don’t forget to pack a good travel scarf for the plane. Just wrap this awesomeness around you and you’ll be like, “AC? What AC?” while everyone else is getting frost bite.
This scarf is super flowy so when I feel like a beached whale during “that time of the month” this scarf always makes me feel better. The pink and gray is my fave btw. Amazon never agrees with me when it comes to nice colors.
Now Time for my favorite Part of these packing tips for traveling to Paris:
Shoes, Glories Shoes! Why do I love them so? They never make me feel fat, that’s why!
But as much as I love shoes:
Only have three pairs of shoes at MOST; A pair of sneakers, a pair of nice flats, and a pair of boots.
For my Sneakers:
I wear converse because those are forever and always my favorite pair of non-hideous sneakers.
Stick with the low tops and adjust the laces so you can easily slip them on and off (or get the slip ons). Trust me, no one has time to play around with their sneakers when they’re trying to get through airport security (at least in the US you HAVE to remove your sneakers).
You want something that looks nice, but that also won’t give you huge blisters. Typically, I stick with Cole Haan Women’s TALI BOW BALLET Shoe, Black Leather, 8 B US but lately, I have been digging the style of these shoes.
Cute + Comfy = Wardrobe Perfection
I personally like the brown better but Amazon disagreed.
Now what about boots?
If you’re looking for something cheap and cute (or just some nice Paris gift ideas), then the boots below are the way to go. Plus, they go with everything which, let’s be honest, makes life 10,000 times easier.
If you want to look more European and want something that will last longer then check out Dr. Marten’s Women’s 1460 8-Eye Patent Leather Boots, Black Smooth Leather, 5 F(M) UK / 7 B(M) US Women / 6 D(M) US Men. Everyone in Europe has Dr. Marten’s so if you wear these, you’ll totally fit in.
There You Have it:
A Paris packing list for all your furture trips to Paris. However, you might want to make a few alterations based on when you visit Paris. Because as the cliche (but true) phrase says, “Paris is ALWAYS a good idea”.
What to Wear in Summer in Paris
These are a few slight alterations that you’ll want to make when the heat, humidity, and insane summer crowds make you want to gag. Lol. Can you tell that summer is NOT my favorite time of year in Paris?
- Add 1-2 pairs of shorts instead of pants
- Replace a pair of boots with a pair of nice sandals. I usuallty buy sandals with back straps so that my feet don’t fall out while I’m walking.
- Remove the scarf and replace with a black cardigan
- Add a Sunhat (no one likes wrinkles and it’s great for photos)
- Add a Bathing Suit and Cover Up
- Add Sunscreen
- Remove the long sleeve shirts and replace with conservative-ish tank top (always better to be more covered up than less)
- Bring a reusable waterbottle because you’ll get super thirsty and don’t want to keep buying water.
What to Wear in Fall in Paris
Fall in Paris is the best since temperatures are cooler, the tourists are gone, and the leaves are changing color. The perfect time of year for a photo atop the Arc de Tromphe. Just make these changes to the list above and you’ll be good to go!
- Swap out your boots for rainboots
- Pack more nuetral skirts and dresses (less florals) and pair them with leggings to stay warm.
- Depending on where you travel, you might want to add a scarf, winter, hat, and gloves.
- Also consider heavier socks
- Get a waterproof jacket with extra insulation.
What to Wear in Winter in Paris
Paris can get chilly during the winter. Therefore, if you’re not used to the polar vortex of doom, make sure that you pack extra layers and even long johns if you think you’ll need them. I’m from New York and typically don’t need them when I travel to Paris duirng the winter.
- Add another warm layer
- Add gloves
- Swap a pair of shoes for snowboots.
- Pack some thick ski socks. I hate wool and think it’s itchy.
- Pack a heavy scarf and winter hat.
What to Wear in Spring in Paris
Spring is an amazing time in Paris since there are flowers blooming all around you. But this also means it can get a bit rainy too. Therefore, make sure you pack extra raingear and don’t forget a raincover for your backpack too!
- All the items in the list are perfect for spring.
- You might want to add an umbrella and rainboots.
- Also try and stick with more floral patterns that match the season.
Tada! Now You’ll Look Super Snazzy No Matter What Time of Year You Visit Paris!
Okay I’m Gonna Stop Now.
I thought this was gonna be one of those short and sweet, like 1500 word posts that I would turn out in an afternoon.
But Per Usual:
Girl with the Passport has become chatty Kathy and just won’t stop.
That’s Why I’ll Dead it Here;
But if you have any questions, comments, or concerns (or if you think I forgot something super important), feel free to drop a comment below (where you extol all my two virtues. Lol) and I’ll get back to you ASAP.