Finding clothes that are both stylish and practical when you travel can be difficult, especially if you’re visiting somewhere like Paris where the fashion industry is so prominent. How do you know what to wear in Paris? The streets are full of fashionistas, and their style never disappoints. The fashion capital of the world can be intimidating, but with the right approach, you can find clothes that work well in Paris while still making you feel confident and comfortable throughout your visit.
Follow these dos and don’ts to help get your wardrobe ready for your trip to Paris!
What To Wear in Paris?
First, what not to wear: no leggings. We only wear leggings at the gym!
Second, as for what you should wear, it depends on you and only you. Here is some advice, but you are completely free to follow them or not.
That said… first up: What to Wear in Paris? Your Underwear! Yes, yes… It sounds silly but trust me… You do not want to forget packing your underwear and look stupid looking for panties on your first day in Paris.
Second up: What to Wear in Paris? Shoes!
And make sure they are comfy. Leave your flip flops back home (or keep them for your hotel room solely) and pack a pair of comfortable sneakers that you can keep the whole day while you discover the city.
White sneakers are trendy in Paris. Veja and New Balance are probably the two trendiest brands right now.
Loafers are also worn by a lot of locals, especially men.
If you are coming to Paris in winter, you may want to pack a pair of boots (Dr Martens or similar combat boots) to keep your feet warm in case of a rainy / cold day.
Parisians are not big on Uggs or Crocs. But remember you will be the one walking a few miles a day discovering Paris. Your comfort will be more important than the look of foreigners on your feet. Bring shoes that you like and pack a couple of bandages in case of any blisters!
Third up: What to wear in Paris? Jeans! Yes, jeans are fine and worn by most people, even at restaurants.
In summer Parisian men often wear chino trousers. They are comfy and trendy. And women would wear dresses and skirts more often in summer, or with tights in winter.
What Not to Wear in Paris?
What not to wear can be just as important as what you do wear when you are in Paris. However, here is one important tip: nobody will really care about what you end up wearing! Paris’ fashion is also made of different styles. That is one of the amazing things about Paris – everyone has their own style and expresses themselves through what they wear. It is never boring to people watch here!
Even though leggings, jumpers, sweatpants, tank tops (for men) and flip-flops are not a thing in Paris; we leave “sportswear” for the sports and not the streetwear; nobody stops you from wearing them!
And truly nobody will really care about what you are wearing either.
So, if you want to wear a pink neon cap with a military jumper just because you like it, then so be it!
Just be comfortable
Not only will you enjoy your time more, but if you are planning on maximising your time in Paris and visiting as many landmarks as possible, you will need to wear what makes you comfortable.
Also, as a general rule of thumb, check the weather prior to packing so you can bring appropriate clothes for your trip. If you see temperatures going up to 25°C (77 °F) then leave your coat at home and bring your sunglasses and a light jacket instead.
You will find some guidance in this article that gives you an indication on the weather and helps you to consider the right outfits.
Do not take clothes that are too tight or that you are unsure about. You will want also to enjoy French meals and delicacies during your trip. And you will never end up wearing them!
However, packing comfortable clothes does not mean forgoing being fancy or stylish. In fact, wearing a nice dress with white sneakers can be nice. Or a chino trouser with comfortable loafers for the men. In fact, it’s sometimes the simplest ideas that are the nicest!
Bring a raincoat
It can often rain in Paris. Sometimes very lightly and only for a few minutes. And some other days it can rain for hours.
Packing a raincoat may be the best thing you bring! It will keep you dry all day and will help you to avoid having to wear a 2€ ugly poncho you are going to throw away 3 hours after you bought it.
Plus, the streets in Paris are sometimes narrow and having an umbrella can be annoying. It is generally much more practical to have a raincoat when visiting Paris. Which will help you stay dry and warm no matter what the weather is!
On top of that, it will also protect you from the wind when visiting rooftops and viewpoints such as the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. So… Pack that raincoat!
Pack Light – Plenty of Stores to Buy From
As tempting as it is to pack a thousand outfits, you’ll probably end up wearing half of what you packed.
Capsule outfits are great for travels:
- Pack 3 jeans / trousers
- 3 tops
- 3 light jackets / cardigans
All in the same tones, for example: blue / black / beige.
And with 9 pieces of clothing, you will have 18 outfit possibilities! It is a simple as that! If you need to you can always wash your clothes in Paris, whether at your hotel / apartment or in a public “lavomatic”.
On top of your capsule outfit, you can pack a nice dress / shirt to wear for a special night at a restaurant, or if you have a planned photoshoot in Paris.
And add a coat, or a jacket depending on the temperatures and one scarf that can go with it.
But bear in mind, given Paris is one of the worldwide fashion capitals, you may want to shop during your travels! Between the vintage shops, concept stores, department stores and independent shops, there are so many options to choose from!
By the way, if you want some advice on your shopping, get our Shopping Guide for only 8€ and get all the best shopping addresses right on your phone.
And if you are not big on shopping, you may want to leave some space in your suitcase to bring back some Parisian souvenirs!
Do French wear Beret?
I have to say, since Emily in Paris put it back in Fashion, we see it more and more in the streets after it disappeared for so many years!
It used to be only wore by militaries, or as part of uniforms in the past few years. You could also see some old men wearing them. But it was almost non-existent.
And suddenly Emily appeared on our TV’s. A few tourists had fun buying a beret for a few € on Place du Tertre. And slowly but surely some locals re-adopted this old fashion rule.
I personally like the beret! I don’t necessarily wear one, and I don’t think it fits all. But I am thrilled to see it back in action!
Fashion Spots in Paris
Rue de Rivoli offers a wide selection of international brands. Another shopping location is Le Marais. The area has a few lovely streets filled with well-known brand stores and vintage shops.
Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Samaritaine stores are great department stores to check out too. You can buy fashion pieces by famous designers but also make up and cosmetics, accessories, shoes, etc. And the buildings themselves are just worth the visit.
On the left bank Saint Germain and Boulevard Saint Michel offers a great variety of stores from luxury brands to more affordable / mainstream shops.
You may also want to check the flea markets on the weekend in Saint Ouen. The markets are wide, and they are nice to just walk around.
No matter your style preference when visiting France remember two things: be prepared to wear comfortable shoes every day; they may be cute but high heels aren’t practical when navigating cobblestone streets!
And don’t forget that fashion is everywhere in Paris. So even if you are not a massive shopping addict, you will always bump into a cute shop that is worth the visit. Don’t be shy to go in, and always say “bonjour” when entering a shop! And you can even learn some vary basic words that will help you navigating in the city!