Whether you are visiting for business, pleasure or both it can be difficult to pack for a trip to Paris, France. The outfits you select must be practical for frequent outdoor walking in unpredictable weather. Many visitors also strive to dress fashionably in order to better fit in with the famously stylish Parisians. When deciding how to dress in Paris, it is important to find the right combination of substance, elegance, comfort and creative flair.
Knowing What to Pack
Consider the weather during the time of the year you will be visiting. Though Paris doesn’t experience extreme temperatures by any stretch of the imagination, you’ll be glad you’re dressed for the occasion — especially if you’re spending hours upon hours outside.
Average temperatures are 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) during the winter, and 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) during summer. Clothing that can be easily layered is ideal for any time of the year, since nights are often cool during warm months, and sunny days can heat up even during winter.
Spring is the driest season. Showers during all other seasons are frequent but short, and they often occur without warning. Significant winter snowfalls are rare, but not unheard of. Many Parisians carry umbrellas at all times, and many visitors during winter months pack boots in case of snow.
Pack clothing that is practical based on your plans. You’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes (not your tennis shoes! Think dressier) at the very least. If your idea of Paris is tea rooms and shopping down the Champs-Élysées, you’ll need to pack a little differently than if you’ll be jogging up le Tour Eiffel. What’s on your itinerary?
Business attire is appropriate if you are traveling for work. Dark-colored suits are common for men and women, and women also wear conservative, neutral-toned dresses.
Sightseers should dress comfortably, since touring Paris involves a great deal of walking. It is important to keep in mind that the French tend to dress more formally than others for everyday activities. Khakis, button-down shirts, sundresses, designer jeans, skirts and sweaters are common on the streets of Paris during the day. Forgo tennis shoes for comfortable loafers or sandals. Dresses and jackets are appropriate for evening dining.
Leave the workout clothes at home. Or at least in your hotel! If you put a woman in sweats and a woman in a miniskirt, Paris just might be the only city where it’s the woman in sweats that’s getting stared at. If you’re hitting the streets (especially at night — during the day is a bit more lax), leave the leisure wear to the Americans.
Paris is about fabric and fit. There are no sweatpants that are about fabric and fit. Same for shoes — those tennis shoes of yours don’t really match anything. They definitely won’t blend in at the bistros and discotheques you plan on hitting up!
Know that black is always in style. Seriously. It’s slimming and it’s classy and it hides stains? Wonderful. It can be donned any time of year, too. Just jazz it up with some jewelry or a scarf (definitely a scarf!) if you’re looking for a pop of color.
Neutrals are always a safe bet. Black, tan, navy, brown, white, beige, grey