It's been a while since I wanted to write a post with my "recommendations"
on what to wear and what not to wear in Paris.
I lived 8 months in Paris last year, during which I experiences all 4 seasons.
I made some packing and shopping mistakes, so by reading this post you may avoid them :).
There are other types of outerwear that are lighter and more comfortable to wear in winter, but Pariseans for the most part prefer to wear coats. Don't ask me why :). But, I can try to guess. Coats look more sophisticated, classy and cliassic. Many Pariseans, both men and women, prefer to wear the type of coat that I am wearing in these pics, called "duffle coat". Since it has a hood, it can also be worn on rainy days. Yes, it will get wet, but in Paris it's easy to escape from rain just by diving into the metro/subway, so it's not a big problem :).
The one that I have is by "Banana Republic" and despite being one size bigger than I wished, I have no other complaints :). It's warm, light and can be worn with both business and casual clothes.
I had some some other outerwear for the cold season, but I wore mainly this one.
As for the hats, well, it's totally up to you. As you see, I opted for the beret.
Yes, I know that wearing a beret is a French cliche, but I don't mind it :).
It might be hard to believe, but I spent hours in shops and malls around Paris trying to buy a classic red dress, something that I could wear to a night-out and to some official event, and it wasn't an easy task. Finally I bought this dress by a French brand "Sinequanone". It had a "golden" metal detail around the waist, but I removed it.
I did wear it to a few occasions including my birthday and our small graduation ceremony :).
In Paris I got fascinated not only by the French culture, but, quite surprisingly, by the Japanese one as well. Due to the circles that I got into, I often visited some French-Japanese parties, Japanese art exhibitions, etc., so it was quite natural that at some point I decided to buy a Japanese kimono.
It turned out that a black men's kimono is quite a comfortable piece of clothes. It's warm and it gives some exotic touch to your look (even though I probably looked quite exotic anyway :) ).
In the summer I realised that there is nothing more comfortable than a white linen shirt, ripped jeans and sneakers.
I bought this shirt at Uniqlo and the jeans at Zara.
One other French cliche item that I got is this "Armorlux" breton shirt, as they call it. Although quite expensive, around 50 euros, it was well worth the price. It's 100% cotton, soft, but durable, and since it's thicker than other sweatshirts of the kind, it can also be worn during winter, instead of a sweater.
I have to admit that in addition to all the clothes that I bought while I was in France, I also brought many with me. I even shopped for new clothes before coming to Paris, thinking that during the first few weeks I will be so immersed into my studies, that I won't have time for shopping. That was a big mistake! :) Not only because Paris is the fashion capital of the world, and there are so many brands there, but also because I came to Paris right before the winter sales period started and actually did most of my shopping withing the 1,5 months after arriving.
But there were few items among those that I brought, that were worth it. For example this "Brooks Brothers" jacket. I wore it day and night, literally, as you may see below :).
I often wore this jacket to the school and it looked good with that Armorlux shirt.
At least let me believe so :).
Well, that's all for now about "to-buy" (or "to-pack") list. Here are few words about "not-to-buy" things.
As you may see in the pics above, I am mainly wearing beige, black, white, red and blue. Those colors plus grey are the colors to stick to in Paris, if you don't want to stand out of the crowd.
Try to avoid excessively colorful prints. Somehow they do not look so good in Paris.
Here I am wearing a skirt that I bought in Paris at a Zara shop, but I only wore it in Strasbourg where I spend two summer months. In Paris I felt that I will be looking overdressed if I wear it.
But there in Strasbourg, in the part of the town called "little France", among the colorful "craftwerk" houses, it looked quite harmonious :).
One other thing that you should avoid is wearing clothes that scream "I am a tourist!", like the sweatshirt with the Eiffel tower, that I am wearing in the pic above. I once got into quite an unpleasant situation when I was attacked by some crazy beggar, partially due to my obviously touristic look.
Summing up my recommendations above, if you are wondering now what to pack for Paris,
I would advise to take with you just a few items:
- a pair of jeans;
- a white shirt;
- couple of T-shirts;
- a grey / dark blue / black suit
(either with pants or with a skirt, whatever you prefer) - if you need to wear something formal. I did sometimes, as I was doing there my master's studies and we had visits to the National Assembly, the Senat, etc.;
- your favorite sweater
(not too warm though, something that you may wear under the jacket from the suit above. Winters in Paris are pretty mild, temperature rarely falls below plus 8 degrees.
If you get cold, you can always buy there a nice 100% cashmere sweater,
there are tons of them on sale after 6th January (sales period usually lasts from Jan. 6 to Feb. 16);
- couple of your favorite dresses
(including a little black dress, if you have one. I brough mine that was quite formal and more of an evening gown, but I never wore it);
- comfortable shoes (most of the year I was wearing a pair of black leather sneakers by "Ecco");
- a small purse and a backpack (black little purse to carry the wallet, phone and other little items in front of me, so I can carefull watch them and guard from pickpockets, and a black backpack at the back were my usual attire in Paris :) ) - although you may easily buy them in Paris;
That's it. You may also take a number of smaller personal items (acessories, jewellery, cosmetics), but try to take very few, as in Paris you will be tempted to shop a lot, and only trying to avoid paying for excessive luggage might stop you.
(It didn't stop me, I brought one big luggage and one small carry-on suitcase of stuff with me and after 10 months in France I took back 3 times more! (I had to ask my friends and relatives to take some of my luggages with them).
Well, that's all I had to say.
Whether you are going to make a short trip there or relocate to Paris for a longer period of time,
I hope this post will be useful for you :).