If you’re planning a getaway to the fashionable French capital but are wondering what to wear in Paris, you’ve come to the right place. Through our experiences traveling the world, we've realized fashion can be as unique to each culture as the language, religion, and cuisine. It can be time-consuming, tricky, and expensive to coordinate your outfits before the trip, especially if you're unfamiliar with everything from weather conditions to the latest trends. We want to guide you on how to dress and save money for the memorable experiences that'll come with traveling to Paris.
While we're not suggesting you completely abandon your personal style, part of the adventure of traveling to other countries includes trying to adapt to the local norms. In Paris, the clothes you wear are important for three reasons: weather, safety, and favorability.
First, the most important thing to know when visiting Paris is the weather fluctuates with the seasons and can be unpredictable. Known for experiencing all kinds of extreme weather, the Parisians have adapted through meticulous layering. You'll likely spend a lot of time outdoors, so take a note from the locals and pile on layers suitable for the rapidly changing weather.
As with any city, there can be some degree of petty crime. If you look like you just got off the plane then you could be an obvious target for pickpocketing. Fit in with the French style and you will be less likely to draw attention from thieves.
Lastly, the locals. Not exactly known for their inviting spirit and friendly demeanor, the French tend to look more favorably upon their own. Chances are servers might actually be nicer to you if they can’t immediately tell you’re a tourist.
Bernadin in Paris carries Res Ipsa goods.
More than likely you already have a number of pieces that would lend themselves well to a French-inspired look. If you keep it simple, a Parisian-approved wardrobe doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, according to a study by Eurostat, the French spend far less on clothing, footwear, and accessories than any of their Western European neighbors. With clothing and footwear representing only 3.7 percent of the total spending of the average French household (compared to the 5.7 percent spent by Britons), the très chic Parisians are also très frugal.
What to Wear in Paris - by Occasion
A Motorcycle Tour of Paris
There’s no better way to see Paris than on the back (or front) of a vintage motorcycle. The guys over at Paris Retro Tour offer a variety of routes so you’re sure to see the best sides of Paris in the manliest manner possible. Match the vintage vibe in a classic motorcycle jacket, jeans, and pullover.
An Afternoon at the Louvre
If you’re in Paris, chances are you’ll make it to the Louvre eventually. Plan for a long day of walking, standing, and fighting off hordes of other tourists to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. Dress comfortably in the most Parisian way possible in a classic Benton tee, light jacket, jeans, and loafers.
Lunch at Café Hugo
Skip the famous (and vastly overrated) Café de Flore in favor of Café Hugo. Sip a glass of vin rouge on the terrace overlooking chic Place de Vosges. Come here for a perfectly cooked confit de canard, or better yet try the steak tartare. Throw on a slim-fitting white button-down, dark jeans, and some chukka boots for the perfect French guy look that’s smart but relaxed.
Drinks at Le Comptoir Général
Come evening, join clusters of 10th-arrondissement hipsters at the offbeat, Le Comptoir Général, for some African-inspired cocktails. Located in Paris’s hippest area, on the banks of Canal Saint-Martin, you’re sure to find yourself well off the tourist trail. Match the laid-back vibe by keeping your look simple and relaxed with a pair of well-fitting jeans, a casual crew-neck, and a classic bomber jacket. A pop of color would also pair well with the eclectic decor. We humbly suggest a pair of Res Ipsa kilim loafers to pull the outfit together.
How to Dress in Paris - by Season
Assume everything you pack will get wet. That Parisian weather will be wet is as sure a thing as the presence of the classic three requirements for a valid trust. And here we thought we quit law to enter fashion...
What to wear in Paris - Winter
Do not underestimate the cold in Paris. It’s a humid place that feels a lot colder than it really is. Dress warmly in a chunky knit, a tailored wool overcoat, and black booties. Beret is optional but highly encouraged.
What to wear in Paris - Spring
Weather in the Spring can still be pretty cold, so it’s really not the time to whip out those t-shirts and cargo shorts (not that it is ever the right time for cargo shorts). Opt for dark wash jeans, a long sleeve textured tee, a simple leather jacket and some all-black trainers for an effortless look that will easily take you from a sunny spring afternoon to a chilly evening.
What to wear in Paris - Summer
It may be scorching, and chances are nowhere will have AC, but Paris just isn’t the place to bear your naked legs. Instead of shorts, reach for some lightweight chinos, a rolled t-shirt, and suede or leather loafers (they stretch and can withstand sweaty feet).
What to wear in Paris - Fall
Things can get pretty nippy in autumn. Prepare for the best and worst with a chic Scandinavian-style raincoat and waterproof backpack, dark jeans (to hide the sweat in case things heat up), a beanie that comfortably fits in your jacket pocket, and a pair of chukka boots.
How to Dress like a Parisian
Not planning a trip to Paris anytime soon, but still want to know how to dress like a Parisian?
Voilà, c'est facile!
All you need is a few good quality pieces. Similar to French cheese, when it comes to Parisian fashion, less is more. The Parisians tend to favor dark, neutral colors. In addition to accurately summing up their feelings of ennui, clothing in black, white, or grey, is less noticeable. Allowing you to wear the same pieces many times over without anyone noticing--perfect for those tiny Parisian flats without washing machines. Playing hand-in-hand with quality, dark colors, to truly dress like a Parisian you need to embrace the minimalistic look. The French are style icons for a reason: their look never fades. Keep it simple, dark, and minimalist for a look that's as timeless as it is Parisian.
Legoïste, as authentically Parisian as can be, collaborates with Res Ipsa.
What to Pack for Paris
What to pack for Paris really depends on the season. Bring layers, two pairs of comfortable shoes for the day (chances are they’ll get wet and you don’t want to be walking around the next day in damp shoes), a pair of shoes for the night (Parisian restaurants and clubs don’t look highly upon men in trainers in the evening), a kilim backpack, an umbrella, raincoat, plain t-shirts, a few pairs of jeans, casual trousers/chinos, warm sweatshirts, and warm sweaters.