What to Wear in Paris
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In 2020, Emily In Paris made its first-ever Netflix debut. It was met with a bit of controversy for including a stereotypical view of French culture.
Arguably, the hottest topic on the table was Emily’s fashion taste. Jarring, vibrant, and shameless, it was definitely on-point with her character’s outsider status.
Don’t get me wrong; some of her outfits were undoubtedly iconic, but maximalism isn’t for everybody. In an effort to not stick out like a sore thumb, you’re probably wondering what to wear in Paris.
In short, French fashion is a mix of modern elegance and simplicity. It’s rare to find the stereotypes, those being berets and striped tees.
If you want to look like a stylish Parisian, you’ll have to follow some specific guidelines. It’s okay to adopt a little bit of Emily Cooper’s style, but only at a small 10%.
In an effort to describe the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of Parisian fashion, we’ll teach you what to wear in Paris using 12 outfit ideas. By the end of this article, you’ll hopefully learn:
- What to wear in Paris summer
- What not to wear in Paris
- Paris in may what to wear
- Classic fashion in Paris
- Some Paris inspired outfits
What to Wear in Paris
Home to Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Christian Louboutin, Parisian fashion is best defined as simple—yet elegant. It’s known to style timeless basics, ranging from the traditional white blouse to the iconic trench coat.
I know what you’re thinking: wardrobe classics aren’t hard to wear—but that’s where you’re wrong. Fashion is all about paying close attention to different silhouettes, cuts, and colors. It’s kind of like doing math; one mistake and the whole equation falls apart.
French fashion is seasonless. It’s a mix of bright and muted hues that work intrinsically well. If you’re wondering what to wear in Paris in September, think of blazers, dusters, or a simple cream sweater.
For those searching ‘Paris in winter what to wear,’ there’s nothing wrong in adopting a fur coat and a big blanket scarf. The options are literally limitless.
Need some additional specifics? We’ve got you covered. We’ll address the ‘what to wear in Paris’ query using 12 outfit ideas. Let’s get started!
12 Outfit Ideas to Wear in Paris
Looking for Paris outfit ideas? If so, you can’t go wrong with a classic midi skirt and a cream-colored long sleeve. Perfect for mid-temperatures, this stylish OOTD works to accentuate the waistline while elongating the legs.
It’s a simple, romantic ensemble free of any bells and whistles. If anything, this ‘what to wear in Paris’ contender screams vintage bookstore visits and eclairs by the Champs-Élysées. Don’t forget to top the look off a pair of nude, closed-toe kitten heels.
Styled with high-waisted white bell-bottoms, a black turtleneck, and a cream trench coat, this outfit screams coffee-girl sophistication. It’s the perfect look for study dates, brunching, or galavanting along Avenue Montaigne.
The ensemble is free of any patterns or embellishments, which may seem plain to the average maximalist trendsetter. To us, it acts as a great example of simplicity at its finest.
In terms of shoes, we recommend topping this ‘what to wear in Paris’ featurette with ankle booties.
If this outfit was a painting, we’d say it’s the personification of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Romantic and simple, this burnt-orange dress features a plunging neckline, a cropped hem, and a slightly cinched-in waistline.
Since this look is relatively free of any patterns or prints, accessories are absolutely necessary. If you’re wondering how to dress in Paris, we recommend a pair of sunnies, a rattan tote bag, brown sandals, and a complimentary bracelet for some added bling.
The classic white blouse paired with light wash jeans is the go-to ensemble for many reasons. One, it’s an easy outfit to style, and two, it looks effortlessly chic. If you want to cop the same aesthetic, it’s important to pay attention to silhouette and cut.
We recommend opting for puffy sleeves for some added flair. For jeans, the tailored, high-waisted fit will never go out of season. If you really want to attain that iconic Paris style, don’t forget to don some black heels and a decorative neckerchief on the collar.
This outfit is all about subdued hues. Offered in whites, beiges, and dark espresso brown, this Parisian ensemble keeps things simple for everyday use. It features a crewneck tee, a pair of khaki pants, and a long trench coat to help tie the whole look together.
The cream shoes help to balance the look out, while the newsboy cap adds an additional quirk needed for the ensemble. If you’re in dire need of accessories, we suggest keeping things light with some sterling silver studs and a few rings.
Composed of neutral blacks, this outfit is considered an elegant take on Parisian streetwear. If you can’t imagine yourself wearing tailored trousers and a blazer, a cropped puffer and a pair of black jeans will do just as nicely.
Paired with a beanie, a white crewneck, and a set of green Converse, it’s the kind of look that screams, “I don’t need parental approval to date your daughter.”
It’s oddly rebellious in aesthetic, which is perfect for defiant, fashion-forward souls.
Composed of bell-bottom jeans, an open-collared shirt, and a black leather jacket, this stylish look strikes the perfect balance between 1970s glamor and modern-day fashion.
For those on the hunt for what to wear in Paris in terms of accessories, we highly recommend finishing this look with ankle booties and a silver belt.
For instance, this ensemble features a pair of high-waisted cream pants and a matching sweater with brown and black striped accents.
The ankle slits provided on the trousers offer a sort of flared effect, almost akin to what a pair of bell-bottoms would have. Matched with black booties, it’s the perfect pick-me-up outfit for rainy days.
Can’t imagine a world with prints and patterns? If so, we suggest getting some style inspo from the 1970s. This bold outfit comes with a pair of funky brown pants, a worn leather jacket, and a pair of boater shoes.
Retro in aesthetic, it’s a great look to consider for when you’re feeling especially extra. The focal point is the design printed on the trousers.
With that in mind, it’s best to lay low in terms of accessories. We suggest a simple newsboy cap and a few stacked rings.
The following evening entails a candle-lit dinner with escargot, passing through the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and catching a late-night movie at a local theater. Obviously, the occasion calls for more formal clothes.
Instead of donning your usual jeans and blouse, we suggest a silk-based set composed of flowy pants, a plunge-style blouse, and a pair of black stilettos heels.
Comfortable, chic, and low-key sexy, it offers an element of mystery on first dates. This is what to wear in Paris if you’re looking to make an impression.
Composed of a double-breasted jacket, a pinstripe button-down, a navy blue tie, and black leather pants, it’s considered a down-played version of the traditional penguin tux.
Designed as a mix between casualwear and office formality, this is what to wear in Paris if you prefer sharper silhouettes. It’s also worth noting that this look is part of Celine’s spring/summer 2019 collection.
I know; we’re only covering fits for those wondering what to wear in Paris, but there’s a good chance that you’re heading to Èze or Annecy for the weekend. Southeastern France is full of beautiful rural fauna.
Naturally, you’d want to embody the same refreshing aesthetic in your clothing.
Composed of a yellow and white gingham dress, this adorable number keeps things light and charming for out-of-city exploring. It’s also paired with white Converses and a straw woven hat.
What Type of Paris Outfits Can You Get?
Parisian fashion knows no dress code. With that being said, there are some unspoken rules regarding styling. Locals know how to spot a tourist from miles away. Of course, attributes like accents and the inability to speak French are obvious giveaways.
When it comes to clothing, there are a few ways that jet-setters can blend in with the community. Below, we’ll feature some common outfits for those unsure of what to wear in Paris.
- Monochrome outfits: Considered a staple in Parisian fashion, there’s no better way to attain simple elegance than donning a full set of cream clothes. Other popular hues include black, beige, and bright white
- The classic turtleneck and trench coat combo: Sophisticated and elegant, this classic combo is considered a go-to for many trendsetters. It helps elongate your neck while accentuating the decolletage
- High-waisted pants: This includes jeans, trousers, and bell bottoms. Trust me, it does wonders in accentuating the waist while elongating your legs
- The pencil midi skirt: A majority of Paris outfits are quite conservative in cut. While most associate the pencil skirt with the secretary aesthetic, it’s the easiest way to look expensive without the added effort
- Leather jackets: While motocross coats are synonymous with Harley Davidson and greaser culture, it’s also considered a trend in Parisian fashion
How to Choose The Best Outfit to Wear in Paris
Basic French style focuses on showcasing the beauty of wardrobe classics. With that in mind, it’s important to find clothing that’s timeless in design and high-quality in construction.
Of course, this shouldn’t deter you from implementing bright statement pieces in your closet, but you should keep a 30 to 70 ratio of basics to bold garments.
Premium fabrics include a mix of silk, satin, cotton, linen, denim, and wool. They should feel soft yet sturdy under stress. Depending on the season, only a certain amount of materials perform well during cold and warm climates.
Obviously, thicker textiles like canvas and fleece are better suited in December, while chiffons and sheer fabrics are best worn in the summer months. Before you settle on a garment, we highly suggest conducting a sit and squat test to ensure durability.
Design is a crucial point to consider when it comes to clothes shopping. Simplicity and timeless silhouettes guarantee continued use compared to last-minute trends. You should think of how often you’ll wear it and what kinds of outfits pair well with the garment.
Shoppers should also assess clothing based on fit. Trust me, a loose pair of jeans is bound to end up in closet dust compared to a well-tailored set of Levis.
Yes, Parisian fashion is home to several haute couture designers. With that being said, you don’t have to splurge on luxury goods to get high-quality clothing. We’ll be sure to provide recommendations for stores in the segments to come.
How to Style Your Outfit to Wear in Paris
Is your Parisian outfit missing that element of ‘je ne sais quoi?’ If so, there’s a good chance you’re missing a few key accessories. For those in need of some styling tips, we’ll share some ways to finesse your final fit.
- The classic beret: Yes, this is considered a French fashion stereotype—but we can’t deny how stylish it is. Offered in a variety of colors, it’s the easiest way to look cute and sophisticated
- Sneakers and stilettos: The great thing about Parisian fashion is that it can easily be dressed up or down. Depending on the mood or occasion, you can simply swap your stilettos for sneakers for a more casual alternative.
- Simplistic jewelry: As you’ve probably already noticed, maximalism isn’t really a thing in Paris. With that being said, that shouldn’t deter you from fashioning jewelry. We recommend wearing a simple pair of hoops or diamond studs for a touch of bling
- A well-fitted blazer: Nothing looks more sophisticated than a tailored jacket. Bonus points for those who decide to wear a turtleneck or a simple white tee underneath.
- The handkerchief: Considered a forgotten accessory amongst trendsetters, we highly suggest wearing a patterned silk scarf as a neck-tie or hair wrap.
Fashion Tips to Avoid with your Outfit for Paris
We hate to burst your bubble, but you probably shouldn’t be searching ‘tourist what to wear in Paris’ in Google. It’s a sure-fire way of copping that ‘outsider aesthetic.’
Trust me, the last thing you want to happen is foreign smack-talk. To help mitigate stares and giggles, here are some fashion tips to avoid with your outfit
- Stereotypical fashion: This mainly includes striped tees and berets. Yes, we gave the green light for this French hat, but only for those who know how to style it correctly. The mime aesthetic is not something you want to copy in Paris
- Athleisure: Compared to western fashion, sweatpants and athleticwear are not a common style sported in Paris. We suggest wearing your leggings and crop tops as indoor clothes only
- Mini skirts and super short shorts: As aforementioned, French fashion is quite conservative in silhouette. If you’re adamant about wearing a mini dress or skirt, we suggest layering up with tights underneath
- Country-specific fashion trends: This includes techwear, Harajuku fashion, and traditional Nashville style. To dress like a Parisian, you must learn the ways of how they dress
How to Take Care Of Your Outfit for Paris
You should treat your Paris-inspired outfit as any other type of clothing. For expensive pieces, you may want to implement some routine maintenance and care to ensure continued use.
Below, we’ll share some tips and tricks on how to clean your clothes at home.
- Wash in cold water with gentle detergent. You should stay away from harsh solvents, such as bleach
- Turn your clothes inside out to help protect any added embellishments or embroidery.
- Check for dry-cleaning tabs. Some garments require professional help
- Toss your garments in the dryer on a gentle cycle. You can also opt to line-dry them as well
Best Places to Buy Outfits to Wear in Paris
Congrats! You finally know what to wear in Paris. Now, it’s time to do a bit of shopping. We’ve listed a few recommendations for those interested in buying new clothes:
- Gentle Herd
Before we say ‘au revoir’ to our readers, we thought it best to summarize what we learned so far. Parisian style requires you to consider the simplicity of fashion. Contrary to popular belief, wardrobe basics are not boring.
If styled correctly, they can turn into an Instagrammable moment. It’s all about design, color, cut, and silhouette. If you manage to ace all four, I think it’s safe to say that you’re winning the fashion game.
Here’s to hoping that you finally know what to wear in Paris. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, French fashion remains relatively the same: easy, simple, and oh-so-elegant.
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