What to Pack for Paris in Spring

This post contains affiliate and non-affiliate links intended to serve as examples. Please shop your wardrobe first, then DIY, ethical, or secondhand. Madewell chambray shirt  / Etoile Isabel Marant Ken and Kieran linen t-shirts / Bella Freud merino wool jumper / J Brand 811 mid rise skinny jeans in Ocean Side / J Brand Maria High Rise white jeans / Etoile Isabel Marant Anna skirt / MM6 satin and cotton jersey dress you could easily DIY / Acne Jensen boots / Nuria organic espadrilles / Nike Quickstrike Air Max trainers / Sibling leopard print cotton jacket / Aanndd petite pack / The Umbrella Shop Grey Domestic / Swedish Stockings / Saint Laurent scarf

I never thought to make a Paris spring packing list because there are a lot of them. However, a quick search on Google turns up glaring inaccuracies. To tackle a few, nobody wears skater skirts, sundresses are typically worn ironically, and only tourists wear hats other than beanies. Maybe things were different a few years ago. Today, for an idea of what French girls are wearing any given season, look at Saint Laurent, which somehow trickles down to every age and economic bracket. If you are a guy, just dress like Aziz Ansari.

Springtime in Paris means lots of bright, clear, chilly days, and sunny days that turn into unexpectedly heavy rain. Honestly, whatever you're already wearing is probably in fashion here- just adapt it to being outdoors on a city street. I'm not good at styling, but I know what I see people wearing every day, so if you're under 30 and visiting Paris, I would pack:
  1. Ankle boots 
  2. Sneakers
  3. Espadrilles- the Chanel kind, or ankle tie kind, but not the Jennifer Lawrence kind
  4. Black tights
  5. Umbrella- crooked handles are best, so your hands are free to Snapchat. I like Pelcor's renewable cork umbrella.
  6. Chambray or plaid shirt, to wear open like a jacket, or with a skirt, or jeans
  7. If you bring a dress, something 90s, like Reformation's Dime, Penny, or Hackman, would fit right in, under a jacket with tights and a scarf.
  8. Fuzzy angora-type sweater, or a slightly cropped Bella Freud style 
  9. Skinny jeans, particularly in grey, acid wash, and white; mom jeans, or overalls of any color
  10. Bomber jacket / denim jacket / colored biker jacket / duster / hip-length, collarless light wool jacket, especially in tweedy grey or navy. Weirdly, my waxed cotton full-length raincoat is on trend now- thanks, Monica Rose.
  11. A choker or skinny scarf
  12. Violet-style top or bodysuit
  13. One solid t-shirt, unisex fit (like a Jungmaven shirt). It can have minimal writing on the front. Also pack a striped t-shirt, same fit.
  14. Small, boxy cross body bag, or good mini backpack, such as Matt and Nat vegan leather
  15. A-line skirt
For night, an influx of stylish Russians upped the glam factor at places like l'Arc and Maria Magdalena, so you can wear the aforementioned 90s dress with ankle boots, or skinny jeans and an embellished jacket with a silk camisole, or an Anthony Vaccarello / House of CB / Self Portrait / Valeria style outfit, bodysuit with mom jeans, etc. 

If you're over 30, or on a business trip, you might like:
  1. Tunic in a fluid fabric- this style, preferably not viscose, under a cardigan or jacket
  2. Trench coat or thin parka, thigh length; leopard and moto jackets are Emmanuelle Alt approved
  3. Neutral sweater- wool, silk, alpaca, or cashmere
  4. Tailored blazer or collarless jacket
  5. White jeans and / or skinny jeans
  6. Striped boatneck
  7. Fitted solid t-shirt in white, black, or navy; and a looser t-shirt in any of these colors or grey 
  8. Silk shell or camisole
  9. Unstructured above-the-knee sheath dress (black or colorful) with sheer black tights; for night, the same dress or a black jumpsuit
  10. Pencil skirt
  11. Umbrella 
  12. Longchamp bag
  13. A skinny belt in a print or bright color
  14. Scarves, Herm├Ęs-style, linen, or wool
  15. Tailored button down or bodysuit 
Finally, athleisure is just as popular in Paris, for all ages, as elsewhere. The sample wardrobe pictured above should fit easily in a carry-on, yielding 30 outfits in 15 pieces, not counting the umbrella. For an around the world carry on wardrobe, click here.


Paris to Go

6 comments:

  1. It really hurts me to hear that the Saint Laurent style is the norm... :/ but I read somewhere that Hedi is on his way out.

    I don't know what Jennifer Lawrence style is/means, but the phrase cracks me up for some reason.

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    1. Anthony Vaccarello will have the same effect I think, but at least his clothes are not SO normal that the price becomes a slap in the face. The Hedi Slimane stuff, am I wrong or could anyone just buy the same things at a thrift store?! Even those plain leather boots!

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    2. yes!!! I saw the Saint Laurent store in Dubai i was so disgusted by what was hanging in there that I couldnt get closer than 8 ft from the store. Like WTGoodwill is this???!! Nothing wrong with Goodwill, but when it's sold at whatever the heck they charge.

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  2. You mentioned a tunic in a flowy material, but not viscose, which I completely get. Have you much experience with clothing made from modal or a modal blend?
    Thanks, this was really helpful!

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  3. Hi Nicole, thank you! I had one modal dress but I noticed it picked up lint and cat fur really easily. It had a nice sheen and softness, and didn't wrinkle or fade, but it was very heavy. That's my main experience though. The only thing I've heard to be careful about though is that European modal is environmentally friendly, but Chinese or Indonesian modal can be derived from clearcut rainforest wood.

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    1. Thanks for your quick response, Ariana! That's really helpful. I was considering purchasing an All Saints t-shirt from Depop that was 85% modal and 15% silk but wasn't sure of the longevity. It's made in Portugal so it may be ok environmentally speaking.

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