I'm Craving a Trip to Paris—15 Items I'd Pack Since Everyone There Wears Them
When the world feels especially gloomy, we need an escape. For me, fashion and travel have always been a way to take my mind off the state of the world, even if it’s only for a moment. And while I’m not personally planning to board a plane anytime soon, I can’t stop fantasizing about one place in particular: Paris. As cliché as it sounds, it’s one of my favorite places in the world because of the art, language, culture, food, and of course, fashion.
Parisian fashion does get a lot of hype—there are entire parts of the zeitgeist dedicated to chronicling French fashion in articles and even television shows (think: Emily in Paris). But once you’ve been to Paris, you get it. French peoples’ style always has that je ne sais quoi. It’s only fair then that you want to dress well if you choose to travel to Paris. You want to embody chic rather than give off ringard energy. So, in that vein, I scoured through the Instagrams of stylish women to highlight the 15 key pieces french women wear time and time again that are perfect for packing for a trip.
Ahh, blazers, the essential staple that never fails. French women love their blazers, and we can’t blame them. Packing an oversize blazer in any hue is a non-negotiable when traveling to Paris, as it’s the perfect piece not only to keep you polished while sipping a cup of coffee at a café, but it’s also the ideal layering piece for spring in the city.
For colder days in Paris, you’ll want to pack something practical and pretty, so I personally recommend leather pants. Not only are leather pants beloved by the fashion set in France, but I can assure you there’s no easier way to keep warm and look chic in them while traveling. Simply pair them with a sweater and coat for a daytime excursion, or heels and a cute top for a night on the town. However you choose to wear this staple, these are a must-pack.
Is it even an article about quintessentially French pieces without acknowledging the white dress? Whether you’re jaunting through Palais-Royal Garden or choose to take a day trip to the countryside, a prairie-inspired white dress will be the perfect piece for any location.
So often we think that to be comfortable while traveling you have to rely on T-shirts and sweats, but really, a relaxed black suit can get the feeling of comfort without looking like another tourist. The key is in finding a fitted black blazer, and then a great pairing it with cozy trousers (they can even come in a plissé fabric for maximum comfort). Throw this on before you head out, and watch how many people mistake you for French.
Another layering essential that you can not travel to Paris without? A trench coat. This wardrobe staple will not only be perfect for rainy days in the city, but it embodies the effortless yet polished aesthetic of French style that you may even be mistaken for a native yourself.
As stunning as Paris is, it’s a well-known fact that you have to be aware of your surroundings to avoid pick-pocketers. And what you choose to pack can help distinguish you from the natives as a tourist or help you blend in. One of the most important things you can pack is a minimalist, practical handbag. Ideally, it should zip or have a crossbody strap so that you can not only look good but keep the goodies safe too while you’re traveling.
For warmer days, you’ll want to pack pieces that are functional and fashionable. Enter the statement skirt. Every French girl I follow on Instagram has at one time or another posted some version of an outfit where they’re wearing typical cotton or linen skirt, with special details (think: high tie-up waists, cutouts, or bright hues). It’s a must-pack for any trip to the region—trust me.
No matter where I’m going when traveling, I like to take at least one pair of heels with me. Having practical walking shoes is a no-brainer, but having at least one pair of dressed-up shoes for a more formal dinner, or for the pure romance of looking fabulous by the Seine River is a must. If you can’t envision stilettos on the cobblestone streets though, then the kitten heel is a perfect alternative to pack for Paris.
Those warm spring and summer days in Paris can not be beaten, but dressing for them can be a challenge in and of themselves. You don’t have to sweat it though, the easiest way to keep your cool and still nail the aesthetic is to opt for lightweight pieces in linen, cotton, and eyelet. Personally, I recommend packing at least one statement white top (whether it has keyholes, bows, or puff sleeves). This piece will not only keep you cool, but you’ll also look it too.
Imagine packing a picnic for under the Eiffel Tower or heading out to the lavender fields—what would you be wearing? For me, I can’t imagine packing for a picnic without bringing along one of the most beloved handbag styles among the French fashion set: the woven tote. It’s peak “summer in France” vibes.
Denim is a quintessential part of anyone’s wardrobe around the world, but for women in Paris, it’s a non-negotiable. When traveling to the city, you’ll want to pack a great pair of straight-leg jeans since they’re super practical and will allow you to feel like a true Parisian.
Cardigans are by no means something only championed by the French, but you better believe that most women living in, or traveling to the region understand the power of a great cardigan. It’s a must-pack for a spring trip as it can be styled in various ways and embodies that carefree energy of the French.
While you can definitely get away with packing sneakers for your trip, I personally try to avoid looking like a cliché tourist at all costs. So when it comes to alternative French girl–approved flat shoes, I suggest packing loafers. They not only can keep your feet comfortable throughout your trip, but they also will elevate any other ensembles you choose to pack.
There are so many legendary French designers, but if we’re being honest one designer is the driving force behind one of the most essential wardrobe staples in every woman’s wardrobe: Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Her tweed suit sets changed the world and everyone’s wardrobes as we know it. So whether you wear a full Chanel number or any other bouclé set, it’s possibly the greatest homage to French fashion (and the greatest packing choice you can make for a trip to Paris).
By now, you’ve probably realized that the key to picking the perfect outfits for a trip to Paris is all about finding pieces that toy that perfect line between timeless and trendy. And nothing does that better than a black dress. Simply take a cue from the French and pack a version with cutouts up the side, keyholes, or an open back. It will be the perfect thing to wear to a cabaret show, or to a special dinner. But most importantly, it will make you feel your chicest, and who wouldn’t want that?