What to Wear in Paris

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

With Paris being one of the world’s best known fashion hubs, most people will naturally feel the pressure to up their style game when visiting the city of lights. So if you want to look your best, we have the complete guide on everything you need to know about what to wear when in Paris.

When it comes to style, the French are world renowned for their chic, classic and sartorially supreme sense of style. Being the champions of the tailored minimalist look, Parisians are no exception to this. Many fashion fanatics and designers alike will turn to the city of light for inspiration and that quintessentially French flair.

So, how would you go about dressing like a local when venturing to the city where so many of the fashion greats cut their teeth? Dressing for Paris is all about not overworking, or overthinking, your chosen look and avoiding kitschy trends. You should look towards incorporating simple, clean, streamlined pieces that exude an air of effortlessness. Forget what you see at the fashion weeks, the French have their own way of doing things. Keep it classic, and keep it monochrome (mostly).

How to Dress in Paris

Daytime Casual

Like every place there’s a stereotype that’s not usually fully accurate – you may see the French being associated with berets, a navy striped shirts and cigarettes in hand. Although the cigarette part may be true and the striped tee is always a style staple no matter where you are, the beret maybe not so much. But, the navy striped Breton tee is a French classic. Being a key part of the sailors uniform in the French Navy, the stripes have a whole lot of history.

Long or short sleeved, the striped T-shirt can be worn in both summer winter. But to help update the look and to make sure you don’t actually look like you’ve just stepped out of the navy, wear with a overshirt and some Dickies trousers. They may be considered work pants, but the style will compliment the Breton tee well.

Evening Drinks

Parisian men are masters of layering and often keep things tonally neutral and casually refined. Their use of the simple white button down shirt is something to be jealous of – they know how to rework it and make it something totally different and a little less boring.

If you’re heading out for some casual drinks and want to look smart, a slim fitting shirt will be the best companion. Leave a couple of the top buttons undone for some extra added casualness and pair with some navy or black smart trousers. If you want to make it a little less simple, a check or striped pair of trousers will add some interest to the look. Finish off with brown shoes and you’ll be ready to hit the bars in the City of Lights.

Formal Dinner

The Parisians know how to pull off a suit, so taking notes from them will always be a good idea. Again, you’ll want to keep it simple, classic and probably black – it is Paris after all.

Going for a classic two piece black suit and black brogues will always be a hit. Keep the lines clean with a classic black button down and some accessories. The world is your oyster when it comes to picking out a tie, because the suit is black, you can go for any colour or texture, so take your pick. If you’re feeling fairly adventurous, try a pocket square as it adds a small amount of detail, but it doesn’t go unnoticed. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, a patterned blazer will add that extra detail to the whole look.

What to Wear in Paris each Season

What to Wear in Paris in Spring

Springtime in Paris is comparable to that of the UK, which means that although the rain might have subdued, it’s still not quite time to whip out the shorts and T-shirt – not that a true Parisian ever would anyway.

Keeping in tune with their clean, simple aesthetic; try mixing a pair of dark wash jeans, a long sleeve textured white T-shirt, a simple bomber and some incredibly chic all-black suede trainers. It’s an effortless look that’ll easily transition from a sunny spring day into a chillier evening – being casual enough for a day out with friends, yet smart enough to go straight into an evening in the nearby brasserie.

What to Wear in Paris in Summer

Parisian summers aren’t quite as scorching as you’d find down south in the French Riviera, with average temperatures reaching only the early twenties, even in July. So with this in mind, you needn’t go rushing for some leg baring short shorts.

Keeping things classy; reach for a black T-shirt and with rolled up sleeves or ones that aren’t too long, some brown suede Chelsea boots and a trusty pair of Ray-Ban’s. You may think, ‘it’s summer I can’t wear boots’, but the good thing about Chelsea boots is that they’re ideal for all year round. If rain is predicted, throw on a clean, technical raincoat to keep yourself dry without turning up the heat.

What to Wear in Paris in Autumn

Most consider Autumn to be when Paris is at it’s most beautiful, however, as with most areas in northern Europe, when Autumn comes around, things can still get a little chilly – reaching down to the low single digits.

For a comfortable middle ground suited to the temperamental weather, try mixing a warm grey sweater with some dark jeans, a black beanie hat and some grey suede chelsea boots. Like with the summer option, if rain is on the horizon you should have a light raincoat at the ready, or reaching into the colder Autumn months – a pea coat.

What to Wear in Paris in Winter

When winter comes to Paris, things will typically get cold, wet and windy so it’s important to wrap up while maintaining some element of style merit.

Donning some chunky knitwear will always work in your favour when it comes to the cooler months – pair this with some trendy black ripped jeans, a warm overcoat and some chic suede boots. This will allow you to enjoy everything Paris has to offer while keeping stylish and snug.

How to Dress like a Parisian

While the Parisians are renowned for their monochromatic dress code, this doesn’t mean you have to dress in head-to-toe black. It’s true, your average Parisian man won’t be the one to champion the colour blocking trend (unless it’s Kenzo, of course), but mixing neutral and understated colours like blacks, greys, tans and creams is what they do best.

One of the key factors many Parisians will take into account when purchasing a new piece of clothing is the quality. We’re not saying that you won’t catch a Frenchman pop into Zara for the latest trend-led piece – it’s just that they’re far more likely to adhere to the ‘buy little, spend more’ method of shopping.

If you’re looking to shop like a true Parisian, and avoid falling into the trap of what tourists wear – you should be really considering the necessity of every piece you purchase. Why buy yourself a couple of high street coats that’ll deteriorate quickly and be old news by the end of the season, when you can buy the slightly more expensive option that’ll last you a lifetime. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

What to Pack for Paris

When packing for a trip to Paris, it’s important to consider the time of year, how long you’re going for, your reason for visiting and of course, your own personal style.

Taking a look at some of the staple outfits above, we’ve outlined some of the key pieces you should be packing for Paris. Presuming you’re going for a weekend, you should be bringing:

  • Warm overcoat
  • Bomber Jacket
  • Plain t-shirts x 4
  • Warm Sweatshirt x 2
  • Jeans x 2
  • Casual trousers
  • A pair of dark chelsea boots & black trainers
  • Changes of underwear and socks… obviously

What to Wear in France

So, you’ve visited Paris and soaked up all the culture you can, but the lack of sunshine has left you a little disappointed. Time to pop down south and get some decent warmth on your skin.

The rest of France don’t seem to take their clothing quite as seriously as the Parisians. So when you’ve decided eschew the city in favour for the countryside, you can begin to slip on some colour, once again, without fear of ridicule from the Morticia Adams brigade. While working from your capsule wardrobe above, you can opt for some denim or chino shorts. As well as this, feel free to pull out the colourful T-shirts once again. While all this advice is handy to know, if you’ve rented out your own place – go wild, once your behind closed doors there’s nobody to criticise your terribly cliché or terrifically tacky outfit choices.

What is Paris Like?

Paris is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and for good reason. With the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Arc De Triumph among some of the cultural havens that the French have at their disposal, it’s no wonder they’ve got a reputation for being incredibly proud – wouldn’t you be the same?

As a nation, the Parisians greatly cherish their quality of living and the simple pleasures of day to day life. Generally speaking, the food is of a much higher quality than many other European cities, as well as being a lot more cost effective. Cheese, wine and pastries are just some of the simple pleasures that you can expect to find at a much higher quality, for far less than you’d be paying in the UK.

A word of advice for anyone looking to visit the illustrious city of light – the French have a reputation as being unfriendly and snobbish, and while this is completely untrue, it’ll work in your favour to learn a few simple words of French to show them you’ve made an effort.

What to Wear in Paris

  • The Parison’s are big fans of the minimalist look. Black, white and grey are their favourite colours.
  • The weather’s not particularly hot so always keep a bomber, rain jacket or overcoat ready just in case.
  • Layering is key, you want to look good and stay warm so just a T-shirt and jacket may not be enough.
  • Investing in good quality pieces is how the Parisians prefer it, a good example of less is more.

On That Note

And there we have it! Try to remember to keep it simple, classic and understated as the Parisians never like to go too overboard. Be weather conscious, as even though Paris is in France, it’s not fortunate enough to benefit from the wonderful Mediterranean temperatures you’ll find down south. Most importantly, while it’s nice to give a gentle nod to the sartorial system of a country you’re visiting; don’t completely abandon you’re own sense of personal style. Add a few Parisian flourishes and you’ll be fine!

Feature image from Pinterest

You may also like