A girl’s guide to how to dress for a trip to Paris. Get ready for the most fashionable city in the world. How to dress for the ballet, how to pack your bag, what shoes to wear, and what not to wear.
Skip the heels, at least for walking around Paris all day.
If you do decide to wear heels, take a change of shoes for the day. I love Paris and I never get tired of wandering its streets, but I’m also not going to suffer in heels if it’s unnecessary. No matter where you go in Paris, either on foot or by Metro, you will be walking. A lot. In fact, some of my favorite moments in Paris were when we got lost and found hidden gems off the beaten path. Comfortable shoes are a must!
As with everything else that has to do with what to wear in Paris, comfort is key. You can be stylish and comfortable at the same time! The trick is to find styles that balance form and function.
Take an extra pair of shoes along.
This first tip may seem obvious, but a surprising number of travelers still foolishly pack only one pair of shoes. Paris is a walking city — you won’t be taking the subway everywhere — and you’re going to need at least one extra pair of shoes to help your feet get through the day. If you’re planning on attending a classical music concert or going to the ballet, make sure you bring a change of shoes with you. You can wear your fancy heels to enter the theater, but once inside, make sure that you have something more comfortable (like ballet shoes or flats) to walk around in during intermission and after it’s over.
If your itinerary doesn’t include any highbrow events, consider bringing along two pairs of casual footwear as well: sneakers for everyday walking and flip-flops for relaxing at home after a long day out on the town. Whatever you do: leave those high heels at home!
Bring a raincoat or umbrella.
When going to Paris, make sure you bring a raincoat or an umbrella. It may seem like an obvious statement when visiting a city with the reputation of being rainy and gloomy, but Paris receives less rainfall than other cities in Europe. Nevertheless, there are sufficient reasons for tourists to bring rain protection on their trip.
First of all, it’s important to remember that weather changes quickly in the City of Lights. The difference between spring and summer is particularly significant: while in the former season one should expect frequent showers that can go on for several days, it’s much drier throughout July and August. Many travelers say they only needed a light jacket during their stay in Paris during summertime. So why bother with a raincoat? The truth is we just don’t know what kind of weather will hit us next year—and we definitely don’t want to spoil our vacation because of bad luck! Besides, even if you visit Paris at the beginning of October (the sunniest month) you might end up needing some serious protection against rain—or snow!
Take different jackets and accessories.
You’ll want a variety of jackets and accessories to choose from each day, so pack a wide range. The best jackets are thin and packable, so you won’t be weighed down by the weight or bulk of your coat and can layer it over a sweater or shirt. Choose jackets in different shades, such as black or light brown, but avoid loud colors or patterns that draw unnecessary attention to you on the street.
A lightweight scarf is both a fashion accessory and a blanket, making it another multi-purpose piece you’ll want to bring with you wherever you go. Use it during the day for warmth when needed and as an extra layer at night if there’s a chill in the air. Make sure your scarf is made of soft material like cotton or silk so that it doesn’t irritate your skin when worn around your neck for long periods of time.
As far as bags go, Parisians typically carry small purses or backpacks rather than large bags or shoulder purses (which tend to look bulky). Keep this in mind when choosing which items to take with you on your trip!
Keep it casual, whatever you do.
Paris isn’t the place for fancy clothes. This is something you need to get drilled into your head, and then it needs to be permanently fixed there because the French don’t like tourists that are overdressed.
In fact, they hate it. Parisians will sneer at you like no tomorrow if you wear a suit or tie while wandering around town. And they’ll also look at you with contemptuous eyes if you’re wearing a t-shirt with a logo like Disney World or McDonald’s. It doesn’t matter where the shirt came from—even if it’s a vintage souvenir t-shirt from Disneyland in Paris! That doesn’t make it any better! It’s tacky and touristy and just plain terrible looking.
What to wear to the Paris ballet
What attracts millions of tourists to Paris every year ? Beyond its monuments and museums, there is the capacity to reinvent itself continually renewing stories. Paris: Fashion capital (and more) of the world. From Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier, from the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris to the Fashion week, Paris is undoubtedly a must for all fashionistas!
You can also bring ballet shoes. You’ll want to avoid wearing them, however. Reason? The floors in the theatre are notoriously polished, and it’s very hard not to slip and slide around when you’re dancing in your ballet flats. Many dancers prefer to change into ballet slippers immediately before entering the stage anyway, so we recommend following suit.
What are the best shoes to wear in Paris
Paris is a city of romance and beauty. Take in the gorgeous architecture and awe-inspiring art collections with a long stroll down the Champs Elysees or the Rive Gauche. Consider walking along La Seine to visit the beautiful gardens of Luxembourg and see the stunning Notre Dame. Paris offers so many museums and parks that spending an afternoon wandering around might be your best option for seeing it all.
To get around all this, you need comfortable shoes! But what type? With so many different kinds of stylish shoes out there, how do you decide which ones are going to keep up with you across cobblestone streets?
What not to wear in Paris
In this post-earthquake, post-financial crisis age, we’re all looking for ways to explore new things and make our money go further. And in Paris, that means accessorizing. Want to save money? Try it out:
Your Bad: You might have thought that wearing any of the following items was going to be a good idea—but you were wrong. While the more casual outfit choices are fine during other parts of your stay (and even if you’re just walking around the city), they won’t fly in Paris, particularly when you’re trying to look fashionable and not seedy:
- Short skirts
- Flip flops or sandals
- Baseball caps with jeans/skinny pants/tights/shorts underneath
- Backpacks without a waist strap (you’ll inevitably fall on your backpack)
What to wear in Paris in spring
It’s also important to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes, or some type of “sneaker”.
My personal choice is a white leather sneaker because it goes with anything in my wardrobe and can be worn day and night. I also like that they are neutral enough so as not to stand out too much and therefore I don’t feel like a tourist.
They should be comfortable and supportive enough for your feet but also cute (which may take some searching). If you don’t have a pair of nice “sneakers” then I would recommend bringing a pair along with you because there will be many occasions when you need them!
You can also bring ballet shoes
Still, if you don’t want to invest in a new pair of shoes for one evening, ballet flats are the way to go. They’re lightweight, so they aren’t a pain to carry. And at around $20 for a pair of simple ballet flats, you won’t be out much money or have to take up room in your luggage if you leave them behind.
The best part is that they go with literally any outfit and can be worn anywhere—even more formal events. So wear your black ones with your LBD while sitting front row at the opera and then switch over to sparkly silver flats when it comes time to dance the night away at a Parisian club. Not only will your feet thank you, but the rest of you will appreciate how comfortable these cute alternatives are compared to sky-high stilettos!
The major key to surviving the winter in Paris is to dress for comfort rather than fashion; Parisians obviously do not care much about fashion when they are waddling down the icy streets.
At the end of the day, whether you are going to a ballet performance, daytime or nighttime dinner, attending a wedding in Paris or a business meeting, the general rule of choosing what to wear in Paris is to avoid too much black. Black is too formal and overdone whereas colors like pastels are feminine and elegant. Another good point would be to avoid tights if you are going out at night since they are less stylish and more suitable for colder days. The ideal would be a pair of ankle boots because they combine fashion with comfort as well as style. And here’s another tip: do not wear high heels when going to wait on line at Notre Dame de Paris, Arc de Triomphe, or the Eiffel Tower!