Escaping our less than favourable chilly climate in search of an endless French summer has never seemed so appealing. With a style rep to uphold, our Parisian packing list will ensure looking très magnifique in the world’s fashion capital is as easy as un, deux, trois!
It’s a well-known fact that French women are the crème de la crème of the fashion world. With a meticulous wardrobe consisting of neutral shades, monochromatic sets, classic LBDs and eternally stylish accessories – Parisians unmistakeably do it better.
For the lucky ones escaping our chilly winter in favour of a European summer, here’s the quintessential Ten Commandments every budding Frenchie needs to practice before jetting off for a little joie de vivre in the City of Love.
1. Thou cannot go beyond a classic Breton stripe tee.
This list wouldn’t be a French fashion Bible without taking our hat off in recognition of one of Paris’ most influential women, Coco Chanel. The iconic singer-turned-designer single-handedly brought the original nautical-inspired tee to our attention back in 1917, and we haven’t looked back since. Whether it’s blue, black, grey or red, if you’re sticking with a neutral-paletted look, having a white-based tee with a horizontal stripe will ensure your Parisian uniform is affluent in a little variation.
2. Thou shalt always pack a hat.
They say the most confident of women wear hats, and we reckon the bigger the better! A fedora, a wide brim, a bowler, a floppy hat or a beret (the stereotypes are hard to ignore), an outfit is never complete without a little head candy. What’s more, wearing a hat can instantly jazz up a repeat outfit offense when running out of clothes on your trip, not to mention covering up a bad hair day in-between washes! A definite must-have, I say.
3. Thou shalt ditch the denim in favour of structured leather cigarette pants.
It’s hard to say no to your trusty pair of jeans when they’ve carried you through thick and thin. But this is Paris after all and that calls for something extra special. Step away from the bleached acid wash and invest in a pair of structured, leather cigarette pants pronto! The tapered ankle will give your legs a sense of length when teamed with a pair of killer heels and will take you from picnicking along the banks of the Seine and wandering the halls of the Louvre, to dinner and drinks in Le Marais without having to change outfits! Practical AND chic – check!
4. Thou shalt borrow your boyfriend’s clothes part I: a black blazer
We knew our partners were useful for something! For added structure in your Parisian wardrobe, steal your boyfie’s black blazer or better yet, invest in your own (that way you won’t get in trouble when it mysteriously disappears). Instead of channelling corporate office meeting, opt for a flirty, feminine look that will elongate your body and give a streamlined finish. Drape a long-line blazer over bare shoulders when paired with a white crop, a black tulle midi skirt and black peep-toe ankle boots for a Carrie Bradshaw moment.
5. Thou shalt borrow your boyfriend’s clothes part II: a white shirt
A simple cotton white shirt can be a lifesaver when living out of a suitcase and variation is limited. With it’s timelessness, an oversized white shirt will give softness when rocked with leather pants, worn undone over a grey tee and a nude bodycon skirt or simply paired back as a shirt dress accessorised with a belt tied around the waist.
6. Thou shalt find the perfect LBD
The secret to choosing the right travel dress is weighing up its functionality. A dress that can be worn up or down is, for me, the deciding factor when I go to pack. Whilst many women pack an elegant LBD that they only end up wearing once on the trip (due to it either being too dressy or too revealing), opt for a LBD that won’t cause people to stare when you decide to wear it before sundown.
7. Thou shan’t forget a good pair of ankle boots.
This goes without saying: every traveller needs a good pair of comfortable ankle boots, especially in Paris! Many a time I’ve found myself in trouble when trying to hobble along cobbled paths in European cities that don’t tailor to sky-high stiletto wearers. Instead of packing the extra pair of heels this trip, go for the fail-safe ankle boots with a kitten heel to trick yourself into believing you’re still wearing some sort of platform. Your feet will thank you later.
8. Thou shalt invest in a classic red lipstick.
With a suitcase filled to the brim of nude and monochromic delights, a red lip will give your French ensembles a pop of colour without overdoing it. Invest in a good shade that will instantly give the appearance of whiter teeth whilst instantly transforming your look from sightseer by day to Parisian mademoiselle by night. Ooh la la!
9. Thou shalt find a scent that suits me.
Finding a scent that personifies and captures your character is like discovering your go-to hairstyle; to say it’s imperative is an understatement! Packing your favourite smell is all well and good, but why not do one better and top up your collection whilst visiting the birthplace of perfume itself? With an array of perfumeries in Paris such as Nose, Ex Nihilo and super-boutique Maison Guerlain - sitting proudly on Paris’ busy Champs-Élysées, finding your fragrance identity has never been as essential! With Marilyn Monroe seductively stating she only wore a splash of Chanel No.5 to bed – we’re all about indulging in our own signature scent to mark our French adventure.
10. Thou shan’t forget a pair of sunglasses.
Last but no less important to quintessentially tricking locals into believing you’re one of them, is packing a pair of chic sunnies. Combat tired jetlag eyes whilst looking on point in the process! With the rule that you should opt for a pair best suited to your face shape, I’m a firm believer you can’t go wrong with a pair of classic aviators with a wide brim hat and a red lip – the perfect combination for enjoying Paris’ long, romantic afternoons before dusk.