Since booking our flights to Paris and Madrid, we have exchanged around 100,000 whatsapp messages and emails discussing what we plan on wearing on the trip. This involved lists, outfit try-out sessions, dashed visits to shopping malls and finally… we each had the basic outline of a holiday wardrobe. We could not visit Paris, or share any photos of ourselves in such a magnificent city, looking like typical tourists. So when we stumbled upon this article, we were somewhat relieved to find a guideline for ‘what to wear’ in Paris, and to see we were on the right track:
1. Neutrals are key
The article advises: “You can never go wrong with black in Paris” and to “aim for subdued approach”. Guess that means leaving any Hawaiian-printed shorts at home…
What is true is that Parisian women are noted for their elegant, pared down style. Paris is not the place to experiment with bold colours and patterns. Also as a rule, it is generally better to pack a wardrobe of neutrals (black, white, navy and grey); there is nothing worse than getting to end of the holiday with a pair of printed pants and bright top! We both have planned outfits for our stay in Paris that incorporate mainly classic, neutral items. Here is a sneak peek at both of our key items:
2. Leave the leisure wear at home
Hoodies, sweatpants, trainers and flip flops are best left in your wardrobe at home according to the article. Europe – and particularly, Paris – is notoriously snobby. Dressing like you are on the way to gym will usually result in being ignored (especially when speaking English) in restaurants and cafes.
That said, we are making one exception here – on Saturday morning, we plan to walk up the Eiffel Tower (the tickets were sold out it’s good exercise!). We need to be comfortable, so are both packing an ‘athletic chic’ look for that morning.
3. Make a statement with scarves and necklaces
Packing light has been the goal for both of us since booking the trip – given we will be lugging our own baggage up the metro stairs, and that we intend to shop – so including only basics in neutral colours will help us ensure we don’t over pack. Not that Ilaria ever needed the advice from the article, but it is reassuring to know the approach of wearing ‘plainer’ items accessorized with beautiful scarves, necklaces and earrings is welcomed in Paris. Given the fickle spring weather, scarves are also a great way to add layers and are easily slipped on and off.
4. Wear comfortable shoes, not white tennis shoes
There is nothing that screams tourist as much as a pair of battered takkies – one can always point out the American (bright white tennis shoes), the South African (dishwater-grey takkies) and the German (socks and sandals) while travelling. But… our feet need to be comfortable with all the walking we will inevitably end up doing. Our solution is stylish sneakers – like Supergas – which are both comfortable but also quite stylish However, ‘just in case’ flat pumps will be included in our handbags if we find ourselves taking tea, or a glass of champagne, at the George V hotel.
5. “Jeans are ok”
Thank goodness! Jeans are always a best friend whilst travelling – if you have brought along the right pair they can be re-worn several times without losing too much shape, and can transition from day to night with a simple change of a shoe. While we will both be packing a couple of pairs of jeans; the article advises to rather go for a darker skinnier cut, and to leave the jeans for the day rather than the evening.
6. Don’t worry about your hair and make-up (too much)
This one really seems out of a place, but apparently the ‘au natural’ look is preferred by French woman. The focus is on a glowing complexion and subtle make-up – picking either an eye-shadowed eye and nude lip, or bare eyes and lipstick.
This sounds perfect to us; we don’t want to spend the entire morning preening ourselves in the hotel room but don’t want to look completely barefaced. Key to achieving this will be a good foundation, a great mascara and bright lipstick.
If you want to see how our packing has panned out for Paris, and Madrid, make sure you follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and expect a full report back on our return! We have lined up a couple of posts for next week so the blog won’t be in holiday mode, however, from us it is “au revoir, nos amis” – WE ARE OFF TO PARIS, BITCHES!