Packing Guide For Paris- Fall/Winter

Packing for your first trip to Paris can seem like an impossible task.  Paris is the fashion capital of the world, and its denizens are notoriously chic.  After spending a month here I can tell you A few things that you definitely need, as well as a few things you definitely do not.  

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When I started packing I had a few goals in mind.  First and foremost I wanted to be warm on my trip, the average temperature has been in the low 30’s in the month of January.  I also wanted to be comfortable walking around, as well as look reasonably fashionable.  I also needed a couple of dressier ensembles that I could wear to shows and fancy dinners.  Parisians are almost allergic to being over-dressed, so in order to blend in I wanted to keep my wardrobe choices looking nice, but casual.  Here is a little shopping list so you can stay warm and look like you belong during your visit to Paris.

You’re Going to Need a Coat

It is cold!  Make sure you find a really warm coat that fits you well, as that is all that 90% of people you encounter will see you in.  Pay attention to the fit in the shoulders and in the waist, especially.  I have seen a lot of really nice winter coats here, it seems to be something Parisians are willing to splurge on.  Here are a few suggestions:

Dressy: Burberry Sidlesham Wool and Cashmere Coat- $1,795 at Nordstrom

I wouldn’t recommend a classic burberry trench coat in the middle of winter, but this cashmere and wool blend should keep you warm and the silhouette is fitted without relying on a belt.  The lighter color will set you apart from the sea of black and navy coats, as well.

Everyday warmth: Fur-Lined Cotton Canvas Parka By Moose Knuckles- $1,790 at Saks

Although I abhor the brand name (seriously, couldn’t anyone have given that a quick google during the decision process?), this style is favored by a lot of Parisians, and the full fur lining will keep you nice and warm. There is also a drawstring waist so you can keep a little shape to your figure while running around town.

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Pair it with:

Cashmere knitted hat by Portolano- $90 at Saks

This extra thick cashmere beanie will keep you nice and warm in the cold.

Valentino Studded Leather Gloves- $675 at Saks

Cashmere lining ensures that your hands will stay warm and cozy while gold studs add a little style to an ordinary accessory.

Yigal Azrouël Cashmere and Modal Scarf- $395 at Nordstrom

 

You definitely need a warm scarf to keep your neck (and occasionally your face!) warm.  It has been quite windy a few days here, and if I didn’t have a giant scarf to wrap around me I would have frozen.

What to wear underneath

Boatneck Dress- $275 at James Perse

This shirred waist boatneck dress is perfect for traveling.  It packs down, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and can be dressed up or down depending on your itinerary for the day.  Most of my wardrobe for this trip consists of various James Perse dresses.  They are comfy and stylish, without looking like you are trying too hard.

Vince Cashmere Tunic- $295 at Saks

Vince has some of the softest cashmere on the market.  This sweater will be great for days where you are heading somewhere fairly warm, but don’t want to freeze on the way.  Perfect for a day spent shopping or touring museums.

Three Dots Cowl Neck Sweater Dress- $128 at Bloomingdales

Three dots makes some really soft knitwear at a very reasonable price point.  It can be very tempting to rely on all black if you are packing a limited wardrobe, but I find injecting even a little color can go along way, especially in the bleak winter weather.

360 Cashmere Dress- $392 at Saks

You should basically buy all of the cashmere you can fit into your luggage.  It’s cold and cashmere is soft and warm.  I don’t feel like I need to sell it much more than that.

James Perse Cashmere Leggings- $335 at James Perse

You’re going to want a lot of warm leggings to pair with dresses and tunic tops.  These super soft cashmere leggings from James Perse are perfect to tuck into boots or just keep you warm lounging around the house.

Pair it with:

Burberry Edenbery Riding Boots- $995 at Saks


A nice, comfy leather riding boot is perfect for walking around Paris.  Make sure you break them in before your trip, though!  These also work for more casual evenings out, paired with some extra long socks to keep your legs warm.

Vince ‘Alton’ Sneaker- $295 at Nordstrom

Basically any reasonably inoffensive sneaker will do.  Paris requires a lot of walking, so another pair of comfortable walking shoes is a must.  I average 3-5 miles per day, and I usually don’t walk anywhere.  Find a comfortable pair that goes well with the clothes you’re packing and you’ll be fine.  I have noticed that the Parisian hipster youth set tend to favor white Adidas sneakers with everything (including black tights and a black dress for an evening out!  Quelle horreur!), but let’s not get too crazy.  An understated pair of black-on-black sneakers like this pair from Vince will serve you well and not look ghastly in pictures later.

Make sure you pack enough to stay warm, but do leave room in your luggage to bring home the wonderful things you find shopping in Paris!  And remember to keep it casual and classic.  French people do not often dress up, and they keep their everyday clothes very simple and chic.  I’ll do a post soon about some of my favorite places to go shopping in Paris, great buys, as well as some hilarious misses.

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