What to wear in Paris? A guide for all seasons
Originally written by Ariane in December 2019 and updated by Natalie in June 2021
Are you planning a trip to Paris and you are not sure what to pack? Here is my guide of what to wear in Paris, for all seasons! Parisians have a great sense of style and are world-renowned for their impeccable fashion.
If you follow a few golden rules, you can be just as stylish as they are. Yet, you will not have to sacrifice your comfort: it is possible to find outfits that are both classy and practical. Here are some ideas for your Paris outfits from a real Parisian!
The do’s and dont’s of what to wear in Paris
- DON’T wear workout clothes. They have no place on the streets of Paris, and Parisians will immediately spot you as a tourist. If you want to fit in, avoid sweatpants, workout shorts and tees, and flashy sneakers. You’re exploring a city, not climbing a mountain.
- DO dress up a little bit classier than you would normally do. But keep it simple! Dark or neutral colors, slim pants and jeans are a good option, especially ankle length. Pair them with a button-down shirt or a nice blouse.
- DON’T wear heels. Paris is best explored on foot. So you are probably going to walk all day long in cobblestone streets, and you don’t want to end up with sore feet a the end of the day. And forget about flip-flops too, even in summer. They have nothing to do in Paris, and they do not protect your feet.
- DO choose flats. Comfortable ankle boots, loafers or derbies are both stylish and convenient. Sneakers are quite trendy right now among young Parisians, with brands such as Converse, Adidas, Puma… These can be a great option for roaming the city streets, and they are practical all year-round. I like to wear my white Stan Smiths with a skirt or a summer dress, or a pair of jeans and a cozy jacket for winter.
- DON’T wear lots of flashy colors together, it is not very Parisian and will make you stand out as a tourist.
- DO keep it simple with black and neutral colors, but do accessorize your style! A colored bag, scarf or belt, a bold necklace with a white blouse: details can change everything.
- DO dress in layers. The key to dressing for Paris’ unpredictable weather is to have a few layers that you can pile on or peel off as they day goes on. A sweater, scarf, or blazer are all easy to wear items, perfect for layering!
What to wear in Paris in each season?
Now that you are familiar with a few basic rules for a Parisian style, let’s see what you can wear in every season.
Remember that the weather is quite unpredictable: I always like to keep an umbrella in my bag, even in the summer.
Spring is capricious in Paris: in can get really warm and sunny, or rainy and chilly. Pair your ankle boots, derbies or sneakers with comfortable pants.
You can wear a nice tee-shirt, buttoned-up shirt or blouse underneath a cotton or light wool sweater. Trench coats are a must in Paris: along with a small umbrella, they are perfect for rainy days. I also like to carry a light scarf in my bag, in case it gets colder in the evening.
My personal tip: Roll up your pants or go for a 7/8 pair of jeans. Reveal your ankle, «à la Parisienne»! By the way, forget about thick sports socks, and go for low-cut ones. It’s the little details that make a Parisian outfit!
Summer in Paris can be suffocating, especially in August. Choose light blouses or nice tee shirts. Yet, try to avoid flashier items, especially those in polyester. You’ll want something light and breathable for summer in Paris. I’d advise you to go with breathable fabrics like cotton and linen.
Go for a skirt! You can never be wrong with a simple, not skinny skirt or dress you can walk with. My favorites are skater dresses: both elegant and comfortable.
Accessories are very important during the summer! You definitely need a hat: choose a straw one, wide enough to protect your face from the sun. And do not forget your sunglasses, so that you can hide your eyes and play it mysterious…
Autumn is a nice season to see Paris with yellow trees and falling leaves, but the skies will mainly be gray. Although September is sometimes warm and sunny, the last months of the year can be really chilly and rainy. Don’t know what to wear in Paris during the colder months like October and November? Here’s my advice.
Pack several sweaters, both light ones, and very warm ones. You will also need a coat: a well chosen, discreet parka or down wool coat (khaki, black, maroon or gray) will keep you warm and trendy.
And in order to complete your Parisian outfit, don’t forget to pack a scarf or two! I advise you to choose a neutral-colored one, gray or black, that will go with every outfit. You also can bring a bold one, with colors or patterns, to add a joyful note to your autumn look. Finally, you should bring waterproof shoes; maybe not your Wellies, but something that can stand up to some rain and muddy Parisian parks.
My personal tip: the «ciré» rain slicker is a must this year among young Parisians. You can go for a bold yellow that brings light to a gray day, or a more casual navy blue. They protect you from the rain, give you a very French but not caricature look, plus they will last a lifetime.
Although we rarely have snow, winter is quite cold in Paris. So dressing for winter in Paris is all about layering!
You can wear a buttoned-up shirt underneath a very warm sweater, and top it off with a long warm coat. Grey or black knee-length wool coats are a must in Paris, as they are convenient, elegant, and they will keep you very warm on those cold December days!
Accessorize your winter in Paris outfit with gloves and a cozy scarf. I’ve rarely seen a Parisian go out without a scarf, no matter the time of year, they make a great fashion statement. In winter time though, scarves become essential to keep the cold at bay. I’d suggest a large one in cashmere or a warm knit material; these will be the warmest!
And don’t forget a hat. Any range of hats can be found in Paris, from classic berets to beanies. Pompom caps are also becoming fashionable again!
Protect your feet with a thick pair of socks and leather boots. Any flat black or brown boots are alright, but maybe skip bringing your pair of Uggs. I know they are warm and comfortable, but you will likely never see a Parisian wearing them.
And for my personal tip: Pack thermal underwear! You can easily find light but very warm tops to wear underneath a shirt or sweater (or both!). They are my all-time favorite in order to stay warm but stylish, and not disappear underneath four layers of wool sweaters.
Now that you’re ready to visit Paris, maybe you are looking for some advices to get the most out of your Paris trip. We have a fantastic article on our blog that will give some interesting ideas to see everything in Paris in only two days.
It is well-known that many major landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Louvre) have very long queues. If you want to avoid wasting some precious hours during your vacation, you might be interested in our advices. There are some fantastic ways to discover the city of lights:
You should think about joining a walking tour. There are several companies that run walking tours in Paris (in English, French etc.).
- Discover the picturesque and bohemian village of Montmartre during a night tour. This is a brand new walking tour we are running and it certainly won’t disappoint you: Montmartre is THE area to visit in Paris. For more info, you can check this page.
- The new Notre Dame walking tour that we launched after the fire of April 15, 2019. Why you should join this visit? Because you will understand what happened and get the recent updates on the progress of Notre Dame.
Where to Find the Best Parisian Outfits
The Champs Eylsees in Paris
When it comes to looking, feeling and shopping like a Parisian, the Champs Elysees is the place to be. This is Paris’ shopping Mecca; a lengthy strip of luxury design houses and international boutiques.
Many think you need to have a lot of money to blow in order to shop here, but this is largely untrue. There are many entry level department stores on this historic strip as well, so there really is something for everyone.
The Champs Elysees is one of the most vibrant places to be in all of Paris, no matter the season or time of year.
Les Halles in Paris
Situated between Chatelet and Etienne Marcel, les Halles is the latest shopping hub in the city of lights. While the streets are littered with boutiques and department stores, this is also one of few neighborhoods in central Paris where you can shop in an actual mall.
A 3 story one at that! It’s called the Westfiled Forum, and it’s where you’ll find a quick and easy Parisian outfit to wear as you go about your city exploration.
As always, I recommend walking into the les Halles district from the Pont Neuf, on the Seine.
Rue de Rivoli in Paris
The Rue de Rivoli runs past the Louvre and through the entire first arrondissement, making it one of the city’s main thoroughfares. This is probably the busiest shopping strip in all of Paris, owing to the fact that you can find absolutely everything you could possibly need right here.
Even locals like coming here, despite the tourist traffic. If you have an outfit in mind, you’re going to find it on the Rue de Rivoli — guaranteed! If the weather is bad, make your way to the upscale Carrousel du Louvre shopping center on the northern end.
Tip: The Rue de Rivoli is walking distance to les Halles!
If you’re on a tight budget, and in need of some simplified window shopping, then this strip is where you need to venture to. It runs all the way from the all the way from Palais Royal until Place Vendôme, giving you kilometers of shopping pleasures all in one intimate area.
This is where affluent Parisians come to expand their wardrobes, so you can draw outfit inspiration from the people walking past you and from the displays themselves.
What I like most about shopping on the Rue Saint-Honore is that it is never as chaotic nor cramped as other shopping streets in Paris. You have room to breathe, and you don’t need to be clutching your purse the entire time in fear of pickpockets!
And what about men?
Parisian men are just as stylish as women. Their style is about sobriety and classic cuts. But nonetheless, there are a few basic rules you need to know.
Most Parisian men wear shirts and ties every day when they work, of course, this depends on their industry. But I think you’ll notice that even servers at cafés are dressed smartly. As a tourist, you can forget about the tie, but keep the shirt. You will almost never see a Parisian after his twenties wearing a tee shirt. If it is very hot outside, go for a polo! They are classy and really breathable.
Avoid caps, go for a straw hat («Panama» style). You can wear jeans, if they are discreet, dark and well cut, but not in the evening, and not with a tee shirt and sneakers – you would look too casual. If you’re planning to enjoy a night out on the town, this is a good rule to remember. Most nightclubs won’t allow you in if you’re wearing sneakers and jeans. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your Parisian outfit and dress up a little!
While it can be tough narrowing down what to wear in Paris in November versus June, you now know the basics! I hope this article can help inspire your wardrobe choices for your next trip to Paris.