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Thursday, September 17, 2009

One month and one day from right now I'll be en route (like that French?) to Paris. Comment dit-on "super pumped"? But Paris presents a whole new set of challenges; namely, if we wear comfy clothes there, we'll be shot on sight.

I like to be prepared so I googled "What to wear in Paris." I was directed to this site which is a wealth of information for tourists on faux pas to avoid while visiting France. Get used to the scattered French phrases, 'cause I'm gonna be dropping them throughout this post like they're hot.

So. First rule of thumb, according to this site: wear lots of neutrals. Not a problem. I work at an ad agency, so black clothes make up 90% of my wardrobe.

However, when we get to rule number two, we learn to:

Leave Leisure Wear at Home - Leave your hoodies and matching sweatpants, white tennis shoes, shorts and bright colored nylon windbreakers at home. The comfortable clothes that suburban American women live-in, are not seen on Parisians outside of their homes.

Elisabeth Fourmont of La Coquette, a Parisian fashion blog, says it best, 'Most countries fetishise styles only young people look good in, whereas in Paris there are interesting women dressing their age. 'That's why designers find Paris so inspiring.' And always, always look neat: 'There's a lot you can't get away with here,' continues Fourmont. 'Wearing a tracksuit and flip-flops to the post office is a form of disrespect.'

OK. It's not that I'm a fan of the tracksuit and flip-flops. BUT we're going to be traveling trans-Atlantic. I wasn't planning on wearing over-the-knee boots, a miniskirt and a waist-cinching jacket on the flight over. Apparently I can't wear yoga pants or the French will poo-poo. That made me a little sad.

Carrying on...rule number three is to make a statement with accessories such as jewelry, scarves, and bags. Easy enough. I like all of the above, they're easy to pack and don't take up much room, and are fun. Except for the fact that I always feel like my scarves are draping wrong, and my favourite bag cost $12 at Old Navy. Somehow, I don't think that the French will favour $12 Old Navy bags. C'est la vie!

Rule number four: Wear comfortable shoes, not white tennis shoes. There's a huge rambling paragraph on how wearing white sneaks is the equivalent of putting a target on your back that says "Pickpocket Me, I'm An American Tourist!" However, black Pumas are OK. Remind me to NOT pack my Nikes.

Rule number five: Jeans are OK. Well, that's an effin' relief, because since I can't wear yoga pants, I wasn't sure what would be permitted to pair with my black Pumas that I now need to go and purchase.

Rule number six: Don't worry about your hair and makeup. French women like a really natural look, and not just in the hairy-armpits sense of the term. Apparently, they like to use very minimal makeup, they don't "do" their hair every day like North American women tend to, and so on--in short, they're much more low maintenance when it comes to grooming. I'm not sure about this. I don't take the garbage downstairs without mascara and concealer, and my un-blow-dried mane tends to resemble something that's washed up dead on the beach.

Here's my tentative list of bring-alongs for my trip overseas in terms of clothing...is there anything I'm forgetting?

-one jacket
-scarves (3)
-gloves (you never know)
-black sneakies...mine look like Pumas but I think they came from Zellers...mwahahahaha
-flat boots
-ballet flats
-jeans (2-3)
-black pants (1)
-a couple skirts/sweaterdresses
-black tights
-t-shirts/blouses; long & short sleeved (5-ish)
-one nice going-out outfit
-a couple of sweaters

Glamour says that when traveling you should divide your trip length, in days, in half and bring that many bottoms, and add 50% more tops vs. number of days. So, for example, we're going for 7 days, so I should be bringing 3-4 bottoms and 10-11 tops. That's the guideline I'll be aiming to follow. I always end up bringing waaaaay too many clothes, but you never know when you might need an emergency change of clothes, and I don't want to get in that kind of situation and be forced into a Chanel store and simply HAVE to purchase something. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...

What do you think? Is there anything I'm missing?

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  1. There are so many great places to see in France like Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. Just to walk around is already an experience. Sipping a cup of coffee while cruising the Seine is one of the few things you can do to savor your trip. Of course no one should ever miss to visit the art galleries of world renowned painters.
    The Truth About Paris

  2. Wear confy shoes, you will be walking a lot. Also bring cute necklaces. or one bod braceklet. When we ere there in the summer it is what tied their outfit together.

    Also shrugs and boleros or the new kimono sweater tops were all the rage.

    I loved Paris, we had a great time there for part of our honeymoon.

  3. haha glad the beret is a "pick up in paris" item :) I can't IMAGINE what it would be like not to use a hoodie. thank goodness for jeans... Aaaaaahhhh you're going to have so much fun!

  4. Wow, I had no idea trying to dress for Paris could be so complicated! I better get a sense of style before I ever travel there...

  5. @MansTouch Thanks for the link and for stopping by!

    @Christina Comfy shoes are a must...I made the mistake of wearing un-comfy footwear in NYC and paid for it for weeks!

    @Sarah I am SUPER excited!! I might bring a beret back with me!

    @Katy I know, right? I'm glad I looked online. I was more curious about how to dress for the seasons, October weather, etc...who knew the country has a dress code?!

  6. That sounds about right

    I'll be watching your experiences carefully when you come back because I have to go to France next year ;)

    I heard black and neutrals are their uniform there.

    I also heard to NOT dress like a sloppy American which means to not look like a sad American tourist.

    No white shoes, no sloppy hoodies, no tapered, tight jeans, nothing too fashion-y, and .. basically look business casual and you'll be fine in any situation

    Dark jeans are my go-to anyway, so I'm set too.

    Am excited for you!!!

  7. @FB I'll be sure to share the experience! :) I'm a big dark jeans girl too. I think I'm going to buy maybe one pair of skinny jeans and some leggings before the trip and then I should be completely good to go.

  8. I think the leggings are good idea to go beneath sweater dresses and skirts. It will also help so you aren't too cold if the weather is drizzly.

  9. Bring your scarves, but do not try to compete with the French women and their scarves. They are either born with some kind of special scarf wearing gene or they teach them how to properly wear a scarf around the same time they are taught the alphabet.

  10. @Aubrey I've made up my mind that leggings are a must for traveling. Easy to pack, comfy, and they aren't sweatpants!

    @L-A Good to know--I totally wing it with scarves, every time. Sometimes they look OK, sometimes not so much. I'll try to get a scarf-tying lesson while I'm there!