What to wear in Paris: Everything you need to look fashionable in the French capital

Wondering what to wear in Paris? We have all the inspiration you need

a composite of street style influencers showing what to wear in paris
(Image credit: Getty)

Panicking about what to wear in Paris? Don't worry, we understand. Visiting Paris comes with a certain amount of style pressure with French dressing considered to be the epitome of chic. So if you’ve found yourself sartorially stuck, we’re here to help you master that much coveted French girl style.

There’s a certain 'je ne sais quoi' that comes with French clothing brands. Masters at the capsule wardrobe, Parisian style is packed full of timeless classics - think straight-leg jeans, Breton tees, top-quality tailoring, sleek loafers, and delicate jewelry for a polished yet understated look. One of the benefits of the way Parisian women dress, is that their outfits tend to work for all occasions. Taking them from brunch to evening cocktails with seamlessly stylish elegance. The beauty of replicating this look when considering what to wear in Paris, is that you won't need to pack a huge amount, instead relying on key wardrobe essentials that can be mixed and matched. 

When it comes to fall outfit ideas for what to wear in Paris, fabric plays a key role in keeping your look smart, yet carefree. Look for premium materials such as the best cashmere sweaters and wintery textures like leather pants and classic non-stretch denim for hardwearing but versatile outfit building blocks. Prints tend to be avoided as these items can easily date, whereas a wardrobe of neutral-colored or striped pieces will never go out of style.

If you’re in need of some style inspo, we’ve rounded up the building blocks you need for the perfect Parisian wardrobe. 

What to wear in Paris - outfits chosen by a fashion editor

When traveling on a city break the last thing you want to do is overpack. When considering what to wear in Paris, take your lead from the cities stylish residents by creating a capsule wardrobe of chic basics that you can mix and match in different combinations for day or evening. With a naturally pared-back but well put together aesthetic, sticking to neutral colors, thoughtful tailored shapes and high quality fabrics, nailing what to wear in Paris will be a breeze. 

1. Best dresses to wear in Paris

A composite of street style influencers showing the best dresses to wear in paris

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When looking for the best dresses to wear in Paris, the main criteria is keeping it neutral, leaving garish print and color at home. Easily to style up or down, a black dress or white dress will always look chic and can be enhanced with jewelry and heels for the evening, or worn with a sweater and boots in the day. 

When it comes to fit, the options really are endless. A thigh-skimming trapeze dress gives a nod to the latest fall 2022 fashion trends, while a tailored black shift dress will feel utterly timeless, even giving a nod to Coco Chanel's LBD aesthetic and can be easily dressed up with a tailored blazer or tweed jacket. 

2. Best trousers to wear in Paris

A composite of street style influencers showing the best trousers to wear in paris

(Image credit: Getty)

Every French girl wardrobe contains a pair of the best jeans and when it comes to what to wear in Paris, we suggest you get yourself a great pair, pronto. A lynch pin to multiple outfits, straight-leg jeans are the fashion editor’s choice, mastering the art of casual yet cool, structured and yet relaxed. While dark and mid blue washes will work for day time, or more relaxed cocktail meet ups, for a smarter finish, jet black jeans will work from day to evening with ease. An ankle skimming finish is by far the most chic hem length, showing off your shoes in the process. For a sharp silhouette, pair your jeans with a cozy roll neck and a tailored coat in the day, before swapping for a bow-neck blouse in the evening. 

But it's not just jeans that work well for stylish Paris outfit ideas. In the cooler months explore how to style leather pants for an ensemble that feels a little edgier. Play with texture, and add the best cashmere sweaters, half tucked at the waistband for a cool daytime look. Swap for a silk camisole and tuxedo style jacket for heading out to dinner. 

While Paris style is associated with straight-leg silhouettes, the French have also mastered how to dress simple but stylish in wide-leg pants. To learn what to wear with wide leg pants for any silhouette, opt for a high waisted style, to help define your middle. Keep your top half fitted to balancing out the wider hem line. 

3. Best tops to wear in Paris

A composite of street style influencers showing the best tops to wear in paris

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There’s only one top that reigns supreme in the French-dressing world and that’s the Breton. For winter, swap the best t-shirts for the sweater version of this classic striped design for an equally chic look with extra warmth. Look for blouses with feminine flourishes for that romantic French edge such as broderie detailing and flouncy frills that can be layered under stripy knits too - with extra points for oversized collars. Layering is also key, so invest in a slim turtleneck that you can slip on underneath dresses and blouses for extra warmth will be ideal for what to wear in Paris in the coldest months of the year.

While a splash of color is not forbidden, black, white, navy, grey and camel are the most timeless hues and offer a truly versatile look throughout your stay. Making layering easier, use knits and tees for day and swap for luxe blouses to head out for dinner. Masters at creating hourglass curves, tucking tops or half tucking tops in the most nonchalant of fashions will rubber stamp you Paris outfits. 

4. Best coats to wear in Paris

A composite of street style influencers showing the best coats to wear in paris

(Image credit: Getty)

Whilst puffer jackets are considered one of the best winter coats for warmth, this sporty style is a little too casual for that French aesthetic. But have no fear, this season's coat trends were packed with smarter iterations that are ideal for what to wear in Paris this fall/winter. 

A long, tailored coat with a high wool or cashmere percentage will not only look utterly chic, but it will also keep you super warm too. From belted style wrap coats, to polish button-downs, your coat during a winter visit to Paris is the first impression anyone gets of your outfit, so make it a good one. 

When it comes to color, once again, neutrals rain supreme, with navy, black, grey or camel coats being an obvious choice for the what coat to wear in Paris. In the transitional months, a heavier blazer, a trench coat or the best leather jackets are ideal.

5. Best shoes to wear in Paris

A composite of street style influencers showing the best shoes to wear in paris

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There’s nothing nonchalant about tottering around the streets of Paris in a pair of sky-high heels. And you definitely won't want to tackle any steep stairs or cobbled streets. And as much as the French are known for creating some of the best designer heels, their polished aesthetic is also intensely practical.

Nail that low-maintenance look with a pair of masculine loafers. The perfect combination of smart-meets-casual, when it comes to how to style loafers, they can be worn with dresses, jeans and everything in between, making them a chic and versatile shoe to pack for Paris. In reality, you won’t see a French girl in stilettos, so if you do want a heel, opt for something fuss-free such as a slip-on mule or cute kitten heel, both of which are part of the latest shoe trends, making them easily accessible. 

6. Best handbags to wear in Paris

A composite of street style influencers showing the best handbags to wear in paris

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A city filled with some of the best designer bags, it's a tough call when it comes to what bag to wear in Paris. However as with any city break, the best crossbody bags are the most practical and stylish option to go for. Roomy enough for everyday essentials yet compact enough for evening, they're also unrestrictive and leave you hands-free to go about your day or indulge in some hand-holding - it is the romantic capital after all. 

Opt for neutral colored backpacks, preferably in leather or vegan leather for the smartest finish. Make sure to think about bag fastenings and compartments, to help you keep your belongings safe and well organized. Zip fastenings, with an added top fastened flat offer some of the best security. Similarly to the rest of your Paris outfit ideas, black and tan are two of the most versatile hues you can choose. 

Charlie Bell

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.

She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.

With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.