267: Autumn in Paris – What to Wear for Timeless Seasonal Style

A stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg or one of the many other jardins located about Paris as the many carefully groomed leafy trees turn orange, red and brilliant gold is a memory to savor for travelers who come from far and wide to visit the City of Light during the autumn season. Granted, most […] Listen now or continue reading below.

A stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg or one of the many other jardins located about Paris as the many carefully groomed leafy trees turn orange, red and brilliant gold is a memory to savor for travelers who come from far and wide to visit the City of Light during the autumn season. Granted, most travelers wish to visit for many other reasons as well, but being dressed well for the season ensures the visit will be comfortable and help one to fit in well so as to best experience the city as it goes about its everyday business and routines.

Last month I shared Timeless Seasonal Style — Autumn in Britain — with the promise to share each season a capsule wardrobe to pack for both Britain and France. Today, specifically Paris is our focus.

To visit during autumn is for a select lucky few, and while I have only traveled abroad during this time of year once due to work restraints, I look forward in the future to more visits during this somewhat “off season”. After all, from rain, to chilly temperatures, to stunning fall days complete with cobbled streets sprinkled with leaves, autumn in Paris encourages all the more slipping into cafes, museums, bistros and just soaking up Paris and Parisian life.

Let’s take a look at what to pack for a comfortable visit for day and evening in Paris.

1.Sweaters

Paris can be quite cold when the right combination of dropping temperatures and whistling wind sweeps through, so having warmth, yet stylish warmth is a good idea. Depending upon how long you are visiting, pack one or two sweaters, at least one being oversized for wearing over slim jeans or trousers.

2. Scarves

Just about every person you will see in Paris, men and women will be donning a scarf that is functional and subtly (or sometimes not so subtle) chic and perfectly paired with their outfit. Pack a wool or cashmere scarf for layering with your coat as well as silk large square scarves for wearing with your outfit after the coat has been removed.

3. Opaque tights

Whether you prefer classic opaque black tights or what the French call collants fantaisie hosierie, tights with details in them, having a pair to keep your legs warm when you still want to wear a skirt or dress is a simple, yet necessary detail to have packed in your suitcase.

4. Ankle boots

Worn with pants, jeans or skirts and dresses, ankle boots are a go-to must-have for the fall season.

5. A Leather or Faux Leather jacket

Layering is the approach to ensure you have what you need to stay warm, but also look pulled together. A leather jacket is a versatile item pairing well for casual occasions as well as evening outings. Choose a color that works well with your wardrobe and skin tone, and don’t feel you have purchase a black jacket. Shades of brown or grey are a wonderful neutral choice depending upon what you will be pairing with it.

6. Knee-high or Over-the-Knee boots

Depending upon your style, choose a boot shaft that is tall, but slender. Over-the-knee boots are quite en vogue at the moment and actually have been worn by style icons for years, those that had the aplomb to wear them. And wear them well they most certainly did. With more and more price points available, if you have a nice slim skinny jean or a skirt that is knee or just above the knee length, consider having some fun with this style. However, knee-high boots will always be in style and work well with all ages and wardrobes. If you are comfortable with a little bit of a heel, knowing you will be walking about in them a bit more than usual, go for a heel, but if not, keep them low or flat.

7. Skirts — day skirts that can transition

Knee length or just below the knee skirts are frequently seen on the streets of Paris. Depending upon your body’s shape, choose a cut that flatters your figure, but is also versatile to pair with a sweater, your leather jacket as well as a nice blouse.

8. Jeans and/or pants

Whatever you feel most comfortable in and can dress up or down easily, pack two or three – jeans, pants or a mixture. Dark denim if you choose jeans and a color of pant that can be worn with at least two different tops you have brought with you.

9. A Trench coat and/or a Wool coat

Depending upon what time of the fall season you will be visiting, one or both of these coats is a good idea. Wool coats will be ubiquitous in the winter season, but there will still be warm and temperate days in early fall in which a trench would be perfect.

10. Loafers or sneakers

Sneakers are not a no-no anymore so long as they are not trainers. With a vast array of wardrobe sneakers to choose from at varying price points, find a color (white is popular, but it need not be the only neutral choice) that works best with the other items you have brought with you.

Loafers on the other hand can be quite comfortable as well and are perfect on those mild fall days in which letting your ankles meet the fresh air won’t chill you at all.

11. A crossbody bag

As you will be walking quite a bit, even if it is simply to hop on the metro or hail a cab, having a handbag that is secure, yet a decent size without being overwhelming is a good idea. While pickpocketers are certainly something to be aware of, and a crossbody bag will help you keep your purse secure, choosing a bag that is just large enough for what you need is perfect for walking about as well as traveling to and from Paris. And since you are in France, why not choose a Polène Numero Un or Numero Un mini?

TSLL’s 1st book dedicates an entire chapter to international travel, and specifically traveling to and about Paris. Here is an excerpt from the book on How to Master the Metro

12. A long-sleeve blouse

Choosing a blouse in a print (is always a simple way to make a statement with the other neutral items in your wardrobe) or a solid that pairs with at least two bottoms in your suitcase is a way to offer versatility for both day and evening.

13. One or two dresses

While your wardrobe will be dependent upon your itinerary and what you will be visiting and how you best prefer to enjoy the city, pack one or two dresses. Midi-length is quite popular right now and flattering to many different figures and ages. Depending upon how you most feel comfortable dressing up, make sure you have at least one nice evening outfit. If that is a dress, pack the dress that raises your confidence meter at least two notches. For day, choose a dress that allows you to move, sit, stand and still look wonderful.

Wearing what makes you feel your best, so much so that you can forget about your clothes and just enjoy being in Paris is possible when the wardrobe is thoughtfully compiled. These items should keep you warm, but also trés effortlessly chic. Finish with a scarf, and a curious heart and mind, and you will look absolutely stunning.

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SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Timeless Seasonal Style — Autumn in Britain, episode #263

~22 French Beauty Secrets Worth the Investment, episode #258

~Top 10 Style & Beauty Lessons Learned from the French, episode #196

~View all TSLL’s Archived French-Inspired posts and podcast episodes


Petit Plaisir:

~The Story of French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

~The Story of French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow




6 thoughts on “267: Autumn in Paris – What to Wear for Timeless Seasonal Style

  1. Thank you, Shannon! This is timely, as we’re headed to Amsterdam and Paris later this month. I’m inspired by European style and ideas from your post will find their way into my suitcase! Looking forward to a wonderful experience.

  2. I would also add a pair of gloves and a scarf or pashmina , and maybe a soft hat , Shannon.
    They won’t take up much room, and will make sure you remain toasty warm on a cold day .
    Enjoy your trip Deanne !
    Best wishes
    Anne

  3. A raincoat or an umbrella would be a great addition. It rained quite a bit when I was there 2 weeks ago and I was very glad of my rain coat. I also noticed quite a lot of women wearing mini backpacks in lieu of Handbags, they have become more and more common here as well.

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