Fashion Tips: Packing for Paris with a French Flair

Fashion Tips: Packing for Paris with a French Flair

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@Paddy Reagan

“Accessories are your best friends”

This has been my fashion mantra for years and has served me well, especially when travelling.  On a recent trip to Paris, I was able to subdue the intimidation factor of French chic, travel with carry-on luggage and still look and feel sensational.  If you keep in mind a few guidelines you too will be able to walk confidentially the streets of this wonderful city.

Start by selecting basic pieces in a solid color

I suggest black, navy or camel.  Pack your most fabulous jeans, a pair of jersey trousers, a white crisp blouse, a lightweight sweater or twin set, a silk tunic, a simple dress and cashmere shawl. Throw in a few t-shirts and you are ready to go. Careful wardrobe editing allows for mixing and matching. You should be able to wear each piece several times and in different ways. A low cut tank top can double as an undergarment and also transform a day outfit into evening. Depending on the season, a classic trench coat will provide warmth and spells Paris style.

How to tie a scarf

Accessorize to stylize an outfit

For those who wear belts, select your most fabulous. The H logo of a Hermès belt will brand you as a local. Scarves are essential. I wore a scarf on my head à la Grace Kelly while sitting on the top deck of a tour bus. It not only blocked the elements, it added a fun twist to my outfit. Later, I wrapped it around the handles of my carryall for a kick of color and on another occasion, I tied it at the neck of a white shirt. I saw men and women wearing longer, tasseled bohemian style scarves. Check out You Tube for tutorials on the many ways a scarf can transform an outfit.

It is important to curate jewelry

Do NOT pack your diamonds and pearls; instead; opt for interesting costume jewelry that will work day and night. I brought my favorite pieces – a signature bangle, an Elsa Perretti cuff and  a silver multi-strand necklace.  I teamed these pieces with silver earrings during the day and vintage rhinestone danglers at night.  I favor bold jewelry, but choose a theme that suits your style.  Better yet, bring very little with you and head straight for the Left Bank department store Bon Marché and buy yourself a treat from one of the first floor counters.

Paris street fashion
© INSPIRELLE

The rule for footgear is comfort first

Repetto ballet flats are a favorite with Parisians.  They come in a rainbow of colors and styles.  As for running shoes as daywear, once an absolute no-no, “les baskets” today are trendy footwear that make perfect sense considering all the walking you will do while exploring The City of Lights.  Go bold or bring your Black Nikes, either way you will fit right in.

Travelling requires a secure cross body bag

Bring one that is functional and stylish, along with a nylon carryall.  A popular French purchase is the fabulously lightweight “Le Pilage” bag by Longchamp. Available in an array of great colors, it represents the perfect compliment of French style and practicality.   A simple leather clutch can double as a makeup bag.

Have fun with your wardrobe, pack light, be confident in your sartorial style and enjoy every minute in Paris!

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