April 17, 2015
14 Comments

Packing for Paris

Ok. This is probably one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever attempted to do. I mean, hello?!? What am I supposed to wear in Paris? I mean it’s PARIS for crying out loud, this is not a drill people. I knew we wanted to do our trip this year at some point, but I didn’t know when it would be or how much notice we would have before we left, so I’ve actually been shopping for clothes since December to get a head start. How (you may ask) did I know what to buy if I had no idea what season we were going in? Good question. I knew we wouldn’t go in winter for our first trip (although I’ve heard you certainly have the city to yourself as the fall ends and winter arrives), so I knew I didn’t have to shop for chic parkas. That left spring, summer, or fall, so I figured dresses I could layer with jackets would probably the best bet. Is it summer? Take off the moto. Is it chilly spring or fall? Throw on some tall boots! I thought it was also best to go with all neutrals rather than invest in bulk editions of pink floral patterns only to actually go in October. Thankfully, the Parisians share my love for classic black and white color schemes, so that was totally fine with me. Here are a few items that I have my eye on for the trip (or already have in my closet awaiting its Parisian debut):

1. Zara City Bag: Super cute and small but has enough room to hold my big girl camera. Also has a cross body strap for when I get tired of carrying it.
2. Kensie Stripe Shift Dress: I don’t care if it is cliche to wear B&W stripes in France. It’s what I wear at home too, so no surprise there.
3. Zara Collared Shift Dress: Really comfortable, love the mini collar, and it has pockets to hold all the macarons I’ll snack on throughout the day!!
4. Vaneli Farren Flats: Flats are my kryptonite. I can’t figure them out, I don’t get the allure, and it’s nearly impossible to find ones that I think look good on me. Being only 5’3″, they always make me feel squatty and rather dumpy compared to my favorite heels, but a lot of walking is certainly on the agenda for France, so I made an effort to find a pair I liked. These seem pretty comfortable so far and I like the clear sides. Weirdly enough, just that little bit more of skin showing and the small heel makes the shoes much more flattering and legs appear a little longer than all the other flats I tried. I own flats!?!
5. Sister Jane Bow Swing Dress: Feels so Brigitte Bardot to me, and when is that ever a bad thing?
6. Round Cat Eye Sunnies: I wanted a pair of sunnies that were cool, but not so trendy that they will ruin all the photos I’m wearing them in 3 years from now (had that happen looking back on my Italy trip-ugh!). I think these are a good mix.
7. Asos Peplum Hem Dress: Another classic dress that can be worn with flats during the day when hitting the museums or with heels for dinner out. Pockets included!
8. Finders Keepers Cuffed Sandals: I wanted some open-toed shoes in case the weather is rather warm that week and these are pretty comfortable with a thick heel. I also have boots on call as well just in case the forecast calls for them…

Items that are très français but maybe pas pour moi:

1. Trench coats: Who am I? Inspector Clouseau?? I get that it’s a “must pack” but I’m more of a leather moto kind of gal (although I wouldn’t mind trying this one).
2. Blazers: I have two blazers in my closet. Both black. I have worn them exactly 0 times in the last 3 years. I should probably get rid of them but always think I might need them for something. Something like Paris where it’s the unofficial uniform? Nah…
3. Tweed (even Chanel style): Not to say that Coco needs to take any advice from me, but tweed always reminds me of a professor’s jacket with the leather elbow patches. I don’t have tenure at Harvard and I don’t wear tweed.
4. Oxfords: I tried. I can’t. I won’t.

Basically, it took me months to figure out the right Paris persona. I want to feel like the best version of myself without standing out in an obnoxious way or look like I’m trying too hard. I eventually settled on a bit of a 60’s mod feel with a little leather thrown in. French style looks oh so easy-breezy when done right (even if your tousled bedhead hair took a while to get just right), so even though I probably am overthinking it, I don’t want it to look that way. Less is more. And, ok, let’s get this out in the open. I AM an American, I AM packing sneakers, but come on! Look at these Michael Kors sneakers!! Totally cool. And I promise not to wear them with a fanny pack OR a visor of any kind. My word is my bond.

Anything I’m missing?signature

14 thoughts on “Packing for Paris

  1. Charlotte

    Don’t worry, sneakers are totally fine — everyone wears them all the time (allthough I prefer my pink Allstars). As for anything you might be forgetting: a scarf, perhaps? I always have one when I’m travelling, you just never know if you might need it.
    Also: you don’t like blazers? I’ve always thought they’d go well with your style. But maybe you have leather jacket-people and blazer-people, who knows?!

    Enjoy your trip! And if you’re a breakfast lover (which you are, I think), in Montmartre they have loads of breakfast places. (And lots of burger places spread across the city — you’re American, after all.)

    Reply
  2. Lekha Waitoller

    I love everything you’ve chosen, but before I got to your sneaker selection, I was already mentally drafting a suggestion to invest in a cool and comfy pair of sneaks. I’ve lived in Paris and am just back from Madrid, which reminded me that Europeans have the sleek sneak look down; you don’t have to wear the dumpy white ones that scream “unstylish American!!!”. Also, while I love the look of a cute flat with an ankle-length jean or pant, I find that flats never are the most comfortable option. I bet you will be happy to switch things up day by day.
    Amuse-toi bien!

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    I gotta say, as excited as we are for you and freakin’ Todd’s eurotrip, I think that me and the other 20,000+ of your blog/Instagram followers are even more excited to see Paris through Gummergal’s very own rose colored lenses! I can’t wait to live vicariously through you! (Insert 500 heart eye emojis here)

    Reply
  4. Tily

    I Really like all the items you’ve chosen and I am sure you will look and feel awesome the whole time.

    The scarf seems like a good idea, and i would add some band-aids- maybe even the gel types that will help in case the flats, the sneakers or the amount of walking make your feet hurt. I can testify from experience that flats in Europe when you plan walking all day are a big no-no. In Valencia I ended our first day with 2 huge blisters on my soles, and spent the next day walking around in flip flops like a penguin… So pack the band-aids:). Lucky for me we were in the Oceanograph the second day so i blended right in:)

    Other than that, just enjoy your trip! You always look incredibly Stylish so i’m sure you’ll turn heads in Paris as well:)

    Reply
    1. thebandwifeblog Post author

      Yes! I did have those cushy band-aids on my list, such a life saver! I think variety of shoes is good for that reason too 🙂

      Laura

      Reply
  5. Gris

    Hi Laura! I’m so jealous you’re going to Paris! I’ve only been once and can’t wait to go back. I was there for only three days but I also made sure my wardrobe was ‘parisian’ (at least to me!). It was the summer but still chilly so I wore: red skirt + stripped tank top (black sweater in tow), yellow floral skirt + blue tank top (camel sweater in tow), red tights + shorts + polka dot blouse.
    Loved the packing so far!

    xx.

    Reply
  6. Melody Kohl

    Paris is a place!! Trying to find your Paris style is the most American thing about this post, not the sneakers! Have fun and feel blessed to be able to go on this adventure and see another part of the world,; regardless of what you’re wearing.

    Reply
  7. ilaria

    I’ve been in Paris several times and I always loved it! don’t forget to wear a hat, or buy one 😉 Visit the jewish neighbourhood, it’s plenty of nice vintage shops and they are really inexpensive!
    If you have a sweet tooth, then you have to pay visit to the Pierre Hermè pastry shop! (in my personal opinion is waaaay better than Laduree!) Pastry, macarons, cookies and tarts here are expensive, but soooo worth the price! I remember these pastries as the most delightful dessert i’ve ever eaten! (…and I live in italy…so you can imagine:))
    Also, there’s a nice and cute bookshop called Shekespeare & co, it’s open till midnight and it’s plenty of nice boos and located steps away from Notre-Dame 🙂 have a nice trip!

    Reply
  8. Alyce

    Go the sneakers! I just got back from Paris and lived in my Nike Roshe sneakers – we walked about 20kms a day without even realising. The day I tried to do that in flats I ended up with some serious blisters. If you want to be ultra-trendy, go the Adidas Stan Smiths. Every ultra chic French girl is wearing them. Your dresses are adorable, but definitely have the option of some stylish sneakers, simple tee and a leather jacket. And a scarf!
    Lastly, a highlight for our trip was a concert of Pachelbel at Saint Chapelle. It was a beautiful experience, look into it.

    Reply
  9. Kat

    Have fun in Paris! I’ve been a few times, and it’s pretty great. My advice in terms of packing: bring comfortable shoes. For the love of God, bring comfortable shoes. When I went for the first time, I brought all of these shoes that seemed tres francais, (turns out I didn’t know what was tres francais), and I got the worst, most soul-crushing blisters that I could barely walk. On the first day. It went downhill from there. Being from America, and thus driving everywhere, I had no idea how much walking I was really in for. So be warned.

    Additional advice culled from my French friends: always say “bonjour” when walking into a store, when your waiter/waitress comes to the table, or when you get to the front of the line at the bakery. Always. Always say “au revoir” when leaving. Always.

    Oh, and don’t fall for the Africans or Gypsies with the string or the ring or the bag that they claim you dropped. Say “NON” in an authoritative way and move on!

    Have fun!

    Reply
  10. Wanda Fox

    Lovely items! I would pack exactly the same style stuff if I were going to Paris. Everything so very comfortable, but elegant at the same time. I would like to know what would you pack for a winter travel?! Greetings

    Reply

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