Despite the fact that I have an ample amount of French blood pumping through my veins, I still find myself to be the fashion and style inferior to all the fabulously dressed French women when I’m traveling in France. After living in Paris through the winter, and doing enough shopping while I was there, I learned a great deal about how to dress so I wouldn’t look like a tourist when I was going to class, sipping my cappuccino or shopping. Here are a few tips on excellent winter wear in France, so you won’t stick out quite so much when walking the streets of Paris, visiting the vineyards of the Loire or bundling up in the mountains of the Alps.
Wear a Scarf—Winter tip number one is an easy and important one. French women and men love scarves, and they seem to have an effortless, inimitable and elegant way of tying them to perfect their look. Not only will scarves keep you warm in the winter months, the simple accessory will also make you look oh-so-French. Plus, you won’t break the bank trying to blend in. Buy a few different scarves in different colors and observe how the French tie them and try to do the same. You may even have that satisfying moment when a French person asks you for directions or starts a conversation with you in the Metro before they realize that you are really just a tourist in disguise.
Buy a Pair of Boots—As soon as the leaves start to change and the air starts to turn chilly, all the shoe stores in France start lining their window displays with boots. Knee-high boots, ankle boots, heeled boots, flat boots, black boots, brown boots. They are must have footwear option in the winter months. The French wear them all different ways—with tights and dresses or skirts, over pants, under pants, you name it. You will almost NEVER see a French woman wearing a pair of sneakers, so buying a pair of boots can be a great way to look stylin’ and blend in. They go with everything, they’re comfortable and they always look great.
Invest in a Peacoat—The weather gets chilly in most places in France and the last thing you want to do is be walking around with a huge parka on. While you will see fabulous French women wearing furs in Paris, a great (and less expensive) coat to bring is just a simple, goes-with-everything peacoat. If you bring one coat with you on your trip to France, bring a pea coat. You’ll stay warm and look great all at the same time. Plus, if you get a neutral one in brown or black, it will go with EVERYTHING from jeans to a dress.
Remember: When packing or shopping for your trip to France this winter, don’t forget that there is definitely such a thing as being too casual in France. The French, in general, are always well put together and their idea of “casual” tends to differ slightly from the American standard. Pack a lot of easy to wear stuff that can be paired with anything—jeans, sweaters and the above staples (boots, scarves and a good coat) and you should be not only comfortable, but also looking a lot less like a tourist and a lot more like a Francais(e).
And of course, if you get to Paris and find that you’ve made a fashion misstep, you’ll just have to shop! Problem solved