Paris Vacation Dress Tips | How to dress in Paris

welcome to Style diaries, a series where we research the physical manifestations of our IRL closet visits. We’re asking our friends and trendsetters to show us what they’re *actually* wearing during the week and give us a sneak peek at their thoughts on the current state of fashion. This week we’re following our own style editor Camille Freestone throughout his recent trip to Paris. In fashion’s favorite city, she found a way to balance personal style and comfort.

In my own attempt at spring break for adults, I had the privilege of spending the last week in Paris (if you’re traveling with your graduate sister, that counts!). We’ve both been to the City of Lights in previous years, so luckily the tourist traps didn’t dominate our to-do lists this trip. That said, rather than planning a minute-by-minute route, our plan, or lack thereof, involved wandering around our favorite neighborhoods looking for new places to haunt, so our sets had to coincide with that.

I’m someone who often forgoes comfort in pursuit of style – a notion I (somewhat) stifled while packing my bags. Therefore, my shoe rotation included loafers, knee-high flat boots, and western ankle boots. It was also my first prolonged dose of hot weather in an alarming period. Not a cloud in the sky all week, Parisian temperatures reached 70° almost every day. As someone who often shops out of season – business is business! – I kept a lot of spring purchases in my closet, so now was the perfect time to wear them. I allowed these signature pieces – a printed wrap skirt, structured blue blazer, white polka dot dress – to brighten up my look, then filled in the gaps with classic accessories: Ray-Ban wayfarers and a handbag. Feminine black shoulder strap.

As a lover of all things unique, I wear mostly vintage, so naturally, the hunt for Parisian vintage finds has also played a significant role in our daily schedules. As I bought new pieces, I started experimenting with them, mixing things like an old sailor school uniform with my current basics. (Don’t ask me how I packed everything in my already stuffy suitcase on the way back.) Overall, I love what I was wearing, and most importantly, I didn’t bring back any blisters as souvenirs. Take a closer look at my list of Parisian outfits you can replicate on your own trip to town, below.

Look 1: Museums & Stroll along the Seine

On one of our first days in the city, I was buzzing with travel-induced excitement and wanted to indulge in a more fashion-oriented look. Headed to L’Orangerie, I pulled out a Saint Laurent Rive Gauche blazer – the Orangerie is just across the river from the left bank, so I was close – which I tagged at Designer Revival in New York. Leaning into French energy, I added a striped ruffled collar shirt and leather pants to elevate it all. Then, of course, classic black loafers that will never disappoint (or rub against your feet).

Look 2: Farniente Left Bank

It was the first day the weather reached 70 degrees, so I wanted to dress the part. I picked up this La Ligne dress at Poole Shop last Christmas, and I’m obsessed. As the silhouette and construction is a bit summery, I added some weight in the form of old equestrian boots that I’ve hunted down for months on Etsy (which now have a cost-per-wear ratio that I’m very proud) and a London Fog trench coat from Housing Works on the Upper East Side, which I was fortunately able to throw on at noon while strolling along the Seine.

Look 3: Cafe Hopping in Montmartre

That day, we strolled the winding cobbled streets of Montmartre and climbed the *many* stairs. To rest our weary souls (and my GH Bass soles), we hopped from café to bistro to bar in Pigalle. One of my favorite looks from the trip, I tagged this vintage Prada wrap skirt on RealReal this winter and was dying to pull it off. Taking full advantage of the fabulous weather, I opted for a bare leg, one of the first of the season for me. A men’s oxford shirt (I think I paid $5 for Perry Ellis’s at a suburban Texas thrift store) and an oversized navy blazer (another old Prada, old trusty) balanced the proportions. Classic brown loafers added the perfect finishing touch by toning down the ultra-mini hemline.

Look 4: From the YSL Museum to the Fromagerie

We started the day at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, walked all over town, then dropped off at a cute cheese shop to waste our evening. After much indulging in the French drink selection the night before, I just wanted to be comfortable and not have to think about an outfit. This Scanlan Theodore dress has become a staple in my wardrobe this spring. It is classic in its silhouette, ultra-comfortable and goes with everything. I wanted to pair it with brown loafers instead of an all black look, so I added gray ankle socks and a red silk scarf to break up the color scheme.

Look 5: Explore the Marais

At Episode Vintage in the 2nd arrondissement has a rack of old Japanese JK uniform tops that I just couldn’t resist. It energized Gucci “Love Parade” in the most fantastic way. To stop having the energy of a schoolgirl, I opted for a pair of baggy bootcut jeans that I love this spring and a pair of black western ankle boots. For accessories, I kept things classic with Ray-Ban wayfarers and my everyday black bag. Instead of opting for blatant Parisian souvenirs à la Emily in Paris Accoutrements of the Eiffel Tower, I had the pleasure of adding objects like this to my repertoire that reflected in a more subtle way their French origins.

Look 6: More museums and cafes

I’m pretty sure this vintage dress is actually a child’s dress – age 10 versus a size 10? – but I like it, so that’s all that matters. It’s got some serious “French girl” energy, plus it’s an entire one-piece outfit, so I couldn’t resist tossing it in my suitcase. The final look is super simple: tall boots to match the mini hemline and a trench coat to keep me warm. My cozy color palette is black and navy, can you tell?

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