Paris Vacation Outfit Tips | How to Dress in Paris

welcome to Style Diaries, a series where we research the physical manifestations of our closet tours IRL. We’re asking friends and tastemakers to show us what they’re *actually* wearing during the week and to provide a little insight into their thoughts on the current state of fashion. This week, we follow our own style editor Camille Freestone throughout her recent trip to Paris. In fashion’s favorite city, she found a way to balance personal style with comfort.

In my own attempt at an adult spring break, I had the privilege of spending the past week in Paris (if you travel with your grad-school sister, it counts!). Both of us have been to the city of lights in the years prior, so luckily the tourist traps didn’t dominate our bucket lists this trip. That said, rather than scheduling a minute-by-minute itinerary, our plan involved, well, a lack thereof; we strolled our favorite neighborhoods in search of new spots to haunt, so our ensembles had to coincide with that.

I’m someone who will often forgo comfort in the pursuit of style—a notion I (somewhat) stifled while packing. Accordingly, my footwear rotation featured loafers, flat knee-high boots, and western ankle boots. This was also my first prolonged dose of warm weather in an alarmingly long time. Not a cloud in the sky the entire week, the Parisian temperatures reached the low 70s almost every day. As someone who often shops out of season—a deal’s a deal!—I’ve been harboring quite a few spring-y purchases in my closet, so it was the perfect time to wear them. I allowed those statement pieces—a printed wrap skirt, a structured blue blazer, a swiss dot white dress—to inform my looks, then filled in the gaps with classic accessories: Ray-Ban wayfarers and a ladylike black shoulder bag.

A lover of all things unique, I mostly wear vintage, so naturally the hunt for Parisian vintage finds also played a significant role in our daily schedules. As I acquired new pieces, I began to experiment with them, mixing items like an old sailor school uniform with my current staples. (Don’t ask me how I fit it all in my already overstuffed suitcase on the way back.) All in all, I love what I wore—and, most importantly, that I didn’t take home any blisters as souvenirs. Discover a closer look at my roster of Parisian outfits that you can replicate on your own trip to the city, below.

Look 1: Museums & a 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 the L’Orangerie, I pulled out a Saint Laurent Rive Gauche blazer—the L’Orangerie is just across the river from the Left Bank so I was close—that I scored at New York’s Designer Revival. Leaning into the French energy, I added a ruffled-collared striped shirt and leather pants to edge it all up. Then, of course, classic black loafers that will never disappoint (nor rub against your feet).

Look 2: Left Bank Lounging

This was the first day the weather hit 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. Since the silhouette and fabrication are a bit summer-y, I added some weight in the form of old equestrian boots that I stalked for months on Etsy (which now boast a cost-per-wear ratio I am very proud of) and a London Fog trench from the Housing Works on the Upper East Side, which I was able to happily shed midday strolling along the Seine.

Look 3: Cafe Hopping in Montmartre

This day, we strolled along the winding cobblestone streets of Montmartre and up the *many* flights of stairs. To rest our weary souls (and my GH Bass soles), we hopped from cafe to bistro to bar in the Pigalle. One of my favorite looks from the trip, I scored this vintage Prada wrap skirt on the RealReal this winter and have been itching to pull it out. Taking full advantage of the fabulous weather, I opted for a bare leg—one of the season’s first pour moi. A men’s oxford shirt (I think I paid $5 for this Perry Ellis one at a suburban Texas thrift shop) and a navy oversized blazer (another old Prada, old faithful) balanced out the proportions. The classic brown loafers added the perfect finishing touch as they toned down the ultra mini hemline.

Look 4: From the YSL Museum to the Fromagerie

We began the day at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, walked across the entire city, then deposited ourselves at a lovely fromagerie to waste our evening away. After indulging heavily in France’s beverage selection the night prior, I just wanted to be comfortable and not have to think about an outfit. This Scanlan Theodore dress has become a staple in my closet this spring. It’s classic in silhouette, ultra comfortable, and goes with everything. I wanted to pair it with brown loafers in lieu of an all-black look, so I added gray ankle socks and a red silk scarf to break up the color palette.

Look 5: Exploring the Marais

At Episode Vintage in the 2nd arrondissement lies a rack of old Japanese JK uniform tops that I simply couldn’t resist. It was giving Gucci “Love Parade” energy in the most fantastic way. To stop short of full schoolgirl energy, I went for a pair of loose bootcut silhouette jeans I’m loving 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 blatantly Parisian souvenirs à la the Emily in Paris Eiffel Tower accouterments, I was pleased to add items like this one to my repertoire that conveyed their French origins in a subtler manner.

Look 6: More Museums and Cafes

I’m pretty sure this vintage dress is actually a child’s dress—10 years versus a size 10?—but I like it, so that’s all that counts. It has serious “French girl” energy, plus it’s an entire outfit in one piece 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 to keep me warm. My comfort color palette is black and navy—can you tell?

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