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Choosing what to pack for Paris in September and the fall can be tricky – the weather forecast in the City of Lights at that time of year can be unpredictable! The week that we were visiting, the mornings were cool but by afternoon the sun had come out and the day heated up quickly. The average temperature for the day often hovered around 70 degrees Fahrenheit but would start off in the low 50s. On any given day, the temperature could fluctuate more than 20 degrees. For that reason, an extra layer was a key component of our daily wardrobes.
If you’re headed to Paris in early autumn (or any time, really!), below are some key pieces you’ll need for what to pack for Paris in September. You’ll notice that a lot of these items are also capsule wardrobe staples, and are easy to mix and match with each other for new looks.
This is the best way to use your suitcase space wisely and pack light. Whether you spend your time in Paris visiting the Eiffel Tower, touring the Louvre, or just wandering the cobblestone streets, these are packing tips you’ll want to hang onto for your next trip to the French capital.
Outerwear Packing Essentials
A blazer is the perfect versatile layering piece to elevate more casual looks, as well as provide an extra layer of warmth for chillier days. Whether you pair it with a little black dress or a pair of jeans, it’s a good choice for a light jacket in the late summer months. On warmer days, you can even pair a blazer with dress shorts for a chic, Parisian-inspired look.
It won’t take up that much space in your suitcase, and you definitely won’t regret bringing it with you! You might want to consider one in a neutral color palette – it will ensure that it pairs well with whatever else you decide to bring. Classic black, a neutral plaid, gray wool, or camel would all be great options.
2. Trench Coat
A classic trench is another example of a light jacket as an extra layer for your Paris packing list. We spotted a wide variety of styles on French women all over the city. From a classic camel color to olive green to black, no matter your personal taste there is a trench coat out there for you that will seamlessly blend with the rest of your fall wardrobe.
To style your trench coat like a Parisian woman, start with a pair of slim, medium-wash jeans. Make sure these are free of rips and holes! Next, add a turtleneck in a solid, neutral color or stripes. For shoes, add a pair of ankle boots with a pointed or square toe, a knee-high version, or if you want to go bold, try them in a Western style. No matter what though, make sure they’re comfortable walking shoes! (I learned this the hard way).
You can also use a trench to pair with your more elevated looks, whether this is a black mini skirt and tights, a button-down shirt, or layered over a cardigan. Plus, it provides great coverage for a rainy day in the weather forecast!
If you’re headed to Paris in late September, it’s probably a good idea to bring a coat with you – just in case! Early autumn is unpredictable, and in case of colder weather, it’s good to be prepared when you’re deciding what to pack for Paris in September. Plus, a coat is an easy layering piece that can always be tossed over your shoulders, or over your warm if it warms up throughout the day.
Wondering which coat you should bring with you? While in Paris, we saw a lot of felt overcoats, quilted jackets, and heavier blazers worn as a warm outer layer. Any of these would be great options to bring with you, depending on your personal style! When you’re deciding what to pack for Paris in September, always take into account your personal taste and comfort – not just what’s trending.
But if you want to know what’s trending, check out 21 Fall/Winter Trends Spotted on the Streets of Paris (That You Can Easily Wear).
Tops to Pack for Paris
4. Striped Sweater
Striped sweaters are often synonymous with Paris fashion – and that seems to be for good reason, as we spotted numerous Parisian women sporting them! Stripes are one of those classic patterns that never goes out of style, and will always look chic (especially a thinner stripe pattern). You can never go wrong with black and white, or navy and white, but once again, choose one that matches your personal taste.
This is another piece that is very easy to dress up or down, depending on your travel itinerary for the day. Try matching this piece with slim fit or wide-legged jeans, a pair of trousers or chinos, or maybe even a pair of dress shorts and a t-shirt. If the weather is warm, tie it around your shoulders for a chic finishing touch to your Paris outfits. This technique seemed to be a key element in French style, for both the aesthetic and the convenience.
Free Resource for Capsule Wardrobe Help
Striped sweaters are a key capsule wardrobe piece for fall! Check out this free resource offered by MCO for more ideas of what to include in your fall capsule wardrobe.
5. Oversized Button Down
An oversized button down is one of my personal favorite packing essentials. On warmer days, this is a good choice because more than likely your oversized button down is made of a material like linen or cotton. Why are these great fabrics to pack for warmer months? It’s because linen and cotton are both natural, rather than synthetic, materials. These natural fibers allow air to circulate around your skin, rather than trapping heat close to your body. If you naturally run a little warm, or if you expect to be walking a lot during your days in Paris, these fabric types are great options to consider to avoid overheating.
An oversized linen button down is a great choice to spend a little more on because linen only gets better with more wear, and is long-lasting for this reason. When deciding what to pack for Paris in September, this may be the right choice for you! If your body is producing any moisture, the linen will absorb it and then whisk it away. (I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to the science behind clothing and fabrics!)
Linen or Cotton?
The downside of linen is that on the other side of the spectrum, it won’t keep you as warm when the temperature drops. Therefore, you might want to bring another layer for the evening if you’re wearing it throughout the day. This would be a good case for choosing an option in cotton, as well as for the fact that linen wrinkles much more easily. But if you like linen for its other qualities, wrinkles are a problem that can be easily solved with a good travel steamer.
Looking for other travel accessories to add to your packing list? Here’s a post for you full of items you might want to consider bringing to make sure your Paris wardrobe is in great shape for your trip: Here’s How to Take Care of Your Clothes Like an Expert.
A turtleneck is another great basic for Paris in the fall. We spotted turtlenecks being worn all over the city, whether it was being layered under a dress, paired with jeans or leather pants, or tucked into high-waisted trousers or wide leg pants. One key part of Parisian fashion is modesty, and turtlenecks definitely provide an element of that to your look. Even if you’re pairing one with a mini skirt and knee-high boots, the extra coverage of your top balances out the look of your skirt nicely.
This is a piece that you could plan to pack in solid, neutral colors like black, gray, or cream, or you could mix it up and include one with a print, like a leopard pattern or stripes. Turtlenecks are a great option to have with you for colder weather as well, in case the weather forecast takes a dip during your trip in the autumn months.
Denim and Trousers
7. Wide Leg Pants
Speaking of wide leg pants, they’re also a great piece to bring with you! Not only are they comfortable, but they provide a more unique look to your basic pieces, which is key when you only have so much room in your suitcase. You could choose them in classic denim, or experiment with a pair in a fabric like corduroy, linen, or cotton.
Try pairing these with some of the pieces I’ve already mentioned. Start with trying them with a turtleneck, or maybe tucking an oversized button down into them. Consider also trying them with a striped sweater and a trench coat for another classic look.
If you’re wondering what shoes to pair with this style of pants, your options are nearly limitless! First of all, though, remember that the best shoes for Paris are comfortable walking shoes. You will definitely get your steps in, and navigating often crowded, cobblestone streets is no easy feat if you’re in a pair of stilettos.
Think about packing a pair of nice sneakers, a comfortable pair of flats, and a pair of boots. You could also consider a pair of high heels if you would like to dress up one or more of your looks! When we left our accommodations for the day and knew we planned to walk a lot, we often packed a bag with our less comfortable shoes and wore a more comfortable pair of shoes until we arrived at our destination. When you get back to your hotel room at night, your feet will thank you!
8. Straight Leg Jeans
Once you pack your wide leg pants, next up is a pair of straight jeans. Denim in a straight leg cut will help you blend in with the women of Paris. This is one of the most popular jean styles that we observed in Parisian street style. Straight jeans are comfortable because of the lightly looser fit, but offer a bit more shape than wide leg ones. However, they’re almost just as easy to pair with a wide variety of shoe types.
If you’re looking to invest in a new pair of jeans for your list of what to pack for Paris in September, check out the post, How to Wear Jeans Like a French Girl.
What to Wear for Shoes
9. Ankle Boots
Choose an ankle boot with a low or flat heel if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to room in your suitcase! They won’t take up as much space as a knee-high version, plus, they are easier to pair with a variety of looks. If you want to pack a pair that is up to date with the current trend, choose a style with a square or pointed toe. This not only is the current trend for ankle boots, but these styles are a great way to elongate your leg by extending the “line” of your body further and drawing the eye past your toes.
Are you wondering what color to pack? A pair in black or brown leather is a safe bet. Your shoes will get lots of wear on the streets of the City of Lights. Leather is a good choice for its durability, and the best shoes when it comes to ease of cleaning. At the end of the day, you can simply wipe them clean with a bit of water.
After your trip, you can always consider giving them a more thorough cleaning by combining a mixture of water and dish soap or vinegar. Combine the mixture in a small bowl, and then use a clean cloth to dab the mixture onto any stains. After removing any spots with gentle pressure, wipe them clean with another clean cloth – this time with just water and remove any excess mixture.
Finish the process with a leather conditioner, and you’re all set to go! You can follow a similar process for faux leather using soap and water. Use a microfiber cloth to dry them afterward.
Loafers are another pair of shoes to consider packing with you for early autumn in Paris. You could wear them alone or with a no-show sock on warmer days, layer them over tights, or even choose a knee-high sock to wear underneath. These are also an easy way to elevate an outfit full of more casual basics.
Leather is a great choice for loafers as well. Black loafers especially are easy to pair with a wide variety of looks! They’re also generally good choices for comfortable walking shoes – although you may want to try breaking them in before throwing them in your suitcase. If they’re new, you may not be used to the fit, or there may be uncomfortable parts that you’re not yet aware of. Trust me, getting a blister on your first day is not worth it!
To Pack, or Not to Pack?
When you’re choosing what to pack for Paris in September, layers and basics will be your best friends! Create a mini capsule wardrobe in your suitcase by laying out your pieces, and then try mixing and matching different combinations to make sure that you can potentially wear each individual piece a few times. But of course, don’t forget one or two statement items that you truly love for your Paris packing list. You’ll want these pieces for your photo by the Eiffel Tower, or maybe for a nice dinner to close out your stay.
These ten items will ensure you have plenty of look options for your stay. But also, don’t forget to leave a little room for souvenirs – you’re going to have the best time shopping!
Looking for the Parisian way to style these pieces? Up Next: 45 Fall Parisian Street Style Outfits You’ll Want to Add to Your Outfit Rotation ASAP