Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

I have so many thoughts and developments crashing into each other as I try to write this post! The big news, if you didn’t see it on Instagram, is it’s no longer just a fantasy — I am officially going to Paris. (Woohoo, gonna make it to Europe before I’m fifty!) We leave a week from Monday, so obviously I’m racing to finish my Channel cardigan (please pray that I have my pick-up rate right on that button band — there isn’t time to knit it twice) and narrowing down my packing list.

As I mentioned before, this mini travel wardrobe is something of a pre-Spring wardrobe planning exercise for me, and I’ve also made a few choice ready-to-wear purchases lately, a couple of which factor into my packing scheme. Those are just noted here for the moment and I’ll have more to say about them when I get to proper spring wardrobe planning.

I’ve also acquired three pairs of shoes lately (pictured up top), all of which are going with me. The amusing silver pair (handmade in LA by Solid State for Nashville brand Goodwin) were my birthday/Christmas/holiday-bonus gift to myself, perfect for dress up but they instantly brighten up any day; the cushy black Vayarta slip-ons (scored on sale by happenstance) are handmade in Mexico and will be my main walking-around shoes on the trip; and the faux-snake ballet flats (no longer available) are from J.Crew, alleged to be made in Italy, and I hope that’s strictly true.

Ok, so what am I taking to PARIS! The current plan is just that little stack of stuff up top, minus the linen garment second from top in the pile (cut for not being versatile enough), plus the camel cardigan not included in the stack because it’s still on the needles. Here’s the full suitcase inventory:

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

SWEATERS
camel Channel cardigan (pardon my drawing)
black wool-linen cropped cardigan
black-and-ivory striped pullover

TOPS
– Elizabeth Suzann Artist Smock (new, made in Nashville)
– plaid top (me-made but never blogged)
– black Imogene+Willie pocket tee (new, made in LA, no longer available)
– linen-cotton Madewell chambray popover (c.2013, fast fashion but I’m making it last!)
black silk gauze sleeveless top

JEANS
natural Willie jeans from Imogene+Willie (2016)
rigid Willie jeans from I+W (2017)

PLUS
– grey scarf from Churchmouse (2015)
– still debating between trench coat and hooded rain jacket (not pictured)
– underwear, knitting project, etc. (not pictured)

I should note that one of my weird neurotic tics is that whatever clothes I wear on a plane are generally dead to me upon arrival. I’ll be wearing my thick black ponte stretch pants (from J.Crew circa 2009/10) and probably my big chambray shirt (rescued from Bob’s Goodwill pile) in flight — along with the grey scarf and black slip-ons — but that’s why neither one of those garments factors into my outfit planning. So in my suitcase, as it currently stands, will be just the 10 garments above, from which I can make at least 20 outfits, with plenty of room to spare. (We’ll be on the ground in France for 8 days!) Here are 15 of them:

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

These are all good for me — definitely enough outfits, enough variety, enough layering options (with the jacket especially), and options for an assortment of temperatures and weather conditions. So it’s pretty golden, as is. Comfort-wise, though, I’m wishing (perpetually!) that I had a nice tidy presentable grey sweatshirt and a comfy but attractive pair of drawstring pants, both of which I had hoped to make by now, but that’s not happening. So unless I break down and buy one or the other — or there’s some drastic change in the forecast between now and takeoff — what you see here is what I’ll be taking. To Paris.

Eep!

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part 1)

108 thoughts on “Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part deux)

  1. This is the most delightful thing I’ve read all week!
    Yay for Paris!
    Karen, something has been bugging me… do you think your Channel Cardigan may have stretched out post-blocking due to the Camel yarn’s lack of elasticity? Because… that’s what Clara Parkes’ Book of Yarn says the qualities of Camel Fibre is.

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    • It’s not stretched, and is blocked very closely to the pattern dimensions — my V is about 3/4″ deeper than the schematic and total length is about 1″ longer than schematic. I’m not sure how to explain the difference, but it could also wind up being less different than it currently appears by the time all is said and done.

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  2. I am totally with you on travel clothes being DOA, especially air travel. They definitely need either a good airing out, a wash if accommodations allow, or they stay in purgatory until the ride home.

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  3. to me the excitement before a holiday is almost as good as the actual holiday itself!!! This is such a lovely and uplifting blogpost!!!
    And also – I really need to get on top of my wardrobe planning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Paris is the sort of city where you want to walk your feet off – so I suggest a really good pair of walking shoes (I know, I know, but sometimes it’s better to be comfortable than stylish!)

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    • Yep, hence the super cushy Vayartas. They’re more comfortable (and more cushioned) than any sneakers I’ve ever owned. And yes I’m wearing them a lot before we go so they’ll be broken in.

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  5. Yeah! Paris! In April! Lucky you! I think you will find that you don’t need all of that.. :-) My suggestion would be one less sweater, and I would add a skirt. Got a plain black one? And I would not bring so many shoes, but I would wear the shoes you do bring a lot before you go, especially if they are new. Make sure they are comfortable. (LOVE them all, it would be hard to choose what to leave behind.) :-) Glad to see short sleeves and sleeveless – Paris can be HOT in April. Lastly – if your suitcase has wheels, you will be a happy camper. Airports are big, gates are always far away.

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    • See above re skirts and shoes, but yeah, I have really been having a debate with myself about whether I need the third sweater. I’m sure I could get by with two, but there’s plenty of room in my suitcase, ol’ stripey is nearly weightless, and I’d really like to wear it there, so why not?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Why not indeed! As for shoes and skirts – you definitely want more than one pair, but I am guessing that you will find even with careful planning you don’t use half of what you bring. Been there, done that. :-) And Paris is more formal than anyplace USA, so even though you don’t think you will use a skirt, if you have room, it would not be a bad idea to bring it along. What if you go someplace totally posh for dinner? You could go with bare legs and the silver shoes. :-) Also, in the trench coat debate – that is a tough one. Years ago a friend of mine who traveled extensively in Europe told me a trench coat is a wonderful thing – it hides a multitude of inappropriate clothing if you are going someplace conservative, like a church. I don’t know if the church dress code is as conservative as it used to be, but a trench coat over some shorts or capris would look just like a trench coat over a lovely dress. :-) I am envious of you getting this big trip! Can’t wait to hear all about what you do, see, eat and wear. And of course, any yarn you might happen to bring home… save room for that in your suitcase. :-)

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  6. wow!!! have fun!!! this will be a fabulous trip!

    I am interested to see how the artist smock layers – I love the shape and the neckline of it but it seems to me that the sleeves are too wide to fit into a jacket or outer layer.

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    • It’s thin and silk so the sleeves just sort of smoosh into a jacket and the bunching doesn’t matter. Same with the black cardigan. It won’t go under a pullover, but I’m loving the striped sweater worn as a scarf with it like that, and can’t wait to have that on.

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      • the striped sweater in a loose knot around your shoulders will be tres chic!! pebble makes such a wonderful fabric to have around you at all times!

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  7. When i was last in Paris, everyone wore sneakers. Just saying. You will walk a to more than you expect to, and all on hard pavement. I like to alternate pairs of shoes, but i would leave the light colored ones at home and sub in sneakers. I would leave out one sweater: two is enough for an 8 day trip. Count on rain in Paris: maybe once, but maybe every day. Bring a waterproof jacket and an umbrella. One of those pairs of shoes should be able to stand up to being wet. People in Paris dress up more for dinner, even at corner bistros: I would pack either a pair of actual slacks, or a dark skirt and I would leave out the white pants which are usually a travel disaster, especially in the city. IMHO

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    • Yeah, that’s why I’m wanting the pants I’m missing. But my new jeans are also easily mistaken for black pants, they’re so dark and solid. Maybe I’ll find something there! See above re shoes, sweaters, rainwear …

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  8. I am also jumping on the advice train. I myself would want another shirt layer for eight days, even with laundry. Second the recommendation for really sturdy walking shoes. Do you have a windbreaker or raincoat or something else waterproof so you can not only walk miles but do so in the rain? And finally, you might want a scarf … because Parisian ladies really do wear them with abandon. Have fun!!

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  9. Have a grand time. There is so much to see, do and eat! My one addition to your wardrobe would be some type of jacket with a hood, April in Paris can be very wet! An umbrella is a very good addition, but you can always buy one over there, I hope you won’t need it.

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  10. Leave the sleeveless shirts and white pants at home to make room for things you’ll want to buy there. Paris flea market is the best! There’s also a section near the Eiffel Tower with shops where fashion students sell their projects; so fabulous!! And remember to get your ticket punched at the machine BEFORE you get on the train to Versailles… no conductors onboard to punch, and they hang tourists who ride with unpunched tickets! Take small binoculars to see incredible details on cathedrals, etc. Have a great time!!

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    • Yes, save some space for the things you’ll want to buy! Accessories, gifts, souvenirs, books, yarn… It adds up pretty quickly.

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      • Hm, I say, you should visit Versailles, it is still an amazing place, that you won’t see anywhere else. And it’s not that far from Paris.

        You should definitely visit the “Marché saint Pierre”, it is a fabric shop in the bottom of the Sacré Cœur, their choice is amazing, I always try to go when I go in Paris (did I say I’m French ? I have the chance to go there at least twice a year (devil smirk)).

        For the yarn, hm…I’ll have to think. There is La Bien Aimée, in a lovely “passage”. But I’m thinking French yarn. I’ll do a list and send it to you.

        Oh, and I’ll try to find and amazing address; it’s a fabric store that sells fabric from haute couture designers, never been there, bu it is on my must-do-list for next time.

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  11. Yeah, I think you can easily lose two to three pieces including one pair of shoes but definitely bring a rain coat or jacket and an umbrella. And a good cleanser for the night, Paris is pollution heavy these days. The flowers are out, so if you want to enjoy a beautiful walk in a magnificent garden, I recommend Bagatelle, just outside of the city, it is enchanting. French gardens at their best, and there is Versailles, of course. Don’t forget Montmartre, you will love it. The center of Paris is small enough to walk through most of it, and don’t forget that walk on the river bank. I also recommend Place des Vosges and Le Marais not far, from which you can walk to Place de la Bastille. And a boat trip too on the river, the view on the old buildings is fantastic. Hope you get nice weather, and enjoy !

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  12. Two strong recommendations for your trip: A tea shop/yarn shop, and a related hand-dyed yarn store (they are very close to each other). Both are terrific.
    (1) L’Oisive Thé, Salon de Thé et Tricot  
    Address: 8 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 75013 Paris, France
    (2) Bien Aimee Yarn shop 27, rue Paulin Mery
    75013 Paris
    01 46 27 60 86
    Metro: Place d’Italie

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  13. I like to take a big shawl to snuggle with on the plane — it’s always chilly on the plane and is a nice touch to throw around your shoulders in the evening. BTW you are so inspirational to me: I read your e mail first thing every a.m. I’ve just cast on the 3-1 rib pullover – had the yarn from an aborted project – great travelling project for me. Enjoy!

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  14. We never stopped walking ~ Don’t miss walking the Boulevard Saint-Germain, maybe stop at the intersection with Boulevard Raspail at Le Saint Germain café for espresso and pastry or wine and lunch. “Une carafe d’eau” will save you some coins on bottled water. And try not to miss the Musée d’Orsay, which is amazing! Awww, thanks for those memories – you will have a glorious trip whatever you do! It is so hard to take it all in. I bought drawing pencils and one of my favorite brushes for oil painting… Have fun, be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m very impressed with your ability to narrow things down and I love how you have planned out combinations. Like you, I always start with the shoes – everything builds up from there. Nonetheless, if it were me, I would add a dress – one that can be dressed up or down, that packs well, and makes me feel good. You never know where you might be invited or end up. And one brightly coloured item – perhaps a silk scarf, a small handbag, a belt, or a necklace. Good luck with the cardigan!

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  16. I think you, like me, are not a dressy person, but I’ll tell you that people in Paris are stylish and you might feel underdressed in the evening. Bring a nice scarf to brighten up your wardrobe. Also one of the best and least visited museums in Paris is Musee Marmottan (http://www.marmottan.fr/uk/). It is a train ride (or a long walk) to the edge of the Bois de Bologne and is worth the effort. Monet’s son bequeathed his collection of his father’s works to the museum so there you will see Impression Sunrise and many others. It also looks like there is a Pissarro exhibit which could be amazing too. Enjoy. Baguettes, wine, cheese and meats are the best eaten outside on the grass.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m going to have such a wonderful time and look SO good living vicariously through you on this trip! LOL ;) I love all your choices and look forward to you seeing your Sartorialist-style selfies at cafes and in front of the Arc de Triomphe, etc. in your tres chic ensembles. Bon voyage!

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  18. Someone else said sturdy shoes. Paris sidewalks are not like here. Holes and things sticking up and other disasters. Also a rain jacket and small folding umbrella.
    Another mentioned baguettes, wine, cheese, and meats. We always purchased these in the morning before our forays into the City. The meat was always sausignon (sp?). French goat cheese is truly wonderful. AND don’t forget to bring a “sfork” (one of those cute eating utensils that is spoon, knife and fork). They have really great delis.

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  19. I love your outfit ideas and layouts, and your Channel cardi drawing! I always think the most important thing is feel like yourself, it seems like you’re pretty oriented that way in general.

    I always forget to pack something comfortable to wear when I’m at home, even if I’m not home much I still like something.

    Have fun!!!

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  20. I TOTALLY agree about plane clothes being dead to you. Something about plane air is just so gross. I highly recommend bringing some thick socks for the flight if you don’t already have it on your list… so you can take off your shoes immediately and not put them back on until you land.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Jumping on the bandwagon to say I would definitely bring the hooded jacket and be prepared for rain. I love a nice looking trench, but always want the hood when I’m traveling. Otherwise, looks like your choices are great. And I second the suggestion for snugly shawl on the plane. Even better if it’s one that can double as a scarf for an accent piece.

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  22. It still quite cold here in Paris and a little wet, hopefully better next week! If you need to know about any special “stach” stores here i’d be happy to help!

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  23. Such a chic wardrobe! When I did a trip to England in March, I packed 4 long-sleeve shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 cardigans, and 2 scarves to make my outfits. Everything coordinated, but I was happy to get home to more clothes. It’s fun to have it all planned out before you go!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Looks like a good wardrobe plan to me. I would take one more bottom, especially considering the white pants. A small black stretchy pull-on pencil skirt and black tights, will take up no room and provide something a bit dressier for a candlelit dinner. And I always throw in a lightweight pashmina type wrap….one that can provide an extra layer with your casual clothes, or a more elegant wrap (with that skirt) at night. And bandaids for your feet. no matter how comfortable you think those shoes are, Paris walking is a different kind of wear and tear.

    Have fun, and prepare to fall in love with Paris. No one escapes that fate, especially on their first trip there.

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  25. “I should note that one of my weird neurotic tics is that whatever clothes I wear on a plane are generally dead to me upon arrival.” DITTO! I thought I was the only one.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. So excited for you! And this was fun to read–particularly because I am NOT a travel wardrobe planner. Unlike the people who think it’s almost as fun as the trip, I detest it and try not to think about it til the last minute when I throw things in my bag according to what appeals right then. I also make almost no effort to pack light unless I’m going for a very short trip. That works fine for me but there is something very satisfying and even soothing about reading your systematic approach. And I love your looks and your new acquisitions, the silk top and silver shoes especially. You’re going to look great and have a wonderful time.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. What a great set of things for your trip! This is exactly the type of travel packing I am always aiming for but never quite accomplish – taking only versatile pieces I love and nothing extra. I am the same with the clothes I wear on the plane, AND I have to have a clean, never-worn outfit for the trip home! Finally, I’m glad to learn about the Vayartas – definitely have to check those out.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. So glad to learn you will soon be in Paris! Agree with other post about possibly wanting a skirt. With tights or wool leggings your shoes would work. As for the shoes, please make sure your new shoes, especially the main ones for walking are broken in. Paris is all about the walking. Have fun!

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  29. P.S. definitely your trench coat and umbrella as opposed to hooded rain jacket. You’ll feel better. Every Parisienne wears a trench.

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  30. With those colours you will fit in beautifully BUT you must also wear a good red lipstick. Whenever you walk into any establishment ALWAYS say Bonjour Madame/Mesdames/Monsieur/Messieurs (depending on gender and number of people in the establishment) either to the general air (small shop with other customers in it) or to specific greeting person (cafe, etc). That way, people will be more courteous back to you and you will have a nicer time. It can feel weird but it is so worth it.

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  31. Bring a fold up umbrella for sure! And don’t forget about the dress over pants trend!! We went for Thanksgiving, ate at posh places and I was fine in fancy jeans and fabulous tops! Do you have a leather jacket? Don a great necklace, earring, scarf, the RED lip and you’ll be tres chic!! For $100 extra you can purchase the aisle seats in coach. I’m 5’11”, husband 6’2″ and if really saved us. I think you’re tall too so just a tip from one tall gal to another. If it interests you at all a stop in the Hermes store is quite wonderful. Their commitment to craft is other worldly. The Hermes “tent” came to Houston where I live. I will never forget that experience and highly recommend it to anyone who ever gets a chance to see it. They brought the apparatus they use to create their scarves. Each color is a separate screen, sometimes using over 100 screens. The artisans were there actually creating scarves, a Kelly bag, pyramid jewelry… And the lady above is totally correct about saying Bonjour to whomever is in the store (even the air) when entering. It is considered extremely RUDE not to do so and will ruin your experience! Learn how to ask if they speak English in French and you’ll be good to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. For your drawstring pant needs… just saw these today, made in MN with CA grown sustainable cotton project cloth: https://wilsonandwillys.com/collections/only-here/products/easy-drawstring-french-terry
    I’ve also heard really good things about Victor Athletics, but they seem to be sold out of most things. Ok ok, last link (apparently I’ve been collecting these resources subconsciously), this looks like a lovely roundup of well-made sweatshirts: http://www.readingmytealeaves.com/2017/03/growing-a-minimalist-wardrobe-sweatshirts.html

    I made a pair of Hudson pants (pattern by True Bias) in thick cotton terry (Organic Cotton Plus) earlier this winter and they’re so very satisfying.

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    • Those pants are super cute but more sweatpanty than what I have in mind. I’m thinking woven, black (linen?), wide leg … but thank you so much for the sweatshirt roundup! Will investigate.

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  33. Oh my! We can have a club!!!
    Alice says:
    March 23, 2017 at 11:50 am
    “I should note that one of my weird neurotic tics is that whatever clothes I wear on a plane are generally dead to me upon arrival.” DITTO! I thought I was the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Congrats on booking the trip!
    Wardrobe looks great. Layering and rain-appropriate definitely key.
    I may have said this already but if you were thinking to go to the Louvre or the Pompidou Centre, perhaps check their late evening hours. Totally different crowds (or lack thereof) in the evenings – mostly locals.
    I try to remember to add coffee stops – even if only 10 or 15 min – to busy days. Can really recharge (even if you don’t drink coffee). Also you get to try a fascinating cafe or bakery.
    Enjoy!

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  35. Have you tried the stylebook app? I’ve found it super useful for wardrobe planning, trip planning, identifying gaps, etc. It even has a shuffle feature to come up with new outfits out of a preselection. And the stats – most and least worn items, most and least worn outfits, cost per wear (if you fill the price in) are invaluable for getting a clear picture of what you really use.

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  36. Is there anything more classy and classic than Parisian fashion? Pack fewer clothes etc, and treat yourself with some French ones!

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  37. I took my parents to Paris three years ago. My Mom who at the time was 70 would text me photos of her window shopping finds with the caption: “Pang Paris” (for Paris). We had matching outfits and we were not ashamed of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Yay! France is wonderful and I know you’ll have a great time!
    Plane clothes and mostly all travel clothes, save car trips) are also dead to me on arrival. I can’t wash them fast enough. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. There is no way in hell I am checking a bag with my handknits in it. A checked bag is a lost bag. I always travel with 2 or 3 no vacuum compression roll bags. You can compress your handknits so they fit in your carry on and the others can be used to bring home yarn and clothing purchases because you are going to buy clothes in Paris. You could compress your clothes so the things you buy that can’t be compressed will still fit in your suitcase, but again, DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDKNITS IN YOUR CHECKED BAG…EVER.

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  40. Looks like you nailed it, Karen. I’m planning to go to Paris in late April, (in between London and Florence), so I’ll be most interested to follow your travels. Grateful for all you’ve taught us about wardrobe planning, I’ve been using what I’ve learned to try to plan my own 10 (OK, maybe 12) piece wardrobe for my trip.

    Like you, I’m finding the coat-piece to be the most challenging for traveling during this transitional season. I was hoping to make Lotta Jansdotter’s Pilvi coat in a spring-appropriate fabric or to splurge on an Elizabeth Suzann khaki trench before I left, but I don’t see either happening now. I’ve got a classic black lightweight wool coat that I’ve had since the early ’90s (and still my favorite) that I may wind up taking. I was feeling like I should have something other than black in the event the weather is less rainy and more sunny and spring-like, but I guess black is always safe. Plus it will help to dress up any evening outfit. And it’s Paris, after all. Have a great trip!

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  41. I’m also worried about the shoes. What if it is cold or rainy? Can you wear socks with the black ones? I am not sure.
    Everybody wears sneakers here these days but remember socks must be almost invisible if you dont want to look like a tourist
    Have a nice trip

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  43. I prefer to use an umbrella over a hood so I would take the trench. Plus you don’t want to feel like a frumpy American on your first trip to Paris. Not that there’s anything wrong with a hooded rain jacket but it feels more casual/athletic. If you plan on waking a lot which you will and you should I would recommend taking short rain booties. Nothing is worse than having soggy feet. I have Sam Edelman rain booties and they are great, comfortable and stylish. They look like a Chelsea boots. I wear mine to work on rain days and often don’t bother changing out of them.

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  44. Lots of great advice above—and congratulations on a very well-edited selection of clothes! You are on your way to a chic non-touristy look, including the scarf! I will join others in the vote for taking the trench coat, losing the white jeans and shopping there for whatever else you discover you must have because you’re in Paris. Looking forward to see photos of you christening the new cardigan en voyage!

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