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Dare I ask....but what to wear?

Gilbert, Arizona
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102 posts
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Dare I ask....but what to wear?

I have read vastly different accounts of 'what to wear and not look like a tourist' and it's been 20 years since I have been to Paris. My ideal is jeans, nice shirt and my primarily black (with a few purple highlights) tennis shoe for day site seeing. Some Paris sites say jeans and tennis shoes are worn by the locals, yet my friend is sending other info that says it would scream tourist and be a big faux pas.

My friend and I are leaving in a couple of weeks, so if anyone has been recently I would love to hear what you have to say!

Merci!

Melbourne, Australia
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31. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

"primarily black (with a few purple highlights) tennis shoe" will be fine. Make sure they are comfortable and that you can walk all day in them. That's what is most important. We will always look like tourists, so don't worry about it. No-one will care/notice what you are wearing and you won't be the talking point at that night's dinner party. I remember Yves Saint Laurent being asked what he would like to say about fashion. He said he wished he'd invented denim 'cause it was everywhere. I don't tend to wear my jeans in Paris, but I don't wear them in Melbourne city either.

Edited: 08 March 2014, 10:26
Tampa, Florida
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32. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

New flash:

Parisians wear jeans.

Parisians wear sneakers -- many of them even wear white ones.

Parisians in Paris are busy taking care of their life -- kids, work, spouse, family, friends, grocery, dry cleaners, etc.,e tc., etc. They aren't even looking at you or your clothes most of the time.

Do you really want to be around someone who would judge your value as a person based on your shoes?

Edited: 08 March 2014, 13:52
London, United...
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33. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

These threads always leave me thinking the same thing - it's not Parisians who will be judging you, it's your fellow tourists.

I have been visiting France for best part of 40 years and until I read TA I had no idea that I had been risking ridicule and poor treatment by wearing the wrong clothes. Believe me, no one ever got refused entry to France for wearing 'mom jeans' , whatever they are. The French penal code does not require every single person to wear 'skinnies', take it from me that nothing bad happens to you if you don't.

Loire Valley
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34. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

Iron your jeans flat across the front, not with a crease. It won't make you look like a Parisian, but 1% of people (mainly the 1% you don't need to worry about) will notice you trying to fit in.

San Francisco...
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35. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

"Parisians are judgmental, and like to categorize people. You will receive better treatment, wherever you go in Paris, if you just look as if you made an effort to "show some self-respect" as my mother would say. "

I am so glad that someone finally said this. Appearance mattes. Not physical beauty, but general grooming. Consciously or not, it will make a difference in your reception and treatment.

Dress for the city. Paris is not the mall. Jeans do in fact blend in. White pants and pink t-shirts, not so much.

Pennsylvania
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36. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

When in Paris or any other city, I dress the same as I do here. Jeans, cowboy boots, a cashmere sweater, layers in winter..Warmer weather brings a sundress, a light jacket or sweater. Shoes are key. Wear well broken in footwear. And Oui, grooming IS everything ..I'm more of a "less is more person," and in Paris it's so easy ..

Edited: 08 March 2014, 17:49
Paris, France
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37. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

I'll have to disagree about Parisians being judgmental, or at least qualify that statement. "Petit bourgeois" Parisians are judgmental because they are trying to scratch their way higher in life. This of course means pushing other people down (not dressed properly, etc.). I worked in the "Golden Triangle" of Paris for more than 30 years, right across from the George V and the Prince de Galles hotels. I can assure you that trashily dressed people are treated like royalty in all of the local high end boutiques and restaurants and in those hotels. The Parisians serving them know that in the 21st century, the way a person is dressed does not at all indicate his status in life of the contents of his wallet. If that were not the case, men would still have to shave every day.

Paris, France
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38. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

kerouac - I really need to find another apartment!

My neighbors (all of whom are of different economic backgrounds but are "of a certain age"), even put on lipstick and decent clothes just to put out their trash. Those who don't are criticized as being "mal-eleve".

However, just down the street, several famous (and infamous) former ministers and movie stars walk around looking like something even a cat wouldn't drag in, and they get treated like royalty...

I have noticed that I get better service at a cafe, though, if I change out of my dog-walking clothes, first.

Tampa, Florida
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39. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

Sounds like you're in the wrong building, Patty. I didn't get treated with that much disdain when I was right off the airplane and living in the 16th.

I have a friend in the 16th who wears bib overalls and flip-flops with no makeup to take out the garbage simply *because* it sends the Chanel-wearing biddies into a breathless tizzy.

Edited: 08 March 2014, 20:18
Arlington, MA
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518 posts
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40. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

We'll be visiting in June, when I expect it to be on the warmer side. Friends have told me the men shouldn't wear shorts? They have no intention of wearing running/beach shorts, but long cargo shorts are what my husband and teenage son usually wear in hot weather. We're not looking to impress anyone but also don't want to insult shop owners by wearing something into their boutiques that is not locally acceptable.