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

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Gilbert, Arizona
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100 posts
12 reviews
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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!

Paris, France
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118 reviews
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41. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

Nobody will be insulted, and a good number of French people - men, women and children - will be wearing similar shorts and even t-shirts in the hot weather. Sandals are fine, too, but flip-flops don't do well on cobblestones.

I think the only way to insult a shopkeeper is if you don't bother to say "Bonjour Madame", then handle all the merchandise and leave without purchasing anything.

Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris
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26 reviews
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42. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

Dress for comfort. Everyone will know that you are a tourist, no matter what you wear. There is nothing shameful about being a tourist. But above all, nobody will be looking at you in the first place.

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

I remind readers of "Daisy" who visited Paris just under a year ago. Many of her posts described what she thought was preferential treatment and service because of the way she dressed. Now, I agree that most of us can't pull a Chanel jacket out of our closet, but we should be able to pull out something that says "city" rather than mall or resort or beach. Winter is easy. But summer offers the opportunity to wear sheer linen and cottons that are smart and cool. DH wears ironed Levi 501s year around, choosing lightweight cotton shirts when its hot. Tourists heading to Paris would do well to forget the word "vacation" and think "city visit" instead and there would be no need for this kind of question.

To counter that trashily dressed people get served well because it is thought that they have money is a spurious argument. We aren't talking trashy dressing, we are talking schlubby dressing versus dressing with a modicum of urbanity.

The OP, by the way, sounds like she is completely on track. Her "sneakers" may well be hip and chic.

MA
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for New England
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44. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

Most important is what you wear on your feet, because if your feet hurt after four hours of walking and you still have a week of sightseeing ahead of you, it won't matter if you're wearing Chanel or YSL, you'll still be miserable. Be sure that your footwear is well broken-in ahead of time and also, take at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes. My experience has been that even the most comfortable pair starts to rub uncomfortably in certain spots after a day or two and I need to switch to another pair for a couple days.

Montreal, Canada
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83 posts
28 reviews
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45. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

You asked what living in Paris is like... Fun! It is a big city and there is always something to do.

As for safety it's the same as anywhere except there are a lot of children pick pockets were the tourist go. They are usually in groups, one will have a piece of cardboard and while the others get your attention the one with the cardboard will cover her/his hand and slide it into your bag. Just be aware and smart. I never had a problem when I lived there.

The most annoying thing I had to deal with was the gypsy kids in the supermarket parking lot. They come running up to your car as you park with a windshield cleaner and if you didn't pay them to clean your car you ended up with a key mark on your door. I always tried to park far away from them when I saw them around!

Take the time to sit at a coffee shop and enjoy people watching. Have an American Champagne (coke) and a pain au chocolat, it is a beautiful city.

Except for the dog poo it's everywhere

Pennsylvania
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5,348 posts
24 reviews
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46. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

I highly doubt the average vacationer traveling to Paris for a week is going to invest in a new wardrobe. Wear what makes you comfy and happy in your photos and just make sure it's clean ;-)

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

Maddie, I have to take issue. One certainly shouldn't have to invest in a new wardrobe to go anywhere. But by the same token, Paris is not Allentown. Nor is it the Monday market at Perkiomenville, although i have seen many tourists in Paris dressed much more appropriately for Perkiomenville than for Paris.

"Comfy" has become an umbrella for slovenly, certainly for schlubby. As Patty and others have recommended, grooming and polish can go a long way to make one presentable.

Be comfortable, yes, please. But also please look your best. You'll love the photos of your visit.

Vancouver, Canada
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74 reviews
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48. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

For what it is worth, I always get my hair cut, coloured and styled before a trip. You look better in photos as that's what will matter 20, 30 years from now. (or not, if the style dates the look).

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

There is an inevitable conflict between the demands of vanity and the demands of comfort, as they involve opposing goals. It depends on your priorities. For some people, impressing others (or at least fantasizing that they are impressing others) is the most important aspect of any activity. They should probably dress up in Paris. There still won't be anyone looking at them, but their vanity will be satisfied.

When you visit Paris on vacation, you should think "vacation," not "city." It takes a strong ego to seriously believe that anything you wear is going to successfully compete with the thousands of other fashionistas in the city. And they only care about themselves, not you, so they won't notice you except with disdain. And the millions of other people in the city don't worry about appearance at all.

In summary, unless you are very vain,dress for comfort in Paris. If you are very vain, dress up, but keep in mind that you'll lose in competition against others of the same ilk in the City of Light.

Vancouver, Canada
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50. Re: Dare I ask....but what to wear?

"Very vain!" That's quite a judgment call. There are people who enjoy dressing up and it really has nothing to do with vanity but more so with appreciation for and enjoyment of nice things, whether they are in Paris, or San Francisco or just at home.