Transcript for Episode 195: What to Pack to Look Stylish in Paris

Table of Contents for this Episode

Categories: France How To, French Customs & Lifestyle, Paris

David Palacheck wearing his aviator glasses, his purple sport coat and a colorful scarf
David Palachek

Annie: [00:00:00] This is Join Us in France, Episode 195. Bonjour, I’m Annie. And Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France, its many quirks, its history, its language, and of course destinations in France you want to learn about because hopefully you’ll be visiting soon.


Annie: [00:00:19] On today’s episode I chat with David Palachek about how to dress for Paris. We’ll be sharing actionable advice you can use to pack your suitcase for Paris and look great in the City of Light.


Annie: [00:00:33] If you’re interested in dressing for Paris, you should also check out Episode 137: The Paris Packing List.


Annie: [00:00:41] Show notes and photos for this episode are on https://joinusinfrance. com/195. The number 195.


Annie: [00:00:50] Folks who are subscribed to the e-mail list will get the Extra having to do with this episode in a few days.


Annie: [00:00:57] Join us in France is brought to you by Patreon supporters and Addicted to France, the small group tour company for people who want to enjoy France to the fullest with zero stress. We have a tour coming up this month and you can check it out on


Annie: [00:01:17] Join Us in France needs your support: to see all the ways you can support the show visit


Annie: [00:01:56] Hello David. And welcome back to Join Us in France!


David: [00:02:00] Bonjour Annie! Ça va ?


Annie: [00:02:02] Bonjour ! Ça va très bien, et toi ?


David: [00:02:03] Très bien aussi !


Annie: [00:02:11] Tu as fait des progrès !


David: [00:02:12] Ah, merci !


Annie: [00:02:12] Parfait, OK. So this podcast is not going to be in French.


Annie: [00:02:16] I am very happy to have David back on the show because he’s been on two episodes before. There was episode 111 which I called the Two Dads and a Child in Paris and 112 Two Dads in Paris. Because you had long… you had adventures in Paris and it took us a while to get through talking about them. And you are an architect.


David: [00:02:43] I’m a designer in New York. We work a lot in Manhattan and Brooklyn, so…


Annie: [00:02:48] You love beautiful things.


David: [00:02:52] Yeah! I can’t always afford them, but I do love them.


Annie: [00:02:54] Isn’t that that the story of our lives? And how many times have you been to Paris?


David: [00:03:00] We’ve been three. We are going for our fourth time at the end of June.

several men and women walking in the streets in Paris, all wearing coats
Photo Annie Sargent

Regular People Should Care About Packing the Right Clothes for Paris

Annie: [00:03:05] Very good. OK. Now we need to make it clear that we’re not designers, I mean not clothes designers. We’re not fashion people we’re just regular people who care about packing the right things for Paris.


David: [00:03:18] Exactly, it’s an art!


Annie: [00:03:19] Right. And who want to dress appropriately for the occasion. That’s more my… You know, my whole life. I have never had much interest in fashion, unlike people around me. But I do want to dress appropriately for the occasion. So I think even for people who are not super interested in fashion, this could be a good episode to listen to because they will learn some stuff that they can put to good use.


David: [00:03:45] Yes, I think so, and I think that even if you’re not interested in fashion there is an art to dressing when you travel so that you fit in because it actually makes your trip better.


David: [00:03:53] I mean the way that people react to you if you’re dressed in a respectful way, I think that that opens up a lot more doors than if you go in and you know kind of look like a typical tourist.

street photography in Paris: man wearing a red coat and a scarf and many other people wearing jeans and coats
Photo Annie Sargent

You Don’t Have To Change How You Dress for Paris, at Least Not Much

Annie: [00:04:03] Right. Right. Now, one thing I have to mention is that you don’t really have to change how you dress just because you’re coming to Paris. If you’re looking forward to learning about the way French people dress, and if you like fashion, and you want to do do this in Paris, then do it and enjoy it.


Annie: [00:04:22] And if you don’t, don’t feel bad. You know, I bless you. I’m a French person and I bless you to not give a hoot. Because there are French people who don’t care about clothes. We are in the minority, but we’re here too. And so, you know, just just be who you are.


David: [00:04:43] You know what’s really funny is I was thinking about this podcast, Annie, and I was thinking about different people that I’ve seen who were French. And probably the most French places that I’ve been is the Musée des Arts Forains.

street photography in France: people wearing warm weather attire with man wearing a black shirt and jacket talking on his phone
Photo Annie Sargent

46 Tips to Look Stylish in Paris

David: [00:04:54] And we went during Christmas time. And it’s a place that people take their kids. And being in an area that really we were the only non French tourists that were there, so it was a lot of people with kids and I have to say that the French parents pretty much looked exactly like American parents would have.


Annie: [00:05:10] There you go. Yes. Because they’re out on a family outing, they’re not going to work, they’re not going to somewhere fancy they just they can just dress however they want. So that’s that’s what you’ll find most of the time if you’re just tooling around France. But of course you are going to special occasions. That’s that’s pretty different.


Annie: [00:05:33] Now some of the advice I’m going to be sharing comes from those three, you know, very stylish women but I know. It’s my sister, my niece and my daughter’s girlfriend. They all love looking great. They love turning heads, and they do that, and it’s wonderful. And they’re very different ages. Well, my sister is turning 50 and the other two are closer to 20 so there’s going to be some of those age differences as well. And I’m going to let David give advice to the men because you know.


David: [00:06:07] I’m a man.


Annie: [00:06:09] Yes. One of them! So shall we get started with some general recommendations?

Tip #1: Buy Your Accessories After You Get to Paris

David: [00:06:14] Sure. Definitely. Annie, I don’t know if you want me to take this one, but one of the things that I do when I pack, and just when I go to Paris, but when I travel in general. I tend to try and take a lot of basic stuff with me and I like to try and stick with one color range so that I can mix and match depending on what I need to wear and what day.


David: [00:06:33] So, you know, I usually take like a pair of jeans and maybe I’ll take a pair of twill jeans or canvas jeans. And then, you know, layer in a lot of basic sweaters. So, crew necks an V necks and things like that. And then, you know, what I find find is you can’t really ever figure out what the locals are wearing until you get there. Because even if you’ve been someplace like 10 or 20 times, you know fashion changes so quickly that it varies from city to city.


David: [00:06:57] You really don’t get a sense of it until you’re on the streets. So what I like to do is you know just take really basic clothes that I know you know everything’s going to be comfortable. I don’t really have to think about everything because it’s all in the same color range. And then I usually will like add an accessory that I buy when I go on a trip.


Annie: [00:07:14] Right.


David: [00:07:15] I like wearing a lot of scarves, which I actually started buying for the first time when I went to Paris my first time. So what I will usually do is wear really basic clothes and buy a scar, buy a belt or something like that, and add that to whatever I’ve taken with me and then it’s a souvenir whenever I come back.

Tip #2: Select Clothes That Don’t Need to Be Ironed

Annie: [00:07:31] Right. That sounds fabulous. And it’s true that in France you will see a lot of scarves but we’ll come back to that in a moment. Now you have to pay attention to how well your clothes will travel because most of us don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe just for, you know, travel. But leave your wrinkly stuff at home because the hotels will loan you and Iran and most of them. But it’s not. It’s going to be a really basic iron, and they probably won’t have an ironing board, and you know you’re on vacation. You don’t really want to spend your time ironing. So pay attention to that.


David: [00:08:08] One thing that I do just, it’s a trick that I’ve learned is, you know, I take a of knits, like I said sweaters and things like that, that aren’t going to wrinkle.


David: [00:08:14] But if I do bring something that I need to get the wrinkles out of, a lot of times I’ll put it in the bathroom when I’m taking a shower, so at least the steam in the bathroom will help, you know, ease some of the wrinkles.


Annie: [00:08:25] Oh, that’s clever!


David: [00:08:25] I’m full of them!


Annie: [00:08:25] Yes, and that’s really clever! I hadn’t thought of that. That’s very good. Yeah my husband actually has one of these steam like, it’s a little travel steam iron, so you can just see, he can steam his clothes on the rack and then they hang better. And, anyway I have never seen that being in operation, but it’s good for business travel.


David: [00:08:53] You just have to trust them. There’s also a spray that you can buy that’s a wrinkle relaxer but I’ve never actually traveled with it. I’ve just heard about it.


Annie: [00:09:00] I have to say that one of the gentlemen that I met on one of our tours, he looked fabulous every day. He looked like he was just had just picked up the shirts from the from the dry cleaners. They were, you know, starched and beautiful, beautiful. And he said he just bought several shirts just for this trip and they looked fabulous. They weren’t starched they just were made for that. So I know there are products out there if you want to go after that. You can find things like that. And if I find some, I’ll put them, I’ll put links on the show notes, I haven’t looked into it yet, so.


Annie: [00:09:38] All right, let’s talk about the kind of the secret sauce that most French, you know, French fashion people follow.


Annie: [00:09:45] And I wasn’t even aware that there was a secret sauce because I just never asked myself anything. But, it was right under my nose the whole time. And now that I’ve talked to several people about it, I can see it. So here’s what I’ve learned.

people walking in Paris wearing winter attire
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #3: Break the Code Thoughtfully

Annie: [00:10:03] You have to break dress codes on purpose, thoughtfully. So, no matter what you do, once once you show that you know the code and you know how to break it it shows that you’ve given it some thought. And they will give you lots of credit for that. So, it used to be that men wore the, you know, the three piece suit said the women they wore the matched jewelry. You had to have the matching necklace and earrings, and blah blah. And we don’t do that anymore, do we?


David: [00:10:35] No actually that makes it makes a lot easier to travel. I was thinking about that as well, and I think I’m really lucky that when once we started traveling the entire world has gotten become so casual. You I can get away with wearing a pair of jeans as long as you throw a jacket on it to a pretty nice restaurant.


Annie: [00:10:53] Exactly!


David: [00:10:53] So, you know if if I had had to travel with like a suit and a suit bag and things like that, it would just be a real pain in the butt.


Annie: [00:11:02] It even used to be that women would match the color of their shoes to the color of their bag, or to the you know the color of their lipstick. That’s done. Don’t do that. You know, yeah, you’re supposed to wear together items that really weren’t supposed to go together in the in the past.

Tip #4: Mix and Match Formal and Casual

Annie: [00:11:21] And you you do meet, you know, people mix and match formal and casual. So, like in the same outfits. In an outfit your five things, maybe I’m simplifying it but, you have the shoes the pants the shirt the jacket and accessories. So, let’s think that if you’re choosing casual shoes because you’re touring and you want your feet to be comfortable, then some of the rest needs to be formal.


Annie: [00:11:49] So you go with casual shoes, a casual shirt, but formal slacks, and a jean jacket. And then you can have a showy bag or a scarf for something like that.


David: [00:12:01] Right. Right. Usually when I travel I usually take a jacket that I wear as a windbreaker. But it’s also something that’s tailored like say like a sportscoat. So that actually really helps me so that you know if I’m going to a restaurant or someplace it’s a little bit nicer, you know, I can throw it on and wear it with a pair of jeans, be really comfortable but at the same time look a little bit dressier.


David: [00:12:22] But then at the same time I can wear the same jacket to keep myself warm like you would like a windbreaker or something like that.


Annie: [00:12:28] Right. Right. And this is another thing that my sister told me is that there are times during the year where, especially the summer, where you’ll probably want to wear mostly light colors. But if you dressed in all white, it might look a little strange, right? All white is like what? But if you mix and match textures, then you’re all white will look fine. So you have like linen white. Maybe you have a shiny glossy white on top. You can have a cotton white like cotton white cotton shoes and you just mix and match those textures and all of a sudden being an all white is just fine. It looks good actually!


David: [00:13:09] You may look a little worse for wear at the end of the day.


Annie: [00:13:15] You would! And it’s the same with people who like to wear all black. You need to not have the same texture of black. It’s all black is black is black, right?

Tip #5: not all black clothes will be the same color

David: [00:13:27] But actually black is black is black it’s not black, and as a designer I’m going to have to stop you there. When you wear black make sure that you’re not mixing like a brown black with a blue black or a green black. Or you have to look at them in like a couple different lights, like sunlight, and then incandescent light. To make sure that your blacks are like all the same coloration of black. Color usually will hide in black that you don’t notice until you get out in the sun.


Annie: [00:13:51] See, I never even thought of that. But but you could definitely get different textures of black.


David: [00:13:57] Definitely.


Annie: [00:13:58] Yeah. So I think that’s that’s something that I had never thought of that I’m starting… I’m going to incorporate in my dress. The other thing my sister told me…


David: [00:14:10] You’re going to be a clothes horse against your will by the time we’re done.

Tip #6: Mix Old and New

Annie: [00:14:13] Well, now I understand why so many women have huge closets. Because if you have to do all this, I’m like, oh well then I don’t have enough clothes! I need 20 new jackets! Anyway, one of the things that my sister told me is you have to mix old the new, on purpose.


Annie: [00:14:32] So if you’d like to wear a beret for example, which in France is mostly worn by old men. Well, you mix it with items that are clearly the latest fashion. So maybe you wear fashionable glasses, maybe you wear a specific type of jacket that’s popular right now, and that changes all the time. Maybe you want to wear a skirt with a strange cut. You know like these skirt skirts from the 60s. So, we don’t see those very much but if you mix it with a casual top from the latest trend you will look really good. No matter how old this item is that you’re picking out. You you look like a trendsetter.


David: [00:15:18] And that’s it! That’s magic.


Annie: [00:15:19] Yeah. And people do it. Like, it’s really strange. I saw this guy… Because since I knew we were going to record this, when I went grocery shopping I paid attention, right? And so the I saw this guy standing there eating his… He was drinking his a coffee in the morning, and he he had on a beret, bald head, really beautiful glasses, a big thick black beard, but really really well treated, and just impeccable black beard. And the beret. And he made the beret look really nice. Like I was like dude, you’re 30!

people sitting at a café in Paris with man wearing a bright blue shirt
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #7: Own Your Clothes, Don’t Let Your Clothes Own You!

David: [00:16:02] I think it’s… I think it’s really important to own your clothes and not let your clothes don’t you, right?


Annie: [00:16:10] Ah, attitude too.


David: [00:16:11] Exactly.

Tip #8: Pushing the Boundaries with the Color Wheel

Annie: [00:16:14] Then also maybe I should let you talk about the next thing: the color wheel and pushing the boundaries a little bit. Because you know there are classic color coordination rules.


David: [00:16:24] Well I’m kind of going for it. I’m right the middle… Because we’re going in June, I’m in the process of putting together what I’m going to wear when we’re there. And this year because we’re going for the first time in spring. The three times that I’ve been to Paris have always been around either the late fall, or winter. I’ve always been there in October. I think we were there in January and February. So this is the first time that I have been in France in warm weather.


David: [00:16:48] So I’m I’m going for it. So I just bought a pair of like really cool shoes. They’re cut like wingtips but they’re mesh so they’re super lightweight and they’re actually on a tennis shoe sole. And the sole they’re navy with leather accents, brown leather accents, and then they’ve got turquoise soles. So they’re really unusual but they’re also going to be great to walk in because they’re really lightweight and they get a lot of support.


David: [00:17:14] Absolutely. I’m going to pair those with. I’ve got a pair of like khaki color twill jeans, and then I got a pair of dark blue ochre dyed jeans, and I think because it’s me, and I’m not afraid of color. I have a purple jacket I bought that’s a sports coat. It’s kind of cut like a Sergeant Pepper’s cut. And to top it all off, I went ahead and got a pair of rose gold aviator glasses. So, I’m kind of you know just embracing the fact that it’s going to be it’s summertime and that you really can play with a lot of colors.

Tip #9: Great Choices for Conservative Dressers

David: [00:17:48] Now, my dad for instance who’s going with me on this trip is 70, in his late 70s and he’s much more conservative. So he’s sticking to the khakis and the blue and things like that which will be fine with him. And a lot of it, like you said earlier, it’s about dressing how in a way that makes you feel comfortable.


Annie: [00:18:05] Right. You need to be comfortable because, you know, on a trip like that you’re going to be walking a lot. Going to be outside a lot. So yeah comfort is important.

Tip #10: No Tie-Dye

David: [00:18:14] And he actually, my mom found a place that actually specializes in travel attire. And she got him a suede sports coat. That again, is wrinkle free so he can wear it on the plane or he can bundle it up in his luggage. But he took it out the last time that we were in Europe and it looked great.


Annie: [00:18:30] Yes, suede sports coat. That sounds really interesting because the texture of it is so is visually interesting.


David: [00:18:37] Yeah. And it was actually because it’s a travel sports coat was weatherproof as well. So it’s waterproof but it was definitely water resistant.


Annie: [00:18:44] Yeah. Yeah. I do have to say that you want to push the boundaries as far as colors, you know you want to be as far as you feel comfortable. But tie dye is not a thing in France. I, I’m very sorry about this because I love tie dye. But, no. We don’t hardly ever see any of it unless it’s somebody doing their… You know, they’re doing work in the garden, or they are jogging or something like that. I wear them at home. I wear them when I’m walking dogs, but I can’t wear them to go to work. You know just don’t.


David: [00:19:19] Sorry Deadheads!


Annie: [00:19:20] Yes it did. !  I’m not even a deadhead, I don’t know why I like tie dye.


David: [00:19:26] You’re a child of the sixties.


Annie: [00:19:26] I am, I am. Let’s see, so here’s some… When I was having this conversation with my sister about about the clothes, she was mightily surprised by the way that I would ask her these questions. But these are some of the things that she said.

Tip #11: Heels and Cobbled Stone Streets Are Not a Good Match!

Annie: [00:19:44] She said, you know, when you go to visit the Eiffel Tower, or anything else tourists like. You know, don’t wear heels. This is… This is a woman who wears heels. She’s like no don’t do that. You’re going to ruin your feet. But maybe you won’t. Some people love to wear heels.


David: [00:20:02] Well I have to say, it’s just you… If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, you’re not necessarily going to locations like the Eiffel Tower, but you have to remember there are a lot of cobbled streets in Paris.


Annie: [00:20:12] Yes. Yes.


David: [00:20:13] So you really have to something that’s going to give you some stability.


Annie: [00:20:16] Yeah. Yeah. She was she was suggesting maybe picking leather tennis shoes, or tennis shoes that have interesting textures, you know, maybe a swath of suede or something like that. Not really, not really kind of like… OK, my husband came home with some shoes the other day that are completely black. All of it is black. Same, same, shine of black. And I thought that I don’t love those because they are… They’re boring visually like it’s just all black.

people walking around the Champs Elysées wearing warm weather clothes
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #12: Choose Interesting Tennis Shoes

Annie: [00:20:52] And I think maybe if you find some tennis shoes that have a little bit of texture or maybe a hint of color somewhere. I’m not saying garish colors, but a stripe of something interesting, or whatever. I think it might be good.

David: [00:21:07] Right.

Tip #13: Classy Sunday Dress Goes with Tennis Shoes

Annie: [00:21:08] She was telling me that when we were young our mother would put on a pretty Sunday dress, you know, to her and us. And we didn’t we didn’t, you know, people don’t do that so much anymore. But if you have pretty Sunday dresses that are made of kind of a classic fabric, you know a nice fabric, you can bring those and wear them. But you know wear them with tennis shoes or maybe a Perfecto leather jacket. Is that… Is that a thing in English?


David: [00:21:42] I have never heard of that phrase before.


Annie: [00:21:45] Ah ok. So it’s a French thing. It’s a type of leather jacket. It kind of crosses over the chest. I’ll put a picture on it… Of it on the page for this episode. So she would wear, you know, pretty Sunday dress with a leather jacket, or a jean jacket just to break things up. And no formal shoes, like just tennis shoes or something.


David: [00:22:11] Right.

Tip #14: Casual Cotton Dress Goes with Dressy Shoes

Annie: [00:22:13] And the same with casual cotton dress. If you have a casual summer dress, then mix it with dressier shoes or dressier accessories.


David: [00:22:23] Well I think a lot of this also, everything that you’re talking about, is again trying to own your clothes and make your own personal style. And so you don’t look like you just want to wear whatever store you’re talking about and walked out just with like everything from the same store. It’s really about mixing and matching. And coming up with a way to make it your own style.

Tip #15: Holey Jeans Are Not For Everyone

Annie: [00:22:42] Yes. And she was talking about jeans. She like… She has some jeans that have holes in them. You know, those stylish holes. And she says that at her age, at 50, she really should never wear those things. She still does sometimes.


David: [00:22:57] There gets to be a point where you get past being cool, and then you just look like you’re poor.


Annie: [00:23:05] Well she looks much younger than her age, but still she’s saying, you know, I should… I need to cut this out. But but she says younger women can get away with, you know… Holey jeans.


David: [00:23:16] Oh, younger people can get away with a lot of stuff that the rest of us can’t.


Annie: [00:23:21] Exactly. Exactly.


David: [00:23:21] I can’t get away with skinny pants or skinny jeans anymore. I tried it once it looked really really sad. Nothing goes better with skinny jeans and a muffin top, so.


Annie: [00:23:34] But she was saying, you know, if you’re going to wear jeans with holes then dress it up with nice shoes with heels, and a nice looking leather jacket.


David: [00:23:43] Well if you want it to look like it’s on purpose. And you know what you’re doing.

Tip #16: Slacks Go Well With a Dress Shirt and Tennis Shoes

Annie: [00:23:48] Yes. Yes. So slacks is a dress shirt, but tennis shoes. You know, the boyfriend cut loose jeans, but with dressy heels. You can wear dressy shorts if you want, with pleats or a classy fabric, but then tennis shoes. If you’re wearing jean shorts wear the dressier ballerinas or the dressier women’s shoes.

Tip #17: You Can Either Show Off Your Legs or Your Boobs, But Not Both at the Same Time

Annie: [00:24:13] Oh, she was saying that if you wear shorts and heels that’s trashy… If you… This is another thing that, she made me laugh with this one. She says you can either show off your legs or your boobs but not both. S o , if you’re going to…


David: [00:24:28] I don’t don’t know, maybe it depends on where you intend the evening to go, who knows?


Annie: [00:24:32] That is correct. But for most, for most occasions, you want to show off your legs with short shorts, if you can get away with this. But then wear a looser top. And no. Don’t show any cleavage. Or you could show cleavage, and have a really fitted top, but then longer pants, you know.

Tip #18: No Shirts With Cut Off Arms

David: [00:24:54] And I would also say transitioning over and taking this over to like guys. Again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody in France wear a shirt that didn’t have sleeves which is a thing in America.


Annie: [00:25:07] What do you make a shirt that doesn’t have sleeves?


David: [00:25:08] Like a sleeveless T-shirt, or a T-shirt with the arms cut off, or even after you know a tank top or something like that.


Annie: [00:25:16] Yes no, they will wear that if they’re playing “boules”. If they are playing you know outside, but that’s old guys who are just hot and they take off their shirts.


David: [00:25:25] Right.


Annie: [00:25:28] And they’re wearing the… Was are those called? Wife beaters?


David: [00:25:32] You know, I was… I wasn’t going to go there, but yes. That is what you call them.


Annie: [00:25:35] So that’s the name I know! They might have some other names.


David: [00:25:37] See, no, you can only wear them if you wear the beret because you have to just like really go after the full look!


Annie: [00:25:50] Excellent.


David: [00:25:50] And you have to have a little cigarillo too, like…


Annie: [00:25:54] Excellent. So if you’re going to wear jeans maybe… put on a nice ironed shirt or a nice blouse. Something maybe, it could have a neck or no neck, but it would have to be, you know, the jeans go with something dressier on top.


David: [00:26:09] Right.

Tip #19: No Mickey Mouse T-Shirts

Annie: [00:26:10] And I kept asking them, but what about t-shirts? And they said, well white t shirts, if they have a nice neck, and maybe one like one big word. Those would be fine for younger people. But no Mickey Mouse no bright colors. You know.


David: [00:26:27] Well again for guys you can always wear a T-shirt with a jacket. Like if you got a sport coat, you want to be casual, you know, wear a T-shirt or a sports coat over it. And then pair it with jeans and you’re fine.


Annie: [00:26:37] Yes. And then you have the Steve Jobs look with a turtleneck with a sports jacket on top. That’s nice looking, I think.


David: [00:26:47] That’s better maybe Don Johnson? Remember Miami Vice?

French woman in her early 50s carrying a large fashionable purse and sporting bright burgundy/red hair
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #20: Leggings and Yoga Pants Should Be Avoided in France

Annie: [00:26:54] Somebody asked about the yoga pants or the leggings. They are not really worn in the city, unless people are doing sports. But I guess if you really love your leggings you could wear them with a classy top. You know something, so kind of casual on the bottom class on top.


David: [00:27:16] Right.


Annie: [00:27:17] Last winter fishnet tights were very in fashion, and very opaque tights which to me didn’t make any sense. I’m like wow. You’re going to wear fishnets why? Yeah. No she was saying light colored tights were out.


David: [00:27:32] See, that’s the type of thing that changes so fast.


Annie: [00:27:35] Yes.


David: [00:27:37] That you never know till… And like I said earlier, it’s like go take whatever you’re going to wear and then buy your tights when you’re there. So you see what people are wearing. Because yes you’re not going to know until you go.

Tip #21: Get a Nice Haircut and Color Before You Visit France

Annie: [00:27:47] Yeah. And then, overall she was saying, you know… Like get a nice get a nice haircut, do a color if you do that. You know, just just make the whole package look as nice as you can.


David: [00:28:06] Right. I usually get my haircut about two weeks, a week, two weeks before I go. So that it grows in, so that you don’t look like you’re just out of the salon. It is a bit softer.


Annie: [00:28:16] Yeah yeah. And you could bring accessories if you have them, or buy them right there. That’s also a very good suggestion. Scarves are a huge, necklaces. French women like to really wear big bright bulky necklaces. Like, some of them I’m like how much does this thing weigh? Women my age especially do that a lot. And I’m not into it. But, it’s, you know, it’s… And they will wear like a big old necklace with little shiny earring or something. It’s it’s kind of interesting.


Annie: [00:28:56] Different color purses, you don’t have to have an expensive purse, but they do like to have, if that’s your accent, you know, your color that you’re going for. Well then, put it in the purse or put it in a scarf or something like that.

Tip #22: No Sports Team Caps with Mascots in Paris

Annie: [00:29:12] Caps for men there they’re OK. But it’s not going to be classy. So, they’ll they’ll know you’re not French, because most Frenchmen don’t wear caps.


David: [00:29:24] It’s a pretty American thing.


Annie: [00:29:26] Yes. I mean who cares, you know, that they know they are not French? That doesn’t really matter. But whatever you do don’t wear it backwards and don’t wear, you know, your like your classic sports cap with like a raptor on it or whatever team.


David: [00:29:51] No, I don’t even wear them here!


Annie: [00:29:53] Right. But if that’s something you wear at home, maybe bring, like maybe bring a leather cap instead. Or a linen.


David: [00:30:03] What about a driving cap?


Annie: [00:30:05] What’s driving cap?


David: [00:30:07] A driving cap. It’s kind of like a British thing. It’s one of those caps it’s almost like a parade with like a bill on the front. OK. They’re kind of like constructed but they’re not actually what baseball caps. I mean baseball caps are pretty iconic. So I think if you’re going to wear a baseball cap you’re pretty much owning the fact that you’re an American. Which is fine. But you definitely are going to stand out.


Annie: [00:30:30] Yeah my husband has, he likes to… He’s going a little bald on top and so he’s he likes to hide his hair. And so he wears these caps, but he’s gotten some.,, I mean it’s still a cap, with you know with a visor in front, but they are more square looking, or they are tighter looking, or you know, they just look a little bit different. Not your typical… And it works, it really works.

Tip #23: Elegant T-Shirts Are Fine in France

Annie: [00:30:59] OK. So now some notes about fashion for young people in France. T shirts are fine for young people so long as they are elegant neutral and they are harmonious with the rest. And don’t throw on a t shirt just to get dressed. That was the gist you know, I think they were repeating that a lot because that’s what I do. Because my sister was like…


David: [00:31:23] Ouch!


Annie: [00:31:25] Yes yes. I know this. My sister looks at me sometimes when I show up at her house and she’s like did somebody just fling things at you and you put them on?


Annie: [00:31:36] But it’s true sometimes I do that. If I’m not going to work or if I don’t have a meeting with clients or something, I don’t care. So if you have funny shirts, that funny words, or whatever, jokes shirts that type of thing. These are not big in France. People wear them when they’re jogging or something.


David: [00:31:57] I also think it’s going to be difficult because, now I’m sorry I’m interrupting you, but I think it’s also difficult because those funny shirts are also so culturally based. So it may be something that’s really funny to an American, and something that could be really offensive to somebody that’s not in on the joke.


Annie: [00:32:13] Yeah that’s true. So yeah. Avoid those if you can, go with more, you know “passe-partout”, I don’t know how to say that in English!


David: [00:32:23] Don’t don’t ask me, that’s beyond my French.

Tip #24: Yoga Pants Are Not Really Pants for City Wear

Annie: [00:32:25] “Passe-partout” means something that that would that would do anywhere you go. So, you know… Most people I talk to think that yoga pants and leggings are not to be worn as pants. So they said those are not pants. Those are those are for exercising or if you wear something over them. So if you have a big coat. It’s winter and you’re wearing a big coat OK no problem but if it’s just yoga pants for the sake of wearing yoga pants. No they will. French women will wear either slacks or what do you call these other ones? You know nice nice fabric kind of pants.


David: [00:33:08] Trousers.


Annie: [00:33:08] Yeah trousers of all. All cuts and shapes but not yoga pants. You could do a t-shirt with a nice pair of classy jeans and heels are classy. You know anything that you slip on but classy. If there is a trend for the baseball hat, you could do that. But… Oh one of my niece said that Paper Boy hats are in fashion. I had to look those up. It looks like a little bigger beret.


David: [00:33:41] OK. I’m actually online right now. I’ve got to look that up because I have no idea what that means.


Annie: [00:33:46] Yeah they look nice. They look like an oversized beret to me.


David: [00:33:50] Oh yeah that’s actually kind of the driving cap that I was… Except on day they go up a little bit more than the driving cap that I was talking about. Yeah that’s somewhat somewhat similar.


Annie: [00:34:01] Yes. And the last few years we’ve had these types of sneakers that have come back into fashion. I don’t know if these were big in the U.S. but Stan Smith sneaker tennis shoes were really big in France when I was growing up. They are mostly white with a little green thing in the back, or green tab in the back. They’re coming back like nobody’s business.


Annie: [00:34:26] Apparently there’s Adidas there’s a shoe called Superstar. They’re fashionable. Nike does a shoe called Air Force One that’s fashionable right now. White leather sneakers are also fashionable, you know, you can put them on with nice jeans or a blazer, you know. But don’t try to match things too much.

David: [00:34:55] Actually Adidas is making some really cool suede shoes right now.


David: [00:34:59] Ah ha. Yeah those would look really nice Suede. I mean you’ll get wet and they might get ruined.

french woman in her 50s wearing an orange coat
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #25: Beware of Paris Weather!

David: [00:35:04] You know well that’s I think it’s a lot different. What time of year you’re going. You have to keep that really in mind. Because you do get wet. I mean the weather I mean, as much as I love Paris, the weather can be pretty unpleasant.


Annie: [00:35:17] Yes it sucks. Yes, Paris weather, it sucks.


David: [00:35:23] Between that and the wife beater, you’re a real charmer this morning.


Annie: [00:35:28] Any French person will tell you. People in Paris will tell you.


David: [00:35:32] I’ve got a really good friend who grew up in Paris. And she said that, she’s in America now, her sister she lives in Paris. you know, her sister is actually talking about actually moving to Toulouse because she just can’t handle the weather.


Annie: [00:35:43] Yeah. Yeah. No, it’s it’s it’s gray and rainy most days not. Not in the middle of the… You know, starting early June and into late September. The odds are good that you’ll get nice weather. But not necessarily. So there you go.


David: [00:36:03] It is still Northern Europe, so.

Tip #26: French People Do Not Wear Black All the Time

Annie: [00:36:05] Yes for colors you don’t have to wear black. I’ve heard so many people tell me people in Paris all wear black. No, they don’t. I mean a few do. But not really. You can wear any sort of blues, whites, blacks, gray. If you want something highlights like you were talking about a purple sport coat. Or something red for a highlights, you know, yellows and greens. My sister told me about this beautiful woman she saw that was wearing light kind of cream suede shoes. And she also had this striking green purse to go with.


David: [00:36:48] Right.


Annie: [00:36:48] She was like Wow those are not colors she would have thought to put together. It looked really good.


David: [00:36:53] Right. Although I will have to say if you do stick to the neutral: the blacks, the grays, the you know the off whites and stuff like that, it does make it easier to pack. Because you can pack fewer things and you can just rotate things around. Yes. And, you know, if you’re if it’s basic and it’s black like your hotels are going to notice that you’re wearing the same sweater that you wore two days ago.


Annie: [00:37:11] Yeah. Yeah, they don’t care anyway.


David: [00:37:13] They don’t care anyway, right.

Tip #27: French People Own a Lot of Different Jackets

Annie: [00:37:13] They really don’t care. But what French people do that I’m learning to do, but this is a new concept for me, is changing up jackets, just… Like, I see my daughter’s girlfriend before she leaves the house. She will try on 10 jackets. Just to see how it looks with the rest of her outfit. Sometimes it’s a bit annoying, but she always looks very nice!


Annie: [00:37:44] And she has all of these jackets and they’re not particularly well made jackets or jackets…


David: [00:37:53] That’s fashion.


Annie: [00:37:53] Yeah it’s just fashion jacket. It’s just stuff she’s going to wear this season. Maybe it’ll come back in a couple of seasons. But you know it’s not something that she’ll wear, like… Me, I have a nice winter coat. I have a nice raincoat. And I don’t have 20 jackets, but apparently I’m doing it wrong.


David: [00:38:14] Oh, good luck packing 20 jackets!


Annie: [00:38:18] That’s true. That’s true. You have to be more…


David: [00:38:20] Before we go, before we get much further. I just wanted to go back to when you were talking about dressing like you really were trying to dress and not just throwing things on.

Tip #28: Scam Artists Target People Who Look Like Uniformed Tourists

David: [00:38:30] It’s really interesting the first time that we went to Paris, we were really busy. We own business and we were slammed with work before we went. So, I think I spent all of about two hours packing. So I just like right. And I knew it was going to be wet. So you know I wore warm clothes but, you know, I knew I needed some shoes that were going to be waterproof, so I just thrown some like duck boots. I don’t know if you even have duck boots in France?


Annie: [00:38:51] No, I know what they are, but…


David: [00:38:54] Yes, so they were trendy that year or whatever. So I didn’t even think about them. And I have like some flannel plaid shirts and things like that and jeans. And I have to say I was walking around and after being in Paris for about a day or so I actually felt really uncomfortable and felt like I stood out.


Annie: [00:39:08] Yeah, the duck shoes will do it!


David: [00:39:09] Yeah the duck shoes definitely did it. And I, but so, the second time that we went, I actually put a lot more time into attacking and trying to look a little bit more sophisticated. And I actually noticed a really big difference in the way that people who interacted with us treated us. And even to the point where the first time we went, I think we got a lot more scam artists coming up to us. That the people with the the petitions, the people who have like the lost wedding rings, the people who do all sorts of things, like on the pont des arts.


Annie: [00:39:43] Yes.


David: [00:39:44] We got hit up the entire… You know, we couldn’t go like five feet without getting hit up by somebody again. And the second time that we dressed a little bit better, like nobody came up to us.


Annie: [00:39:53] Wow that’s impressive. You know, I’m always noticing the scam artists because I’m… You know, that’s what I do, I notice them. But I’m surprised that it made that big of a difference. That’s really good to know.


David: [00:40:08] Yeah, there was like one time there was one woman who walked up to me with a, you know, a wedding or you know the ring thing. And I just kind of like raised an eyebrow and she put her head down and walked away. Really?

Tip #29: How the Ring Scam Works

Annie: [00:40:21] Maybe explain the ring thing because maybe some people don’t know what that is.


David: [00:40:24] The ring thing is really weird. It’s like you’re being in touristed areas and somebody will come up to you with a ring, and they’ll say, you know, I found this ring. Is this your wedding ring? And you said no it’s not mine. And then they’re like oh my god, we have to find whose ring this is. And they try to engage you. And I’ve never known if it’s being done by trying to engage you somebody is coming back behind and pickpocketing you. I’ve also read that it’s something where they try and sell you the ring. And you know it’s a weird scam. It’s a really weird scam, but it happens all the time.


Annie: [00:40:56] Most of the scams that happen in Paris have to do with engaging the person. And so the best thing you can do is don’t just walk on don’t engage, don’t talk.


David: [00:41:08] Right.


Annie: [00:41:10] That’s the best thing you can do.

shoe rack display at a popular shoe store in Toulouse
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #30: Shoes Are the Most Important Part of Your Outfit

Annie: [00:41:11] All right let’s go back to talking about shoes specifically. This is a short section about shoes. They’re the most important part of your outfit because you’ll be walking a lot. To me that matters. Probably I would build my outfit based on the shoes. Like, you know, if I had to pick. That would be the first thing I’d pick, and then move on to whatever else can go with it.


Annie: [00:41:36] You will probably walk you know 15000, 20000 steps each day, which most of us don’t do in a normal day. So be comfortable. Now, I know this old0r lady who swears. I mean, I she invited me over. And first thing in the morning she was wearing heels. And we told her, but you don’t have to dress up for us. It was at breakfast! She was serving us breakfast with heels on. And we just said you know you don’t have to dress up for us. And she said no no! If I…Flat shoes make my feet hurt. And these are big old wheel heels.


David: [00:42:15] Wow.


Annie: [00:42:16] So, you know, whatever it takes for you you know make sure your feet are happy.


David: [00:42:19] Right. Right. You know I’ve actually read the Beyonce never, even if she’s cooking at home, she always wear spiked heels because she couldn’t imagine never. You know, not wearing them. So whatever whatever you want to own. But to your point, it’s like, you’re going to walk. And those people if they live in most places in America drive almost everywhere.

Tip #31: Bring at Least Two Pairs of Walking Shoes and Break Them In before you arrive

David: [00:42:38] But when you’re in Paris you really are going to be walking all the time. And make sure they break your shoes and don’t buy a new pair of shoes and take them. Because, it’s like, I couldn’t imagine anything worse than trying to break in a new pair of shoes on a trip to Paris.


Annie: [00:42:50] Exactly. Yes. Yes. And you can count on getting wet. Unless you’re in Paris one of these late spring or summer where it’s very dry. But we don’t have a lot of those. So, even in the spring or summer you can count on getting wet sometimes. And I always recommend that people bring at least two pairs of shoes.


Annie: [00:43:12] I know we all try to travel very light. Some people try to come with just to carry on.


David: [00:43:18] Right.


Annie: [00:43:18] It can be done. But you do need two pairs of shoes, I think.


David: [00:43:22] Well, I would also say that if you’re wearing two pairs of shoes, like I usually take a pair of athletic shoes, or something that’s a little bit more casual. And then if it’s if that’s the wintertime, I’ll take it like waterproof boots like Sorrells or something like that. But more stylish weather-proof boots. I always wear the boots on the plane, because they take up more space. So I just make sure that anything that’s going to be too bulky I wear what I’m on the plane even if I take it off once, you know, we take off.

Tip #32: Tips for People Who Travel with on their Carry-On

Annie: [00:43:50] Yeah. Can you manage to do a trip like a 10 day trip to Paris with a carry on?


David: [00:43:55] We only do carry on.


Annie: [00:43:57] That’s all you do. Wow.


David: [00:43:58] Yeah. No it’s still you know we never fly where we have to do connections and we never do checked baggage.


Annie: [00:44:05] Wow. See, I can’t do that.


David: [00:44:07] Well, you know, I may have to do like a mid trip, like… You can either. You know some hotels actually have a laundry service. I’m actually too cheap for that, so you know I’ll actually wash stuff out, like in the sink, and leave it to dry in the shower. But, you know, if you wear sweaters and trousers and things like that. And again if you stick to one color range, then you know you can just mix match. You may not be a fashion plate every day.


Annie: [00:44:32] Yeah.


David: [00:44:32] But, only if you’re careful about the way that you pack, you definitely can get to it on a carry-on.


Annie: [00:44:37] And there are laundromats in Paris. So you can do your laundry if you want to. But, it’s, you know, it’s…


David: [00:44:45] Who wants to spend the time doing laundry when you could be out in Paris?

Tip #33: No Socks with Sandals and Black Socks

Annie: [00:44:48] Exactly. OK. Let’s see, I’m going to skip a few things here because we’ve already talked about them, when it comes to the feet. We don’t wear socks with sandals. No white socks with dress shoes. Kids can wear colorful socks, and I’ve seen grown ups who wanted to be funny wear colorful socks, but the rest of us wear black socks. And break in new shoes before you arrive, as you were just mentioning.


Annie: [00:45:21] The ballerina type shoes I see them in the summer but not so much in the winters, so, I mean, if you love them wear them it’s fine. And like Clark’s kind of shoes, they’re fine. But they’ll know you’re a hippie. But it’s fine. So am I, it’s OK!


David: [00:45:42] You can wear Clark’s, but only if you wear them with tie dye!


Annie: [00:45:50] Now, this is something that concerns me. But I have to wear orthotics, because if I walk a lot, my… I have I get tendonitis under my feet. And that hurts like nobody’s business. So I have to, if I know I’m going to be walking a lot, then I don’t wear cute sandals I don’t wear anything that has heels. I have to have shoes where I can put in my orthotics. And so be it. You know, that’s really really important because you don’t want to have a problem with your… You know, a physical problem with your feet, or tendinitis or something like that just because you’re walking so much.


Annie: [00:46:27] And one funny thing is, this is, this is something that I like to do when I walk into a store, especially if it’s like a bank or the guys at the phone stores, and they all have this. They all have a uniform and the uniform is a dress.. Fit, you know, a fitted suit, very very fitted suit, a colorful dress shirt, and super pointy shoes. And I mean really pointy shoe. So if you walk into a bank or a phone store take a peek at that. It’s not gone yet. I’m sure it will. I’m sure it won’t disappear overnight.


David: [00:47:12] That’s funny.


Annie: [00:47:13] And then there’s something by one of the listeners of the show Robin O’Connors she said “Try Versailles walking in heels. Try sightseeing or walking around the Louvre in heels. It was a post like this that led me down the path of sore feet on my trip to Paris. I wanted to blend in and be fashionable. My poor feet. Everyone is wearing comfortable sneakers. Everyone, even the French!”


Annie: [00:47:47] So, word to the wise. Just do whatever is comfortable for your for your shoes.

Tip #34: No Basketball Shorts As Street Attire

Annie: [00:47:54] Pants. I think I’ve said everything before. The yoga pants, the leggings, not so much sports pants you won’t really see. I mean if they’re working out or if they’re a tough kid from the hood. Yes but basketball shorts are not OK. But I saw, recently, I saw young men at the grocery store with basketball shorts on. So it can… I mean this was not a part of France where he was a tourist. So, you know, it can happen here too. So maybe it might.


David: [00:48:33] My son lives in them. He’s 13 now, and he lives in them. So we actually have to hide them before we pack. It’s like, no, you can’t wear those!

french people sitting in the metro while waiting for their train
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #35: Kids and Teens Can Get Away with More Than Adults

Annie: [00:48:43] Yeah. Some, you know, at that age kids are a little bit stubborn about what they’ll wear, so.


David: [00:48:49] I think we may be over the hump, but a couple years that’s all he wanted to wear.


Annie: [00:48:54] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, well. And, you know, I wouldn’t really fight them. They are kids. Kids get away with all sorts of things. Even French kids, so I wouldn’t fight it too much. Yeah. You know your limits.

Tip #36: French People Wear All Sorts of Jeans

Annie: [00:49:12] We wear all sorts of jeans in France. All the shades of blue, black all the shapes, the skinny, the bell bottoms, the loose, the high rise, the low rise, you will see some of everything.


Annie: [00:49:25] And it’s really common to see French women wear skinny jeans with a dressy top or a nice jacket for work .and you will see some brightly colored jeans on occasion. They can look really really stylish, if you know how to pull it off. That’s something that only some people can do. And when you’re traveling you might be easier to stick with the more typical jean colors, you know.


David: [00:49:52] Right.

Tip #37: Scarves Are Huge in France

Annie: [00:49:54] All right. The scarves let’s talk about the scarves.


David: [00:49:57] Love scarves!


Annie: [00:49:59] Yeah?


David: [00:49:59] Oh yeah. I’m a I’m a real scarves person. I used to do it because of my being a Francophile. It always reminded me of being in France. So, it was like something I incorporated into my dress when I came back to the states. Now that I’m in my mid 40s, I realized I like them even better, because they hide the fact that my neck is aging.


Annie: [00:50:18] Oh, and they keep me warm. That’s why I started wearing them. I can’t believe I lived in cold parts of the U.S. and I never wore scarves. Then I moved back to France. And everybody wears scarves. So I started trying it. And I was like, well this actually feels really comfortable.


David: [00:50:36] Yeah. When you get used to it, you actually kind of feel naked without them.


Annie: [00:50:39] Yes. It’s it’s a little bit strange. And so, now I’m gathering a collection of scarves that are for when it’s too hot for scarves. So they’re like super thin silk scarves. They won’t make me too hot, but I I feel naked without a scarf.


David: [00:50:56] Yeah I’m going to have to try that because I definitely we’re getting to the season right now in the U.S. that it’s getting too hot. I have a cotton one that I bought the last time that we were in Paris, and even that one look at a little bit too too warm. So, I’ve go to find something I can do in the summer time.


Annie: [00:51:10] Yeah. We, I don’t have a lot of jackets but I certainly have a lot of scarves. Different colors different shapes. All sorts of things. And at first I was very uncomfortable tying them. But now it’s easy I just don’t even think about it. You just, you know.


David: [00:51:24] But if people want it because they’re like hundreds of ways that you can actually do scarves and if you go to youtube and actually search up you know how to tie a scarf. There are all sorts of videos, instructional videos, for different things that you can do with scarves and there’s hundreds of ways to tie them.


Annie: [00:51:38] And I’ve seen places where they sell special scarves that have a special slit. Where are you supposed to put our own special way. But honestly you don’t need that. You can do the same look with any plain old rectangular scarf. Some people like to tie the square ones, but you end up with more material. You know, they keep you warm are this the square ones. The rectangular ones are a little bit easier to modulate the heat, to me anyway.

Tip #38: You Can Wear T-Shirts in Paris

Annie: [00:52:12] T-shirt, I want to mention t-shirts. French men wear t-shirts but it’s usually when it’s a really expensive T-shirt that everybody recognizes. And, I had this good friend when I was in college in France, and she came, when we moved back to France. She came back… She came to visit because she grew up in Toulouse like I did.


Annie: [00:52:35] And she was visiting visiting her family so we got together. And met her husband. And he’s a Swiss guy. And I thought they were fairly wealthy, but the guy was dressed like a pauper to me. And I was like Wow. He’s not a sharp dresser. And then my niece who was visiting at the same time she said no you had like 2000 dollars worth of clothes on him. Everything was brand, everything was brand. And I’m like, oh, ok. I didn’t realize that. It looked so casual to me. But it was all branded. So, you know, when people dress like that, they know what they’re doing usually.


Annie: [00:53:19] French women over 40 don’t really wear t-shirts. I do it at home but not outside. So, what do they wear instead? They wear blouses or shirts with various shapes of necks. You know scalloped necks, scoop necks, bateau necks, keyhole necks, halter necks, you name it. There’s… There’s a bunch of them. And the good thing about those, is you can put… You can throw a jacket over them and it looks really good. And when I was looking at the names of all these necks, I didn’t know most of the names so I’ll put a photo in the show notes, so you can take a look at what or what they mean. I’m learning new things every day.

Illustration showing the different types of shirt necks for women
Names of different types of shirt necks for women.

David: [00:54:04] Yeah, I think… I think guys, if you were going to wear a T-shirt wearing a V-neck is a little bit dressier.


Annie: [00:54:09] Yeah.

Tip #39: Polo Shirts Are Not Common in France

David: [00:54:10] I do have a question though, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in France, so I wanted to ask you. Do guys in France wear polo shirts?


Annie: [00:54:18] Not much.


David: [00:54:20] I didn’t think so. I could not remember ever seeing anybody wearing a polo shirt, or a knit shirt with collar on it.


Annie: [00:54:26] No it’s unusual. That’s something they will wear to go golfing.


David: [00:54:31] There you go.


Annie: [00:54:31] Or to go do sports activities. But, yeah, not strenuous sports activities, you know. So yeah, you don’t see a lot of polo shirts. No. I’m sure you saw them more in the 80s because they were bigger then, but now it’s… I don’t hardly ever see one.


David: [00:54:53] OK. Good to know.

Tip #40: Fitted Clothes Look Better on All Body Types

Annie: [00:54:55] Fitted clothes are a big thing. I… Most French people are slim, and they care about staying slim, and they care about wearing fitted clothes. I’m not slim at all myself. So when I came back from America I had all my baggy shirts, you know, all my baggy tops with me. And I’ve slowly had to adjust to wearing more fitted clothes, because even as a plus size woman, it looks better. It really does.


Annie: [00:55:26] Now if it’s a workman they’re going to wear loose clothing. OK again. It all depends on what you’re doing. If… If you’re going to your plumber job, it’s it’s fine to have baggy clothes, but if you’re going to your office job, then you’re going to be wearing fitted clothes.


David: [00:55:45] Right.

Tip #41: Get In Shape for Paris

Annie: [00:55:48] And I liked what Steve Stegman what he said. He said “For men wear a scarf, wear tailored clothes. I bring my casual black Italian loafers. Work out. Cross Fit six times per week. And eat nothing but lean meats and veggies six months before Paris so you can wear those skinny tailored pants. Wow. OK. I’m not sure everybody is ready to do that. I’m not ready to do that.


David: [00:56:19] Well, I’m doing it! See I just started I started a periodic fasting diet last week where I don’t eat two days out of the week to get ready.


Annie: [00:56:27] Two days out of the week?


David: [00:56:29] Yeah, and I see a trainer three days a week.


Annie: [00:56:34] Oh goodness!


David: [00:56:34] It’s important.


Annie: [00:56:36] Yeah you care a lot.


David: [00:56:37] Yeah. Pretty bad.


Annie: [00:56:39] Yeah. No I don’t care at all. I mean, my sister is like that. If she gains a pound, she will immediately lose it, like.


David: [00:56:49] It’s really really a slippery slope.


Annie: [00:56:51] Yeah. Yeah. Oh I know I’ve slipped all the way to the bottom! But she she’s really, you know, a lot of French people are very very good at controlling what they eat most of the time. When when we’re out and about, at restaurants it’s a yesterday… Last night I went to a big party. I couldn’t believe there was not anything there that was healthy. Everything was really fatty and delicious. But that was the party, and we drank we all drank plenty. But then, you go home and every night you eat a vegetable soup for dinner.


David: [00:57:33] Right.


Annie: [00:57:34] You know?


David: [00:57:35] So it’s all about balance.


Annie: [00:57:37] Yes. Yes. So. Well good for you! That that you are. I mean fasting two days a week that’s a lot. Two days in a row? No!


David: [00:57:45] Yeah, no. No no, it’s any two days out of the week. It’s a specific diet, and there’s like a smoothie thing, so it’s like you don’t completely go without food. But you like take her calories down to like 600 per that day.


Annie: [00:57:58] Wow. Wow!


David: [00:58:00] In my late 40s now, so if I don’t do something, it’s going to be a mess!


Annie: [00:58:05] Well I’m I’m supporting you. I think you’re doing the right thing. Just don’t ask me do it.


David: [00:58:12] Thank you. All right.

French woman in her 20s wearing a green coat and a blue scarf
Photo Annie Sargent
Tip #42: The Safest Bags for Men and Women

Annie: [00:58:14] All right let’s talk about bags. This is important for safety as well as locks. Women who wear cross body bags all the time and men do it too. Men purses are really really fine. They’re kind of plain rectangular purses. But you will find them in all sorts of materials, all sorts of shapes, well not shapes but sizes. You know most of them they’re probably, I don’t know a foot by not quite a foot something like that little rectangle.


Annie: [00:58:49] If you google something like “sac pour homme” you will find a ton of them.


David: [00:58:55] Man bag.


Annie: [00:58:56] Yeah man bag. Yeah.


David: [00:58:56] Hipster bags.


Annie: [00:58:58] Is that what it is?


David: [00:58:59] I think so. I think, well hipsters don’t like to be called hipsters. But yeah for a while there was like a man back thing that happened almost on us on a spaghetti strap or something with like a little pouch.


Annie: [00:59:11] Yeah. In France it’s mostly not spaghetti straps, it’s just regular strap. But even like sports like Nike Adidas makes them. So if you want to not look too girlish she could have a Adidas men bag.


David: [00:59:28] There you go.


Annie: [00:59:29] Yeah and that’s fine. You know and they you know they cost 100 euros. I mean they’re expensive!


David: [00:59:35] I think one of the things somebody on the Facebook page a couple of weeks ago posted something about how they were planning on dressing. It may have been in response to this podcast, actually. And she mentioned that her husband was going to take a backpack with him, to carry their stuff. Which in some ways that was practical, but one of the things that caught me about that comment that I was concerned about was a safety thing. Because you know when I’m traveling, I make sure that my wallet my passport they’re always like in my front pockets. And if it were me and I needed a carrier bag, I would go with a messenger bag or a satchel or something like that. So that I could do the cross body and I could keep it in front of me.


Annie: [01:00:16] Yes.


David: [01:00:16] Because my concern about having a backpack is it would be so easy for somebody to come in and get the stuff out of it without even knowing.

Tip #43:  Bags for Photographers

Annie: [01:00:23] Yep yep. And for photographers this is a problem because photographers carry heavy equipment. And unfortunately it’s very… I mean for me all day with a messenger bag or a shoulder bag would be really hard. So I… Every time I go out in Paris I want to have a camera. So if… I need to decide. Do I take two or three lenses, or just the one?


Annie: [01:00:50] Right if I take just the one I can do that with with a cross body bag but I can’t do it if I’m going to carry all my lenses. And so this is… But I’ve noticed that I mostly use my… I have a lens that 17 to 40 and that’s the one I end up using. 90 percent of the time.


Annie: [01:01:10] So photographers you know if you can stand to do that, just take the one lens and leave the rest in the hotel safe. And if you are going out that day, maybe if you’re going out to Cathedral and you want to be able to take shots at a distance, then then take your 200 lens. But don’t carry it all the time because you won’t use it all the time, and having the backpack puts you at risk.


David: [01:01:37] But one thing that I’ve noticed about I’m not a serious photographer. The way that you are. But I do take a lot of pictures when we travel. And like the first time that we went to Paris I had my camera 35 millimeter camera. Which I also think was one of the reasons why people you know targeted me as a as a tourist more. But ever since then, you know especially as cellphone cameras have gotten better. Oh, you know, like I’ve got an iPhone X because I take a lot of pictures and so I wanted the better camera.


David: [01:02:03] But I take all of my photographs now on my phone. Because usually it’s just for memories and for Instagram and things like that. And I think that that’s made it a lot easier in the way that, you know, I travel.


Annie: [01:02:13] Yes, and I agree with you it’s just that I am a photo nerd, and I like my photos and I like to take… And I take plenty of photos with my iPhone. And I agree that you get very nice photos. But the iPhone… There’s some jobs you can’t do with an iPhone.


David: [01:02:29] Right right.


Annie: [01:02:31] So there’s plenty you can do. Most things you can do. So, if you’re not a photo nerd and disregard all this. Just keep take your iPhone or your Samsung or whatever it is, and keep it safe. And you’ll be fine.


David: [01:02:44] Actually I am going to interject because you can because you can use my iPhone when I’m photographing my own work, and you actually can buy clip on lenses for the iPhone.


Annie: [01:02:55] You can, yeah.


David: [01:02:56] So if you want to, I mean you’re not going to get the kind of quality that you’re going to get when you see your real phone. But you can actually get zoom lenses and wide angle lenses and stuff like that that you can clip on.


Annie: [01:03:06] Yeah I know people have bought those and they don’t ever use them. So.


David: [01:03:11] Cause you have to have a backpack to take it with you.


Annie: [01:03:14] Exactly. Then you have an accessory. You have to have a bag with accessories. Honestly the lighter you could travel, the better you’re going to be, you know.

Tip #44: Keeping Your Stuff Safe in Paris

Annie: [01:03:21] And don’t take all of your credit cards with you. And don’t take your driver’s license with you. And leave all that stuff in the hotel safe. I mean take one credit card, take some cash. But the rest, even your passport: take a photocopy. That’s it. You don’t need any more than that. Because if there was a problem and you needed to prove your identity. French police will totally understand. I don’t… I’m afraid of getting robbed. I only have to photocopy. They will ask you to produce the original at the gendarmerie at your earliest convenience, and you’re done. You know, it’s not a problem.


David: [01:03:59] It’s one of my biggest fears about traveling and somebody lifting my passport.


Annie: [01:04:03] Yes. Yes so. Or your phone. Your phone. Somebody steals my phone. I’m in a world of hurt because everything is there. And I don’t remember I don’t have a paper agenda anymore. Like if my phone was gone, how would I remember what I’m supposed to do?


David: [01:04:22] I actually always. Over the last couple of years we’ve transitioned into using our phones for tickets and things like that.


Annie: [01:04:30] Right!


David: [01:04:30] So if your phone is gone your electronic tickets are gone. You know, your Apple Pay is gone. I mean that’s bad.


Annie: [01:04:37] Yes. So safeguard that with your… I have… Most of the time when I’m in Paris in a crowd I have my phone in my hand. So they… I mean in my hand but not like not holding it up for anybody to grab. You know I have it in my hand in my pocket or something. But I’m holding on to it because I don’t want it to go.


David: [01:04:59] I use my front pockets. So, my phone’s in one pocket my passport and my wallet is usually on the other, and I like every two or three minutes touch my pockets to make sure that they’re still there. It’s really funny, because it’s like somebody what am I up my friend from Paris actually, when before we went the first time she said you know make sure that you’re really careful about pickpockets. And I was like God you’re so paranoid. And then we went! Oh my gosh you we’re not it’s like there really is an issue.


Annie: [01:05:27] Yes. Oh it is. It is. There’s a hundred… What was it that it looked. I looked up the numbers for last week’s episode. I think it was 140000 theft of either your purse your phone things like that. Theft without any violence: 140000 per year in Paris and that was in 2016. That’s a lot of robbers. That’s a lot of people. But see, somebody today on the Facebook group said that she went to London first and then she’s going to Paris and her friend’s apartment got broken into and a lot of her stuff got stolen in London. In the person in her friend’s apartments, so you never know. You never know.

Tip #45: Coats and Jackets that Work Great in Paris

Annie: [01:06:16] All right. Coats and jackets: longer coats are really popular in the winter. Jackets with fur trim have been really popular the last few winters. I don’t know if it’s real fur or not real fur but they look good. I don’t know. And, like I mentioned before, French you know stylist… Stylish French people have a whole collection of tops and jackets. So, most of them are not very expensive but they do look nice.


Annie: [01:06:45] And I guess if you’re traveling and you can’t bring that many jackets then instead of accessorizing with a jacket, accessorize with your scarf or maybe your jewelry it’s smaller lighter.


David: [01:06:58] Yes definitely. When I when I travel I think I mentioned I always wear one sport coat and I always wear it on the plane so that it doesn’t get know creased or whatever else and then usually I take it off as soon as we get settled in and everybody’s luggage is in the overhead compartments. I’ll take it off them and put it up there and back on.


David: [01:07:17] But I find it’s really important because again it is something that if you’re going to go to a nice restaurant, you know, and you’re packed otherwise it’s like sweaters and things like that, or t-shirts. It helps you get through the trip.


Annie: [01:07:30] All right. I think we’ve covered everything I had on my list. It’s really really important for you to remember that you are on vacation. You need to be comfortable. I’m sure, you want to look fabulous. But don’t just go for the look. Also go for the comfort.


David: [01:07:47] Yeah. You’ve got to… You’ve got to dress in a way that makes you feel secure, that makes you feel comfortable. That’s not going to destroy your feet.


Annie: [01:07:54] Right.


David: [01:07:54] And you know it’s going to keep you warm, I mean that’s the most important thing.


Annie: [01:07:57] Right. And don’t try to be somebody you’re not just because you’re coming to Paris. You know, bring yourself, bring yourself!


David: [01:08:04] Exactly. Bring a smile.


Annie: [01:08:06] Yes a smile! Bonjour will go a long way. You know and French people do what they want they do kind of tend to conform to certain dress rules. But they do what they want, and they will understand if you do too. So don’t be, you know, don’t be too worried about it.


David: [01:08:26] Exactly.


Annie: [01:08:26] Funny thing on a discussion we had on the Facebook group about… About being stylish in Paris Jim McDonough, I’m not trying to say the name McDonough probably, he says if you can bring or borrow a dog, then all you need is to light up a cigarette and talk on your cell, your “cellulaire” while walking down the street to be an official Parisienne.


David: [01:08:47] And there you go.


Annie: [01:08:49] There you go! And Judy shilling Shillinglaw she says don’t forget to wear a smile and say “bonjour”. But I need to add, don’t smile at everyone you come across on the sidewalk. Definitely, if somebody tries to engage you in whatever cockamamie plan they have in mind. Walk off. Don’t talk to them.


David: [01:09:10] Yes, definitely.


Annie: [01:09:13] This is very important.


David: [01:09:16] Indeed.

Tip #46 : Let’s Kill These Misconceptions Once and For All

Annie: [01:09:16] OK. I had I had a list of misconceptions I wanted to run through before we go for it. People say that French people always always wear black or grey. That’s not really true. In the winter, yes we do wear a lot of dark colors, but in the summer all the bright colors come out it’s whites, creams, everything comes out. I’ve also heard that you are supposed to wear shorts in France. That is absolutely not true. It completely depends on what type of activity you’re doing. We we don’t wear shorts to work. That’s for sure. But if we’re just going out to eat, something casual it’s fine. If you go to the opera don’t wear shorts I mean, it’s just like common sense. You know what I mean? It just depends what you’re going to be doing, but you will see French people with shorts all the time.


Annie: [01:10:08] The no tennis shoes is also not true. We all have very fashionable tennis shoes that people notice that you’re wearing the expensive tennis shoes. And also, it’s not true that French… You know when people say oh a French person would never go out dressed like that. Yeah. When you’re in France you see you’re going to see people dressed every possible way from super stylish to, like what? What are you trying to do here? So don’t worry about it too much.


David: [01:10:40] Indeed. Awesome.


Annie: [01:10:41] And that’s it! I think we’ve wrapped it up. Do you have any last words of advice?


David: [01:10:47] No I think I think I’m all talked out.


Annie: [01:10:49] All right. Well, thank you again very much, David. You’ve been very helpful because I didn’t want to do this episode by myself is the truth. I feel like I shouldn’t be giving fashion advice, honestly. Anybody who’s met me in person will know this woman has no place giving fashion advice.


David: [01:11:11] Anytime you meet me I’ve got your back!


Annie: [01:11:13] Thank you so much David. And have fun with your family. This is going to be a fun trip because it’s going to be extended family, so.


David: [01:11:24] Yeah, my sister, her husband, and my parents. So it’s going to be really interesting seeing how this one plays out.


Annie: [01:11:31] Yeah. And you’re going to the Loire Valley this time.


David: [01:11:33] We’re going to go the Loire Valley. We’re actually staying in just outside the Saumur.


Annie: [01:11:38] Yes, Saumur, yes.


David: [01:11:38] It should be really really interesting. Like my brother-in-law is actually a historian, so he’s really interested in seeing a lot of the historical things that are there.


Annie: [01:11:47] Yeah.


David: [01:11:47] You know my son is really, he does a lot of equestrian sports. And that’s actually where all the horses are based. The horse academy.


Annie: [01:11:55] Yes. Oh yes Saumur, yes it’s huge. It’s huge. Oh, fun! Fun. Yeah. Well have a wonderful time and thanks again for talking to me.


David: [01:12:03] Any time it’s always a pleasure.


Annie: [01:12:05] Au revoir cher ami !


David: [01:12:06] Au revoir !

woman wearing a pink t-shirt and a blue wind breaker posing for a photo on a bridge in Paris

Thank You Patreon Supporters!

Annie: [01:12:09] Thank you Howard Hack, Melinda Cool, Pascal Radly, Lisa Spagnolo, and Joseph Whalen for pledging to support the show on Patreon this week.


Annie: [01:12:20] And thank you Don Davis for increasing your pledge. And my thanks also to all the other patrons who support the show month after month. Thank you for giving back. To support the show on page and go to No spaces or dashes and you guys rock.


Annie: [01:12:42] And thank you all so Mike August for offering valuable help with graphics and great suggestions, and for being one of my biggest supporters. Without all of your support, this show would have stopped long ago. Because it’s a lot of work and it cuts into the time I can spend on other paid work that I should be doing but I’d rather do this because it’s a lot more fun and it brings help to a lot more people.


Annie: [01:13:10] Now I have to say that much of what we discussed in this episode is opinion, and if you don’t like the opinion, feel free to ignore it. I don’t I really don’t want to get into arguments about what you wear in Paris, because like I mentioned in the episode it’s not my… It’s it’s not something I worry about all that much myself. But I do know that it’s a commonly asked question, so I think it was good to tackle it.

Getting Ready for the Upcoming Tours

Annie: [01:13:38] For my personal update. Well I’m very busy getting prepared for the upcoming tour. I’m very excited about it, and I look forward to meeting tour members. And I’m not sure what we are going to do about tours going forward, because it’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of time. But we’ll announce something pretty soon with Elyse.

Different Ways to Listen to the Join Us in France Travel Podcast

[01:14:01] At Join Us in France we put France in your ears. And you found the way that works for you to listen to the show. I hope you will help other people find the show too, so they can learn what they need to have a great time in France. Tell your friends that they can listen to the show with their Alexa smart speaker, or with their smartphone using Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, or any number of podcasts apps. They can even listen on the website if they wish.

How to Connect with Annie

[01:14:33] If you’d like to connect with me email or leave a message at 1 8 0 1 8 0 6 1 0 1 5. You can also ask to join the Join Us in France Closed group on Facebook. And when you do please answer the questions, so I know you’re not a spammer. I’m at the point where I get so many requests, that if the person can’t be bothered to write one sentence, I won’t let them in. Because these are not the kind of people who are going to be participating anyway, and the group is getting too big. It’s too much work to handle all of that. So you’re going to have to show me that you really want to be there, otherwise you are not going to be. Have a great week of trip planning and I’ll talk to you next week. Au revoir !


[01:15:25] The Join Us in France travel podcast is written and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2018 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial no derivatives license.

woman in her late 20s wearing a light blue shirt and a dark blue scarf on the metro in paris
Photo Annie Sargent
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Categories: France How To, French Customs & Lifestyle, Paris