What to Wear in Paris if You Are Over 40?

Ahh, Paris… The infamous city of love is also the most famous fashion capital in the world. So be sure to pack a wardrobe that is as chic as it is travel-friendly.

Here are some outfits that ooze French Flare and some tips on how to dress like a Parisian.

parisian style

To Dress with French Style: Stick To Minimal Classics

Parisian women somehow always look effortlessly chic. Their style is understated and classic, with an added edge. So if you want to add French flair to your vacation look, keep minimalism in mind. Pack key pieces that are sleek and well-tailored such as a classic blazer, white button-up shirt, and tapered pants.

For a daytime look, try wearing a fitted white t-shirt over a pleated skirt in tan. Add a skinny black belt to take this simple look to the next level of chic.

Wear Neutral Colors

Parisians also like to keep it simple when it comes to choosing colors. So stick to neutrals like navy, gray, black, white, and beige for your staple pieces of clothing, and pack accenting accessories for more little pops of color. You’ll also want to avoid combining too many colors in one outfit.

Too many colors can distract from the classic pieces that you want to emphasize. Channel Coco Chanel with your look by trying a classic striped boatneck tee in navy and white. Pair with cropped white pants, tan wedges, and a silk scarf to add a pop of color.

parisian style

Be Picky About Your Shoes

Your shoes can be a dead giveaway when it comes to standing out as a tourist in Paris. Parisians tend to value style over comfort, which means you usually won’t see the locals sporting footwear like running shoes or flip-flops (although this year, there has been a bit of a statement sneaker trend going on).

If you are going to be doing some walking, which I guarantee you will, then you need a shoe that blends comfort with style. Choose something simple, in a solid color. A supportive flat or boot with padded soles in cooler seasons will keep your feet comfy while you see the sights. And if you want to amp up your look with heels, great! Avoid anything too pointy – the charming cobblestone roads of Paris can be treacherous in stilettos. Try a classic wedge or chunkier heel that can work with multiple outfits.

Accessories Will Make Your Outfit

The most classic of French accessories is the scarf. It’s a super versatile and chic accessory. Tie a colored silk scarf around your neck or the bag’s strap to add some “je ne sais quoi” to your outfit. When it comes to jewelry, you’ll want to keep it minimal again. Choose a single bold piece of jewelry to accessorize, such as a large gold cuff or a statement brooch.

Since you’ll be on the move, you’ll need a bag that can carry everything and look great simultaneously. A messenger bag is a perfect option because it allows you to keep your hands free and can fit all your travel essentials. Avoid bags with too many colors, prints, or logos. A simple black leather bag with minimal hardware makes Paris chic and convenient.

So if you’re lucky enough to be jetting off to the romantic city of Paris anytime soon, or if you’d simply like to try out a Parisian chic look at home, keep in mind that Parisian chic is all about the classic pieces and a great fit, combined with a modern twist. Bon, voyage!

P.S. Here is one of my readers Jolee in Paris. Doesn’t she look cute? jobee in pairs


Deborah BolandAlso, before you hop on the plane, pick up a copy of  Chic in Paris, an excellent guidebook by Paris personal shopper Susan Tabak that tells you the best places to shop in Paris.


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7 thoughts on “What to Wear in Paris if You Are Over 40?

  1. Went to Paris in rainy May. My uniform: a classic Navy blue shawl collar blazer in gaberdine, layered with a thick Coldwater Cr. sweater jacket, a shirt, and t under that, dark jeans. One day I had seven layers on for warmth. Every day I wore a different scarf and had fun buying more there. For shoes, I took nude booties for short walks, and even though I wouldn’t say I liked throwing in my Go Walk Sketchers at the last minute, they saved my poor feet, and EVERY DAY, I wore a different scarf. I never felt touristy, even in my Go Walks. I read a lot about Paris fashion beforehand but was surprised to see so many Nike tennies, even on the locals. In May-take an umbrella!!!!

    1. Thanks, Kathy, for the excellent advice. I’m sure that is going to help a lot of the readers who are scratching their heads about what to take.
      Cheers, Deborah

  2. I live between Paris and New York and am 64. For travel, wear a pair of skinny pants in black or a pair of blue jeans. The white T or the striped shirt is fine. I have Joseph Steibel leather sneakers that I have received compliments on them from Parisians. I enjoy walking and don’t want my feet to hurt. Amp up your accessories and bring a sweater. It actually can sometimes get cold and BRING AN UMBRELLA. It rains quite frequently. The minute you are looked at, they know you are not French. We are too perfectionist in our ensembles, haircuts, and make-up. Don’t worry about it.

  3. Your article on what to wear in Paris was spot on. Having been there a few times for long periods, I agree with your advice on keeping it simple and classic. While you are there to enjoy the sites, you tend to feel less like a tourist when you blend in – and in Paris, what you wear allows that to happen.

  4. Great tips for what to wear in Paris! You might also consider trying one of our great shopping tours- check out our site or the Chic Shopping Paris book for more tips. Our guides are Americans that have lived a long time in Paris and know how to help you take home Paris in your Bag!

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