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What to know about fashion in France?

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Just Got to France? Here's What to Wear!

So, you're in France or planning a visit? The significant rule: Leave the shorts and sweatpants at home.

I once helped a friend from the University of Florida with some advice for her trip to France. She knew I had lived there and had two big questions: what's a good gift for her hosts in Germany, and how should she dress for her time in Paris?

My Fashion Advice: No Shorts!

When I told her "no shorts," she was shocked. In the U.S., wearing shorts is normal, especially in hot places like Florida. We wear shorts in the summer to stay calm. But in France, it's different.

We were both wearing shorts when I told her this. She didn't like the idea of not wearing shorts in Paris. She said she didn't care what people in Paris thought and asked why I told her what to pack. I just wanted to help her blend in and be safe from pickpockets.

Keeping It Simple and Classy

When I first moved to Paris, I tried to fit in by buying many black clothes. I thought that's how to look, French. Black jeans, sweaters, and coats. I looked like I was always going to a fancy event.

But I learned why people in big cities like simple colours. It's not just about fashion. It's practical, too. Imagine trying to fit lots of clothes in a tiny apartment. And doing laundry at a laundromat is easier when you don't have to sort by colours.

I realized being myself was best. I'm more of a brown and eggplant colour person. And I don't need to dress like everyone else to be happy in France.

Being Yourself, Comfortably

Now, I don't worry about wearing the latest fashion. I'm just me, and that's fine. I still wouldn't wear sweatpants to the bakery, but I no longer try competing with French fashion.

And that's a significant relief.

So, remember, when in France, dress comfortably but maybe leave the shorts and sweats for home. Be yourself, and enjoy your time here, whether visiting or staying longer!

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