Accessories For A Winter Sojourn In Paris
Accessories for a winter sojourn in Paris

Paris Winter Packing

The foundation: black jeans (Uniqlo) and black top (weargrace yoga tee)

 

When last I wrote, upon returning from Paris, I promised a packing/outfit post.  Here it is!  Ahem—in what I imagine will be incredibly boring glory.  In Paris this winter, I wore black, black, black, and everything would constitute basics in a New Yorker’s black wardrobe.  There is absolutely nothing grand or editorial about how I looked when walking down the Seine or through the gardens of Versailles—and that’s fine.  It was winter, it was cold, it was often rainy, and I was busy doing photography and stuffing my face with cheese and mille-feuille.

So the first thing to present is my foundation: black jeans and black top.  I took a small range of tops, some with no sleeves and some with long sleeves.  We’re talking yoga tees and Uniqlo heat tech tees, nothing silk or pretty or fashion-y.  This is pretty much what I wear every day in wintery New York, so I knew it would work for me.

Next came a few options—a cardigan, a turtleneck sweater, and a Patagonia fleece jacket (all black, *cough*):

An incredibly fuzzy picture of the Eric Bompard openwork cashmere v-neck cardigan

Patagonia fleece jacket with hood

Balenciaga cashmere turtleneck with a Loro Piana stole.

 

These options I wore under my coat depending on how cold, wet, and/or windy the city was that day.  Part of the reason I brought the Patagonia fleece was to have the option of wearing it alone should the weather turn balmy.  Yes, I would have worn fleece in Paris.  Paris, like the rest of the world, has become more and more casual when you step outside the small super-bourgeois areas.  I happened to be in the city when Paris Fashion Week started, and it felt crazy when I stumbled upon someone “dressed.”  You knew they were hoping to be photographed, whether it was because of a flashy Gucci bag or a brighter print or just something loud.  Part of this is winter.  Part of this is that Parisians have a uniform, even the young beautiful trendy Parisians, a uniform involving a Isabel Marant-style cut of coat and a large plaid or scarf wrapped artfully to create a transition between big coat and little face—all in lovely nuanced shades of neutral.

And here you can finally see the Trippen walking shoes I brought and wore every single day!  I wore them with black socks and they did well until the rain waterlogged them.  Next time, I should bring a second pair of shoes.  You can also see the scarf I bought—a black cashmere stole with a little bit of nuance with the bronze and slate blue bands.

Next, the coat I brought to cover everything up.  This was my little splash of pretty.  My wardrobe was blah, but it didn’t matter.  Throw this on over it and go:

Plein Sud shearling and pony hair coat

 

And because you know all about my bag love, here are a couple of shots of the bag I brought: a camera bag.  Yes, a black camera bag.  I carried this every day: the Billingham Alice L2:

Billingham camera bag with the Patagonia fleece jacket

Billingham camera bag with Plein Sud coat

 

And that covers everything aside from my accessories!  Everyday I wore the following: silver earrings, silver bracelet, silver ring, and a stainless steel bangle that my beloved brought back to me from Lyon (he chose beautifully, no?—it matches the aesthetic of my jewelry perfectly).  Also, while in Paris, I bought a little black Longchamp pliage, which I wore the final day of my trip after packing away the camera bag in my carry-on.

OH! And at the airport coming home I stumbled into Hermès duty free and found a new ring: the Croisette.  Love it.

Accessories for a winter sojourn in Paris

Silver and furry cuffs

 

Since coming home, I’ve dressed pretty much the same—though paired with crazy Nike sneakers I found on drastic sale.  Here’s evidence:

Black jeans, Eric Bompard cardigan, Longchamp pliage, that same scarf, and my basic jewelry.

 

Some overall thoughts:

First, winter is easy to pack for, even when going to Paris.  Choose your coat, your scarf, and any visible jewelry (thus, no necklace for me) and you’re basically done.  Add black (neutral) basics.  Wear basic walking shoes.

Second, I spent my time outside walking and photographing.  In other words, I was active.  My Paris life doesn’t involve shopping, café sitting, and wine sipping.  Yes, that happens a bit, but that’s not the day.  I wasn’t dressing to be “seen.”  I wanted to be warm, be able to move easily, and have no fuss when manipulating the cameras (because I brought two, plus many lenses).

Third, all my clothes fit in one-fourth of a carry-on sized bag.  Half of the rest was given over to camera and electronics.  The other remaining half held my toiletries and medications/pills (of which I carry a lot these days).  Think about that, my dears.  All my clothes, including underpinnings, fit into a tiny cube.  I wore the same things over and over and over.  And over!

And fourth, in packing this tightly, I have had a lot of experience recently.  I go to my boyfriend’s every weekend, which means packing a large Longchamp of electronics, clothes, toiletries (outside of what remains there), and pills.  I’ve learned what I feel comfortable relaxing in, moving about in, and going out into the city in—all without the option of changing.  I basically took that experience and applied it to Paris.  In fact, I think the only difference is that I wear more jewelry on a day-to-day basis in New York, including on these weekends.  I just didn’t want to take care of it all while in Paris, so I pared back.

Come the summer in Paris, the packing will be different—very different.  I’ll be bringing a big suitcase of skirts, dresses, and ballerinas, and a couple of handbags will surely accompany me beyond the camera bag.  Summer encourages a bit of splash.  So that suitcase will involve a lot more fun.  Stay tuned!  That trip feels right around the corner.

Your turn: You have one-fourth of a carry-on in which to pack with clothes.  What do you bring?  What do you wear on the plane?  What do you plan to buy when you get there?

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Fleece! Sneakers! *falls over dead in surprise*
    But you amazing as always.
    I’ve decided to stop playing around with other colors – my spring and summer wardrobe is going to be what makes me most comfortable – blue, blue, and more more blue. If I get really wild and crazy, then purple and teal – which are just more shades of blue.
    -s

    1. I know, S! I thought of you, I really did, as I packed and wore the fleece. And I keep wearing it as I go about the post-Paris NYC winter and early spring. And I’m loving the sneakers, too.

      You look amazing in blue and it somehow fits your personality magnificently. Perhaps because you and the color are calming. I do miss you!

  2. Thanks and WOW! I am such a packing geek.

    Wear on plane: stretchy jeans, black, dark indigo or gray; long-sleeve t and cashmere pullover or cardigan; wool socks and ankle boots. To pack: 2nd pair of jeans or trousers, silk long johns, cashmere turtleneck, second long-sleeved T, top to wear with silk bottoms as pjs and as additional layer if needed. Second pair of socks and shoes. CSGM, gloves.

        1. And they were brilliant–comfy enough to sleep in, most importantly, air-dried in a day at our laundry service.

  3. I love your scarf! And your whole approach to this trip. I’ve been wearing so much black this winter too, usually black high waist jeans, black boots, and a black, navy or grey cashmere crewneck. Possibly boring, but like you said, I want to be warm and able to move easily, as New York demands that we are always walking outside. Like many, there’s something about streamlined pack and packing lists I love. For winter, I would bring – 1 black jeans, 1 black trousers, 2 pairs of black boots, 2 cotton shells, 2 dark crewneck sweaters, 1 black cashmere turtleneck, 1 black wool blazer, scarf + hat + gloves, a crossbody bag, a tote, and a large coat. Wear the coat, a pair of boots, and one outfit on the plane, the crossbody bag goes in the tote, and everything else in a small tumi. What to buy while there? Depends on the country but something both practical and traditional. When will you be returning to France this summer? I should be going in June and am interested in knowing what you’re going to pack in more detail 🙂

    1. Thank you, H. The scarf was such a great find back in late summer. And I have to laugh with you, a fellow NYer—this palette and these pieces are nondescript saviors as we navigate the crazy streets.

      I will be returning to France the second half of June. My wardrobe is likely going to be my classic summer pieces, so the same as I’ll be taking on my April trip. I will certainly whip up a post!

  4. I cannot get over how beautiful the silver is on you, it is truly a second skin on you. And that camera bag is very elegant and stylish. I wish I could swap your pliage for a planetes/(now the neo pliage?), but that is just me being weird about brown.

    One of these days I will start packing sensibly. Hmm…I would really have to think about this. One of these days I will pack sensibly and accept that travel wardrobe is not for making “statements”. I would nix my usual Rick Owens hoodie since it is too bulky. For the plane: black combat boots, black suede leggings, black tunic sweater w/ tank underneath, black scarf, carry my black winter coat, and black Lesportsac travel tote. I would use either my McQueen/Samsonite or olive Bric’s (since found out that this can get too heavy for me to lift in overhead bin :/). Inside the luggage: leather leggings or black wax jeans, wool pullovers, extra tees/tanks, black sweatpants, leather crossbody bag. My Rick Owens is built for my daily (FL) life, so sadly on cold trips I have to do without.

    1. Thank you, PaPP. The women (SAs) at Hermès in Paris always comment on the silver, on how it is very much my style. They’ve told me few people can wear it as I do, which is both surprising and affirming. I love it—the feel, the look, the weight—and maybe that love is why it works.

      I totally agree with you about the Longchamp. I chose the pliage (in two sizes) for this trip, but in summer, I plan to get one or two neo-pliages in black. Even with Longchamp totes, it’s all about pacing… I might get a couple of other colors, too.

      Now about your packing style…I’m all in favor of flamboyant wardrobes when off on an adventure! I celebrate your approach (and your style, for it is magnificent) and hope to include some statement pieces for France this summer. I dream of adding two or three magnificent summer dresses in rich colors and newer shapes.

    1. Thank you, señorita. Alas, the scarf was found on consignment, so I’m not sure it is possible to acquire it. Keep your eyes open. It’s really a very plain piece that sparkles only when worn, so it or something like it might be available right around you. If your hair color is like mine, that stripe of bronze is an absolute necessity to get!

  5. Haha!! Sneakers and fleece .. love it! You could wear a brown paper bag and you’d look great! The older I age the less pretentious stuff I use.. I find it ages me.. think of the matron with furs and jewels etc … I’d rather have a healthy slim body and wear “young ” athletic wear .. when appropriate I can dress the part… cheers. Coco

    1. HAHAHA indeed! Isn’t it crazy? After all these AA years and alterations, I walk around in fleece and sneakers right now. Please, everyone, laugh your head off!

      I like the word you use: pretentious. Maybe it’s living in New York City—the epicenter of pretentious—but I’m pulling back from things that seek attention in a non-avant-garde way. (I have to have my Japanese cuts, so I make an avant-garde exception!). I agree that it’s aging, too. Maybe bourgeois things seem aging to me…. But I might be influenced by my French boyfriend and new acquaintances on that point… The French so resist the bourgeois.

  6. I like your Paris look. You look very sporty and active. The yoga top has a beautiful, interesting neckline and with the silver breaks up the black a bit. I feel you always look great whether you are dressed up or down. I would pack black Eileen Fisher wide leg, cropped pants and EF pencil skirt, a few T-Shirts, Tod’s loafers which are very comfortable, a cardigan and my favorite Icebreaker Hoodie – and of course a scarf or shawl. I enjoyed this post.

    1. Thank you, Tanja. I’m really enjoying the yoga elements as a building block for ensembles, if only because they are simple and effortless.

      And I am in complete accord with you regarding your packing. I love EF wide leg cropped pants! I have to bring them to Paris this summer. They are an excellent staple. I would also like to finally indulge in Tod’s loafers. The suede ones are so soft.

  7. Love it all. Looks a lot like what I packed for Tokyo last February. Thank goodness for Uniqlo! Fantastic jeans and you just can’t beat their Heattech. I also wore Uniqlo Heattech tights under my jeans it was so cold, and I was so toasty warm. I mixed up my all black with chocolate brown Arche knee high boots. Ps great French pastries in Tokyo!

    1. Yes, Justine—let’s celebrate Uniqlo. I am carefully eyeing what I might add from there for summer too. Their linen is fantastic.

      I don’t doubt that Tokyo has great French pastries. I see that all my favorite Paris spots have Japanese outlets. The Japanese have excellent taste!

  8. I’m heading to Paris next week and expecting the weather to be in the 50’s with some rain. I’m packing black and blue pants and cashmere v-neck sweaters. I have a few business evening activities so I’m throwing in a few silk blouses to change up my look as they pack small. I’m taking along my barbour quilted jacket and mixing that with scarves for interest and color. On the plane, black leggings, silk tunic and black booties.

  9. Of course I love this post so much!
    First, can you tell me about your Patagonia fleece? It doesn’t look fleece-y on the outside and also doesn’t seem bulky. It seems very smart and perfect to wear under a coat here in Minneapolis.
    Also, I love the Uniqlo heat-tech undershirts – so toasty. Are your jeans heat tech? I found that when I wore my Heat -tech top to the airport this week it set off the machine at security because whatever material that keeps it warm shows up on the x ray … so I got patted down. No biggie, though.

    1. Thank you, Kristi.

      The Patagonia jacket is a few years old, but you’re right—it’s fleece on the inside, but the outside is more a soft tech fabric. It gives a sleeker look.

      My jeans aren’t Heattech but, instead, just simple mid-rise stretch straight jeans. I love their fit, although they seem to stretch out easily. Since they are cheap, I don’t mind replacing them as needed. Too funny about that Heattech top adventure with the TSA!

  10. Was struck down with bizarre illness, hence the commenting hiatus. Great minimalist packing! And you look glamorous to boot!
    The upside of convalescing at home was my minimal wardrobe, I could happily live in three pairs of jeans for months. The joys of not dressing for the office!

    1. I do hope you are recovered or recovering, AV. Illness can become overwhelming all too quickly. On the flip side, as you point out—it does lead to some innovative and informative streamlining. We are one and the same right now regarding jeans. I keep on wearing them without pause.

  11. The LP shawl is beautiful and such flattering colors on you. You could have worn literally anything with that scarf and the gorgeous pony and shearling coat. Could you write a bit more about the Trippen shoes please? I’m unfamiliar the brand.

    Packing is such a a wonderful puzzle to solve so I’ve been mulling over your challenge. I was in London almost the exact time you were in Paris but traveled with a large suitcase, two on the way home by the time I finished shopping. It was cold,windy, and rained most days so I wore my heat tech shirts under layers of cashmere sweaters and sometimes two coats. It was too cold for my black Uniqlo jeans most days so I wore my leather leggings or flannel pants. I was comfortably warm except inside buildings and the tube when I molted. My husband refused to go on our planned trip to Edinburgh because of Storm Doris.

    Thank you for posting about your camera bag. I’m always on the lookout for something new that looks great and isn’t too heavy (empty.) I packed for three weeks in a carryon bag on an autumn trip to Germany and the Netherlands last year but limited my camera to a Song RX100 M4.

    1. Thank you, Kimberly. Yes, the shawl and the coat were great choices for a very streamlined travel wardrobe. I like how they mix luxury with the everyday, and they were excellent companions anywhere I went.

      It’s crazy how different London weather can be from Paris weather. The most difficult thing for me to handle is that abrupt and massive difference between indoor and outdoor temps…so I felt lucky with the mildish cold days I had in Paris.

      If you’re in the market for a camera bag, I do recommend Billingham. They last and they are elegant. Moreover, they are designed for active use—I’ve yet to find another camera bag company that understands so well what it’s like to be in the field and needing to change lens or find some truc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *