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