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Advice on clothing to bring Paris in August

Bonjour, I have been reading about how in Europe it is the culture to be more formally dressed. I have also read that in Paris men do not wear shorts. I like to dress well so I am looking for advice for both my husband and I on what to pack. We are traveling to Paris in August. I tend to dress more formally so not a big issue but any advice would be appreciated!

Posted by
6880 posts

Times have changed, you'll be with other visitors, so yes, he can wear shorts. It may be hot. The formality of the workweek in a big city goes out the window when you are visiting tourist sites with other visitors. That said, my husband, who was born and raised in France has never worn shorts in the city, but he does wear solid-colored golf pants to stay cool in summer--no plaids. We learned about golf pants on this Forum and he enjoys wearing them.

On the other hand, Paris and France could have a cold spell even in August, so do bring long pants and a sweater, just in case. At least three times I've had to buy a sweater or jacket during summer trips.

Posted by
11436 posts

Let me assure you MEN do wear shorts.. when its hot.. and when they are on vacation.. if you see a local man in a suit in august its because hes going to and from work.. not because they swan around all formally dressed for the heck of it.. lol Stick to a nicer dress short.. not basketball shorts ( unless your hubby is 17, lol ) .. same for women.. a nice short is fine.. not a beach barbeque short.. unless you are teenagers.. then all bets are off.

I have been to Paris many many times.. countless really.. and you will see all types of clothing I guarantee you.

If you choose to go to a nice dinner then yes,, slacks or nice jeans are what one would wear.. shorts are for cafes not fine restaurants.
As a female you can wear anything really.. I like dresses and skirts so that's what I bring but I understand others hate them.. I do find them cooler then capris or slacks.. and one can always throw on a cardigan in the evening .

Bring clothes for hot and cold, I always do .. bring something warm and light, a wind/rain jacket and a sweater or light fleece. I have been very hot in paris in August.. and I have been VERY cool.. it can go both ways.

Jeans are fine.. but they are heavy and hot though.. but fashion wise many locals wear them .. even out to dinner.. nice jeans not gardening jeans.. with a jacket or nice shirt for men.. or a nice blouse for ladies. .I personally find them a pain for travel but many love to bring them.. I'm primarily a sink washer so jeans are out for me . My hubby brings a pair of lightweight slacks. Some men like Dockers.

Skip white bottoms as metro and bus seats can make them grubby in no time.

Flip flops are fine for young feet and the beach.. . but they aren't good walking shoes so bring something cool but supportive to walk in.. I bring a pair of good walking sandals and a pair of sketchers. I like naot brand.. but there are dozens of good walking sandals out there.. my preferred style have a slightly raised platform sole and feet will get grubby very quickly too close to the ground, especially in parks where theres gravel walk ways everywhere.. just make sure they are dead comfy and supportive.

I don't travel with heels.. bring some dressy but low heeled shoes if you want for dinner. . the sidewalks there are so hazardous for heels.

Posted by
1201 posts

This video shows what Parisians on the street look like. They may dress more formally at quality restaurants, but other than that they dress just as sloppy as anyone else. And men wear shorts in August.

Posted by
3307 posts

Wear whatever you are comfortable in...you're a tourist and nobody will care what you wear! Just keep in mind that if you are going into churches or nicer restaurants you should be respectful and dress more nicely for these places as you would in any country. Most people don't wear athletic shorts and t-shirts unless they're jogging or participating in some other sport and you shouldn't while you are sightseeing either. People will dress in a casual manner but not that casual! That said you will see some tourists in athletic wear...I don't think it's appreciated though...that's just my take on it. Shorts are very common on both men and women...it can be quite hot in August. It can also rain sometimes! I've experienced all kinds of weather there that time of the year so just come with layers in mind.

Posted by
172 posts

For our September trip to northern Italy, my husband packed one pair of shorts which he wore to Lake Garda. All other days he wore lightweight golf pants. These worked beautifully--comfortable on warm days and wrinkle-free. He also wore golf shirts. I highly recommend them and will look for ladies' style for our next trip.

Posted by
48 posts

I'd like an name, example, or link to what people are referring to as "golf pants'.

Posted by
2466 posts

"golf pants" - long pants, lightweight cotton or linen-blend.

If it's hot, and it likely will be in August, everyone and their maman will be wearing shorts and t-shirts. Don't recommend flip-flops, because these are meant for beachwear and your feet will complain at the end of the day, but sandals are fine.

Posted by
6880 posts

Golf pants are manufactured for playing golf. My husband's are by Izod and sold in the men's department at Macy's. He has black and navy. They are polyester. Just google golf pants for examples in all price ranges.

Posted by
3451 posts

Anita's advice about respecting churches, however touristy they have become, is worth repeating.

Posted by
741 posts

Haggar makes a line of "Cool 18" pants which are lightweight and comfortable for travel. They are fairly inexpensive and available at stores such as Kohl's or online. On our first trip to Europe, I packed two pairs of these slacks and wore a pair of jeans on the plane and one other day of the trip. For our Italy trip this year, I'll skip the heavy jeans in favor of a third pair of the Haggar pants or some other lightweight slack.

Posted by
2558 posts

giftcharis54, are you from the US? I ask because it depends on where you are when you say that you tend to dress more formally if that statement is in comparison to those around you. I lived in New York City for years but now that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, people at work are constantly commenting on how dressed up I am and that never happened in NYC. That being said, as to womenswear, I see very little difference between what women in Paris wear versus what women wear in NYC, Boston, Chicago, etc. but a huge difference compared to what I see women wearing in CA. I wear the same thing in Paris that I wear at home and I have always felt comfortable there and never been turned away from any place.
I see more difference in menswear in that I find menswear in Paris to be better fitted than it is in the US. Here is a photo shoot that someone did to show what people were wearing on a summer dat in 2010 in Paris: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com/thread/4183/paris-streetwear-june-2010. I feel like American men's clothes is cut for a roomy generous fit and that European men's clothes have a slimmer silhouette. My husband gets his clothes from Big & Tall shops and I always buy him a few pieces from the Big & Tall shops in Paris because the cut is just so much better IMO. Golf pants mentioned upthread have a relatively slim silhouette that works well in France. I don't wear shorts unless I am just hanging out at home or at the beach but I see shorts all over Paris in the summer and they are not all being worn by tourists.

Posted by
958 posts

We were in Paris May 2013 and noticed alot of men wearing capri type pants. They must've been locals because I've never seen an American man rocking that look and we live in sunny Southern California!

Posted by
2558 posts

Claudette, Your story makes me laugh. That capri for me must indeed be a European look. Once on a summer business trip, my husband's luggage was lost on the last part of the trip and the only pants he could find to buy in his size were what we call manpris. Fast forward to this return home when he walked in the door wearing the manpris on and our daughter's response was something like welcome home and and what are you wearing and why along with instructions for him to never wear them again. They have since been donated and my husband says that the lesson learned is that big guys should not check luggage with all their clothes.

Posted by
81 posts

I'm also going to Paris in August. I plan on wearing shorts and tees/tanks in the day either with Vionic (they have arch support) sandals or sneakers. For night I'll bring a couple of sundresses/skirts and a few nicer tops. I'll also pack a couple pants (that can be day or night) in case of cool weather.

I tried wedges in Germany because I wanted a dressier option for dinner and they are awful on cobblestones! I almost broke my ankle so many times. and they take up more luggage space so they're staying home for Paris.

Posted by
2773 posts

Just a note: Because August is holiday month dress (for men, anyway) is downscale and dark dress slacks may stand out in an uncomfortable way except in expensive restaurants.

Posted by
6880 posts

Nobody needs to be concerned about standing out. It's a big city where people wear everything nowadays, and dark clothes are common, like in NY. Both my husband and I regularly wear dark pants in Paris in August and have never felt "uncomfortable" after spending many summers in Paris. Everyone has been trying to say that nice shorts are acceptable nowadays and so are dressier clothes.

As for vacation time, in fact, less than half the population is on vacation in August, and of those, not everyone can afford to go away, so a lot of staycations.

Posted by
46 posts

While you see plenty of very casual clothes in Paris in the summer, I do think you get better treatment from restaurants (even less formal ones) and shops if you're dressed just a BIT nicely. As another poster suggested, weather can go either way -- I've experienced summer days in Paris that were very cool/rainy and days that were hotter than the dickens. I usually assume it will be somewhere in between for most days, and add a few specialty items that can be layered with hot-weather clothes to cover the extremes. For me, that means bringing 2-3 extremely lightweight dresses/skirts to wear with sleeveless tops or T-shirts, a pair of dark jeans, a blazer or lightweight cardigan, AND a light trench coat. (And there have been summer days when I've done jeans + long sleeved T + blazer + trench -- and been very happy to have each and every layer!) Footwear = 2 pairs of sandals + one pair of sneakers (cute ones that you could wear with dresses). That way I'm covered either way. For men -- yes, you do see men wearing shorts in Paris, but mostly on EXTREMELY hot days. My husband wore very lightweight pants most days. When he did wear shorts -- only in the daytime -- they were nicer shorts (not cargo shorts or nylon athletic shorts), and he wore lightweight button-down shirts and driving loafers to sort of try to offset. We went to some pretty tony places and never felt out of place or incorrectly dressed.

Hope that's helpful! Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
372 posts

I think you want to look nice and be comfortable and be ready for the day's weather. You'll want to dress up a bit, since you're in a city, but you don't want to feel like you're dressed up. What would you wear if you were going to a nice dinner at home? Sometimes, even the most comfortable pieces from your work wardrobe work well.

I don't like to buy all new clothes, but a rather a few pieces that work into your travel wardrobe. But make all the pieces you bring work together. Black pants/capris and black skirt are interchangeable with a few of your different color/print tops. Use scarves and jewelry to mix it up. Light weight knits wash and dry quickly.

My husband brings jeans and pants. He has a pair of the Haggar Cool 18 that look nice/casual/dressy.... all rolled into one.

Posted by
51 posts

Bonjour, Thanks to everyone for all the clothing advice! I have found it to be very helpful and will help us pack wisely. Merci