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Dressing for Paris - Men

I'm not looking to be in fashion, but I'd just like to not look like an obvious tourist. So what does the average Parisian man wear? What kind of colors? How common are jeans? Do men tend to wear jackets?

I'll be traveling in early September.

Posted by
2002 posts

Wear dark colors -- dark jeans, black, and black shoes.
Skip the sweatshirts, t-shirts, cargo pants, white jogging shoes, baseball caps. Jeans are fine. If it's cool wear a jacket.

Posted by
31521 posts

Jason,

You'll probably stand out as a tourist regardless of what you wear in Paris (the "locals" always know!). Of course, there are obvious "flags" that mark tourists such as a baseball cap or white sneakers.

My approach is to use a travel wardrobe (mostly consisting of Tilley clothing) and this is the same regardless of which country I'm in. I'm really not too concerned whether I'm identified as a tourist. I DON'T wear jeans as they tend to be too heavy, hot in the warmer weather and take a long time to dry (not really practical to wash in a Hotel room sink).

One thing I did notice when I was in Paris a month or so ago, is that many of the "locals" were using Messenger Bags (aka "Man Purses"). These were usually worn with the strap placed diagonally across the body. This seemed to be a common accessory just about everywhere in the city.

Happy travels!

Posted by
10344 posts

This link mainly has Paris clothing tips for women

click here

but hopefully you can browse the link and find some useful tips. No matter what you wear, the locals will know you're not European.

Posted by
1157 posts

Go to google maps and type in the address of any cafe or hotel. Pan around the street and see what the passersby are wearing. The street scenes will be up to date, within a month or so. When we were there in April, just about anything was seen from jeans to khakis. Not sure about shorts but I'd never wear them there.

oprah44

Posted by
1014 posts

No shorts. Wear decent pants -black or khaki -and a shirt with a collar and short sleves. Knit is fine. Mine always have a shirt pocket to carry small bills 25 to 50 Euros- for cafe', drinks, etc. so I do not have to delve into my hidden wallet all the time. No white sneekers. Wear comfortable shoes or sandals. Dress counts in France. Bad desser, go to back, close to toilet, nice dresser, go to front of restaurant and get better service. You can also sit outside, but that costs more. Cafe' outside -E3.20 inside E2.10. Saw the sign in China Town area of Paris. Location, Location, Location!

Posted by
421 posts

Jeans are ok depending on your age or the type of crowd you associate with.
Not just young poeple wear jeans.
Also same goes for runnign shoes...but think pumas, lacoste, styling.
they are everywhere.
Same with T shirts are fine but think designers such as affliction, ect....

Posted by
21855 posts

Jason, it would help to know your age. I think John is pretty accurate. I don't think you will error by being slightly overdress but could error on the under side. I am always more comfortable with a nice pants, nit or dress shirt with collar, shoes. What I would call country club casual or business casual.

Posted by
2193 posts

This question comes up in various forms all the time. My advice for younger travelers contemplating the local fashion trends for any large city in Europe is to take a look around the tourist districts of the cities here in the U.S. Check out Michigan Avenue in Chicago or Union Square in San Francisco. A fun challenge would be to try and distinguish the young, fashion-conscious European tourists from their American counterparts…good luck. Another idea is to go over to a local university, such as Berkeley, and see what the undergrads are wearing. They’re usually a little sloppy, but most students will be up to date (but forget the caps and shorts). You won’t stick out as a tourist there if you’re young and are already concerned about what you wear here. If you’re an older traveler, some of the previous advice posted above might apply…can’t help you there. The Google Maps recommendation was interesting…check it out.

Posted by
253 posts

Jason -

You could always make the first day a shopping day and pick out some nice stuff at Parisian stores. It would certainly be interesting and can't get any more local then that.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you to everyone who has posted so far.

To answer an earlier question, I'm in my late forties. On the plus side, I look younger than that; on the minus, I'm on the heavy side.

Shopping Paris might be fun, and I had planned on looking as I toured. Recommendations on where (particular stores) are welcome.

Posted by
8868 posts

I don't know what you consider to be "on the heavy side" but you may find that it is harder to find larger sizes there.

Posted by
8 posts

I’m Karen’s husband..We were there a couple months ago and l read all the stuff about what to wear and wore pants etc the first day. Basically there are so many people from all over the world wearing all sorts of stuff….it really does not matter. The remainder of the trip I was in Shorts and White Tennis shoes…wear what is comfortable and don’t worry about fitting in…It is much to do about nothing. The people in Paris could care less…The place is packed with Tourists. Don’t waste your money.

Posted by
1806 posts

European men do tend to wear darker colors (including jeans), but the cut of their clothing is really what sets them apart from their American counterparts. They tend to wear more fitted clothing-from suits to jeans and tees. Being a larger guy, this is probably not the easiest look to pull off. I wouldn't worry about what you wear during the day when you do the tourist thing. The locals aren't hanging around Notre Dame or the Louvre. Put the effort into dressing nicer in the evening for dinner or drinks.

Posted by
1014 posts

In Paris, try on clothes before you buy. Their sizing is different than in the US. This goes for women also. Make sure buttons button, zippers zip, etc. It is difficult to return something to a store in Paris. They are not fond of returns or refunds, esp. if bought on sale.

Posted by
73 posts

You will look like a tourist because you are one, but you won't look like a jerk if you avoid white sneakers (which never stay white anyway), and shorts. No one in Europe over the age of 18 wears shorts. You can, however, wear "man capris," which are a sort of shorts that go below the knee. Men of all ages wear these in hot weather. We were in Paris last month and saw lots of them. We also saw a lot of men in polo/golf shirts with jackets, and jeans.

Of course, the main accessories you will need are: cigarettes, a motorcycle, and lots of Euros! In spite of the new nonsmoking laws, once they open those cafe doors, the smoke from outside just fills the place.

Lots of people wear jeans, but those who do tend to be rather thin. Heavier Parisians (and yes, they're getting fat, too) were more likely to wear dark pants.

Posted by
80 posts

Parisians don't give a crap what tourist wear. It seems like every man wears black and an indifferent attitude.

Posted by
518 posts

We've been in France, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany in the past 2 years. I personally will never again take any pants other than cargo pants so that I can let all those pockets carry my stuff. I will wear shorts in Italy because it's really hot. I'll wear the same shirts I wear at home. I'll wear shoes that are comfortable, even if they are white. Most people looked like they were at Disney World -- especially in Italy. I kept being mistaken for a German speaker, so I guess I wasn't too out of place in my American clothes. I do speak some German, so that was actually fun.

Posted by
2002 posts

James, to answer your question -- why not? If the weather and situation warranted wearing a dashiki to be more comfortable I might. Why it this so hard to imagine?
I dress to look nice, and appropriate wherever I go. I'm not trying to disguise the fact that I am an American or a tourist. This is not the point. I just try to be appropriate, respectful. If I'm in a major European city, I don't dress as if I'm at the beach or Disneyland. I don't do this at home either.