Reader Request: Clothing tips for London & Paris

I received this request from Aubrey a few weeks ago,

In the middle of March I'll be traveling to London and Paris for a school trip for 10 days, and was wondering if you had any advice on packing/outfits to take, etc. Our leaders have advised us to wear tennis shoes and lots of layers because the weather in that region can be unpredictable.

Do you have any advice for avoiding tennis shoes yet still remaining casual, comfy and cute? We're going to be doing a lot of walking so I will need a dependable shoe that won't kill my feet. Also I don't want to look bulky in a winter coat with layers so do you have any advice on how to layer outfits in a comfortable way?

And do you have any advice on packing? I don't want to bring too much with me because I'd like to bring tons of souvenirs back :-) Haha, so I was just wondering if you had any advice on traveling fashionably...

There is a quite a bit in there. First I'll start with what I found out about the weather in London in Paris in March.

According to, Paris in March remains somewhat chilly, with temperatures hovering at around 45 degrees F on average. It's a good idea to pack clothes that you can layer in case an unusually cool or warm day sneaks up on you. You can bring light cotton shirts and pants in hopes of sun, but also pack a few sweaters, warm socks, a scarf and a spring coat.

March can be a wet month, and Paris is well-known for its erratic and sudden downpours. So make sure to pack an umbrella that can withstand strong rain and wind.

Make sure to pack a good pair of waterproof shoes. Rain during a March trip to Paris is likely, and you don't want to ruin your excursions with sloshy shoes and cold, wet socks.

London has similar temperatures and would do well with similar packing strategies.

So, I think one important thing to make sure to have is a heavy weight sweater. These are great for layering on cool days or to wear under a spring coat for extra warmth.

1 - Cardigan Jacket - American Eagle - $24.46 (Orig. $49.50)
{I was able to get this in Navy Heather at the outlet for $7.50 (and I love it), I think the B&M stores have much deeper discounts on these clearance racks, so check them out!}
2 - Warm Knit Cardigan - American Eagle - $20.99 (Orig. $49.50)
3 - Shawl Collar Skinny Cardigan - American Eagle - $20.99 (Orig. $39.99)

For footwear, I think the best option for cool, rainy days and walking through the city is a flat leather boot. I have a pair of these, and they are infinitely versatile and super comfortable.

1 - Stanton Boot - Alloy $19.99 (Orig. $39.90)
2 - Mina Flat Boot - Ann Taylor - $49.99 (Orig. $245.00)
3 - Alexis Moto Western Boot - Endless - $49.95

Also, make sure to check out clearance racks at department stores and places like TJ Maxx (where I found my Steve Madden's for $50). Now is the best time to get a great deal on boots.

Just make sure the items you bring are good for mixing and matching outfits.

I will be the first to admit I am not a great packer. I bring 6 pairs of jeans and 20 shirts to Alaska for 6 weeks and end up wearing 20% of what I brought. But the ladies at Academichic know a thing or two about packing to mix and match on a trip. Read a few of their tips here: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5.

What do you all think of the tips? Do you guys have any other tips to share? Leave your comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Happy Shopping!


  1. Great tips and suggestions. And I agree, those Academichic links should be able to help as well! Love those ladies!

  2. You would be surprised at how cold London and Paris can get, and I am going to emphasize the need for a good purse/backpack sized umbrella! My husband and I lived in Paris for three months last year and sudden quick downpours were common. Even though it's not incredibly fashionable our REI windbreakers (that folded into purse sized pouches) were total lifesavers. Better to be dry and comfortable than wet and miserable. Seriously.

    And flat boots for city walking are great. I work and go to school in DC and I have a pair of Steve Madden boots that I practically live in when I go downtown. A pair of tennis shoes will probably be a good idea though (although I know how important it is to fit in when you're traveling ;), and Converse are a good way to stay comfortable and still fit in with the locals.

    Since it's only ten days, I'd bring one (maybe two) pair of your favorite jeans, since they are so bulky and don't get dirty that easily. Leggings are also a good way to pack light and stay warm. You can also hand wash shirts in the sink. Honestly, no one's going to notice if you're pulling double duty on your clothes, because most Europeans only own basic ensembles that work for them and they wear them often. My French teachers in Paris had "uniforms" of basic tops and pants that they pretty much stuck to for nine weeks and they looked gorgeous every time. I wonder if harem pants are still all over the place over there. Never really got excited about that trend.

    Umm... also... just as a random aside for dressing to match the environment, I would often be the only one on the metro NOT wearing black (in the spring, for heaven's sake). Europeans love their black and gray.

    So jealous. Sorry that I just wrote a book. I had a lot of time last year to observe where I was falling short fashion-wise... haha. Have fun!!

  3. Wow---I LOVE those AE cardigans. Haven't shopped there since HS, but may have to go back!

  4. I love those AE sweaters. I have a few. :) I'd buy your shoes now and break them in/try them out for a long walk now- make sure they are comfortable and work for you. I wear my bulkiest shoes on the plane so I don't have to pack them.

  5. Bring half as much clothing as you think you'll need, and twice as much money.

    I had a waterproof nylon trench that was perfect for early spring in London. The rain is COLD, especially near the river. I know you don't want to look look like a tourist, but it is way more important to be warm, dry, and comfortable, so bring whatever you need to deal with the weather.

  6. I agree with Hanner. I live in Europe now and if you want to fit in the wear dark colors. You can add some color with scarves (Europeans use scarves all the time and you may want to grab a few while you are here!) or accessories if you wish. Because you will be doing a lot of walking, you need to make sure that your shoes are really comfy. You don't want to be worried about your aching feet while admiring the Mona Lisa or while shopping on Champs-Elysee. And don't forget your umbrella.
    One suggestion for getting all your souveniers home, pack an extra duffel bag inside your suitcase and then just pay the $50 for an extra bag! You don't want to have to buy a bag in Paris or London. If you don't fill it then no big deal but I always manage to fill mine! It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and beats international shipping any day.

  7. DON'T buy the boots #3. I bought them and the soles crack so that any water that you step on will immediately seep through and get your entire foot wet.

  8. Take a bunch of neutrals so no matter what you put on, it will all go together.

  9. I love this post! Anything travel or packing-related, really. I'd love to see a few more with this theme... =)

    So I've read lots of reviews (I am also going to London this spring... not Paris, though! sad.) about umbrellas and the ones people seem to like the most are these vented ones, cause they really withstand strong winds and rain and stuff.

    I also agree that dressing for the weather is important, but I think if you can find a cute waterproof trench then it's all good. I really want this one, esp. since it's a tall size:

    but these are pretty too:


  10. I have the Cardigan Jacket from AE in gray and it is my go-to sweater on chilly days (which is pretty much every day in upstate NY!). I love it!


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