What to pack for Paris in spring - une femme d'un certain âge

It’s time to pack for Paris! Here’s my 3-week travel wardrobe

What to pack for Paris in spring. 2 weeks, 1 suitcase travel capsule wardrobe.

What to pack for Paris in spring…

With each trip we take, it gets easier to figure out what to pack for Paris. But the weather forecasts this time have been throwing us some interesting curves so I’ve been making some tweaks and adjustments as we get closer to departure.

Paris 10-day weather forecast

We’ll be in Paris a full two weeks, and then cap off the trip with five days in London. As I mentioned here, I need to be able to fit everything into one bag that I can shlep myself. (The apartment we’re renting is on the 3rd floor…no elevator.) Paris in spring is typically cool and wet (currently forecast), but we have experienced some unseasonably warm weather on prior trips. So I’ve included layer-able pieces that will be comfortable at a wide range of temperatures.

What to pack for Paris: Susan B's travel capsule wardrobe.

(I’ve lightened the images to better show detail.)

For this capsule, I started with a neutral core of navy and camel/brown, then brought in some greens for color accents. (Almost) all of the clothing is within my Spring color palette, so everything coordinates. Many of the items I’m packing are from prior seasons, so I’ve linked to similar items as much as possible.

My 3-week travel wardrobe for Paris and London

Here’s what I’ve packed…

Susan B's spring travel wardrobe core capsule.

Shoes

I always advise to Start With The Shoes when planning any travel wardrobe, but this is especially important when deciding what to pack for Paris. We do a LOT of walking in Paris on all kinds of surfaces, and I need footwear that’s comfortable and supportive enough for hours on my feet. Water-resistance is a plus, as is dress-up/dress-down versatility. After taking weather and our activities into account, here’s what I’m bringing:

  • sneakers. I wished I’d packed sneakers on my recent London trip, so I’m including these. (Don’t let anyone tell you that Parisians don’t wear white “baskets;” they absolutely DO!)
  • suede mid-calf boots. This is a pair that can dress up if needed. Don’t let the suede finish fool you; these are weatherproof. They’re very comfortable too!
  • snake print ankle boots. (Similar.) These are also weatherproof, and quite comfortable for walking.

I opted for lighter colored shoes this time, as they felt more springlike and will brighten up my outfits.

Bottoms

Even though I utilize the concept of “tabletop dressing” when planning travel wardrobes, I wanted to incorporate a little more variety in the bottom half this time.

  • denim jeans. (similar) I opted for a versatile slim-leg style in an even, medium wash.
  • coated jeans. a bit more oomph than blue denim, but just as easy to style.
  • navy knit pants. Mine are from a few seasons back; here’s a similar style.
  • trousers. For more dressed up evenings. These are the ones I had made by Amanda Thompson, here’s a similar style.

Tops

I included a variety of layering tees and sweaters, and one dressier blouse.

  • sweaters. I’m bringing two lighter merino wool sweaters, here and here, two cashmere, here and here.
  • tees. Can be layered underneath sweaters or jackets, or can be worn on their own should the weather warm up. Shown above: solid tee (similar) | striped tee. Not shown: striped tee.
  • print blouse. Can be dressed up or down, will layer underneath sweaters and jackets. Here’s a similar style.

Jackets & outerwear

Paris spring travel wardrobe jackets & outerwear.

I’m including three lightweight indoor/outdoor jackets. All of these can be worn as outerwear should weather warm up, 2 of the three can be worn as a mid-layer.

  • long navy blazer. This lightweight wool blazer is several years old but still a favorite (brand SCAPA, originally purchased in Italy). It’s a bit darker than my Spring navy, but still coordinates. Here’s one with a similar look.
  • knit boucle jacket. My “nice dinner out” option.
  • knit chore jacket. This jacket just seems to go with everything, and can also be worn buttoned as a top.

I’d originally planned to pack some different outerwear, but the forecasted plunge in temperatures nixed that idea. I know you’re probably bored with this down coat (I am too) but it’s the best thing I have on hand for cold, wet weather.

  • packable down coat. (Similar, Plus) It’s lightweight, it’s water-resistant, and comfortable in a range of temperatures.
  • down vest. (not shown) I’ll either take this one or the Uniqlo one, TBD.
  • packable rain jacket. (not shown) Mine’s an older style from Eileen Fisher. It has a swing shape and is basically a shell that I can layer up underneath as much as needed. Here’s one with a similar look in black and “sea salt.”

I’d ordered a couple of other raincoats to try, but they didn’t work out. I may shop for something while I’m in Paris. I’ll be taking my Pearl crossbody from Lo & Sons; I will probably add a second bag, still deciding.

Scarves

I’m bringing a variety of sizes and weights. Shown above:

Underpinnings

I’m also bringing a set of silk long underwear, Just In Case. (top | bottom). And some lightweight wool socks.

Wild Card

I always double-check weather forecasts right before we leave for the airport, and allow myself to make a swap or two, and add one piece on a whim. I’ll share what changes & “wild card” I’ve packed for Paris once we arrive. And of course, I’ll be sharing outfits here and lots more from our trip on Instagram. (I may even do LIVE or two…)

Next stop…Paris!!!

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49 Comments

  1. Eva Popovich
    March 30, 2022 / 4:17 am

    Great capsule packing plan, and I am so happy for you to be going back to France again (your happy place!)
    Now, if I can just put together my packing list for a five-day May trip to Texas. Somewhat different, I think!
    Bon Voyage, Susan.

  2. Lane
    March 30, 2022 / 4:45 am

    Do you think hiking sneakers are OK in Paris? Heading out, too. I’m taking lots of layers, some jeans, one dress. Do you think leggings or tights with the dress and short boots? Haven’t been anywhere in so long!

  3. Karen Kirk
    March 30, 2022 / 4:49 am

    Looks great! But how does it all fit into one carry-on?
    Would love tips on the packing part.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Karen

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 30, 2022 / 4:53 am

      It does fit in a carry-on, or half of a medium-sized checked bag (which is what I’m taking this trip). I roll pants, and use packing cubes for everything else except the jackets.

      • coco
        March 30, 2022 / 9:25 am

        Would love to see a video of you packing it all. Would be a great help to see how you manage it.

        • Jill Ann
          March 31, 2022 / 6:43 am

          Agree, would like to see a demo of how all this fits in a carryon! I have a good carryon bag, and use packing cubes, but I’m sure I couldn’t make all this fit. Especially once you add undies and pajamas, etc

          • Julia
            April 2, 2022 / 4:21 am

            Yes that is a good point, I’d like to see it too!

          • Anne J
            April 6, 2022 / 7:42 am

            I have wondered about this too. I always assumed it fit in a carryon because Susan is petite while I am not. (Smaller clothes, less fabric) But now official carryons are MUCH smaller so Susan must have some packing magic. Can’t wait to see the video!

      • Linda L
        April 2, 2022 / 2:24 pm

        I would love to see a packing video too! I usually pack everything in a carryon as well. Very interested in your process!

        • Susan Blakey
          Author
          April 3, 2022 / 8:43 am

          I’ll do a video when we get back home.

  4. Ellen
    March 30, 2022 / 4:59 am

    My best ever travel (as well as everyday) raincoat is from Athleta. It is similar to the one called DripDrop. It has traveled to France twice and I never felt that it was too casual, and it takes up virtually no space at all. With that weather report, I would definitely have a good raincoat and not have to go searching for one.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 30, 2022 / 5:01 am

      I’ll keep that one in mind for the next trip.

  5. Teresa
    March 30, 2022 / 5:13 am

    Have a wonderful time! I hope the weather cooperates a bit more than forecast but it will be wonderful whatever it is! Love your choices for packing!

  6. ProfP
    March 30, 2022 / 5:15 am

    I’m currently in Lyon, not Paris, but similar weather. We’ve had it very warm (for the season), and now apparently we’re in for some more winter. So on any given day I’ve seen people wearing wildly different outfits – no one can figure out what’s appropriate. But sneakers all the time everywhere. And incidentally, the Collection Morozov at the Fondation Louis Vuitton is extended until April 3 – if you haven’t seen it and can get in, go!

  7. Téa
    March 30, 2022 / 5:41 am

    Looks like a fabulous wardrobe for your next adventure! Thanks for “taking us along”. Bon Voyage!

  8. Sue F
    March 30, 2022 / 5:42 am

    2 weeks in Paris…be still my heart!!! Look forward to your wardrobe posts along the way & info on your Paris apt too. Bon Voyage!

  9. Kate W
    March 30, 2022 / 5:58 am

    Just finishing a month in Paris. Lots of olive and black clothing…right up my alley. Navy as well. We’ve had warm and sunny weather lately and there have been more women wearing skirts. Really anything goes in Paris..almost any footwear though lots of sneakers and short boots right now.

  10. Kate
    March 30, 2022 / 6:26 am

    I love your packing tips and photos of how you combined your outfits. Your advice to start with shoes is hard for me. I wear an 11 slim and very few brands carry them. If they do, anything over a 10 comes only in black. I went to a specialty show store when a number of reps were present with their latest styles. When I asked to see my size all I heard was “where do you ever find your size? No one makes that!”. Not very helpful! How do I make spring/summer clothes look right with black shoes?

    • NancyF
      March 30, 2022 / 7:28 am

      I used to have a high-end shoe-retailer client. You’re right: size 11S (or AAA) is rare. But not impossible! Try the Munro brand (available at Nordstrom and elsewhere) or—on the far end of the price spectrum —Ferragamo. You can sometimes find used Ferragamo shoes in excellent condition at very good prices on sites like TheRealReal, where you can filter results by size.

    • Lee Rosenthall
      March 30, 2022 / 3:27 pm

      The Office of Angela Scott has been on my “to do” list – if I can ever justify the prices. They have so many beautiful shoes! And they carry up to a women’s size 13! I believe they have some styles that run particularly narrow. I’m partial to oxfords and monk shoes because I have a long, thin foot, and that’s their sweet spot. Check them out!
      https://theofficeofangelascott.com/collections/womens

    • C.D.
      March 31, 2022 / 6:15 am

      Kate — I wear size 12, so I feel your pain. Munro has several styles that come in what they call super slim, as well as in narrow.
      Also, check the Marmi shoe site, which carries extended sizes.

      • Jill Ann
        March 31, 2022 / 6:46 am

        Was coming here to suggest Marmi. We have a store in my city but they do sell online as well. I know they have a pretty good size range & sell non-black shoes!

  11. Marian
    March 30, 2022 / 8:02 am

    Susan, you travel capsules are so helpful. I am going on my first river cruise (Amawaterways Rhine/Moselle) May 1, with 3 days prior in Amsterdam. I
    am determined to be able to handle my bag – carryon. I also hear there is a good laundry service on
    board. I am on several FB travel groups, and ordered several boots, but nothing is working. No cute boots, but
    I have comfy shoes. You all may laugh, but I have been “practicing” wearing clothes multiple days/ways and
    making sure everything is comfortable and fits well. I did purchase some items, because I have gained
    some weight, but they are not just for travel either. I can wear them at home. I agree about the Madewell
    chore jacket/sweater. I ordered it upon Susan’s recommendation (I think I said that a few weeks ago), and I
    have been so happy with it. Even though it is not super light weight, I am planning to take it on my trip too. I am working on figuring out scarfs now. Need to watch the videos, as I rarely think a scarf looks good on me (except for the small around neck ones). I still have a month! Weather will determine my final packing – or as best as I can tell before we leave. It changes here too. Have an amazing time!

    • Jan
      March 31, 2022 / 1:03 am

      Hello Marian, I live near the rivers Moselle and Rhine and in May it can still be very cool and wet. Do take your warmer sweater with you, because on the water it may be pretty cool and humid especially in the mornings and evenings. Sometimes it´s a bit foggy until the sun warms everything up during the morning hours. While the Rhine Valley is wider the Moselle Valley is narrow and the sun will be away sooner in the evenings. It can be chilly then and take the airstream on the ship into consideration.
      Layers are a good idea and comfortable shoes are great, because a lot of the older towns still have cobblestones. Sneakers are perfectly okay! I hope you´ll have a nice trip!
      And please pardon my English. I´m german.

      • Marian
        April 1, 2022 / 6:35 am

        Oh my goodness. Jan! What a kind and informative response to my post! I could hug you. You have given me
        some confidence and so many good ideas. Your English is fabulous! Best Wishes!

  12. Lady in Jeans
    March 30, 2022 / 8:08 am

    How exciting! Spring is my favorite time of year to travel. Your travel capsule looks like it will do the job nicely for two very different cities. Bon voyage!

  13. Birgit Knutsen
    March 30, 2022 / 8:14 am

    Your wardrobes are always lovely! Will you please share where you are staying and what hotels you stayed in on your last few trips? My parents are planning a trip to Paris and I would love to give them some good hotel recommendations. Oh, and yay to knowing your colors! I recently had mine done for a second time – 1st was in the 80’s – and I’m so glad I know what colors make me look my best now that I am older and have grayish hair.

  14. Mary Ann
    March 30, 2022 / 8:34 am

    Dear Susan, I know you will have a great time on this fun trip. A few years ago we rented an apartment
    on the third floor, no lift. At the time it made us move out after 1 week and move into a hotel, now looking back
    it was a great memory of Paris. The ups and downs of each trip give us adventures and a laugh at the end.

  15. Mary Alice
    March 30, 2022 / 8:44 am

    I love your suggestions! My travel wardrobe planning is out of shape! I’m heading to New York in May for shows & shopping, so I really need to up my game!
    My one question is, do you not worry about traveling with light colored shoes that will show every scuff & stain?

  16. laurel
    March 30, 2022 / 9:15 am

    bon voyage! would you mind sharing how the Paul Green hero sneakers fit? true to size?

    thanks

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 30, 2022 / 9:39 am

      Thanks laurel. The sneakers are pretty true to size, yes.

  17. Lorraine
    March 30, 2022 / 9:34 am

    Can’t help noticing how different your travel wardrobe’s colours are from a few years ago. You always look well dressed, but now your colour palate makes you glow. We’ll be spending 10 days in Germany in May and living out of a carry-on, so I’m paying particular attention to your capsule, particularly the numbers of each item you are taking. Have a wonderful time in Paris!

  18. Erika
    March 30, 2022 / 9:35 am

    What size suitcase are you putting all these clothes in. I’m planning a month in France, Italy, Prague and perhaps Poland. I need a suitcase that will be easy to handle. Any ideas will be much appreciated. Love your wardrobe and your colours are similar to mine.

  19. Carole
    March 30, 2022 / 9:54 am

    I love the Pearl Lo & Sons Crossbody bag you use. Which color are you taking on this trip? I plan to purchase one myself but having a hard time deciding on a color! I am in the same color palette as you are –

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 30, 2022 / 9:58 am

      Hi Carole, I’m taking the Ivory saffiano again.

  20. Roberta
    March 30, 2022 / 10:24 am

    Love your travel wardrobe. My cousin lives in Paris and has a home in Normandy, too. Planning a trip
    and would like to know what size and brand of luggage you use. I need to order a new set.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

  21. Kerrie
    March 30, 2022 / 1:05 pm

    Hi, Susan. Would love to see a travel capsule for le Monsieur!
    Cheers, Kerrie (Melbourne, Australia)

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 30, 2022 / 1:06 pm

      He doesn’t follow my capsule recommendations 😉 but I’ll share an example next week of what I’d pack for him.

  22. mary Ann
    March 30, 2022 / 1:25 pm

    You may want to look at Gerard Darel for a rain coat, they have a lot of stores in Paris
    I bought one that can be turned in side out and have two different looks.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 30, 2022 / 1:31 pm

      Thanks!

  23. Julie
    March 30, 2022 / 2:34 pm

    For three weeks I would add another bottom…….can never go wrong with Eileen Fisher washable stretch crepe pants.

  24. Deanna
    March 30, 2022 / 8:33 pm

    Lovely choices. Love fewer pieces to pack and combinations to mix and match. What type of packing cubes do you use? Have a wonderful trip.

  25. Elizabeth
    March 30, 2022 / 9:24 pm

    I’m another one of your readers who’d love to see how you pack everything into a carryon! However do you fit in boots and all those jackets? We usually go for 4-6 weeks abroad at a time and I figure 5 days worth of clothes with laundry along the way. Your selections are lovely and well coordinated, I just am perplexed as to how you cram everything in (& yes, I use packing cubes too!). I can’t wait to read your posts from Paris- we arrive May 12 for six weeks in France.

  26. Zoe
    March 31, 2022 / 1:25 am

    I’m living in Paris this spring, and the weather has gotten very cold and damp. A hat and gloves will help keep you warm!

  27. Maria
    March 31, 2022 / 2:30 am

    You are so organized. If this were me, I’d take an empty suitcase and shop in Paris. I’d only pack a small carry on with toiletries and make-up.

  28. Wini
    March 31, 2022 / 4:00 am

    Have a wonderful trip! Just returned from a girls trip to Paris and London and have 2 packing suggestions: 1- swap out the dark puffer coat for a water resistant one in a lighter color and more current style (oversized and collarless)) and 2- add a button down denim shirt, it can also work as a jacket, goes with everything and denim on denim is a fun spring trend.

  29. Florida Lyn
    March 31, 2022 / 8:25 am

    Are those boots going to be comfortable going up and down three flights of stairs every day?
    If your packable raincoat is truly waterproof and comfortable, you could swap out the big Land’s End coat for a more packable Uniqlo down jacket to layer underneath. Worn together, they will be almost as warm as the big down coat since the raincoat layer traps in the heat from the down jacket. But they can also be worn separately, giving you more versatility.
    Staying in one place allows you to settle in to a neighborhood and become a regular at a cafe or patisserie. And I assume you have a lot of day trips lined up for us to travel vicariously. Bon voyage!

  30. ChristineCascadia
    March 31, 2022 / 9:17 am

    Like so many others, I love your packing posts. Will you share what you plan to wear on the plane and what carry-on bag works best for all the little essentials that don’t go in a checked bag. Thanks!

  31. No Fear of Fashion
    April 1, 2022 / 11:14 am

    Such clever packing!!
    Greetje

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