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Paris has innumerable ties with the fashion industry, and it is the home to numerous world-class designers, both past and present. In a city with such a rich legacy of beautiful people and clothing, you’re going to want to look your best. For the most part, as long as you’re well put together, you’re going to blend in with most Parisian women – aside from the whole language thing. Still, there are a few dresses that are indispensable, and a few you should simply forget to pack.
The Little Black Dress
You’d never be caught at home without a black dress, and it would be unwise to leave it in the closet when you’re packing for Paris. Black never goes out of style, and in fashion-conscious Paris, you’ll simply never feel out of place in your LBD. Pack a pair of flats if you know you’re going to have to do some walking, but don’t forget that killer pair of heels if you’re going out for a romantic dinner or need to dress up for a business function. Dress up your outfit with a scarf or wrap, and bring a blazer you can put on for the cool nights.
Paris may be nicknamed the city of lights, but that doesn’t mean you have to be as bright as a 100-watt halogen bulb when you hit the streets. In fact, doing so might make you stick out a bit, especially in the winter months when colors tend to be more subdued. You can’t go wrong with neutrals, though – camel, beige, brown and cream are all easy to dress up or dress down and pair with a variety of shoes, outerwear and accessories.
Paris is definitely a fashion-forward city, but if you’re going partly to look at famous architecture, churches and historical landmarks, wearing a flashy dress that shows off a little too much skin is probably a no-no. Bring a dress that comes down to or just below your knees, and doesn’t show too much cleavage or your entire back. The color you choose should be dependent upon the season, but then again, you really can’t go wrong with neutral colors in the summer and black in the fall and winter.
Pastels aren’t commonly worn by Parisian women, at least not in large blocks as in a dress. So leave the pastel dresses at home, even if they do look good for your skin tone -- unless you want other ladies secretly comparing you to a dyed Easter egg behind your back! Wearing things that make you look completely out of place will also draw attention to the fact that you’re a tourist, which will make you a target for pickpockets. Tourists generally have more cash in their pockets and purses than residents, as well as valuable items like digital cameras.