Fashion, Lifestyle

Paris, The Pack And The Basics

Sometimes I think that I live two different lives. The French country life and the city life. Depending on where I am, my focus changes.

When I am in the city, I think about fashion.

When I am in the French country I think about our home and all things French. I think about interiors, styling and where the local flea markets are happening. This past week I have been in London enjoying the buzz of a big city and as you can probably tell my mind has turned to fashion. Largely, because I have a trip to Paris soon and I need to pack and also because I have had a love affair with fashion ever since I can remember.

I will be going to Paris on the train so a small bag is essential… I need a capsule wardrobe… which means I have to think about what to take… be ruthless… and only pack those pieces that work… The easy pack is the one that fits whatever you want… My Paris pack has to be practical, tight and allow me to look presentable…. I know from experience that the time spent planning my travel wardrobe this week will save me wasted moments next week… and I don’t want to lose any time in Paris thinking about, ‘what to wear’… I want to be out and about soaking everything up… catching up with friends, seeing what’s been worn on the streets, taking photographs, trying restaurants… packing as much into my few days as I can.

I try and adopt the French girl’s way of dressing when I travel… basic good pieces + accessories to add flair and personality. Space is limited, so black will be my base with accents of white… any colour will have to come from my accessories… As black is popular once again this season, supplementing my wardrobe for this trip has been delightfully easy.

My Paris Pack: The Basics

1. Black slightly cropped pants to wear with flats or ankle boots for evening… Love the capri look and these type of trousers work with every shoe… à la Hepburn or à la stiletto.

2. Skinny jeans ( these work for me.. ) for day and night… with flats… with boots… with heels.

3. White shirt… the simple and the more ornate.

4. Black shirt… lace in particular… with the jeans… with the capri pants.

5. Two white tee shirts and two black tee shirts… my day time basic under a coat.

6. Cashmere sweater… black turtleneck… perfect for European/uncertain weather.

6. Velvet blazer… looks great with a tee or over a more elaborate style blouse at night.

7. Black slip style dress… The LBD… needs no explanation.

8. Biker style ( very simple) leather jacket… Probably my biggest investment but it’s the one piece I anguished over and it is the one jacket that I wear constantly and receive the most compliments on.

9. Trench coat, always.

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69 Responses to “Paris, The Pack And The Basics”

  1. Karen says:

    Have a fun trip.

  2. So stylish…loved clicking through all the options!

  3. Gina says:

    Vicki I loved reading about your basics. I think you do both quite well…country and city!

  4. Every time I travel, I promise myself to pack light. But I just can’t seem to achieve that ….! My suitcase is always the heaviest!
    My mother always said, packing is an art. I remember her always packing her suitcase with such grace and elegance … and always using tissue paper to prevent her clothes from getting wrinkled.
    Lovely selection you have made for your upcoming trip.

  5. Jess Flett says:

    A great pack Vicki. Thanks for the links…they’re all great. Has gotten me thinking about a wardrobe update for me. Have a great weekend. Jx

    • Vicki says:

      It’s funny how one little addition can smarten up teh wardrobe and bring us up to date… and certainly feel smarter…

  6. Melissa Lee says:

    Vicki, can I just say how much I love, love your blog? My family has been going through a particularly rough time since my mother had a stroke last spring. Every morning when your blog arrives it takes me away to a place of peace and enjoyment! I have dreamed for years of spending my summers in the south of France. You make that come true for me, just a little bit, with your posts. Have a fabulous time in Paris. You pack just like I would. We’ll be having a quiet weekend on our little island off the southern coast of Georgia. Hot, hot, hot and a house full of teenaged girls for my daughter’s Sweet 16. Thanks so much for sharing your life with all of your readers!

    • Vicki says:

      Have a fabulous weekend with those gorgeous girls of yours… spending time with them will be much more fun than anything else…

  7. quintessence says:

    Since I live in Connecticut but am frequently in NYC, I have a similar wardrobe dichotomy! Great picks! I (yet again) have a lot of black in my fall wardrobe. I will be mixing in a little green as well!

    • Vicki says:

      I love the emerald green that is around this season… I am trying to resist a beautiful Alexander McQueen scarf.. that is just about perfect…:)

  8. Gigi says:

    Why am I not surprised that you would pack the perfect items for your Paris trip, Vicki? I love every single thing you’re bringing, and I envy you the skinny jeans! They don’t work for me at all, but I love that they do for you. You are going to look and feel smashing! xo Gigi

  9. Anita Rivera says:

    I love your list ma chèrie! These are the essential basics to interchange and to easily transport wherever you end up. I was just in Anthropologie yesterday and saw the cutest Hepburn style dresses. Easily worn in the fall and winter with a black turtleneck underneath with black tights or late summer sans sweater. Streamline is my motto and less is really LESS. Less of a burden to travel, to wear and to worry about!

    ENJOY! Anita

  10. Talking about accessories and bringing a touch of color and flair to your outfits: don’t forget a few scarves. Perfect for a “capsule wardrobe”.
    Have fun in Paris, lucky you :-)

  11. Thank you for the list, Vicki! My wardrobe is basically black, so I also turn to accessories. Love the black dress you have chosen.
    Hav ea nice trip to Paris.

  12. Wise woman with perfect sense of style, that’s you. Love your choices, especially the black lace blouse. Hop over to see me, I have a Polyvore concoction up mentioning you…
    xx’s, Marsha

  13. Butterpuff says:

    What a brilliant post, thank you! I’m inspired :-)
    What footwear would you add to the list :-)

  14. Fiona says:


    I love this post. I love how trim this travel capsule is but you are able to mix and match pretty much everything :) Very inspiring!

    Je Ne Sais Quoi

  15. Tres bien Vicki, et les accessoires? Amuse-toi bien a Paris et bon weekend! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  16. Kathy Peck Leeds says:

    Perfect wardrobe, not just for traveling, but it’s basically how I dress everyday (except during the summer.) I’m in LOVE with that Roland Mouret black dress…but living in Los Angeles, would have so little chances to wear it, just can’t justify the splurge. Have a great trip to Paris.

  17. Vicki, I love your list and will definitely copy the next time I head to Paris – heck, this is a packing crib sheet that will work anywhere. I agree, that black leather moto jacket is one of the best investments I’ve ever made – I wear it constantly.
    Bon Voyage! Please say hello to Paris for me.
    PS – That Roland Mouret dress is so gorgeous – Givenchy did a similar one this season (at a similar price, unfortunately) that I can’t stop thinking about!

  18. Shauna says:


    I follow your blog and I will be heading to Paris with my children and husband for Chirstmas. I wanted to know if you could help me with any great hotels and restaurants that are must haves. I have looked at the Four Seasons but wanted some help with maybe some other great hotels. I would appreciate any input that you have.

    Thx so much,

    • Vicki says:

      Have a look at my ‘Paris’ section on my website under ‘All things French”… there might be some useful tips and many of my favourite restaurants are listed. I will be doing a full restaurant post later in the month… As for hotels… I think the best is to choose your ideal location and work from there…

  19. Jennifer says:

    Black is back? It never stopped being my staple basic around which I build. Your pack sounds very similar to what I would do. Wonderful idea of a black lace blouse.. I’ll have to investigate them. Have a fabulous time…we all know you will. Can’t wait to hear the details.

  20. Hallie says:

    I love this list, and it’s really perfect and no wonder with an expert such as you.

    I have a poets white blouse with navy trim and I’m so glad you said two white blouses and black lace as well. And to top them off with a velvet jacket is perfection.

    Super smart advice! You’re right it really does work. I have to remember this post. Have a great time!

  21. Vicki,
    Great basics. I leave for Washington state next week, you’ve made my packing easier. I’ll follow your lead and keep it simple. It was fun to see some of the great styles and sources for your favorites.
    Have a wonderful trip.

  22. La Contessa says:

    Sounds like you DID IT!The perfect pack job!Yesterday, I was in San Francisco and purchased some drop earrings because of you!I also, finished reading INES DE LA Fressange book PARISIAN CHIC.Loved it!Took notes and have been out scouting for her essentials!Just plain old good fun……… think I’m doing what INES is doing!Love that you know COREY!I follow her blog too!You Heather and Corey are my all time favorites!And to think you all know one another………..just beautiful in my heart.I’m off to opening night of the OPERA tonight and havenot given a thought of what to adorn thy BOD with so I will say adeiu,grab my coffee and skip to thy closet!HAVE A WONDEFUL TRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I’ll be in Paris next month!So, I look forward to your updates!xxx

  23. Maureen Burbury says:

    I love those cropped black pants! I bought J Crew’s outlet version and I can’t wait to wear them (it’s been much too warm here in New England). The style is totally “not me,” but they looked so cute that I had to keep them. I wanted a second pair in a different color, but I think you have to be an absolute beanpole to pull off anything other than black. :(

    I love how they look with flats and black suede wedges, but I never thought of wearing them with ankle boots (don’t know if I’m brave enough to try that for work). Maybe I’ll experiment when I’m out with the girls…thank you for the suggestion!

  24. Hello Vicki

    Your choice is elegant, timeless and stylish, just as you are.

    I love the black dress in particular.

    Have a wonderful time

    Helen xx

  25. Thank you Vicki,
    It is one thing to mention the items you are packing and a whole other thing to see actual pieces. I love the LBD you have chosen. Thank you for an insight into your style choices, will certainly keep these in mind. Have always tossed the leather jacket idea around but have not been quite brave enough to go there. Perhaps next Winter I will look into this further. Have you thought about showing us actual photos of you in these items? That would be fab! Please do more of these articles for us. x

    • Vicki says:

      I enjoy writing about these things.. so I will :)
      The leather jacket has been my best investment … and it was a reluctant one…

  26. Judy Bales says:

    Hi Vicki – Thanks for the tip on the black “Minnie” capri. I went right up and bought a pair and the fit is great!

  27. Vicki, I’ve been culling my wardrobe this afternoon and I’m thinking seriously of using your travel wardrobe as the basis of my permanent one! I love looking at fashion but when it comes to my own dressing, simple, well-cut pieces in good fabrics with a bit of accessory pizazz and a nice big watch always send me out the door feeling good. Have a wonderful time in Paris, and enjoy Maison et Objet. I seriously thought about it this year… maybe next year will be ‘the one’!!

    • Vicki says:

      Culling the wardrobe always feels good… like planning for a trip… I always find the simple, good quality pieces are the ones I keep… and wear…

  28. trish Murphy says:

    Vicki, I just love the pack list it is fabulous.I have similar in the wardrobe you can not go wrong with the black and white mix and match.I

  29. trish Murphy says:

    Accidently pressed a button before I had finished comment! I have not tried ankle boots yet so must give them a go.I bought a biker jacket in Florence two years ago and have worn it to death such a great addition to a wardrobe.I love the capri pants and LBD from Roland Mouret is just stunning.Have a wonderful trip to Paris look forward to hearing of your exploits there. xx Trish

  30. Agnieszka says:

    Vicki, I’d love to read a post about winter in Paris – what to do, see, eat and wear :) I’m sure you can share some of your experience and I’m about to spend some time in Paris this winter and have no clue how to plan it :)

  31. mary jo says:

    I love your list Vicki, and it’s definitely close to the one I made last time I was traveling when I realized I was missing certain essentials. I’ve been adding them to my wardrobe ever since, but still need a good lace blouse, so was clicking on all your links! Hope you have a wonderful time in Paris!

    xo Mary Jo

    • Vicki says:

      Lace is a great addition… I also have a black lace skirt that is my fall back when I don’t know what to wear… with a teeshirt or turtleneck… it is an easy outfit…

  32. Sanne says:

    Thank You Vicki! I’ll be in Instanbul in October and so I can take You packing plan 1:1. Wonderful.
    Kindest regards

  33. Helen says:

    As you pack for Paris, I am packing for Provence via Lyon!!!
    Any advice???? We are basing in St Remy and will have a car to day trip from village to village.

    • Vicki says:

      Enjoy everything! The weather is still good… just add a little light sweater or jacket for night… If you have time, look in my ‘Provence’ section under ‘All things French’… there are lots of little ideas in there of what you might like to do… HAve a fabulous time… xv

  34. PamMarie says:

    Perfect basics. It’s the accessories that pull the look together in my opinion.

  35. Susan says:

    Hi Vicki,
    Just found your Paris list and I love it! So simple and so perfect. I really want to go to Paris and now, when the time comes, I will know what to take.

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