30 Oct 2015

Packing For Paris: The Coat Dilemma

vintage travel from life archives, packing for paris, vickiarcher.com

I really am packing for Paris.

I cannot wait to be walking the streets, taking in the beauty and catching up with friends. I have the best intentions to observe what is happening with street style and take a note of the women and what they are wearing. Paris may be another major city to many but to me she is a true beauty and one I never tire of or take for granted.

I am in the mood to let the camera guide me; no fixed plans other than snapping as I walk my way around arrondissements.

vintage travel from life archives, packing for paris, vickiarcher.comvintage travel from life archives, packing for paris, vickiarcher.com

What am I packing?

I am following my Packing For Paris rules and have already thought out my three pairs of shoes, my blazer (the velvet will fit in here), the cross body bag and the LBD. What is making me confused is the coat situation. Paris has dropped her temperatures and the trench or blazer alone is probably not warm enough and the duffle/puffer too warm. A coat is in order, but which one?

If only voyages were as glamorous as these images depict. Restrictions in all kinds of ways mean less to carry is absolutely more. The coat to have at this time of year is the one that can be worn everywhere; even on the train. Warm enough to shield from the elements, yet not so hot that once inside it will have to be carried. I want a coat to work with a tee shirt, turtleneck or blouse underneath and one that can suit all day and into the evening. Travelling anywhere in the northern hemisphere at this time of year means this kind of piece.

A well-tailored overcoat is one of those pieces that can elevate style simply and easily. Somehow when we wear a tailored coat, whether it is a trench or an overcoat, everything underneath seems to matter that bit less. The best part of a winter climate is the ability to have a wardrobe of coats; since moving to Europe I have taken advantage.

A good coat makes me feel well put together, groomed and ready for anything. It is probably all nonsense but I promise it works.

vintage travel from life archives, packing for paris, vickiarcher.comvintage travel from life archives, packing for paris, vickiarcher.com

So back to Paris and the dilemma of which coat.

I have been test driving shapes, lengths and details.

I think the answer is something knee length or slightly longer, any further down my legs and I would look like I am wearing a blanket. Tall girls have the advantage when it comes to super long overcoats.

The idea of double breasted appeals to me; a style that is flexible with temperature conditions and I never mind wearing a double breasted coat either open or semi buttoned.

Slightly military in inspiration could work.

A half belt at the back, perhaps? Or fabulous buttons to give detail to what will be no doubt a dark colour.

I don’t seem to have this style of coat in my ever expanding wardrobe of coats; I will soon ;) xv

Packing For Paris: To Solve The Dilemma

[thefeedproducts style=’four’]

harris wharf trench coat   //  joseph twill coat  //  burberry brit peacoat  //   thread & supply double breasted peacoat



if you feel like walking the streets of paris with me, follow on instagram; i’d love that 

Packing For Paris

the art of the trench  ||  the crossbody bag  ||  the 3 shoe rule  ||  the one and only dress  ||  the two handbag rule

one of two jackets  ||  two of two jackets

images life magazine archives

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Anita Rivera

Fabulous share, Vicki. These photos remind me of my childhood as I watched my elegant, single auntie dress to the nines, travel to Europe and come back to gift us kids with lovelies from lands I’d never see, until I grew up. The elegance of travel may not be what it used to be, but the traveler has the power to dress for the occasion and make it all so special. LOVELY! And, bon voyage!


`Yes!.. I am just about to leave for the train and I promise I don’t look quite as cool as the fabulous BB.. :)


Just returned from a weekend in Paris. It was overcast and warm enough for a blazer. Although we went for a funeral, we spent our time wandering and enjoying as much as possible

audrey williamson

Do totally agree with you about the coat dilemma and you are right about something that covers everything up being the answer. I was in Galeries Lafayette in Haussmann last week, however, and the Store was so warm it was unbearable to keep one’s coat on & I was only wearing a long lightweight wool wrap. I was so exasperated with the heat I couldn’t concentrate on shopping !
Always enjoy your articles and have a good trip to Paris !


In Oz some years ago quite a few of the major department stores/shopping malls changed the settings on air conditioning/heating – reducing the heating some degrees in winter and the air conditioning in summer. It’s now rarely cold inside during the summer (eg as it is in Singapore malls) or so stifling hot in winter. Understand this was done to reduce the impact on the environment – reducing power consumption and thus reducing greenhouse gas production. But in addition of course it reduces electricity costs to the owners, saving them money. (Quite a few government offices have done the same.) It also tends to make it a more comfortable experience for shoppers. Best wishes, Pamela


PS Have a great time in Paris! So fortunate to be so close, such a short and happy trip by Eurostar (last time I travelled it was over lunch time and they served a v pleasant meal with wine), and only around 3 hours! It takes us longer than that to get from Canberra to Sydney by road and not nearly as much fun. Agree with Edith, perhaps wear one of your trenches and then buy something special in Paris. At this time of year there will be so many styles to choose from. Love Paris, already planning next year’s hol there – and our dining and shopping shopping targets. Best wishes, Pamela


I wish you a magical time! I often have a great coat dilemma when traveling to Europe. The weather, even in summer, can have such a range of temperatures. Any one of the beautiful coats you are showing will be fabulous, I love a great trench style, classic and elegant, which will look equally beautiful with jeans, over a blazer or alone, over the LBD. Enjoy your time, Autumn is so lovely in Paris.


I wholeheartedly agree, Vicki. If you haven’t tried the new double cloth belted trench from JCrew, she’s quite appealing in olive. Short enough for those vertically challenged to still wear with pants or skirts, and elegantly casual.

lisa thomson-the great escape

A warm yet lightweight overcoat is a wardrobe must have, for sure. I just bought a new one after years of same old. I bought a deep green this time. I like mid thigh and minimum embellishments. No belt. :) They work well as a blanket when you travel. So many choices, Vicki! Have a great trip and I look forward to seeing your pics on instagram.


Vicki I picture a 3/4 length wool coat with a nice fit, to go with almost anything you wear! Also what about one of Catherine’s Cashmere’s? Her ponchos are fabulous and she has a couple of different weights.

The Arts by Karena


Bon voyage dear Vicki!
I hope you have a wonderful time and will follow with great interest as I am soon leaving for Paris myself , a special birthday celebration
I am also thinking of a suitable coat for all round wear, and I am liking the long trench/duster coat ( maybe in camel wool gabardine? ) dare I mention KK …..
I will look at the selection in MaxMara I think
Have fun!

Design Chic

I hope you have a wonderful trip and can’t wait to hear all about it! I love a double breasted coat and just bought one in a soft blue. Since I tend to wear a lot of black, the coat is perfect for adding a dash of color. Enjoy!


Dear Vicki,
I just found your blog and must say I’m in love:) I love the layout, the content (obviously) and the visuals. I’m an expat living in the French countryside, not far from Paris, who has spent last five years in London before moving to France, so it’s interesting to see a different point of view.

Cynthia Olson

Im enjoying your blog again it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, I’ve been so busy with two weddings and a brand-new grandson, so I’m trying to catch up today. I’ve missed seeing your own snapshots on this blog but I see that you’re posting most of them on Instagram, as you mentioned above. Hope you’re having a wonderful time thank you again for such beautiful writing.


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