23 Jun 2017

Packing For Paris: The Summer Solution

Packing For Paris on vickiarcher.com


Packing for Paris or any city when there is a heatwave is tough.

As much as we would all love to be relaxing by the seaside in our bathing suits on a rainbow of colours, it is not always possible. European summers are generally warm, wherever you travel and the chances of wandering in the heat are high.

My packing for Paris rules work pretty much for 9 months of the year but when it’s hot my suitcase changes. I am often asked what to wear in the city when it is sweltering and close.

My answer is always the same. Wear dresses and try linen ones.

A dress I can wear with sneakers if I am walking all day, with espadrilles if it’s a moderately paced day and with a heel if it is a meeting out and about. My philosophy about simple and classic doesn’t change because in most instances a city is not the place for moo moos or caftans.  They just don’t look right. I would love to wear dressy shorts and a little tee but that’s a mere figment in my imagination.

An aside, I tell my girls all the time to show their fabulous legs because sometimes legs and knees can lose their prettiness. Know what I mean;)?

How I miss the winter dressing up when I am stuck in the middle of a heat wave. These last two weeks have been very warm in London, Paris and Provence. All I want to wear is this style of dress; pants are too tight and hot in these kinds of temperatures. As much as I love my man style suits, even in linen they are quite suffocating.

This is what we need in our suitcases for a summer city break when it is too hot for our 3 easy pieces; simple linen dresses, with or without arms depending on your preference. If sleeveless is your choice it is useful to have a linen or cotton scarf to wrap around the shoulders for sun protection.

Linen dresses pack flat, are light and cool to wear and if mine get crushed it doesn’t matter. I lost my fret about creased linen years ago and actually a little bit of wear looks very Parisian. Like their hair, the Parisian do ruffled linen quite happily. As long as the hair, the sunglasses and the make-up are slick you won’t feel messy.

Pack a couple in different styles (I am wearing the black and bone shades) and re-work them with your accessories.

Cool as can be. xv

Packing For Paris: The Summer Solution

eileen fisher with 3/4 sleeve  ||  eileen fisher linen in bone  ||  eileen fisher chambray  ||  eileen fisher sleeveless

caslon shirtdress in khaki  ||  **caslon shirtdress striped  ||  **theory with fringe  ||  lafayette caressa

image hermes, life as a tale

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My first knowledge of espadrilles began when I read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway many, many years ago. Hemingway’s wife (I believe it was Hadley) always wore them and I became an instant fan.

Mimi Gregor

I have a lightweight linen knit t-shirt from Banana Republic that I LOVE in sweltering weather. It feels like you’re wearing just a tissue (it’s a very lightweight shirt). Paired with a lightweight cotton skirt and a pair of ballet flats, I can walk all over the city in the sweltering heat… if I was into that sort of thing….


In Ontario we deal with a lot of summer heat and humidity. I agree with you Vicky, a linen sheath is the best way to deal with that dreadful h&h! Nothing to bind at the waist, comfortable and light. I had a linen sheath dress that I wore and wore so much that the linen eventually cracked! I kept it because I always meant to take it apart, make a pattern from the pieces and make many, many copies! Hmmm, haven’t done it yet but that is on my “to-do” list :=)

Taste of France

I have seen women around town wearing the loveliest dresses. Cotton or linen–just heavy enough not to be transparent. The dresses are loose and mostly straight (no sweating at the waist!), with 3/4 length wide bell sleeves, just enough to protect from the sun. Knee-length, worn with espadrilles, Stan Smiths or sandals. I also saw a dress in a thinner, pleated cotton, with an attached slip. It had a round neckline like a beaded necklace, and the dress billowed out from there (sleeveless). Like walking around naked. But it was very chic.

Anita Rivera

A linen or light cotton dress is always my answer for a hot, European getaway! That’s all I wore when I was in Provence and depending on the fabric and flow, I could wear my espadrilles OR my sneakers, for those hikes up the grand garden in the village of Eze or simply getting up to my hotel room in Vernazza, Italy. Dresses win for me!


Exactly the way I pack … in summer it is always dresses and skirts and always I try to keep things mostly black and white so there is ease in mixing tops and bottoms and I don’t have to waste time of thinking of what to wear when I want to be Out There Seeing Everything :)


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Packing For Paris: What Not To Forget