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Preparing for French Fashion

Packing for any trip is difficult, but planning for a semester of changing weather in one of the most fashion-forward countries brought on a whole new challenge for me. So what did I pack? Not much is the easy answer. For my three and a half months, I wanted to bring as little as a could so I could bring back lots of souvenirs, gifts, and clothes.

To begin, I packed only two dresses. I brought dresses that could function everyday, but also be dressed up just in case I need something fancier. I also packed a pair of black tights to transition both dresses into the colder weather.

Next, I packed two pairs of practical pants, one pair of black jeggings and a pair of my go-to skinny jeans. Both of these pants have gone well with every shirt I packed. I wasn't going to pack shorts but my mom insisted I did (Thank you, Mom!). Southern France can be warm and humid. Be sure to check the average weather and also the highs and lows. When I first arrived it was hot, so I lived in just my shorts. As far as shorts in France, I would stay away from jean shorts, they can be seen as very "American."

For shirts, the French love the basics. I packed two tank tops, four short sleeved shirts, and two 3/4 sleeved shirts. All of my shirts match my two pairs of jeans or my sweaters so I can make many different outfit combinations.

My sweaters are my favorite part! I stuck with very neutral colors. One pale blue, one grey pull over, one black, and one grey cardigan. Sticking to basic colors allows me to make more outfits because everything essentially matches my other clothes!

Now the necessary but boring part, sleepwear and work out. For sleeping I packed three t-shirts, one pair of shorts and one pair of sweat pants. For working out (p.s. I've been spending more time enjoying French cuisine than working out) I packed two short sleeved shirts, one long sleeved, a pair of capri legging, and full length leggings. I heard that French women don't wear shorts to work out but I feel like it would be acceptable in Aix. Although I haven't really worked out, these clothes have come in handy for hikes and lounging around the apartment.

And finally, the shoes! This was the most difficult part of packing. Realistically, you don't need many shoes, you just need versatile options. I packed flip-flops to use around the house and showering if I traveled, a pair of running shoes (which I do NOT wear around on a normal day), two pairs of flats, my Sperry's (not fashionable but my most comfortable pair of shoes), and a pair of boots for cold or rainy days.

Additionally I packed a half-zip sweatshirt, jean jacket, and a rain coat. On the plane I wore a three quarter length shirts with leggings and a winter scarf.

So how have my clothes fared with the French style? Personally, I think well. Neutral colors are definitely the way to go along with practical shoes (I've never walked so much). Since I've arrived in France, I have made some purchases. I bought a dressy white tank top, a black cardigan, a pair of boots and a black purse. I'd rather have to purchase cool new clothes from France than have to leave behind a lot when I leave. Happy Packing!

Sophia Hendrix is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is currently a sophomore at Ohio University.

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