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Clothing suggestions for France in September, slightly overweight woman

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Jun 17th, 2007, 09:06 AM
  #1
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Clothing suggestions for France in September, slightly overweight woman

Yes, I am over 60 years in age, 5'1", weigh 150 plus. (Perhaps this meets the profile of many of my fellow female travelers.) My husband and I will be traveling in Paris and throughout France in September. I want to be comfortable, but also dress appropriately. We will be exploring some museums, but mostly we will walk and enjoy our surroundings. I would be very grateful for clothing suggestions from fellow female travelers.
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Jun 17th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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In a word...think shoes for you will be spending many h-o-u-r-s every day on your feet.... walking. Coordinate your outfits around your shoes, comfortable shoes, and be sure to break them in before you leave on your trip. I'd suggest purchasing a couple of pairs of walking shoes with rubber soles and elastic stretch sides which expand from European manufactures such as Clarks, Ecco, Born, or Merrell. It's been a couple of years since I've been to Europe and six years since I last visited France, but I believe that you'd still be safe by building your wardrobe around the color black.... shoes, slacks, dress skirt, and coat. Then add your color in your tops, jackets, & scarves. Don't pack anything that doesn't stretch and if it doesn't have 'grow room' leave it home as you'll probably put on a couple of pounds consuming all of those French breads and sauces. Enjoy your trip and don't count the calories.... plenty of time to diet when you return home!
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Jun 17th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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It could be quite warm still in September so be sure to include a sweater or two. I like knits and there are so many different knit fabrics available now, in all weights. They don't wrinkle and if laundered, dry quickly. I have a couple of silk knit twin sets that I love. Can use the cardigan if cool or just the shell if it's warm. I personally don't care for capris so I like comfortable pants and skirts. Sandals could still be appropriate if you like them. I have some very comfortable slip on shoes..Clarks and Soft Spot that are wonderful.

I don't travel when it's hot...I HATE heat and turn into a huge sweaty "patty melt" so I'm thinking what I would take if I was traveling at the time you are. I use black as my base color and going in the fall I probably would still do that. I combine that with usually beige and gray with scarves for color. Everything goes with everything else that way. I usually take two pair pants, one skirt, and then of course have the pants I wear traveling. A few tops, a couple of cardigans and voila..good to go. If you take a coat or jacket, wear it on the plane. Also wear your heaviest shoes so not taking up the space in your suitcase.

I think, if you wear them, capris would be fine for the countryside. A lot of women do wear them in the city so it's no big deal...I just don't personally feel comfortable in them. You should be able to find a lot of good clothing deals..end of season..if you feel you need to shop before you go. Take an umbrella.
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Jun 17th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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We used to go to France every September. Since hurricane Katrina, we now go in the spring.

But back to Sept. We've had 85 degree weather and we've had 40 degree weather, most of the time it falls somewhere in between. Layers help cover all your bases.

I plan my packing from the ground up. Since you're going to be on your feet a lot, a good pair of walking shoes is a must. I've found that the really good ones (comfortable) are less then stylish, so I stick to black and take 2 or 3 pairs of black pants. (You can do brown, navy or tan as your base color, but black is easier to coordinate and it doesn't show stains.) Try the pants on with the shoes before you pack to make sure the length is right.

One really lightweight pair of pants, one more substantial and one a little dressier. Then add one lighter pair of pants, maybe beige or a skirt that would go with the tops you're taking. And don't even think of taking any that are the least bit tight.

Walking shoes look less "touristy" when you have a column of one color. Pack another pair of shoes with a little heel for the dressier slacks.

One nice black jacket (or in your base color) that you wear on the plane. This will make a suit with your slacks that can be dressy or casual.

Think about what tops you would wear if it were really warm. Then pack 4 or 5 of your favorite blouses or shirts, (some short sleeve, some long) a couple of sweaters, scarves and/or jewelery.

Take one large pashmina type scarf you can wear either aviator style or shawl style in case it gets really cold.

I would avoid anything flashy or bright colored unless it's just a touch like a scarf. I usually take tops in white, pastel or neutral colors.

After 20 years of doing this, I have found that I really need to pack clothes I love and that are comfortable. If I bring something just because "it would look great in Paris or whereever" I end up not wearing it.

I know this is getting long, but one more hint since you're travelling around. Throw a suit bag in your suitcase, the kind they give away when you buy a men's suit. It will hold several hangers.

When you get to your first stop, unpack some of each of your clothes and put them on hangers in the suit bag. That way wrinkles will have a chance to fall out and you won't have to keep packing & unpacking your suitcase at each stop.
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Jun 17th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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You might find that you even lose a bit of weight with all that walking ;-)
I'd echo the comfortable shoes.
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Jun 17th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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I echo the comfortable shoes. I usually take one pair walking (i.e., Merrell Jungle Crocs) and one pair sandals. On the sandals, I go with Cobbie Cuddler lace ups because they're a bit more feminine than most comfort sandals but still cushioned and comfortable for walking all day.

I like color, so I don't do the "black wardrobe" (it also doesn't look good on me). I go with browns, olive and/or blue. On my next trip for 3 weeks, I'm doing the following:

beige walking shoes and sandals
4 bottoms: olive, olive, slate blue and jeans (the non-jeans are twill or cotton)
5 solid tops: garnet, brown, brown, sage, caramel
2 lightweight jackets: olive and blue grey (not quite the same color as the pants, but they work great together)
pashmina with all the above colors (I also use a cream one and a gold one for trips).

I wear mid-rise, bootcut pants and A-line skirts to just below the knee as they are most comfortable on me and look the best. They also both give a better line for imperfect figures. The tops are short sleeve or sleeveless and of cotton or cotton knit. I don't do tees because they make me look squat - I look for a more feminine cut without being tight.

I find that by keeping the bottoms and jackets in the same color family but of different hues, that I still look put together but not "coordinated". And I get my color without sacrificing the mix and match ability. I don't do any prints (except the pashmina) to keep things simple.

Also, by not doing tees, I feel that I'm a bit "dressier" looking for evenings.
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Jun 17th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Definitely wear athletic shoes (sneakers or whatever you want to call them). Your feet will thank you forever. They don't have to match your outfit, they don't have to look good -- the French absolutely do not care what tourists have on their feet, and when they go on vacation themselves, they wear anything they damn well please, so do not let the fashion police influence you. Comfort is the only thing that counts.
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Jun 17th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Kerouac - but only if athletic shoes are comfortable for you. Don't wear them otherwise.

(I say that because I find them very uncomfortable and do better with other styles.)
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Jun 17th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Definitely over 60, the whole bit.

Shoes: two pairs of black ecco's but spend time in a shoe store finding out what works best for your foot. Mine are a little wide.

Pants: black, khaki, tencel jeans

Tops: black, red, white and one other color that makes your heart sing and goes with all the pants. (Wear black pants, black top and tie red shirt over your shoulders, khaki pants with black shirt) You get the idea. Only your husband will notice how often you wear something.

Rain jaccket, light weight polartec will cover any weather you could possibly come upon.

For tops, I used LLBeans pima cotton t-shirts and matching cardigan. If anything looks like it might be dressy, throw in a long skirt. Also include a scarf and a piece of inexpensive jewelry.

My color scheme isn't required. You can put together something similar in your favorite colors.

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Jun 17th, 2007, 10:48 AM
  #10
 
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Great advice from everyone.
I'd like to suggest a jean type jacket
- fairly fitted and not necessarily in
denim. I like the jacket over a tee
with scarf/pashmina over top and black
pants underneath. Neat but stylish,
no?

Keep everything as light in weight as
possible - including your purse/bag.
And, yes, shoes that suit your feet
and allow you to schlepp w/o pain are
the number one necessity.........
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Jun 17th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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Good quality walking shoes are generally much more comfy than white athletic shoes (which, after all are for tennis or running or cross training - or just sneakers) but not necessariy for walking long-distances on cobblestone or uneven pavements. Also be sure the shoes are waterproof - since in the fall it;s likely you'll see at least some rain.

Agree that tenps can vary - so you need to be able to layer - with thin to medium weight pants (and skirts if you prefer - Idon;t do them except for dinner outfits), a mix of lon and short-sleeve tops, one or two light sweaters and a light jacket (I have one of those tissue weight rain jackets with hood, reversible from tan to black).

I don;t find sandals that comfy for long-distance walking - and the possibility of rain makes them less practical than real shoes.

Then - I pack 2/3 dinner outfits - usually silk or nice quality knits - with topr, pants and skirts that mix/match (navy or black and white) an done pair of pretty shoes (wedges are esier to walk in than heels).

And I've found that even though I eat way more than I do at home I lost 2/3 pounds per week due to all the walking.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 01:45 PM
  #12
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Wow! I was worried when replies were slow to come in. When I shopped for clothing in Italy, I could not find much in over a size 12. I know skinny is "in", but I think most of us will agree, these are women who can eat whatever they want and/or women who starve themselves/exercise excessively, neither of which is "healthy". Thanks to all the women out there, like myself, who exercise each day, eat right and still are who they are, without obsessing about it. I think that is the real "healthy". Thanks for your advice.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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>> I know skinny is "in", but I think most of us will agree, these are women who can eat whatever they want and/or women who starve themselves/exercise excessively, neither of which is "healthy".<<

You may find it comforting to think so, but in fact, most Italian women are much thinner than most American women because they eat healthier foods and in more moderate quantities.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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<<You may find it comforting to think so, but in fact, most Italian women are much thinner than most American women because they eat healthier foods and in more moderate quantities.>>
I realize that is why they are thinner. I know they carry the grocery bags home from the store and up six flights of stairs. I know they walk, or ride bicycles, everywhere, rather than drive. I know I walk two and 1/2 half miles a day, also swim regularly, don't eat huge portions, have low blood pressure, good cholesterol and wear the size I wear. We are all who we are, skinny or bigger. And I accept your point of view as well.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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I am a size eight and sometimes a ten and I have trouble finding clothes in France. I went to a boutique and to the Galleries Lafayette in Paris last Fall and I was struggling to get into extra large! One saleslady was struggling to help me with a tweed jacket top and she was pulling it together like she was lacing a corset!
We both had to laugh.

Yes, we are all built differently so I agree with you, be proud that you exercise and are who you are. Have a wonderful trip.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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I agree. There are many factors that affect "size" - including height, bone structure, build, etc. A 5'4" woman who weighs 150lbs with a long torso and short legs will often fit a smaller size than a 5'4" woman who weighs 140lbs with a short torso and long legs.

That's also why many women wear different sizes in tops than they do in bottoms - their build structure puts more of the weight distribution in a specific region.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 03:12 PM
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hi, meggies,

though this doesn't exactly answer your query, you'll find more and more shops in europe cater for the more generous figure.

you'll have to avoid most of the "boutiques" but the big stores and some specialist shops have some lovely clothes designed for us.

so leave space in your suitcase!

regards, ann
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Jun 27th, 2007, 03:13 PM
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I'm over 40 and fat, and after about 15 trips to Paris, I've decided after my month here this time that from now on, for my packing ease and comfort, my clothing will consist purely of black, white and denim. A couple of scarves for color, but watching the chic locals, those three colors seem to me to predominate the "look" and work anywhere you might go.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Hit Chicos for comfortable, washable, and more-or-less stylish stuff. Take a few things that mix and match. Stick to darks so they don't show spills. But some fun, moderately funky sneakers (like Sketchers or whatever) for serious walking and throw in a dressier pair of something for dinner.

No jogging suits; safari vests; heavy, hot jeans, but I'm sure you know that.
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Jun 27th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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I am 44 and probably have the same body type you mention. "Regular" sizes are usually snug on my...um...generous bottom half. If I move up to Women's sizes, I am lost in flapping yards of fabric! It's tough...all a matter of cut.

Last year, I started buying from Talbot's Women's Petites collection. The clothes are more generously proportioned, yet still appropriate for the shorter figure. It has been a lifesaver. I take an 12 or a 14 and have not had to have any tailoring done.

Their Matte Jersey separates are my go-to travel clothes. Actually, the Matte Jersey pants are my everyday pants, regardless of where I am. When I first took them to France, I was amazed at how well they packed and washed. More than a year later, I am still wearing them. (Yes, I have three pairs now!)

While I would love to be wearing more "artsy" clothing day-to-day, I have also surrendered to the fact that I just look better in tailored clothing. More flattering to the short but zaftig frame.
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