5 Basics My French Friends Never Forget to Pack for Their Holidays

Every month, Londoner turned Parisienne Marissa Cox of Rue Rodier will bring you her pearls of Parisian fashion wisdom and style tips straight from the French capital. A photographer, writer and influencer, we turn to the oh-so-chic Marissa on a regular basis for a truly unique take on her adopted country’s signature style. Whether we’re looking to her décor decisions, handbag purchases or chic hotel choices, we can all agree that being un petit peu plus Français could never be a bad thing…

The French take vacationing seriously, so it makes sense they spend as little time as possible choosing what to wear whilst wiling away days by the pool. But that kind of preparation takes skill, and much like a Parisian’s capsule wardrobe, holiday packing errs on the side of simple and streamlined. Parisian women tend to forgo makeup in favour of a few basics such as sunscreen (of course), lipstick and perhaps a little mascara—and the same goes for their clothing choices.

They opt for minimum fuss so they can maximise time spent recharging batteries. Holiday packing can always seem a bit daunting, especially when you’re going away for a week with only a carry-on. So by harnessing tips I’ve picked up from my Parisian pals, I’ve selected a few key items that will save you from stress. Once in the sun, you can sit back, relax and make the most of les vacances.

1. ALWAYS PACK A WRAP DRESS

On Marissa Cox: Rails dress; Castañer espadrilles; Loewe bag 

One of the most versatile dress styles you can wear in summer is the wrap dress—just go up a size or two if you’re larger on the bust. They’re easy, breezy and will keep you cool in higher temperatures. This silhouette also works brilliantly as a beach cover-up. Look to cult brands such as Reformation, Réalisation, Faithfull the Brand, Ganni and Nanushka.

On Marissa Cox: Baum und Pferdgarten dress; Loewe bag; Teva sandals

This multipurpose sack isn't going out of style any time soon. Plus, it will be just as useful once you get home for supermarket trips. Made famous by the perennially chic Paris-based Brit Jane Birkin, its timeless appeal means it's also an item you can afford to invest in.

3. LEAVE YOUR HAT ON

On Marissa Cox: Gap dress; Teva sandals; Hat bought in Ibiza 

French women are famous for knowing how to look after their skin, and there’s no better way to protect your face from harsh wrinkle-inducing UV rays than with a hat. Select a wide-brimmed style so you can also shade your shoulders, neck and décolletage. If you want something a little more inconspicuous, opt for the style of the season: the bucket hat. It also folds well for travelling ease.

4. AN LBD IS NON-NEGOTIABLE

On Marissa Cox: & Other Stories dress; Mango sandals; Wicker Wings bag 

Don’t underestimate the power of the little black dress in summer. I love wearing white on holiday, but chances are if you’ve slathered yourself with sunscreen, white will get dirty fast, so a simple but elegant black dress is an important addition to your packing arsenal and looks très chic in the evening with a bright red lip. Choose a lightweight cotton or linen version, which can be dressed up with heels.

On Marissa Cox: Rails dress; Castañer espadrilles; Loewe bag 

Espadrilles are a style staple in France and Parisians’ go-to shoes for the warmer months. I, for one, have been wearing them since I was a kid on many a summer holiday spent frolicking by the French seaside, and they haven’t left my feet in summer since I’ve been living in Paris. I recommend investing in one black pair and one cream pair because they will go with every summer item you own. Not only are they the wear-anywhere summer style (also great for weddings), but they’re also possibly the most comfortable shoes you’ll walk in. Thank me later.