- Summer for me means flip flops! But that doesn't apply to France! Here, flip flops scream tourist. No one wears them! I brought a pair from the brand Rainbow, and haven't worn them out of the house once.
- Winter for me means Uggs! Well that doesn't apply here either. One other girl at my high school owns a pair. You will stand out in them. My friends used to tease me by saying that I had worn my slippers to school! They're also significantly more expensive here, and just all around not appreciated. Save the pounds and space in your suitcase and opt instead for a pair of tennis shoes to get you through the winter. They'll work like camouflage.
- Keep all those high heels at home! They will serve absolutely no purpose in France. French girls wear ballerina flats or a very small kitten heel.
- The North Face is completely unknown. I really regret bringing my The North Face fleece and puffy marshmallow winter coat. They take up a lot of space, and frankly are kind of embarrassing to wear. At home, it's what I, and everyone I know, live in all winter! Here, one of my friends asked me if The North Face was the ferry that goes from England to France and he thought my fleece was the rain jacket they gave out on the boat... It's not necessarily the brand that is important, but this style of coat that stands out in France. Instead, girls wear long trench coats. Oh and thick, knit scarves were everywhere this winter!
- The unwritten dress code is much more conservative in France. In America, stores sell shorts at a pretty short length and that's all I wear normally! I never realized just how short my shorts and dresses are until I came to France. I suggest you leave out anything that hits above the mid thigh, it's poorly seen here. Also, for things that show leg, girls wear nude pantyhose or tights. You'll definitely go through a few dozen pair during your exchange!
That covers my personal packing mistakes! I hope it helped somebody in some way! Again, these are the things that I regret having in the East of France. What I found may not be true in other countries or even other parts of France. For example, during my time in Paris, every woman I saw was in fur. Well, here in the country, no one is wearing fur!
Oof. Packing is complicated. Look up the weather for where you're going, look at your host siblings facebook pictures to see what they wear, and bring some money to shop! ;)