Believe it or not, even though we’re just settling in here in Seattle, at the end of next week I’ll be heading off again for five weeks, with one week spent in San Diego, two weeks on pilgrimage with Christine Valters Paintner in Ireland, and two final weeks in Arizona as I finish up my spiritual direction training.
Needless to say, even though we’re still unpacking, I’ve got packing on the brain. I’m especially interested in packing wisely since I’ll be traveling to different climates—I’ll need a wardrobe that works well for cold rainy days in Ireland and sweaty 8+ degree days in Arizona. Since I don’t have much capacity right now to figure it all out from scratch (my clothes aren’t even organized to select from!), I’ll be looking back to last year’s “Dress for the Trip You Want to Have” guest post as a part of Dear Abby Leigh’s “Dress for the Day” series.
I thought I’d share it again with you here, too, in case you missed it last year and need a little packing inspiration for your upcoming adventure. Whether 5 days or 50, it’s always important to dress (and pack) for the trip you want to have. It makes a difference in your mood, I promise! Plus, it makes the load a little lighter.
I have traveled for as long as I can remember, and my journeys away from home have always impacted my life in new, exciting, and challenging ways.
In October, my husband Kyle joined me for his first trip to Europe. Since my travels have been so formative in the past, it was really significant to now be traveling abroad as a couple. Who knew what this new shared experience would bring?
Before we left, I planned to pack the same old stuff I’d worn on past trips abroad—clothes that are flexible, comfortable, sensible, and fit in the backpacking backpack serving as my suitcase. Packing for the off-season—cold weather clothes take up more room—meant I would have to bring even fewer pieces.
As the trip drew near and visions of tea time, the Eiffel Tower, and pesto danced in my head, I found my go-to travel wardrobe to be lacking in the inspiration department. When it came time to pack, I decided to apply Abby’s “Dress for the Day” mantra to my travel wear. I found inspiration to dress for the trip I wanted to have.
The trip I wanted to have was largely based on how I wanted to feel while journeying: I wanted to feel cozy in Scotland, confident in London, fashionable on the streets of Paris, and care-free when in Rome—because when in Rome…
Basically, I wanted to feel empowered and ready for adventure, and there’s no reason why my wardrobe couldn’t pull some of the weight on this new endeavor. With only a couple of new purchases and some rearranging, I managed to put together a new wardrobe to fit the bill.
4 COUNTRIES, 40 DAYS, 1 BACKPACK
Here it is, along with some tips of the trade and some photos of the wardrobe in action:
- Daypack. You need a purse, but when traveling, you often need a bit more – water, a guidebook, a camera, etc. It’s also important in my opinion to have a cross-body bag that zips or latches shut. It’s easier to access and carry for a long day, plus it keeps you safer from pick pockets (you’ll definitely never find me wearing a money belt). I bought this handmade leather bag from an Indian on Etsy… for $65! Done.
- Shoes. These Naturalizer boots are one of my new purchases for the trip. Great for walking, any type of (cooler) weather, and can be dressed up or down. In a successful trip wardrobe, everything goes with everything, so remember this when packing. This time around (and usually every time) I choose camel for my necessities (bag, shoes, belt).
- Scarf. fashions best invention, especially for your trip. It can make an entirely new outfit, and they pack so small there’s often room for multiples. Plus it’s great for when it’s cool but too warm for a jacket/coat.
- Sunglasses. Always. You never know when the sun will peek through, even if your destination seems dreary.
- Things to bundle. Since we were beginning in Scotland, I knew I’d be needing to keep myself warm. That doesn’t mean it can’t fit in my scheme, though (and double as a beret in Paris)! I also took this coat in black from Land’s End. Not the ideal choice for fashion, but it still looked nice and kept me dry and warm, whatever the weather might be (and had secret pockets!).
- Shirt. Another new item I splurged on for the trip that had been on my list for a long time. I wore this chambray shirt from Canvas more than anything else.
- Dress. You never know when you’ll go out to a nice dinner or see a show, and my blah wardrobe from before might have kept me from this! Unacceptable. Even though I’ve had this cotton dress for years, it just so happened to be in the season’s it-color – oxblood. Success.
- Tights. To go with the dress (or to wear underneath jeans on a blustery day).
- Sweaters. Both of the cardigan variety. Perfect for layering, and great to have 2 to mix things up (or during laundry days!).
- T-shirts. You just can’t go wrong with nice white t-shirts. These had a great feel to them, were long, had an elegant scoop neck, and cost only $5.80 at Forever 21. Naturally, then, you should by 3 and bring them all.
- Belt. Always bring a belt, even if you think you won’t need it. Because when you wear your jeans three days in a row you will. Plus, you can also use it to accessorize the dress, sweater, or button-down shirt.
- Jeans. Dark and straight leg is best. Dark hides grime and thin looks put together. No need to look sloppy!
- Jewelry. choose a few select pieces that will really add to the outfit in the same scheme – this time I went with gold.
- Leggings. Another new purchase and so worth it. These are thick black leggings from Loft and they were cozy and elegant simultaneously. Win.
I know, I know, it looks all nice out on the bed. Here’s how it worked in action:
- Dressing for departure: 2 days and three flights. Must feel good (and bring an extra t-shirt to change into!).
- Outside Tower Bridge in London. Cozy dresses are great for exploring cities and feeling chic.
- Perfect outfit for romping in the leaves outside Buckingham palace, don’t you think?
- The coat—not so bad, right? Though I might have fared better with the policeman’s coat who was guarding 221B Baker Street. Classy and warm.
- In the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Picked up this sparkly sweater (still in my scheme!) at an H&M in Canterbury. Always leave room in your suitcase for a few additions!
- In Nice. In every picture before this I had to take off my coat for the photo, but no longer! This really was a perfect day for a dress.
- Hiking in Cinque Terre in Italy. Wardrobe still going strong.
- In the Roman Forum—ready for some excavating.
- We rented a scooter on our last day in Rome. This outfit is significant for two reasons—1. it was great for riding the scooter (no need to wear sensible shoes!) and 2. I had to wear the same thing for the next two days. We were returning to the US the next day and sleeping in the Rome airport that night—not on my list of recommendations. (Bonus: outfit looks très chic when slightly cocking your hip to the right and leaning on a scooter.)
- Another wardrobe addition—new shoes from Zara. When in Europe, shop as the Europeans do! (but stay on budget)
Any travel wardrobe tips of your own?