I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted (understatement of the year), and hopefully I can get into something of a regular posting rhythm again over the next couple of months. Life has gotten busier than usual, and that’s really the only excuse I can throw out there for not posting. That, and once I stopped posting regularly, it became easier to keep not posting.
So to get back on the proverbial horse, I figured I’d make up a mood board of what I’d pack if I were going to Europe this summer for a few weeks. In my imaginary vacation, I’d be in Europe from early May to early June – perfect weather, and you still get to beat a lot of the summer crowds (in my experience from studying abroad and then traveling after the semester was over). I like shoulder seasons for traveling; you get a lot of the weather perks, but don’t have to deal with the lines.
For this mood board, I used navy and grey as my neutral colors, and then pink and aqua as my accents. I have a lot of those colors in my closet, and they’re also pretty easy to find in stores at the moment too. Everything should be able to mix and match, so you can fit all of this plus your toiletries, undies, socks, and pajamas in a carry on bag (why pay fees if you don’t have to/why wait at a luggage carousel when you’re in Europe???).
On the plane ride over, I would wear the jeans, ruffle t-shirt, sneakers, and faux leather jacket. They’re some of the biggest items, so they would take up the most room in my bag otherwise. I would also carry a Le Pliage bag by Longchamp in large, since I could put my liquids bag, my Kindle, and other flight necessities in there and shove it under the seat in front of me on the plane. Finally, I’d accessorize with the infinity scarf, sunglasses, world necklace, and chunky bracelet. I’d also have a watch on (one similar to this) that I could set to local time as soon as we landed.
There are two purses on the mood board – a larger bag for schlepping personal items on the plane and between locations, and another bag that is a smaller cross-body bag. I’ve started using a cross-body purse for my everyday life, and I really like it because it’s light and pretty much hands-free. I’m not totally sure if I could manage a European vacation with a bag that small for my everyday carry, since I like to have maps, itineraries, tickets, and a water bottle with me when I’m out and about. But I figure it’s worth a shot, and if it doesn’t work out, then I could always use the larger bag.
Cardigans are a staple in my life – I love throwing them over a sleeveless shirt or t-shirt and looking more pulled together. They’re also good during shoulder seasons, since layering is key. And obviously, they cover your shoulders in case you’re in a more conservative area, or visiting a church.
Two skirts are key. Between the skirts and a pair of jeans, you have a lot of good options. In Europe, I like skirts better than shorts because they’re a bit dressier, and generally, they’re a bit longer. I’m not a fan of the super short-shorts, and I just don’t really feel like they’re appropriate if you’re going to museums or churches. But that’s just me. Plus, skirts are cooler in the heat.
I think having a dress is a good thing as well. You can dress this one up or down, depending on the accessories you use with it, so it could go from a day of sightseeing to a nice dinner in the evening. And it’s an all-in-one outfit, no thought required. I’ve yet to travel with a dress for an extended time, but the next time I’m in Europe, you better believe I’ll be packing one.
I know most people would probably pack a couple of bathing suits, but I’m not one to go to Europe for the beaches, although they can be a nice side trip if you have time. I want to be there for the history and the museums (and realistically, the food). Hence, only one bathing suit for me. But they pack tiny, so it’s easy to add another one if you’re going to be spending more time on the water.
Finally – the accessories. Scarves and jewelry can really add something to an outfit, and make you look sooooo much more pulled together. Besides, if you mix up your accessories, you can look like you’re in two different outfits, even though your clothes are exactly the same.
I lump shoes in with accessories, and three pairs are usually more than enough for me. Flats, sandals, and converse sneakers all pack really small, so they’re also easy to justify having. Between them all, you should be pretty well prepared for a variety of weather and activities. I also like having all of my shoes work with all of my clothes, so I don’t feel locked into “this pair of shoes can only be worn with this dress/skirt/whatever.” That defeats the mixing and matching principle you need to have to travel in just a carry on.
So what are your thoughts on my packing list? Would it work for you, or would you need to pack more (or less)? If you want more details on where the items on the board came from, just click on the image above, and it will take you to Polyvore. All of the individual items are linked from there.