Aug 30 2018
Over the years, I've had people ask me how I've gotten away with packing so light, especially for long journeys. So, while packing for my family trip to Europe, I thought it would be fun to show you!
A few things I have learned:
1) Once you think you're done, go back and take something out. For me, this is usually an extra tee or blouse. I often don't end up wearing everything I bring.
2) Try to double up and make single items work for two things. For example, my velvet bodysuit doubles as a one-piece swimsuit.
3) Save room in your suitcase for purchases, or bring an extra (foldable) bag for the things you buy.
Gonna jump right in here! For this trip, my parents, sister and I are hitting four places: Athens, Santorini, Brussels and Paris. Each city has a slightly different weather pattern in September, which made packing a little more challenging. Let's break it down.
The first thing I do every time is throw in one or two things that I absolutely, no-questions-asked want to bring. Usually it's something new that I want to show off, or even a tried-n-true staple. In this case, it was a new Topshop prison stripe top (because it's new), along with a Nooworks tee with a lip pattern on it (because it's my fave tee right now). The striped top can be worn alone or open, as a light jacket.
With those pieces as a base, I develop my color story. A color story is a color palette you choose based on the story you want to tell. I love color and have a bold wardrobe so my color story might be a bit more flexible than, let's say, my mom's (she only wears black and white). For this trip, I want bold color with an overall fun style + a few classic-with-a-twist outfits for Paris (since they are oh-so chic over derrr).
Both base pieces have black and white, so I threw in this striped tee and Nooworks brown dot overalls. Both have black and white and both are patterned. The striped tee will be easy to pair with just about anything since it's a classic print and the overalls are more funky and allow me to have a second pair of pants without actually bringing two pairs of jeans.
The overalls are also a great "double piece"...something can work a few different ways. This pair can be worn alone during hot weather, or paired with a tee or long sleeved shirt for colder weather.
Next up – other bottoms. Adding one pair of blue skinny jeans because they are neutral and the fit is easy (unlike some of my other jeans that are less comfortable and have a more extreme look). Also adding a pair of silk Desigual shorts because it's going to be hot in Greece and we will be there longer than the other destinations. Plus, this print is wild and I can see it looking really cool with the striped tee or even the lips tee!
An outfit popped into my head around this time during yesterday's process. I envisioned myself in a chic Parisian stripe long sleeved top with blue jeans and oxford-like loafers. Perfect because I just picked up a thin, long sleeved striped tee from Oak + Fort and I haven't worn it yet. This piece will be good for several reasons: it can be layered with overalls or worn alone with jeans for cooler weather or the sleeves can be pulled up and it can be worn with shorts for warm weather. The material is thin, which makes it quite versatile.
Shit, just realized I don't have a dress in the mix! I love maxi's especially because they can be dressed up or down. I tossed in one of my fave dresses – a Free People funky print dress in teal. I picked it because (like the striped tee above) its made of thin material and can be worn during hot or cold weather. I proved this last summer in Austin when I wore it to an outdoor bar when the temp outside was over 100 degrees. I've also worn this with a light jacket in San Francisco, so I know it will work during autumn in Paris.
And, about that light jacket...throwing in a distressed denim number that I picked up from Crossroads this year. It's American Eagle, don't judge me.
Since I'm bringing such a light jacket, I'm also brining my secret weapon for the chills – a fluffy scarf! An exposed neck always gets me as far as being cold, so I figure I can pair this scarf with the denim in case it's really chilly in Paris. It also doubles as a blanket for the (always cold) plane ride.
Next up – swimwear. Always bring a suit, just in case! I opted for the ultimate Double Piece – a velvet bodysuit that I got at an art fair in Tampa. It can also get wet so I'll be using it as a swimsuit if needed.
We don't have much on our actual agenda but there's talk of a hike in Santorini, so I'll need comfortable shoes and possibly some workout gear. I hate packing pajamas since they take up space and aren't stylish, so I try to find PJs that can be Double Pieces, know what I mean? In this case, I will be sleeping in my amazing, comfy Girlfriend Collective leggings and sports bra. I'll also wear this if we go hiking and just wash it once we're back.
Holy crap, did I forget shoes? It's a given that I'll need something that I can walk around in (or hike in, let's be real). I don't want to bring official gym shoes because the style isn't vibing with my color story (not doing street wear this trip) so I'm bringing these Keds-like tennies made by the brand Trees. They are cotton and easy to walk in, so should work out just fine.
Remember my little vision of me in Paris with some oxford loafers? Adding them. These are surprisingly easy to walk in and their a bit jazzier for a dinner or drinks evening.
Lastly, bringing my mood ring Malvados slides because they are SO comfy and they'll be perfect for either the beach or for the hot weather in Greece. Plus they are small and easy to bring.
I love to accessorize so I'm packing two patterned headbands. The blue one works with the bolder pieces in my collection, like the teal dress and green shorts while the orange striped one can jazz up any black and white outfit. I'm bringing a backpack as my purse, but also adding a proper purse in case I don't want to lug around a backpack full of snacks and phone chargers. I picked a woven jute bag by the brand Frankie.
I'm not going to go too into detail about jewelry, makeup and toiletries but I will certainly show what's coming with me. Toiletries can get bulky so I only brought shampoo and I plan to use the Shea Moisture coconut oil spray as a double piece (conditioner/styling product). I also am brining a bar of Lush soap (Sultana) because its easy and takes up less space. I also don't put soap in one of those gross, bulky plastic boxes, I just put it in a pocket of my hanging travel bag.
I've learned to keep jewelry minimal, as I usually wear the same pieces over and over. I'm bringing one pair of statement tassel earrings, a pair of simple gold hoops, a small pair of studs and my current fave earrings just because I like them (crystal hoops). Added two simple bracelets and one necklace (not pictured).
Makeup is always last. I am bringing one palette of neutral shades for my eyes. Also bringing eyebrow stuff (gel and pencil), mascara and some highlighter instead of blush since blush palettes are big and bulky. For lips, I'm bringing my favorite balm, Lip Service, from Lush. Also a primer and then one lipstick and one gloss.
I'm mostly done at this point but as I'm walking by the closet yet again, I notice a new Nooworks blouse that my friend Fran got for me for my birthday this year. I love it and it works with the color story because, hello? Stripes! I'm adding it to the mix even though I'm not certain I need to bring it.
At this point, everything goes into packing cubes. Packing cubes are amazing. They keep your suitcase organized and they save space. I would have never heard of them if not for my friend Michelle who runs the travel blog Deskrib. I read one of her packing posts and she mentioned these – I immediately bought some and haven't turned back. Check out her post about packing cubes, below:
The actual last thing I do is prep my plane outfit. I try to wear bulky things when I fly since the plane is usually cold and it saves space in my bag. I'm opting for that fun, last-minute blouse with my light jacket, jeans and oxford shoes since they are the bulkiest (not shown in this pic).
I'm actually leaving for O'Hare in a few hours, furiously finishing this post for you before I go. I still might pull out that striped blouse and risk having less tops. One reason this is up for debate is because my parents are bringing me a belated bday gift which could be a clothing item. Anyway, we'll see. I'll make a decision on that in the next hour.
Everything is packed and fits with room to spare in my 19" hard side carry on so I consider this packing adventure a success. I hope this helped you visualize how I pack for trips as there's always a method to my madness. Please contact me with questions or anything I may have missed. Talk to you laterrrrrrr.