Space Saving Fashion in the City
What you really need for a European City Break
I don’t know if it’s that I’m disorganised, or unable to think for myself, but before starting the arduous task of packing for any trip, I tend to do an internet search on what to outfits and accessories to take – I just need a little inspiration! So naturally, before embarking on a six week trip, inter-railing around European cities, carrying only hand luggage (!) I needed all the help I could get.
But where was it?! While full of helpful hints and tips on taking a guidebook and a padlock, swimming goggles, hiking boots and who knows what else were ten-a-penny, a packing list or even a list of tips complete with pictures and links, for a fashion-conscious but space-poor traveller were nowhere to be seen. So armed with the power of hindsight, I’m here to offer you some helpful hints for packing light and looking great on your European travels.
- ESSENTIAL CLOTHING: When packing light, it doesn’t really matter if you’re away for five days or five months, the essentials are the same. Clothing wise, I’d say you need four or five tops, two basic dresses, two sets of swimwear (bikini tops which can double up as bras are a brilliant space saver) which will work day-to-night, beach-to club-to temple (you get the idea), one pair of lightweight jeans, one or two pairs of shorts, depending how much you like your legs, one blazer or cardigan and one jumper or fleece if you absolutely have to (I personally, hate fleeces). Keep your staple pieces classic and choose colours in the same family so you can mix and match to your heart’s content and use accessories to build your looks up.
- ACCESSORIES WHICH WORK HARD: Shoes that can go from day to night are an absolute must, you definitely need some sandals or flip flops, a set of closed toe shoes – nude ballet pumps or slippers like these ones go with absolutely everything, and are super on trend this season – which can be dressed up or down and a pair of lightweight heels if you’re comfortable in them and they’re worth their weight in their value to you!
Bright and bold accessories can make or break your outfits. Do NOT leave the country without the following:
– Sunglasses, ideally wayfarers.
– A belt which will both hold your jeans up and cinch in a dress at the waist.
– At least one statement necklace, the easiest way to dress up even the most scruffy outfit.
– A timepiece, I’m never without my gold watch, which I picked up from Collectables – who stock a whole range of classic looking Skagen watches – it makes my outfits look put together even when I’m in the biggest rush and it kept me on time for all those train journeys!
– A brightly coloured, lightweight scarf which will effortlessly change your look as well as doubling up as a beach cover up and a makeshift blanket for chilly journeys where you need to grab precious few hour of sleep.
- PICKPOCKET-PROOF STYLE: A cross-body bag is an absolute essential for exploring new cities as well as for wild European nights out. Not only do cross-body bags look great but they are much less easy to snatch and grab from you, thieves target tourists in busy places and however savvy your fashion choices are, your accent is sure to give you away! Unlike a shoulder bag or shopper (even though these are great for the beach) a cross-body bag can be worn in your line of sight, so you’ll always know what’s happening with it. I’m really into classic, multi-functional pieces which go with everything at the moment so went with a gorgeous black cross body bag, which I literally used every single day (you can see it here)!
If you want to go a bit bigger or for something more statement then these classic Kipling bags are fun, practical and most importantly currently on sale! I love the neon pink colourway (pictured), so very Spring/Summer 2013.
- CONSIDER YOUR METHOD OF TRAVEL: I can’t stress how big an impact your method of travel should have on what you pack. If you’re travelling by train for example, a wheelie suitcase, however cute, is simply no good – you NEED a rucksack. Even though a camping-style rucksack might not be the sleekest of fashion accessories, you do get a certain sense of backpacker chic. I travelled by a mixture of train and plane, so needed a backpack suitable for both.