I’ve come to realize that preparing to leave your home for a Europe trip is like preparing to leave your home forever. Same thing. The amount of prep and cleaning and brain puzzles that go into it… man. The one thing that’s been surprisingly easy about it all is the packing. I’ve been packed for a month. I edited and rearranged a couple things over the weekend, but for the most part, yes. I have been. And I’ll get to that in a sec, which is the main point of this here post…
But all the other stuff that goes into leaving… my goodness it’s been a day. There’s not one thing I didn’t clean today. Name something…. Yep. Cleaned that. I cleaned my trashcan today. What. Name one thing I didn’t prepare for life on its own today. Yep. It’s cool. I did so much laundry, y’all. So much. *slow clap for the Mega Capacity LG* My laundry did laundry. My fridge is empty. And it’s never empty. And I’ve been making family meals out of bits and pieces of various leftovers and freezer offerings this week, to eliminate any food waste. Tonight we had Tarragon Chicken Stroganoff over Cheesy Polenta.
Because I had leftover (grits), roasted chicken, porcini mushrooms and a tinge of half&half in the fridge. And now I do not. (I’m sure most people trash the fridge and order takeout to eliminate food waste… I’m not most people.)
Leaving your kids, home, pets, family, friends… everything behind to travel across country, is a mind trip. Pun intended. (And my bread. I’m leaving my bread behind too, y’all… Not only am I responsible for human and animal lives, but I’m keeping two sourdough starters alive, so I gotta think about them too! I baked two loaves today for the freezer to keep them alive and happy until I return.)
I think today I was doing whatever the equivalent of this is to nesting, right when you know the baby is coming… I did not stop. All day. Just preparing. I’m incredibly excited for my trip, totally. Underneath all the preparation… but once I’m there, the real excitement will set in. That’s just how my mind works. I take one step at a time and deal with it as I go.
Also… I get very sentimental whenever I travel on a plane without my kids. And most of you know to expect some sentiment coming your way before I board. So… if any of you receive a jumbly text that makes me appear drugged or drunk, you now understand why. I’m only trying to tell you that you mean something to me. (But I’m probably also drugged and drunk.)
And now, as I wait for the 97th load of laundry (I think the couch is in there) to be done, I’m finishing up this post with my hair in the tiniest of dried sweat-curled pig tails, in a maxi dress that seemed an easy choice of wardrobe post-gym first thing this morning, but at around noon became tied around my thighs because of all the stair-climbing and thing-lifting, and with my cellphone in a bowl of arborio rice due to an unfortunate vacuum meets water accident.
…here’s your bread and butter:
So, knowing that I’m a huge fashion and makeup fan (someone who loves variety in both, especially when traveling), the fact that the packing list is as streamlined as it is, is highly impressive. It may seem like a lot to some of you, I get that, but trust me when I say this is pretty freakin’ good for me, especially considering the occasion and the potential for international fashion posts! So I say maybe use this as a guideline, taking ideas that I’m giving you, for your upcoming trip. Edit more if you need to, add more… but this is what works for me…
The key to streamlining your wardrobe for a week+ trip to Europe is to choose a color palate and stick with it. That way all of your clothes will go with each other and you have endless outfit possibilities. Then, I recommend choosing a metal for your accessories, and a pop of color for an evening clutch and a wrap/scarf, plus that shade of lipstick and nail polish. This will ensure that you will look pulled together every. hour. of. the. day. I chose black, white and grey, with a pop of red. And gold as my metal. Not one thing in my suitcase derives from that. Not one. That palate is simple, it’s classic, and I personally had a lot to work with in that arena. But you choose what you wear a lot of and have plenty of. (NOTE- I didn’t buy anything new for this trip. Be proud. Be VERY proud.)
So first I’ll show you what I’m packing within each category. Then I’ll show you some outfit options I have. (Keep in mind that I’m traveling in early Spring so the shoes are closed-toed, and layering is a must.)
Basically, I recommend the following essentials:
- A white, button down top that can be worn on it’s own tucked in, or tied at the waist, or over a tank… with anything, really. Also if the length is right, a button down works as a swimsuit cover up if swimming is on the table.
- 1 or 2 fairly classic white t-shirts that are in a shape most suitable for your style and body. I prefer something in a sheer cotton blend with a little flow to it that hits right at my hip bones, with a relaxed neckline. And it should be one that you could also dress up if need be.
- 1 or 2 white tanks or wife beater style tops, preferably in a super long length that’s perfect for layering. This can be dressed up or down. (For evening, you can get by with a white tank, fitted blazer, a skinny jean cuffed at the ankle, a heel and some bling. Done.)
- Some type of light sweater that can be dressed up or down.
Then you can build off of that if need be. I added a couple casual boxy tops, (that still look put together and not sloppy), that go well with skinny jeans, leggings or a skirt. And a few cropped, sleeveless, high neck tops that go well with two of the ‘bottoms’ I’m bringing. They can be dressed up or down, are made of cotton and take up very little space.
For day time I recommend the 2 types of pants:
- A skinny jean style of denim, in a dark wash. This can also be worn in the evening with heels and one of your nicer tops for cocktails or dinner. And I added a pair of black jeans, same style.
- Some sort of nice slack, preferably in black for easy pairing
The slacks I chose are extreme wide leg pants with an elastic waist. They’re always my travel pants, as they look nice but feel like pajamas. They also don’t wrinkle. I can sit cross legged, legs curled under me… however I wish and I am always comfortable. I pair them with crop tops, as they’re high-waisted. I can also wear them on an evening out if I needed to.
Evening wear & cross over skirts / dresses:
I think the following are crucial:
- A LBD (little, black dress)- one that always works and is classic.
- A nice, full length dress (or if you’re more comfortable in a shirt/long dress combo, that works just as well).
- A black maxi dress in a stretchy, cotton blended material. This can be worn during the day with flats, or dressed up with a belt, accessories and heels for another evening option.
Then I added to it (only because we have several nice, business dinners in several of the cities) two more nice, cocktail dresses and a cupcake skirt that can be dressed up with heels or down with flats, one of my black jumpsuits and another sleeveless, black cotton dress- this one hitting right above the knee.
Wraps / Jackets:
- Pashminas are key. They can be blankets on the plane and train, scarfs, evening wraps… I chose one in my pop color and a neutral grey. (I chose the soft grey over the black or white as I felt it made more of a statement with what I’m bringing.)
- Fitted blazer. You can roll up the sleeves and wear it over your LBD, or the jumpsuit, or with jeans…
- Cardigan for daytime
Shoes (other than sneakers):
You can cover so many bases with the following:
- Black low booties (soft heel is a must for the walking)
- Nude heels (in my shortness, that means platforms. Always)
Add to this your favorite walking sneaker (I’m a VANS girl), and you’re all set. Shoes take up SO much room. So this is where you should really cut back.
- Large sunglasses
- Large brimmed hat (preferable in a material that won’t wrinkle or smush permanently from packing)
- 1 or 2 short, statement necklaces in your chosen metal
- 1 or 2 cuffs in your metal (can be worn as a team- one on each wrist, or as a single).
- Various lengths of earrings in your metal- shorter/studs for your collar necklaces and danglies for your longer ones (not pictured)
- Color pop clutch for evenings
I added a long, multi-strand pearl necklace that I can wrap around my wrist for a bracelet as well, as I personally like to layer things on my wrist.
I’m also bringing a few different (gold) cocktail rings. One has rubies in it, that fit with my palate.
And I happened to have a collar necklace in my red, so I’m bringing it for an option on an otherwise neutral outfit.
And the jeweled belt can be added to any of my black dresses, the jumpsuit… it can change an outfit.
And the weather has been all over the place so I added the leather gloves in my pop color just in case.
Now, below I’ll show you several different outfit possibilities. First we’ll tackle the daytime. Note- We are out walking ALL DAY everyday, so everything is very minimal and casual. But it will all look pulled together thanks to the color scheme.
My travel outfit on the way out:
I feel like I’m in pajamas, and the cardigan can keep my shoulders warm, while I wrap in the pashmina if need be. I’ll be in my red lipstick and no other makeup on the flight (don’t wear face makeup in the air…it’s horrible for your skin. But pack some bb cream or tinted moisturizer and mascara to apply before you land.)
More casual choices…
Any of the above tops will go with both the black and the dark wash skinnies. I know this because each pair of pants hits at the same point on my body. I tried them all on to be sure beforehand. The jeans can be cuffed for a different look, depending on the outfit, the hat can be added or not, and either pashmina can be added, but I have 6 different outfits up there. (Change the shoe to the nude pump, make sure the jeans are cuffed, add the red clutch and some jewelry, and most of those can be cocktail attire if need be… If it’s one of those days where you are transitioning into cocktails from daytime walking/sight-seeing, throw those additions into your big bag with some red lipstick and you’re retts to go.)
That wife beater and cardigan can go with either jeans. And depending on the neckline of the tank, you can go either collar necklace or long pendant .. but that red necklace does add a nice touch to the black and white palate.
That cupcake skirt can pair with any of the crop tops and the booties. And the optional flare of the red pashmina is a fun touch. (Change the shoe to the nude pump, add the gold statement necklace and cuff(s), and it’s an evening outfit.)
Either black cotton dress, with or without the button-down tied at the waist is a very cute daytime outfit. It’s really cute with sneakers as well (but add a heel, that jeweled belt, and jewelry and it changes…)
And for evening options…
This grey dress makes a bold statement with the high slits, (and they’re pretty high…) so I like to add a dangly gold earring and one or both gold cuffs as the accessories. I like to go with a smokey eye and a nude lip, so the red clutch is the one color statement of the outfit. Hair down and loose.
An elegant white dress paired with nude pumps can take a gold, statement necklace, and a wrist full of pearl strands. The grey is the right choice for pashmina, and the red clutch is the perfect color pop. I like a bold red lip and heavy lashes for the makeup in this look. Hair up.
Any of those dresses, with according pashmina (if needed), nude pumps, according jewelry… is perfect.
That black dress with a simple, small gold earring and the pearls wrapped around the wrist is a classic. Cat eye and nude lip. Hair up. Think Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As for the high/low- it’s pretty versatile. And the babydoll dress as well.
A black jumpsuit… especially one with a super low back needs nothing but the pumps (which are hidden because the pants barely skim the floor), double cuffs, a potential blazer for the chilly walk there, and a red clutch. The jeweled belt is an option to change it up if need be. Super smokey eye and a glossy nude lip. Hair up.
That one cupcake skirt can go with any of the above tops. With the pumps, it’s nighttime. With the booties, it’s daytime. Add according jewelry.
I know I missed a lot of outfits to show you, but do y’all really need more picture galleries? Nope.
The point is pack things that play well with each other. Then you get to play once you’re there. It’s as simple as that.
I love y’all. I do. I hope you have a tremendous and magical week filled with adventure and all the feels. XOXO