4. Acne blazer, T by Alexander Wang t-shirt, Joie top, 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt, T by Alexander Wang jumper, Topshop speckle back t-shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim blouse, Topshop skirt
5. Miu Miu ballet flats, Madewell gladiator sandals, Acne pistol boots, ASOS sandals
6. ASOS clutch, Triwa watch, Alexander McQueen scarf, Dannijo earrings, Balenciaga anchor necklace
Packing. Having been on a few lengthy vacations in the past, I think I've become quite adept at developing a packing strategy. One thing I've learnt is that even if you're going to a warm climate, you need some sort of outfit contingency plan should the weather fall flat on you. Most importantly, I've learnt that there is nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to wish you'd brought a light jacket, a pair of jeans, or realising that the things you brought don't mix and match together very well.
It's also important to take into account the likelihood of purchasing new things while you're away, or whether or not you will find the right pieces you were looking for. This became my downfall when I was in the USA last year, as I had planned on buying a few new skirts, but in reality only bought one, which meant I was a little short on bottoms. The upside is, that if you pack light, with items that co-ordinate together well, you will have plenty of room for shopping and souvenirs.
1. Check the expected weather forecast: While you're likely to have some kind of idea what the weather will be like dependent on the season, it always pays to check. Summers can be cloudy and windy, and winters can be mild. This will allow you to judge whether you need to pack a warm jersey or a pair of shorts just in case.
2. Pick a colour palette: I find that picking a simple colour palette works best when travelling since everything will go together. I tend to pack pieces that are either black, white, grey, blush, navy or beige, as I find that these colours go well together, and pieces in these colours make up the backbone of my wardrobe, making packing even easier.
3. Choose the foundation pieces for your travel wardrobe: For me, core pieces include things like a comfortable pair of shorts, a lightweight top or singlet, a loose jumper, a cardigan, a dress that can be dressed up or down, a pair of jeans and a skirt that falls just above the knee. Oh, and you can't forget the quintessential stripe top!
4. Add in other pieces as required: Depending on the length of your trip, you'll want to add in a few (or a number) more pieces that work with the core pieces of your travel wardrobe. I've heard before that it always pays to take twice as many tops as bottoms, and I am sure that cannot be bad advice. I'd also recommend taking a light jacket, a pair of tights, and a warm pashmina (that can double as an extra layer of warmth on the plane) even if you are heading to a warm cliimate - the weather can be pretty unexpected.
5. Choose your shoes: It goes without saying that shoes can take up a lot of prime real estate in your suitcase, and depending on the style can be rather heavy. I've had experiences where I took so many shoes and only wore one pair, or the opposite where the one pair I had taken where too uncomfortable. It pays to make sure that your shoes will be comfortable enough to walk around all day, and that you have some variety so that you can alternate, especially if you are prone to blisters. I usually take a pair of gladiator sandals, a pair of ballet flats, a pair of low heeled boots and a pair of heels. It's best to be prepared for every occasion, and this combination allows that.
6. Accessorise: I've never been entirely big on taking a large selection of accessories with me on holiday, but there is something to be said of the power of a statement piece to transform an otherwise ordinary outfit. A couple of statement necklaces, earrings or bracelets will not go amiss, neither will a fun printed scarf. As for bags, I like to take two - a large bag for when I'm out during the day that can fit my camera along with random purchases, and a smallish crossbody/satchel style bag that I can use in the evenings.
Other things to remember:
- It's helpful to try everything on together before you leave - this way you can be sure that it is all going to work together on your trip. You also may not have access to a full-length or decent mirror in hotels so if something doesn't fit right, you can pick it up before you leave.
- Keep in mind that certain countries have different cultural expectations to what you may be used to at home. For example, if heading to the Vatican City you must be wearing a dress or skirt with a sensible or midi hemline and cover your shoulders, or else you will not be let in. Or, you may be subject to whispers and stares - as I was when I wore a pair of shorts and a singlet in Kosovo. It's worth reading up on this if you don't want to be caught out!
- If you are able to have both a suitcase and a carry-on (or just take a large handbag), it's wise to have a change of clothing with you on the plane. Should anything happen to your luggage (touch wood), at least you have fresh clothes to change into.
- Toiletries can be heavy and take up a lot of space. Only take the bare essentials if you can - this extends to beauty products/make-up as well. I take a rather minimal approach to make-up while away, taking a small eyeshadow compact, bronzer, eyeliner and mascara. I can't say the same for my other toiletries, but when on a long trip you can always discard these at the end. Things like soap and shampoo can be picked up easily enough at a pharmacy or supermarket while away.
- Other things worth taking are a camera, a notebook to jot down ideas, a good book to read (or a kindle etc), and an open mind. If you're like me, you'll be lugging along a laptop and an iPad as well. Oh and uh... have fun! :)