What to pack for a vacation in Europe

I'm leaving for a brief European vacation in a few weeks, and not only am I incredibly excited about it, I'm already thinking about what to pack. The last time I went on vacation—back in March, when I went to French Polynesia for my birthday—I shared my packing technique on Instagram stories and got several questions about it, so I've decided to do a two-part story here. As my boyfriend will tell you, I am a very efficient and light packer, especially considering I'm a fashion blogger. But then I will tell you that I pack light so I have more room for souvenirs. ;) I have it down to a science. Basically, think of your vacation wardrobe as a capsule wardrobe—you should be able to wear everything together, in different combinations. There are 18 pieces pictured here—mostly black, white, and gray, with pops of bright red—and if you pack tightly, you could fit all of these things in a carry-on. Which brings me to...

The tops
I like to bring a mixture of long and short sleeves, most of which are neutral, although I do like to throw in a few patterns. I didn't include sleeveless here, because I prefer to keep my arms covered, but if that's your thing, by all means, go ahead. If you are traveling for longer than a week, I'd double up on T-shirts.

1. Cuyana poplin shirt $145
2. Topshop side-stripe sweatshirt $40
3. Comme des Garçons PLAY tee $156
4. Everlane tee $15
5. Violeta by Mango top $12.99

The bottoms
I like a colored and regular pair of jeans, plus two skirts, ideally one mini and one a bit longer. I prefer skirts to dresses, because you can make more outfits with them. (More on this later.) You definitely want to wear one of the jeans on the plane, as they're a bulky item. A black pair is always a good idea, because you can dress them up if needed.

1. Madewell high-rise skinny jeans $128
2. Levi's 505 straight-leg jeans $79.98
3. J.Crew white denim skirt $69.50
4. J.Crew pleated midi skirt $128

A dress & the layers
You will be tempted to bring a bunch of dresses, because they're easy. Don't do it. They take up a lot of space, they will get wrinkled, and you can only wear them once (twice if you're lucky). Just bring a LBD—it's a classic for a reason. In terms of outer layers, I like a knit blazer (a soft cross between a jacket and a cardigan), a light drapey cardigan, and a big pashmina scarf that will double as your travel blanket (I've had mine for nearly 20 years).

1. Norma Kamali ruched dress $146
2. Uniqlo wool-blend jacket $69.90
3. Chan Luu leopard scarf $245
4. Bobeau ruched cardigan $38.86

The bags & shoes
You need two bags: a tote that's both your personal-item carry-on and daily on-the-go bag, plus a wallet-on-a-string that you can slip inside the tote by day and carry as a clutch or crossbody by night. As for shoes, this is conservative for me, but you ideally want a sneaker, a close-toed shoe, and a sandal, all of which are comfortable enough to walk around in all day and/or all night. Note: these are all low-heeled, which may come as a shock to longtime Cheryl Shops readers, but vacation is not the time to suffer for fashion. Keep your feet comfy.

1. Cuyana carryall tote $185
2. Nordstrom wallet on a chain $79
3. Banana Republic ballet flats $88
4. Vionic Cali wedge sandals $119.95
5. Adidas Superstar sneakers $80

The outfits
And now, the fun part: putting it all together. I've  made 12 outfits with these 18 pieces, but you could take it even farther. This is what I'd recommend for a week-long trip, which is what I'm taking, but if you were taking a longer vacation and had access to a washing machine, you could make them last two weeks. And don't forget, you could fit all of these in a carry-on—just remember to wear your bulkiest items on the plane, but more on that coming in part 2!


Carrie said...

This reminds me of a 30x30 challenge I did a few years ago. It is always smart to pack clever for trips that are abroad! Especially after the airline lost my checked luggage on a trip to Mexico, I think I will pack a lot less and even try to carry it on! So many great outfits with these items, so smart! Enjoy your trip :)


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Claire Justine said...

Some lovely pieces here Cheryl. Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays :)

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