As an American, traveling to Europe is nothing wanting a revelation. Whereas we could marvel at New England buildings and landmarks that date again to the early 1600s, European structure and historical past transports us to what seems like one other world—and in lots of respects, it’s. One of many methods I anticipated that distinction as I deliberate my 2 week stick with it packing listing for my journey to Paris and London final month? The style.
Having lived in Paris for a yr prior, I anticipated most of the sartorial selections that may peg me as an American instantly. Whereas in Chicago I can comfortably—some could even say, stylishly—sport my sweatsuit to my neighborhood coffee shop, loungewear in Europe is reserved for the house.
However having lately entered my *maximalist* period, the place shade and sample reign supreme, I used to be a bit out of shape when it got here to dressing because the Europeans do. Fortunately, with time to strategize, I knew precisely what to take and what to depart behind for my two-week journey in a single carry-on.
Featured picture from our interview with Janessa Leoné by Michelle Nash.
Light layers, monochromatic color palettes—and most importantly: prioritizing comfort. Because when you’re in Europe, you’re going to walk. A lot.
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It had been seven years since I lived in Europe, so there was loads using on this return journey. Would I join with the cities’ busy, winding streets as I as soon as had? Would I have the ability to navigate the metro system with acquainted ease? Had an excessive amount of time handed for me to count on to really feel any of this in any respect? After all, with a lot anticipation, I wished what I packed to be a supply of consolation, inspiration, and enjoyable.
As a result of right here’s the reality about getting wearing Europe. Whereas neutrals and darker colours stands out as the go-to alternative, type can also be a supply of non-public expression. There’s a uniform, certain—a sea of navy, black, and white—however inside this template could be discovered idiosyncrasies explicit to the wearer themselves. An embellished pin on a lapel, a brilliant scarf tied round a bag, or a pair of glasses that make contacts irrelevant.
When it comes all the way down to it, in the event you personal who you’re and your type displays that, you’ll match proper in. Why sweatpants don’t work in Europe? As a result of there isn’t intention behind the selection.
Along with exploring my very own type and tailoring it to a European panorama, I had a number of parameters that dictated my packing:
- I’d be touring between London and Paris for nearly two weeks: March 13-26.
- There was rain within the forecast and temperatures have been predicted to fall within the excessive 40s/low 50s.
- Nearly all of my journey can be spent visiting museums, procuring, consuming out, and naturally, strolling a ton.
With these constraints in thoughts, these have been my prime three priorities when planning my 2 week stick with it packing listing:
- Prioritize gentle layers that pack properly. I opted for a lot of silk tank tops, skirts, and attire that might be layered beneath sweaters within the daytime and worn with a wrap at dinner.
- Pack sneakers that might be worn in a number of contexts. I introduced a pair of Chelsea-style boots, sneakers, and cozy clogs that have been all straightforward to stroll in.
- Reduce cumbersome gadgets. I packed a lightweight puffer that might be squashed down in my suitcase, two sweaters, and a cashmere wrap that doubled as a shawl.
The Suitcase that Modified My Life
I’m somebody who prefers to journey gentle. Not solely do I not have to fret about extra baggage fees, nevertheless it makes going from airplane to coach to in-city transit simpler. And whereas the suitcase has been lauded from nearly each nook of the web, I’m right here to verify: my Away suitcase has modified the way in which I journey. I bought mine two years in the past and it’s been in all places with me.
- One facet options an inside compression system. That is usually the place I pack my bulkier gadgets—jackets, sneakers, and many others. You’ll be able to clip it down and tighten the straps to suit far more than you thought attainable.
- For longer journeys, I at all times fill mine to the brim. However regardless of how a lot I pack, the suitcase at all times feels light-weight on account of its even distribution of weight.
- Whenever you’re working via the airport to catch a connecting flight, you’ll love the 360° wheels that by no means (ever!) get jammed. Belief me: once I had 10 minutes to make it throughout the Reykjavík airport, this was clutch.
- Whereas the suitcase can match within the overhead bin of most airways, you could have to test it on smaller or full flights.
My 2 Week Carry-On Packing List
Without further ado, I’m sharing the 11 essentials that made packing a carry-on for two weeks in Europe easy and streamlined. Trust me, this is all you need for the ultimate European spring vacay.
A Roomy Tote (Maximize Your Personal Item!)
Let’s kick things off with a bang. No matter how much you prepare in advance, the unexpected can always occur. For me, that came in the form of boarding a super-packed flight from Chicago to London and having to check my bag. And then… proceeding to have that bag lost for three days. Thankfully, I could steal from my stylish best friend’s closet. But this is your sign to maximize your personal item. I’ve carried a trusty Everlane canvas tote for years that can fit my laptop, a book, toiletries, and an additional outfit/pajamas so that I can feel a little prepped should the worst occur.
Travel tip: Though I say maximize, you want to be sure you won’t end up hurting yourself lugging your bag around on one shoulder. Keep your extra outfit lightweight and pack only the necessary toiletries: a toothbrush, hairbrush, cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. If you want to add a little makeup to the mix, keep it streamlined with this glowy set and mascara.
A Light Puffer
On multiple occasions as I was packing, I asked myself: why didn’t I book my trip for late spring/early summer? That way, I could avoid the need to pack heavier layers like a coat. Well, with these tickets booked for months, there was no turning back—and I knew I needed something to keep me warm on London and Paris’ inevitable windy and blustery days. Enter: a lightweight puffer that packs down to a fraction of its size. It kept me cozy without feeling like I was prepping for the tundra.
Travel tip: Whether I’m in Europe or the States, I always opt for black or navy outerwear. That way, no matter the outfit, my topper will always pair perfectly.
A Versatile Silk Skirt
Washable silk is having a moment and I couldn’t be happier. Not only do silk pieces look and feel totally luxe, but they take up minimal space in your suitcase. Trust me, it’s my go-to fabric for transitional wear as it takes you seamlessly from winter to spring. This was the skirt that I packed in my personal item, and I couldn’t have been more grateful for the forethought.
Travel tip: Pair with a silk cami, a simple white tea, or an oversized button-down. Outfit, made.
A Comfy, Flattering Pant
A disclaimer: I am not a hard-pants girl. You can catch me wearing jeans maybe 10 days out of the year, and even then, they’re oversized mom jeans. Point is, when it comes to pants, comfort is key—but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or fit. I scored these pants (with an elastic waist!) for $70 five years ago from a vintage store in Portland. And if we’ve hung out at least twice, it’s likely you’ve seen me wearing them. No matter what cut is in style, I find that a cropped, wide-leg pant is universally flattering.
Travel tip: Because I’m petite, I like to pair these pants with a small heel so they don’t overwhelm my frame. Whether you go for clogs, sandals, or boots, adding height is key.
Reusable Bags (That Even Parisians Like)
No matter what shifting trends convince us to wear, BAGGU bags will forever stay in style. At home, I love using these to carry my groceries and I always keep at least one in my purse in case something cute catches my eye. While I was traveling, I stored one of these bags in my fanny pack to carry purchases and any layers I needed to take off. And I kid you not, my bag received no less than ten compliments from Parisians. That’s when it clicked for me: even if the French often gravitate toward darker colors in the city, the love and passion for color is undeniably present. For proof, take a look at Merci’s, the famed department store, visiting exhibit.
Journey tip: For those who’re checking a bag, retailer one or two of those in your carry-on or private merchandise. That method, in case your bag is over the load restrict, you’ve gotten additional room to tug a number of issues out.
A Does-It-All Cashmere Wrap
As a Christmas present a few years back, my mom gifted me this cashmere wrap that I’ve hardly taken off since. While it’s less of a style in America, many European women drape their scarves and shawls around their bodies for an added layer. On many an occasion, my Parisian travel companion and I had to run to make our dinner reservations. Without time to change, I simply pulled off my jacket and wrapped myself in cashmere. Easy and oh-so-elegant.
Travel tip: Use your wrap as a blanket to keep you warm on the plane.
I wear dresses year-round. In the winter, you can catch me with a made-for-spring frock layered over tights and beneath my coziest sweaters. The look feels feminine and stylish, while also being undeniably comfortable. It’s just one of the many ways I like to romanticize my work-from-home life. Just like my silk skirts, these attire packed all the way down to nothing (so I didn’t must make the onerous choice as to which of my faves would get left behind). After all, if you plan forward with layers, you may take this look from day to nighttime with seamless ease.
Journey tip: Pair with tights, a sweater, and dress-down boots for the proper daytime ‘match.
A Structured Blazer
A well-fitting blazer is as timeless as it gets. When you want something a little more elegant than a loose-fitting sweater, a black blazer is a simple layer that’s both functional and stylish. The goal here is to go slightly oversized. That way, should you need to add a layer beneath, you’re all set.
Travel tip: This will easily become one of the key pieces in your wardrobe, so you want something that’s soft but structured. And though the price tag may be on the steeper side, if we’re talking cost-per-wear, it’s absolutely worth it.
Let me count the ways I love this cami. Well, for insight, the skirt pictured above was my friend’s and this is me rounding out day two of this trip’s suitcase-less beginning. But with my black cami at the ready, I could pair it with just about anything in her closet. Whether it’s pants or a skirt, silk tanks and camis are a universally elegant choice.
Travel tip: As with everything on this list, we’re going for comfort. Your cami should rival your softest, most well-loved tee. If it’s at all less cozy, it doesn’t belong in your suitcase. (Or closet, for that matter.)
Comfortable and Cute Shoes
By far, my shoes were what took up the most space in my suitcase. But as someone who likes to have options, I prioritized giving them as much real estate as possible. Because I’ve experienced beyond-painful blisters in the past, I wanted my footwear to seamlessly blend style and function. In addition to nondescript sneakers (black, of course), I also went for elevated clogs that gave me some height and my well-loved boots (that are far more comfortable than they may look). With these options, I could go everywhere from museums to shopping to a six-course meal. Consider your bases covered.
Travel tip: The boots were more of a seasonal pick, so keep them if you’re traveling in the winter or early spring. If not, swap them out for chic slides (I love these).
A Hands-Free Bag
I initially purchased this bag in the summer of 2020, when I only had walks and hikes to entertain me. It was perfect for carrying my wallet, phone, a pair of sunglasses, and another Standard Baggu simply in case. Since then, it’s grow to be my on a regular basis bag due to the benefit of damage and the easy incontrovertible fact that I hate having something in my fingers once I’m out and about (save for a Berthillon ice cream cone, in fact). Bonus: Whilst you’ll have to show your backpack round and put on it on the entrance of your physique in the event you carry it right into a museum, this bag already has you coated.
Journey tip: I realized the onerous method that no matter you do, in London DO NOT consult with this as a fanny pack. “Bag” or “satchel” works completely fantastic. For insights, read Merriam-Webster’s take.