Hi all…Margaret here with a new series we’re trying out.
Partially by choice and partially by necessity, trip planning tends to be a multi-step and multi-week or multi-month process. Given our love of travel and my love of planning trips (some may call it obsessive), we’ve decided to introduce a new, recurring series dedicated to planning for trips big and small.
We decided to start with a two-part post this month about shopping for a trip. For half of us, this topic is a source of great joy and excitement. For the other half, this topic is an unnecessary burden. Either way, it is worth a little thought in advance of a trip.
Hear me out on this one, as there are multiple reasons you may want to pick up a few new additions to your wardrobe before venturing out on your travels. My primary reason is that travel is my opportunity to express myself sartorially. Working in a traditional profession, my Monday to Friday wardrobe consists of traditional silhouettes, traditional necklines, and predictable color schemes. While I appreciate classics, I also love bright colors, pretty patterns, and feminine cuts. That’s the version of me I get to express on trips.
There are plenty of other reasons too: having great pictures to hang on walls (or post to your blog), dressing in a culturally appropriate manner, not sticking out as a tourist (particularly in pickpocket heavy cities), not overpacking, being comfortable, or having clothes that travel well.
As we’re planning our big trip to Italy this summer, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for a few special pieces to take with me. So…how to decide what to get?
Research where you’re going, and think about what colors will bounce against your background.
The location of your trip can be a great inspiration for what you wear. For Italy, we’re starting in Florence, heading north to lake country, and finishing in the Tuscan countryside. Each of these locations features different color palettes. For example, I know our hotel at the lake is a beautiful white building surrounded by flowering bushes in pinks, purples, and blues, which makes me lean more towards crisp whites and blushes, like this white shirtdress, or floral patterns like this pretty maxi.
And I know in Tuscany we’ll be visiting mostly medieval towns known for their tans, browns, and ochres that will be wonderful backgrounds for ivories, oranges, and yellows like this dreamy Spell and the Gypsy Collective dress.
Pick pieces that are appropriate for the activities you’ve planned.
In Florence, we’ll be visiting a lot of museums and churches and doing a bit of shopping. Because of the activities we have planned, I’ve been drawn to more structured pieces, like this great matching set and patterned dress. I’m also mindful that most churches require that visitors cover their shoulders and knees, so I’m trying to pick respectful pieces that won’t require me to put on one of the community shawls.
Invest in classics that fit in with the rest of your closet.
I’ve purchased (and re-sold at a significantly reduced price) enough trendy and improperly fitting pieces to know that it’s just not worth the money or the effort. Preparing for a trip is, oftentimes, when we take a moment to evaluate whether we have enough of something or the right something in our closet. Although in those moments, I sometimes find myself drawn to a sleeveless maxi dress or super feminine twirl-worthy dress, I usually stop myself from hitting the “Buy” button, knowing that a classic shirtdress or three-quarter sleeve midi dress will also find its way into my at-home or on the road rotation. For example, I could see myself wearing this sweet dress equally as much on a day trip to San Gimignano as to a weekend brunch in Denver.
Buy fabrics that travel well…not just fabrics that won’t wrinkle.
Buying fabrics that travel well means buying clothes that pack well, unpack well, and don’t take up too much space in your suitcase. It also means buying clothes that will keep you warm if you’re going somewhere cold, or fabrics that will keep you cool if you’re going somewhere warm.
In researching the areas of Italy where we’re going, I know the average temperatures are in the low to mid 80s for our time of year. While that is a perfectly wonderful temperature if you’re sitting by a beach or at a pool, it may get a little warm walking around busy city streets and tourist filled towns. I want natural fabrics (aka not polyester) to keep me comfortable along the journey. Yes, natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen) often come at a slightly higher price point, but they’re also more comfortable and more wearable. (As a side note, natural fabrics also tend to stay cleaner (read – less smelly) than non-natural fabrics, meaning you can get multiple wears out of them before washing/dry cleaning).
Some of my favorite Italy approved, travel well items – this silk and cotton floral mini dress (I know the price tag invokes the wide eye emoji, but everything else invokes the double heart eye emoji) or this linen belted button-front dress.
Next up, I’ll tackle some favorites for men’s travel style. Also, I know not everyone loves fashion and clothes as much as I do, so if there are any other topics on which you’d like me to share the things I learned from my mistakes (trust me…I have made a LOT of travel mistakes), feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section. And thanks, as always, for stopping by!