The first day of school is just around the corner, can you believe it?! As our southern summer passes before our eyes, it’s not uncommon for folks to plan a major getaway across the pond, to go off the grid while there’s still time and take in the lifestyle and culture of somewhere far away…
EUROPE! There’s something romantic about the very word. From the southern tip of Italy to the northern peak of Amsterdam, we can’t help but be charmed by the exotic and romantic cobblestone streets, ancient structures, and authentic cuisine that are so different from our everyday scenery.
Part of the fun of Europe is also looking the part. For a European vacation, most of us are staying a couple of weeks, so it’s important to maximize your wisely curated vacay wardrobe: pack multipurpose pieces that are good for layering, for wearing more than once, and for wearing a variety of ways. In addition, packing light enough for a carry-on is never a bad idea, so that you’re not waiting on baggage claim (when you could be basking under the Tuscan sun!) or risking lost luggage after a string of layovers. Below are our top picks for getting this Euro vacay thing right.
(Carry-) all for one, and one for convenience
First things first. Let’s talk about bags, because they will help get you from point A to point B in one piece. The Carry-On in Lavender by Away (top) is a limited edition gem, taking inspiration from color of the year Ultra Violet. Once you’re settled, a sturdy crossbody like the (left to right) Claremont in Light Grey by Lo & Sons (padded for a DSLR camera), or the all-in-one crossbody/shoulder bag Bucket Backpack in Pure Black by Lilyan James with matching Travel Wallet is a great idea. And a Reusable Bag in Terracotta by Baggu is a handy carry-all that folds into a tiny pouch.
Boyfriend button-ups and refreshed classics
Ethical fashion isn’t out of reach with this super affordable Pima Micro Rib Crew Tee in Pale Pink by Everlane. This not-so-basic tee can stand alone or is perfect for layering under in cooler temps. Likewise, a loose-fitting button-up, like the Drapey Flannel Shirt in White Plaid or the Boyfriend Pinstripe Popover in Blue by Gap, works well by itself or unbuttoned like a jacket. On vacation, every gal needs something silky and sexy, and the Gigi Cami in Lilac by Reformation fits the bill, whether dressed down with denim and sneakers or dressed up with a wrap skirt and strappy sandals.
A mix of pants and skirts, giving versatile a new name
There’s a method to the madness, and it’s mix and match! The combinations of these tops and bottoms are seemingly endless. Keep it casual in denim with the Stretch Denim Straight Mini Skirt in Annetta Wash by Madewell or the Stinger Flood Skinnies in Distressed Wash by Mother. Look tres chic in the easy Nikola Cropped Wide-Leg Pants in Grey Motif by Misa or the Wrap Midi Skirt in Black by Asos.
From mini to midi, we go to great lengths
We wouldn’t recommend taking both the Cotton Box-Cut Tee Dress in Lavender by Everlane and the Short Sleeve Midi T-Shirt Dress in Grey Heather by Gap, but wanted to show you the variety of lengths of t-shirt dresses out there so that you can think about what’s comfortable for you. I personally love the side vents on the longer Gap dress because you get the best of both worlds–leg coverage and breathability. For a flirtier look, go for the Brisbane Maxi Dress in Turquoise by Moulinette Soeurs. Its bow bodice detail is ultra feminine, and pullover styling wears simply.
Rain, rain go away, but we’ll be prepared just in case
Parts of Europe, especially the northern region, can be a lot cooler and rainier than the U.S. during our summer months, so having a jacket or two on hand while traveling overseas is highly recommended. And a pro tip regarding jackets: many of the cathedrals and chapels in Europe prohibit bare shoulders as a show of respect for the religious site, so having an extra layer in your bag to throw on when needed is a lifesaver and can be the difference between seeing a Michelangelo masterpiece or not. The Jean Jacket in Pinter Wash by Madewell and the Surplus Jacket in Foliage Green by Madewell are both good options for everyday wear, or the San Carlos Waterproof Jacket in Black by Barbour can save a little room in your luggage with its dual purpose thanks to a removable hood.
Win vacationing with comfy-chic kicks
Shoes take up a lot of space in a suitcase, so carefully choosing 2-3 reliable pairs will keep your feet happy and stylish. Generally, flats are best for walking longer distances on the cobblestone streets of Europe, with the exception of a wedge or chunky heel for a special night out. The Buckled Gladiator Sandal in Black by J. Crew is the perfect day-to-night sandal, polished enough for a LBD and comfy enough for jeans and a tank. For a more casual look, we suggest a closed-toe flat such as the Ecuador Huarache Sandal in Natural by Nisolo, or a chic white sneaker such as the 2750 Cotu Classic Sneaker in White by Superga.
Last but not least, don’t forget the finishing touches
I want a Vinyasa Scarf Rulu in Tonka Stripe Heathered Slate White by Lulu Lemon for myself! This thing can literally be worn 7 different ways, including as a shirt and a cardigan. You’ll take sunnies wherever you go, and the Elsie Sunglasses in White by Anthropologie are a bold, fresh pair. Hats are difficult to pack without bending out of shape but you’ll definitely want one on hand for sun protection and because they’re cute! This Packable Straw Hat in Straw by J. Crew is extra malleable and pops back into shape in a snap. And a classic, understated earring like the Pentagon Pearl Hoops in Gold by Portmanteau goes with everything.