This post is sponsored by Everlane and all Everlane items I’m featuring in this post were gifted. When it comes to brands I’m proud to work with, Everlane is at the very top — they were one of the very first responsible brands I learned about quite a few years back and I’m thrilled to partner with a company that places high value on transparency and sustainable practices. This post is part two in a three-part summer series.
For a while now, I’ve been fascinated by the art of packing, especially the art of packing for an extended stay — say two or three weeks.
I don’t have a ton of experience with extended travel, but in 2012, Aaron and I took a two week trip to Europe for our belated honeymoon. This was a few years before I developed an interest in capsule wardrobes, so packing in something as small as a carry-on wasn’t even on my radar. I just wanted to have as many options with me as possible, so I stuffed an extra large suitcase full of clothes. I even took over some real estate in Aaron’s suitcase too.
I look back now and have to smile — I brought so much stuff that most of it never even got worn, but I definitely paid for it every time I had to maneuver a heavy suitcase around a train station or airport or cobblestone street.
I’ve often thought about how I would re-do that packing job if I were leaving on the same trip tomorrow. So today, I’m taking the opportunity for a do-over! I may not have an extended trip on the horizon, but maybe you do (or maybe you just like to dream about it like I do).
So settle in for a fun one! In this post, we’ll cover:
- Pack This: 16 Versatile Items (Plus! My 3×3 formula for successful packing)
- Wear That: 30+ Outfits
- Bonus! Free Printable Packing Planner
Pack This: 16 Versatile Items
Creating a versatile travel wardrobe that’ll work for extended trips takes a strategy. So I started with my 3×3 formula — 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 colors. Here’s how it works:
- Settle on 3 colors you already have in your wardrobe. For this example, let’s use my favorite palette: black, white, and toffee.
- Pick out one top per color — one black top, one white, one toffee — for a total of 3 tops.
- Pick out one pair of bottoms per color — one black pair, one white, one toffee — for a total of 3 bottoms.
- Bonus! Do the same for your shoes. Pick out one pair of shoes per color — one black pair, one white, one toffee — for a total of 3 pairs of shoes.
The repeating color palette is the key. Repeating each color in each section of your travel wardrobe makes for a seriously versatile setup. Everything is mix and matchable.
Now, a 3×3 formula might work great for a week or a weekend trip, but most of us will probably want a few more options if we’re taking an extended trip.
So I adjusted the formula a bit, and included 5 tops and 5 bottoms, while still limiting my color palette to 3 colors (you guessed it: black, white, and toffee). To finish, I also included a dress, blazer, and four pairs of shoes.
Here’s the full packing list. Read on to see why I included each piece, and how I’d style it:
If you see something you like, you can shop it and support my blog at the same time by using the affiliate links below:
1. Sneakers | If you’re going to be walking, you’re going to want sneakers. A simple, all-white sneaker with minimal logos is a chic choice that’ll pair with just about any bottom.
2. Block Heels | For dressier occasions. And in case you encounter any cobblestone streets, the block heel will keep you much more stable than a stiletto heel.
3. Sandals | These are my favorite sandals right now, mostly just because I love the warm tan color and because the crossover is such a classic look. Keep in mind, they do not have any cushioning, so I recommend inserting a self-adhesive insole specifically made for open toe shoes and sandals.
4. Strappy Sandals | I usually try to limit myself to 3 pairs of shoes when I travel, but since we’re talking extended travel, I decided to include another pair. Plus sandals pack down so small — there’s no reason not to bring an extra pair. :) I like these because they are dressier than the crossover sandals, but not as dressy as the block heels — the perfect in-between shoe.
5. Dot Cami | Classic patterns lend a timeless feel to your outfits — and to your travel photos. :) It can be so fun to create travel photos that feel timeless. Not for the ‘gram, but for yourself and your own memories.
6. Black Cami | Don’t leave home without this one. First of all, the black fabric won’t show sweat or spills. You can tuck this top into black bottoms for a dress/jumper look. You can dress it up with heels for an evening out, or dress it down with flat sandals for a morning at the market.
7. White Tee | There are so many ways to wear a white tee, but one of my favorite combos is a white tee with white sneakers. Sometimes the more simple the piece, the more chic it looks.
8. Toffee Tee | Another tee because you can’t have just one. This one is easy to hand wash when needed, it’s soft and comfortable, and the toffee color adds so much warmth to a neutral travel wardrobe.
9. White Button Down | I am enamored with this shirt — and I didn’t expect to be! Knot it for a cute, casual look. Tuck it in for a tailored, clean look. Or (my favorite) wear it untucked for a modern, chic look. It’s light as air and stands away from the body, making it ideal for summer temperatures.
10. Midi Skirt | For warmer days when you still want to be covered up in case you duck into any museums or churches. It’s made of Everlane’s GoWeave fabric that’s wrinkle resistant and fantastic for travel. Style it casual with a tee, or dressy with a silk cami on top.
11. Jeans | Non-stretch, pinch waist jeans are lovely to look at, but when you’re packing for a trip, opt for comfort over all else. A relaxed pair of jeans fits the bill.
12. Relaxed Trousers | These are my favorite new discovery at Everlane. Dress them up or down. Wear them high around the waist or slouchy and low. Roll the hems for a casual look, unroll them for a chic look. There are just so many ways to wear them and they are so comfortable.
13. Shorts | Shorts offer a welcome change of pace on those days when you’re well into your trip, and bored of the pants you packed. I’ll admit, I see them getting worn less than trousers or jeans, but still, they’re a refreshing style shake-up during a long trip.
14. Mini Skirt | Great for warm days, and so cute with white sneakers.
15. Blazer | Even if you’re traveling somewhere hot, it’s smart to pack an outer layer. Throw it on to ward off the cold in a chilly train or use it to dress up an outfit.
16. Midi Dress | This thing is flattering beyond belief and so versatile. Pair it with heels for the symphony or pair it with sneakers for a day out sightseeing.
Wear This: 30+ Outfits
This little travel wardrobe does it all — I was able to make 34 outfits ranging from casual, slouchy airplane outfits to comfortable, cute sightseeing outfits to chic, understated cocktail attire.
Have a look. Which is your favorite?
Bonus! Free Printable Packing Planner
If you’re like me and you love a good printable, this one’s for you! You can download my packing planner right here and here’s an example to get you started. It only has enough planning room for a week, so feel free to print out multiples if your trip is longer.
Tip: I’ve found it’s best to write in pencil, so you can adjust as you go along.
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And there you have it!
Your turn! Do you have a formula you loosely follow when it’s time to pack? What’s the longest trip you’ve taken, and how did you feel about your packing job? Would you do anything differently? Did you feel like you brought too much, too little? I’m always curious how other people approach packing, so let’s keep this conversation going in the comments.