I was asked recently by a blogger friend how I pack for my trips while still staying true to my personal style. Well, maybe not so recently, come to think of it... I'm a little embarrassed to admit it was earlier in the summer while I was en route to one of my vacation destinations. Life has been busy and although I haven't forgotten her request, I just haven't made the time to sit down and put it in writing. I have, however, given it quite a bit of thought while going about my days. It seems like an easy question to answer but it's harder than I thought it would be. Maybe I'm just too complicated. I'm sure my husband would agree to that statement, as he has watched me numerous times standing in our closet, staring at the ample selection of clothes, clueless what to pack and wasting precious time.
The truth is, packing is one of my least favorite activities. In fact, I dread it each and every time I have to get ready for a trip — whether it's a trip overseas to an exciting destination or a weekend getaway just a few short hours from home. I often say that I wish I could magically transport my whole closet to wherever I am going, so I wouldn't have to make these decisions and could reach for anything whenever I may need it. I don't know why it's so hard! I overthink everything and run every possible scenario of something going wrong through my head, and I wonder whether I have the appropriate clothing for whatever such instance. I do generally tend to overpack, but at least I am (most often) prepared.
One of the first things I think about when deciding what to pack is the weather at my destination, how much time will I spend outdoors, and what my activities will consist of. I think this is pretty obvious for most of us, but it's a major factoring point, nonetheless. It's important to have clothes appropriate for the weather to feel comfortable in all conditions. I always pack a couple extra layers for just in case.
The second and most important thing I take into consideration is the the location I am heading to. Is is rural or urban? What is the culture like? What is the overall style of the locals? Is it by the water or mountains? You get the idea. Basically, I take my cues from these answers to decide what to pack and what looks I'm aiming for. If I don't know all the answers to these question, I research. A friend asked me if I wash and pack the same clothes for each trip. My answer was "absolutely not!" Each location requires a different look. I always pack some basics, like my favorite jeans and tees, but I will style them differently to achieve the look I am going for. I choose pieces that are true to my personal style but also fit the location I am heading to. Nothing is worse than standing out among the locals, obvious to everyone that you are a tourist. It's not always bad, but I don't like my outfits to "scream" that fact, out loud, at first sight. I don't want to change who I am or how I dress. The important thing for me is to mix and tweak pieces I love and fit my style to work well in the location I am visiting.
When I visited Venice this summer, I choose to pack mostly dresses since the weather was very warm. I chose loose, colorful dresses that, in my opinion, fit the mood and vibe of the colorful city. The dresses were true to my personal style. I felt comfortable, put together and always appropriate, never out of place. I shared lots of pictures here, if you'd like to see.
For my trip to Paris, I packed mainly jeans, and a couple of simple dresses that fit the urban chic vibe of the city. You can read about it and see my outfits here. I did a lot of reading on Parisian style because I am very interested in it but also to prepare myself for the trip. I kept my outfits mostly neutral and simple with pieces that I love and, again, were true to my personal style. I fit right in, and the ultimate proof of that came when a French woman stopped me on the street to ask me for directions! It was quite the compliment, since she clearly thought I was one of them.
My family and I often get away to our favorite spot in Wisconsin for some rest and relaxation. It's a charming place surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan. Most often, my outfits will be nautical inspired. I wear lots of stripes and blues that remind me of the water and sky, yellow like the bright shining sun, and any other colors that are inspiring me at the moment. This destination is probably the easiest for me to pack for because it fits my overall style best.
Although packing is usually a nightmare for me, staying true to my personal style, no matter where I'm headed, is key. Taking cues from the local culture, the local trends and colors and incorporating them into my outfits will ensure that I fit in and feel comfortable at all times. How do you pack for trips? What factors go into your decision on what to wear? Let me know in the comments below.