When I came back to the states for a few months in late 2012, one of my goals was to re-pack my bags to better reflect my needs on the road. This meant adding a winter coat, subtracting certain toiletries, and re-assessing my wardrobe.
Let me rewind for a moment though…over ten years ago, when I first started traveling, my packing philosophy was this: if I take it, it’ll probably get stolen or destroyed, so I’ll only take things I don’t care about.
So that’s how I packed. Big t-shirts, old jeans, puke green ponchos, long skirts with bright patterns from the thrift store. Even though I wasn’t a huge “stuff” lover, I still prioritized taking care of my stuff over feeling comfortable and beautiful.
No longer, though.
As I started to travel as an adult, I began packing a little differently. And now that I travel full-time, I’ve shifted my priorities entirely. Instead of protecting my things, I plan on loving and using my things. And if they eventually wear out, well, that’s the point of things, right? To be used until they are so well loved that they can no longer be used.
My new goal, which fits well with this year’s theme, is to feel beautiful, sexy, and confident while on the road. Which means packing things that make me feel good.
Things that make me feel good: this pretty Denver Zoo hoodie. Also sunset lighting
I’ve been told that style on the road is a challenge. But it’s one I want to rise to this year. And just in case you do too, here’s how I packed for a stylish winter and beyond:
First, I chose one base color. When you’re living out of a closet, you can have blacks and khakis, grays and navies. But when you’re living out of a bag, you should really choose one base color. I chose black, mostly because it’s slimming, doesn’t show stains or dirt easily, and is really easy to find.
In my base color (black), I chose a pair of pants and two skirts, a sweater, two tank tops, a long-sleeved shirt, two small scarves (one in sequins), and a pair of sneakers. I don’t think you all have to be quite so committed to your base color (you could probably do one skirt in a complimentary color), but that’s where I landed.
Wearing the crap out of my base color right now.
Next, I added pops of color, all designed to compliment each other. I did this by committing to a color palette (pink, red, orange, gray, and yellow) in darkish shades that work well together.
For this phase, I bagged two gray zip-up tops (both with pops of orange and/or pink), two colored tank tops (pink and purple), a black and yellow zip-up, a pair of ruby red tieks, a sassy red dress for nights on the town, and a red scarf.
I also packed a pair of gray-brown boots that add interest to everything and a pair of dark jeans (which can obviously go with any of my tops).
Pop goes the yellow.
And then I chose my jewelry. I limited myself to one silver-colored pair of earrings and necklace and one gold-colored pair of earrings and necklace. Then I tossed in one tarnished bronze pair of earrings and an outrageously large sparkly pair of hoops for fun.
Finally, I added a couple outliers—things that didn’t have to perfectly match, because there’s a sort of beauty in the occasional mismatch, particularly when you’re bundled in winter things.
In my case, this meant a really warm blue sweatshirt for hanging around the house and staying cozy (which does match my pajama pants…the thing I’m mostly likely to wear with it), my beloved hand-embroidered coat in various shades of blue and white (for cold days, but not warm enough for snow), an actual ski jacket in white (for really cold days), a winter hat in black and tan, and a tennis skirt and sport top for running/hiking/etc.
Since travel does beg different criteria than day-to-day wear, I made sure that everything I packed was made from winkle-resistant, high quality, and, as much as possible, quick-drying materials. I also tried to pick things that I could wear both in the city and out in nature. And just about everything matches just about everything else (that part is key).
How do you pack for your stylish travels?
Jonesing for more? Read part II.
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