How to Stay Stylish While Living Out of a Bag, Part II

by Gigi Griffis

If you read my style manifesto last week, you already know that my philosophy of style on the road starts with a couple tank tops and a simple black pencil skirt and ends with a whole lot of layering and a few pops of color. Today, I’d like to visually walk you through said style. Style that’s about both function and feeling totally beautiful. Because both of those things are really important when you live out of a bag.

Without further ado, then, a few examples of how I mix, match, and layer to keep my limited travel wardrobe feeling fresh, sexy, and stylish.

Let’s start with some basic black pieces and a teensy pop of color…

Style on the road: black pencil skirt, black tank top, pink tank top, and black sweater

What I’m wearing: a non-wrinkling black pencil skirt, a black tank top, a pink tank top (to add a pop of color where it peeks out at the top and bottom of the black), boots, and a wrap-around black sweater, tied behind my back.

Now, take that same outfit and replace the black sweater with a gray zip-up…

Gigi Griffis

What I’m wearing: that same black pencil skirt, black tank top, and pink tank top and a gray zip-up top with a pop of pink inside the collar (purchased at a Belgian H&M).

Okay…now take that pink tank and grey zip-up off and toss on a silky yellow and black zip-up:

Anatomie hoodie

What I’m wearing: that same black pencil skirt and black tank top and a sassy yellow zip-up from Anatomie.

Next, ditch the pencil skirt for a pair of sleek black non-wrinkle pants.

Anatomie modeling: Gigi Griffis

What I’m wearing: the same tank top and zip-up, now with sleek black pants from Anatomie and a pair of ruby red tieks.

Of course, this also all goes well with my skinny jeans and my flowy black skirt. And any of those four lovely bottoms looks fantastic with my Denver Zoo hoodie or my ruby red tieks…

Denver Zoo hoodie - buy one and help the animals

What I’m wearing: a fun hoodie from the Denver Zoo, my black tank top, and (though you can’t tell) probably my black pencil skirt.

Tieks in ruby red with Anatomie black pants

What I’m wearing: ruby red tieks and black pants from Anatomie.

And for a final pop of color and interest, here’s my coat. As you can see, it goes with everything and nothing all at the same time. It’s in a category all its own.

Coat on Gigi

Finally, things that are not pictured, but are lovely and get frequently rotated through these outfits: a flowy black skirt from Anatomie, a purple tank top, a pair of dark jeans, and a long-sleeved black top.

The really good news here is that my very small wardrobe has a lot of versatility. I feel comfortable wearing these things for a day of sight-seeing or for a business meeting. I’ve even done some easy hikes in my black pencil skirt (though, of course, my jeans or tennis skirt are a better choice for that activity).

Oh, and all all modeling was done with my dangly silver earrings from San Diego and a delicate silver and blue necklace that Roommate #1 brought back from her trip to Australia.

Looking for more? Read part three.

All of these fantastic photos were taken by a wonderful San Diego photographer named Daniel Wang. Working with him was an absolute blast (he has a way of making you feel at ease, even if you aren’t used to being in front of the camera) and I love, love, love the way these photos turned out. If you live in San Diego and are looking for a photographer, you should get in touch with him.

Annnddd a big thanks to Tieks and Anatomie, who sent me some free or discounted items to try out. I’m really loving them and am now an official Anatomie affiliate (so if you like their stuff and like this blog, you can buy something and I get a cut. Win. Win. Win. For everyone).

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) January 14, 2013 - 8:34 am

PHOTOS ARE AMAZING and yo have just really showed how powerful a capsule wardrobe is. With 6 months on a sailboat looming in my future I have started to refine my own. I have always traveled with just a single carry on. No matter where, no matter the season. This is wonderful. You found a way to make it all work and to still show who YOU are with personality and sexy attention to detail!

Great hair helps! And you have smile that will knock people off their feet! BEST accessory ever!

gigigriffis January 14, 2013 - 8:40 am

Thank you! I was so in love with my photographer when I saw how these came out! :)

Good luck with your own wardrobe paring!

Roommate #1 January 14, 2013 - 9:03 am

LOVE it! I’m now inspired to make a small carry-on work for my two weeks in Europe in a few months. Cheers to traveling light!

gigigriffis January 14, 2013 - 9:09 am

Hoorah! And we shall be stylish together! ;)

Melissa @ Suitcase and Heels January 14, 2013 - 3:37 pm

Here’s a small tip: if you’re travelling in cooler climates and you want a way to change up those blank pencil skirt outfits (I adore my H&M black jersey skirt) without packing more tops, try some fun tights. They pack up super small and can be a great way to add another pop of colour to your base neutral. I currently have a few pairs of lacy ones, teal, hot pink and a subtle plaid.

gigigriffis January 14, 2013 - 3:42 pm

Excellent point! I also carry tights (lacy and off-white) and lots of knee and thigh high socks!

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natasha June 25, 2013 - 3:20 am

loved this post. I too live out of a suit case and try to keep what i buy co-ordinated so that I can get at least 10 different styled outfit look out of them. love the coat btw – would never think to buy it I i saw it myself now that I see it on you , I can certainly see how it will work with a number of pieces in your wardrobe :)

gigigriffis June 25, 2013 - 8:22 am

:) It’s a statement piece in and of itself, I think. If I know I’m going to be somewhere chilly and keep my coat on, this is my go-to.

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Bella August 20, 2015 - 7:32 am

Great ideas and beautiful photography. Summer travel must be a lot easier to pull off, fashion-wise.

Georgine March 13, 2017 - 2:44 pm

Some great ways to stay stylish without having a full wardrobe when travelling.


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