At the core of any of my packing posts is a neutral palette. It’s been a formula thats worked for me for years so I don’t plan on steering off that path. However, the pieces in that color story can use an occasional update. While a black trouser and water resistant trench coat are classics to anchor a number of looks, I’ll add interest with other items in warm shades of tan and camel. I love varying the hues and think slightly unmatched tones are good. They create more of a collected look which is stylish when done right.
In or out of this palette, the core pieces I pack, the ones that get the most usage with lots of styling options and are rooted in comfort and practicality are as follows:
- Hat: I’ve let my bucket hats take a rest and am wearing more caps lately. In cashmere/wool, they’ve proved to provide plenty of warmth. Look at Toteme for starters. (For sunny destinations, a bucket hat is still a must for sun protection.)
- Scarf: I’ll pack a few in solids and prints. They instantly finish a look and offer variety to the uniform. My favorites are in cashmere/silk that are lightweight so I can compactly store them in my day bag. I’ll shop the men’s department often for scarves. There is a larger selection with the colors and quiet patterns that appeal to me.
- Cross Body Bag: I’m able to go pretty small with a cross-body day bag. My wallet is downsized to a few credit cards and spare cash. After that, I just need enough room for glasses and lipstick…maybe gloves and a scarf. I like the logo free look on the above Akris bag. It’s available in other colors and a larger size too. Aain, the men’s department often has styles that are pared down which I prefer.
- Tote: If I need a large tote bag, it has to be lightweight. The roominess is fabulous on this style from Proenza Schouler and the color is gorgeous (also in black).
- Sneakers and Boots: I prefer to limit the day and night options for shoes. For trips where walking is a major part of the day, a sneaker is still the best option. Then for casual dinners, I’ll swap to a boot with a mid-heel. Still comfortable to walk in yet elevates jeans or trousers. Pay attention to heel height on both (see below*).
- Black Pants: A wrinkle free pair (a ponte knit is great for travel) for day with sneakers and for night with something more polished. The length needs to work with both heel heights. *This is where a sneaker with a substantial sole and a boot with a mid heel is required. For most trips, I prefer a wide, straight style trouser that is a little more forgiving with where the break of the hem hits. It can puddle a little more on the sneaker and skim the ground (not drag) with a mid-heel. Better to go long than too short here. Additional considerations – for warm weather destinations I’ll swap in a cropped style with sandals and for chilly places, I’ll pack a slim, wool very straight pant/legging for extra warmth (Scuba Pant, Constance Pant). Lots of great options here in all silhouettes.