I am more than a little obsessed with packing. I love it…..in theory. I love any task that means I can write an extensive list, with subheadings and check it off meticulously. That’s just my kind of fun. So when I realised the sorry state of my blog and how few packing posts I had, I wanted to rectify it post haste. The first of which had to be for London, cos…..well, it’s London!
One of the trickiest things about packing for a country like the UK is the weather. Be it Spring, Summer, Winter or Autumn you kind of never know whether you will need a brolly, sunglasses or thermals. It’s mild in the extreme. Which makes it an awesome place to live, but a truly hard place to pack for. Another reason people find it hard to pack for a place like London is the need for style, as well as practicality. I am the sort of traveller who packs my normal clothes when I go on holiday. I don’t have a ‘holiday wardrobe’ and you would literally never catch me in a pair of elephant pants…..never. I don’t see the reason people do that, and I genuinely think that leads to feeling annoyed at the lack of outfits you’re able to put together when you’re away. You wear your golden oldie clothes for a reason right?
I do think there’s a bit of a formula to packing, and there really are no shortcuts to getting it right, unless you are the sort of person who doesn’t care when they pack something bonkers, or just copes with jeans in 40 degree heat 😉 I am not that person however, and am pretty precious about getting it just right. A few rules i live by when I start the packing process (normally about two weeks ahead of go, go, go time) are:
Mix and Match
This is such a simple rule to live by, but if you can make sure that each and every item of clothing you pack goes with at least one other item, you’re golden. If you have that rogue “but I love it!!!!” top that you think will go with something but can’t actually picture it, leave it at home. End of. There are a few formulas out there that you can follow — 4 tops to each bottom etc etc but I tend to think of all my clothes in outfits. So, I’ll think more along the lines of ‘I have three casual daytime outfit, a great hiking outfit and two beach day outfits’. That way you can immediately spot where you’ve gone wrong when you are heading to Everest with 5 beach day get-ups and not a crampon in sight.
Check Your Colour Palette
This is super easy for me as I am a major colour phobe. Apart from a particular shade of mint green (think Essie Mint Candy Apple), I only wear Black, White or Grey. I would also caution against too many patterns and pack mostly solid colours. I do this, then add in stripes, and leopard print for accents (scarf, coat, bikini). It’s a lot easier to do this when you are packing for somewhere like London, because there is less of a tendency to get all ‘holiday-ish’ and start wearing watermelon print crop tops. Amen to that…..
Beware the ‘New’ Item of Clothing
You may tell me to sod off here but I always find it a little bonkers when people go crazy shopping for holiday clothes. I think that you should write your list, and plan what to pack first — then see where the gaps are so you can choose something specific, like, a pair of leopard print harem pants. That’s probably just me though……But seriously, that rule rocks because if you head into any stores ‘holiday’ section, you will come away with a pile of crap mingled with one or two good pieces. How often have you actually worn that string kaftan? I have a minty blue lightweight cotton cardigan that I can wear on the beach as a kaftan, but wear back home regularly in London too over long sleeved tops, or tucked into my pencil skirt. Easy.
Without further ado, here are the essentials for your trip to London.
Because what is a world where leggings aren’t the best thing ever. I love wearing super thick black leggings in cooler climes, with boots and a long jumper or shirt, or with a vest top and flip flops when it’s scorchio. I have about 4 pairs of leggings, and rotate them often. Word to the wise, the H&M basics are crap, and lose elasticity real quick so plump for any other brand (I am an ASOS girl).
I am not ashamed to say that I live in my Converse. I work from home, so I don’t often have to look super smart and these are just so versatile. And comfy too. Just don’t go sockless…..they will stink to high heaven before you know it.
I personally don’t think there’s anything more stylish than stripes. LOVE them. It’s obviously something to do with my Francophilia and adoration of all French women. It’s why, when I feel like I have nothing to wear and can’t face trying on another outfit — I throw on something stripy and a slick of red lipstick and all is well with the world.
Ankle boots go with everything. I have a flat grey pair that are comfy enough to walk for hours in, exploring the city, but can be dressed up for a night out. I took them to Budapest and wore them endlessly.
Leopard Print Scarf
This comes with me everywhere I go, unless I am taking my leopard print coat. In truth, you can pick whatever print floats your boat, but it is pretty helpful to have something that you can accessorise with. It immediately lifts your mood and makes you feel more stylish.
Black Ripped Jeans
I j’adore my Topshop Jaime jeans. They are high waisted, which makes them super comfy and holds my back fat in, and they look cool too. They also last an AGE. I’ve had mine for about 5 years now. A black, or grey pair will serve you well because the neutral colour makes them that little bit more stylish and versatile.
I am all about the coat. Loves me a fur for any European city break in a transitional month. Whether you’re wearing trainers or heels, a fur coat gives you an edge of cool. I used to have an awesome vintage taupe fur coat that I sold before we went travelling, but I actually really miss it. I have my trusty leopard print fur coat though, and that has been doing a fine job of keeping me warm/making me look cool…..cool, or potentially Pat Butcher-esque. You decide!
I wear my denim shirt so often that the pound per wear is pennies. It’s so versatile and straddles those days when a cardi just isn’t enough, but you don’t wanna wear a coat. When you only have what you’ve packed in your suitcase/backpack — that kinda multi tasking is essential.
I feel like this needs a whole separate post, but I’ll summarise for now. Alongside my standard makeup stash, I always take a few lipsticks: Red, pink and a nude. You will never go wrong with a kick ass red. In terms of jewellery I am pretty minimal, but don’t go anywhere without my Monica Vinader chain, and think it’s quite nice to have a few earrings, bracelets or a statement necklace too — just to make you feel like you aren’t wearing the same old thing daily.
What are your packing essentials?
Read more of my packing posts here!
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