Packing for a city break presents its own challenges. Do you want to look like a tourist or do you want to fit in? Nothing can make you feel more out of place than wearing the wrong clothes and looking totally different from the natives, so ditch the resort-wear, lose the shorts and vests and go for city chic.
I read a week or so ago about expensive athleisure being the thing to wear pretty much anywhere and I couldn’t disagree more. As someone who never travels anywhere without at least one set of gym clothes and a good pair of trainers I keep these specifically for fitness time. No matter how comfortable your trainers they always look like fitness footwear and what you’re looking for here is city smart, not sportswear.
Trainers with jeans or worse, smartish pants do not look chic. Don’t try this look and catch sight of yourself in a shop window and say I didn’t warn you.
My list for a city break capsule wardrobe is pretty simple:
1. Slim black stretch pants that are smart enough to wear in the evening but are comfortable enough to wear during the day. Yes you can take a print, or a lighter colour, but for versatility nothing beats black.
One black jersey or crepe dress that you can dress up as much as you want and will never crease no matter how many times you stuff it in your bag. The point of at least one of your city chic dresses being black is that you can dress them up as much as you want and wear yours over and over again. These will be smart enough to go anywhere, cool for summer evenings and will work perfectly under a wrap or knit jacket/cardi.
Tops – note not t-shirts – that flatter your shape, work day and evening and will keep you cool when the sun comes out. Avoid linen. It never packs well and always needs ironing. Also take at least one print. Plain tops mark far more easily.
Two cardigans/knit jackets – one short, one longer that work over everything else you take. Black is always useful for evening and pale grey or natural, or a bright, as an alternative.
Flat sandals or pumps that you know will allow you to walk a couple of miles without blisters. Sneakers (note, not trainers) that will get you there with your heels/sandals in a bag if necessary. One pair of neutral heels that work with everything. These are strictly ‘out to dinner’ shoes. More about shoes you can actually walk in next post.
A lightweight summer trench coat, preferably one with a hood. You may need it, you may not, but I never go anywhere without mine. This short waterproof trench by Helly Hansen copes with any weather you may throw at it, and it’s smart enough to wear anywhere. It also comes in black and blue.
Now of course you will add to this as I do, an extra dress (or two). Extra tops. A couple of pairs of pants. But my advice is to eschew linen as much as possible although it’s everywhere. Yes it can look beautiful, brilliant and sophisticated but do you really want to have to iron on your trip? The same goes for silk.