Tuesday, 26 July 2016

What to Pack for a Summer City Break

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.

Jaeger Slim Stretch Cotton Blend Ankle Length TrousersWallis slim cotton blend cropped trouserJoseph Stretch Gabardine Slim Leg PantsTommy Hilfiger slim stretch cotton pantWhistles slim cotton blend trouser

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.

Michael Michael Kors black stretch jersey dressLauren Ralph Lauren beaded strap wrap jersey dressKaren Millen frill hem fine knit dressDiane von Furstenberg Ruched Stretch Crepe DressGina Bacconi beaded front shift dressOasis Lace Pencil Dress

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.

Karen Millen Floral TopReiss silk front jersey back topOasis silk floral vestMint Velvet Ivory tuck front sleeveless topMint Velvet wrap front tunic topCoast tuxedo wrap top

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.

Joseph Fine Knit Cashmere CardiganKaren Millen lace shoulder cardigan.Fat Face lightweight cotton blend cardigan - other coloursTed Baker ribbed wrap or waterfall cardigan with magnetic fasteningWhite Stuff linen blend natural cardiganPure Cashmere button through round neck classic cardiganCashmere round neck cardiganTed Baker Porcelain Rose CardiganMarc O'Polo white edge to edge 3-4 sleeve cardiganT by Alexander Wang fine knit v neck cardigan

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.

Gianvinto Rossi patent leather pumpsGeox sand leather peep toe pump with rubber soleKG by Kurt Geiger suede courtsDune Strappy Heeled SandalsDune nude leather block heel court shoe

Helly Hansen Welsey TrenchA 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.