PACKING RECAP


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Before I left for Europe, I had planned on doing a blog post about what I was packing in my suitcase, however I just ran out of time.  Packing for this trip wasn’t easy, as I had to consider climates ranging from very cold (Iceland) to hot (Santorini), with everything in between.  I also wanted to make sure I had enough clothes so that I could create a variety of looks for 4 weeks, but also leave enough space for any purchases I was going to make (like a studded leather jacket that weighs a ton!).  I was lucky enough to be gifted a Samsonite Cosmolite suitcase, which only weighs 2.9kg, so I was able to make the most of my 23kg weight limit.
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I started my packing list weeks (okay, months) before we left.  However, despite my best organised intentions, I didn’t pack a completely successful suitcase, so I thought I would share my travel outfits on the blog, discuss what items worked and what didn’t, and what I would do differently in hindsight.  That way I could refer back to it for my next trip, and hopefully provide a helpful packing resource for anyone else.
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This is the full list of everything that I packed.  I attempted to stick to the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule (5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses, 2 outerwear, 1 of each accessory), which is a great way to avoid packing too much, but I fell down in a few areas.
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Tops
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T-shirts (s/s) in white, black, and pink
T-shirts (l/s) in white and striped
Grey sweatshirt
Thin black wool knit
Pink knit
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Bottoms
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Black distressed skinny jeans
Boyfriend jeans
Black a-line skirt
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Dresses
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Silk slip dresses in black and white
Navy star print silk wrap dress
Long-sleeved black fitted knit dress
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Outerwear
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Black leather biker jacket
Gingham trench coat
Pink faux-fur jacket
Waterproof puffer jacket
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Shoes
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Sneakers
Loafer mules
Sandal slides
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Accessories
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Black leather backpack
Gold link watch
2 sunglasses (round Ray Bans and Celine Baby Audreys)
Acne Canada scarf
Beanie
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What worked
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T-shirts and jeans were a no-brainer, as I live in them normally (when I’m not at work), so I knew they would be the first things I reached for each morning.  I have lots of pairs of jeans at home, so I quickly got sick of the 2 options I brought with me, but I couldn’t justify bringing more than 2 pairs.  At least the 2 I brought were comfortable and went with everything.
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Assembly Label tee, Assembly Label jeans, Gucci loafers
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Slip dresses were an unexpected workhorse in my suitcase.  I had initially brought them to wear in Santorini, but I ended up layering them with t-shirts and knits in Paris and Amsterdam as well.
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Assembly Label knit, Silk Laundry slip dress
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Silk Laundry slip dress, Spendless Shoes sandals
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The a-line mini skirt worked well, as I could wear it with fleece-lined tights and a knit on cold days, and with bare legs and a t-shirt on milder days.
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Topshop sweatshirt, Acler skirt
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The waterproof puffer jacket was an absolute godsend.  It was incredibly warm and waterproof (which was essential in Iceland), and I wore it every single day of the 8 days we spent there, and many other times in the rest of the trip.  It balled up into a little bag, so I could carry it around in my backpack when I wasn’t wearing it.  I purchased it in a size L so that I could layer underneath it, and I’m glad I did.
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Uniqlo jacket, Assembly Label jeans, Adidas sneakers
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Shoes – sneakers and loafers are what I live in at home, so it was an easy choice to pack these in my suitcase.  The sneakers were perfect for Iceland and for long days spent walking around city streets, and the loafers are super comfy while still looking chic.  The sandals didn’t get touched at all until Santorini, which was to be expected, but I wore them every day that I was there, so they were definitely a good choice.
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What didn’t work
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Where I failed the most was in outerwear, which was unfortunate as it took up the most space and weight.  The gingham trench was not a good choice.  As cute as it is, the long length was impractical for walking around all day, and I only wore it once.
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Next trench, Topshop t-shirt, Acler skirtThe Daily Edited bag
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The faux-fur jacket was a last minute decision that was not on my original packing list, and I had doubts as I threw it in the suitcase, but I was feeling impulsive.  It looked cute for outfit photos, but I only wore it twice, and it took up a lot of space!
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Glassons jacket, Nobody jeans, Gucci bag
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What I wish I took
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Next time I travel I will be making sure I pack more options for bottoms.  I really only had 2 pairs of jeans and a skirt, and it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t enough.  I wish I brought another pair of pants and another skirt, perhaps one in a midi length.
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Another pair of shoes would have been good, despite the extra weight.  A pair of flat or low-heeled leather ankle boots would have been perfect.
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In terms of outerwear, a bomber jacket or mid-length wool coat would have been much better choices.  Warmer and more comfortable!
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  • Wardrobefever

    Loved it Rachel! Especially found it very useful as I’m flying to Europe next Wednesday. Also loveeeee you studded leather jacket from Topshop and thinking of ordering one online. Any advises about the sizing or what is important to know?
    Thanks so much and love your blog 🙂
    AGNES
    @wardrobefever:disqus

    • Rachel James

      Thanks so much Agnes! How exciting, you will have the most amazing time! So glad you found my post helpful. The Topshop jacket is divine isn’t it! It runs pretty true to size, but if you’re in between sizes, maybe size up? As the leather is quite rigid 🙂 xxx