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Savvy Packing for Europe

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Packing your entire life in a suitcase for a two week get-away can be a daunting task. Even more so, when you know you will be shooting in some of the most iconic sites in Paris and London.

I gave myself permission to buy a carry-on suitcase once in Paris. Let’s be realistic, Paris is any fashionista’s ultimate fantasy, with the architecture making an amazing backdrop for the photos. One of my friends asked me, do people really come back after they leave for Paris? Good point!

I started putting outfits away a few weeks back out of sheer excitement. Normally, I am an eleventh hour packer but for all the shoots planned in Paris and London some prep is needed. I actually decided to try the looks beforehand just to save space and to only bring clothes I’m actually going to wear. 

Here are some of my top tips for packing for a trip to Europe in Fall.

1. Suitcase
After years with my beloved old school suitcase, whose wheels barely work anymore – and the poor thing has been everywhere with me from Bali to Santa Fe. One can get attached to suitcases, the airports, the memories. Sorry love, time to trade you in for a newer model!
So I decided to purchase a new hard cover, expandable suitcase with eight spinner wheels. As I will be going from Paris to Barcelona to London then back to Paris, I shopped for my suitcase at Winners as they carry a wide assortment of designer luggage (that is not just black or grey). Considering my shopping habits, I opted for an expandable suitcase, that has a hard cover but also ultra light weight. That is an important point since I’ll be shopping, and if you’re like me you want to be mindful of how much your suitcase minus the clothes weighs. And flying between European countries airline carriers charge extra for medium to extra large suitcases.

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2. Weather Appropriate
I know you must be excited for your upcoming trip. But friend, don’t forget to check the weather! I know this is something very easily forgotten while trying to leave your apartment in order, packing, finishing work commitments etc. Last night before my final packing, I double-checked the weather for the three cities I will be visiting - Paris, Barcelona and London. As we know London, is more grey then Raincouver (Vancouver). So pack an umbrella, unlike me! I have a collection of umbrellas at home from lace frilly ones, to small ones from hotels … and I completely forgot to put one in my suitcase. I’m sitting at Minneapolis airport as I write this, so I’ll go searching for one here. I like being prepared for all situations!
As I’m going to three countries, with different climate, layers are important. Friends that are in Paris right now mentioned it’s been warm enough to wear a dress, but on some days temperature drop down to 7C. Very bipolar weather so better to be prepared with coats, scarves, sweaters etc.
I packed in some short dresses and skirts last night and a pair of black tights to go with them. Very chic Parisian look if I must say so myself!

3. Shoes
No you cannot wander around Versailles and the Louvre and all over Barcelona in a pair of stilettos - no matter how gorgeous they look. Okay maybe you can, but I can’t anymore. So yesterday I purchased a modest 3 inch heel black ankle boot from H&M. I have been wearing them at the airport, they go great with my all black outfit today and are easy to slip on and off for security. The goal is to look fab and effortless and be comfortable. Yes it is possible.
I have also packed a pair of freshly washed slip on white converse, a cute pair or skin tone brown round toe heels. I like the idea of having a pair of neutral heels as they are versatile and will pop out with any outfit, whether skinny jeans or a red gown (which I have packed as well, one has to be prepared my friend).

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4. Jackets
Wear your heaviest jacket, then it’s on you and keeping you warm during the long flight. I have packed two faux fur jackets - one is beige and the other white. I know they look sort of similar but not quite. I justify packing them both because I want to be photographed in them in Paris. At the airport I decided to wear my Club Monaco wool coat with baby calf lining on the outside. It is tres chic!

5. Hats
Hats are a fantastic way to accessorize and add some panache to your outfit. I’m packing three different berets in my suitcase: a paperboy cap, Brooklyn toque and LA cap! Okay a little obsessive with hats.  I feel it’s a great way to pull an outfit together and add your personality to your look.

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Bon voyage! And remember not all those who wander all lost.

All photos by Peter So

Clothing: Blushing Boutique & Middle Sister

Shoes: Miz Mooz on West 4th