I used to live 2 hours away from my family’s home in Texas. About once a month I’d make a trip home and since I had removed all of my clothes from my parent’s house, I had to prepare a bag of clothes for the weekend. Granted I usually only stayed 2 nights during these visits, however, I found myself bringing my largest bags with 10 shirts, 7 pairs of pants or shorts, a few dresses, and about six pairs of shoes. This is not a joke–I am absolutely serious. I should also mention that my family lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, a mid-sized city with limited nightlife options and whose popular daytime activities included the movies, the (somewhat small) mall, going out to eat, or maybe visiting a friend’s party. Why did I need all of these clothes for one weekend?
As a very fashionable person, I never want to be without options. Who knows what could happen on a vacation–I could be invited to a last-minute swanky event which means I’ll need that classically beautiful dress, right? Or maybe I’ll want to spend time in the hotel spa? Won’t I need a bathing suit for that? Each time I took a trip, I would rationalize my decision to bring so many clothes and convince myself that paying the checked baggage fee was worth it, as long as I had fashionable clothing options.
Well, I recently took an international trip to Ireland and I was determined not to do this. I knew that I would not want to lug a huge suitcase around the entire country (since I planned on driving around for part of my trip). I also did not want to risk the possibility of having my luggage lost due to connecting flights. Being without any clothes would have been a more insufferable fate. So how was I going to pack 10 days worth of clothes in one backpack and small personal item duffle bag?
As corny as this sounds and as much as I hate to admit it…I researched and practiced. I researched creative ways to pack lots of outfits for an extended vacation on Pinterest and then I practiced these packing tips one week before I left for Ireland. I picked out the clothes that I would need and I packed them in a backpack to see if what I wanted to bring would fit. I even bought packing bags, hoping that those might make my bag more organized and open more free space. Unfortunately, I absolutely failed trying to pack for the first time–I was trying to put too many clothes in a bag that wouldn’t take it.
Eventually, I rearranged and reevaluated what I wanted to bring and the day before I left, I was able to pack the bare essentials I would need for the trip. I found that rolling up my clothes and fastening them with rubber bands worked the best for me.
My aim for packing was to pack clothing pieces that I would be able to mix and match so that I wouldn’t feel like I was wearing the same clothes or outfits the whole time, very fashionable pieces that I would feel attractive in, and warm items because it would be very cold during my trip. So here are the clothing items that I brought on my trip:
- 2 scarves
- 10 pairs of socks
- 2 bras
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 1 pair of leggings
- 2 pairs of tights
- 3 tank tops
- 3 short sleeve tees
- 1 sweater
- 3 sweater cardigans
- 5 long sleeve shirts
- Leggings and a 3 quarter sleeve shirt to sleep in
- A leather jacket
- 1 large coat
Keep in mind that I also had to pack other things such as a brush, face wipes, blow dryer, makeup, a straightner, a few toiletries, and travel related items such as my iPad, guide books, and journal.
As you can see, I was able to fit a lot into my two small bags and I did feel very fashionable on my trip although most of the time my clothes were covered up by my large coat and a scarf. Regardless here are few tips to keep in mind when packing light and fashionably for your next trip:
- Pack items that you can mix and match. So if you are going to a place that is a bit chilly, pack tops that you can mix and match. For example, pack different short sleeve tees or tank tops that could go with different cardigans.
- Pack items that have a color scheme. I chose a neutral color scheme so most of my clothes were “dark” colors such as gray, black, forest green, jean blue, and a few white items.
- Pack tops and pants that don’t have logos. This will allow you to mix and match them more freely without feeling like you are wearing the same thing. (Note: I did bring two shirts with logos just to mix it up)
- I would suggest packing different shades and types of bottoms. For instance, I packed one black pair of jeans, one blue jeans in a medium blue, a dark blue pair of high-waisted jeans, and one pair of black leggings.
- Wear your bulkiest items on the plane so they don’t take up space in your bag. I wore my large coat, my biggest cardigan sweater, a grey short sleeve tee, and my biggest pair of shoes on the plane ride. This was the only way that I could fit most of my warm items in my backpack. (Note: I did wear my black tights on the plane ride because I wanted to be comfortable although I could have had more space if I had worn a pair of jeans–the sacrifice).
- Airless bags, packing bags, rolling clothes, and rubber bands can be helpful in maximizing space in your bag. Use whatever works best for you!
- If you tend to be an overpacker like I am, try to remove 2 items and return those 2 items to your closet.
- Ask yourself, “Do I really need this item?” with every clothing piece you pack.
I hope these tips were helpful and just for your benefit, I’ve included some of the outfits that I wore on my trip to Ireland. Please feel free to check them out and see just how fashionable you really can be when packing light for an international trip!
My outfit for my 1st night out and about in Dublin. I paired this with a black leather jacket. I was pretty cold at 11 pm but I was fine before that. Notice my boots? They are so cute but were also very practical for a city like Dublin where most people walk around rather than drive.
My first day time outfit for Dublin. I wore my big warm jacket this day. I actually got hot from so much walking.
I took off the blue jean top and put on a tan sweater for a different look when I went out that evening for dinner and drinks.
This day I was heading into the countryside so I wore something warm, a double layered top. Since I was going to trek in the outdoors that day, I wore my Sorel waterproof hiking boots. These were so worth the $140 that I paid! I am so glad that I will have them for future trips and tell me these are not cute waterproof boots! I loved that they are inconspicuous as water boots. I’m not a fan of those tall bright, flat-footed rain boots that most places sell.
There’s that tan sweater again. However, it’s with a different white top than before and the first time I wore it, I wore it for only 3 hours. Safe to say, no one noticed that I wore it again during my trip. Haha. Also, they were paired with my rain boots this time.
Although I packed a lot of cute items, this is how most people saw me during the trip: bundled up in a warm jacket and paired with a scarf. This is the only day that I really wore my beanie. It was very cold that day!
And below, you will find my last outfit of the trip–my birthday outfit! Yes, my birthday occurred while I was in Ireland so the evening that I went out for my birthday, I planned on dressing really cute! I even pulled out a pair of short-heeled booties! I must note that this is the only time I wore these shoes the entire trip so it wasn’t very practical to bring them along but who says I have to always be practical? I paired this outfit with my leather jacket and froze my butt off–but, hey, you can’t say I didn’t look cute!