For anyone that knows me they know that packing is not one of my strong suits. The thought of going somewhere and not having the clothes I need gives me complete anxiety! So over the years instead of learning to pack effectively Ive become more of a “I might need these stilettos at the beach, you never know” kind of packer… So imagine my distress when I realized I had to fit 5 months worth of clothes into one suitcase and a backpack. But I have to say after being here for almost 3 months I’m a changed women and believe that with a little planning and a realistic mindset anyone can avoid overpacking, and this is coming from the girl who hates being photographed in the same outfit more than once!
I am currently starting to plan my 17 day trip around Europe that I’m going on in May and although I’ve thought about what I will be packing I’m not worried about a backpack of clothes lasting me the whole trip. So I wanted to share with anyone out there worried about packing for study abroad or a long trip what I’ve found useful so far and what I could have left at home. Just remember that this is coming from my perspective (my 5 month stay, my style, and the weather of where I’m living) but some of these observations may be helpful to anyone thinking about studying abroad, especially in England!
Jumpers (sweaters) are essential. They are warm, easy to throw on and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I brought 5 jumper type tops and have bought one while here and wear them all regularly.
The other tops I’ve found useful are ones for going to dinner or going out with friends at night. I brought 2 from home (the ones in the top left of the picture below) and the other four I bought, even though I probably could live with just 4 total. The denim button up and polo chambray shirt are an absolute must for me and I wear them both very often. Undershirts are also important for layering. I have 4 camisoles, 2 v-necks and a long sleeve in basic colors.
I brought 5 pairs of jeans/jeggings. One black, one dark wash, one light wash, and two colored (red and teal). The light wash I have only worn once or twice so they weren’t necessary.
I also brought one skirt and have bought 2 others while here and I where them when I go out (I have black, blue, and pink).
The most essential bottoms that you can bring are leggings and tights. Black leggings can be worn with an oversize jumper, when running at the park, or lounging around the house/sleeping. Tights can be worn with skirts or shorts to go out in or just to class and around town. Black is always the best color choice.
Sweatpants and sleep pants are good for around the house or sleeping but people do not wear them in public, like ever!
So I may have overpacked in this area. I brought 7 cardigans and will probably be sending about 3 back with my mom when she comes to visit. They are good for laying, I just brought too many. I also wish I would have brought an athletic jacket or pullover for running or when I walk to the gym for volleyball.
So I only brought one dress and I’m glad I did! The truth is girls dress different when going out here so I didn’t have anything that would have worked anyways. I now have 5 dresses (the one on the left is the one I brought and will be sending home and the one on the right I could do without).
This was the hardest thing for me to pack when I came. I ended up bringing one coat and a raincoat. Neither of which I ever wear! The thing is people don’t use umbrellas here, if it starts raining they just put on the hood of their coat or jacket and go on their way (the wind is too bad for umbrellas). So I ended up buying a cheap coat with a hood. I also bought a nicer coat that I probably didn’t need but has ended up being very useful when I want to dress up a bit.
I am obsessed with shoes. The end. So my advice probably shouldn’t be taken in this matter but ill give it nonetheless. Here are the shoes I currently have
On the top shelf are my heels and wedges. I brought a pair of chunky heels that I tried to wear out once and it was a disaster! So my advice is no heels just stick to wedges. I have two pair of wedges I’ve bought while here, with the middle black pair being the ones I wear almost every time I go out. My trainers (tennis shoes/sneakers) and Keds were sent from home and i wear both very often. My black ballets flats are great and versatile and I wore them almost everyday I was Paris! As much as I love my loafers I really haven’t worn them that much. I wear my black boots probably 4-5 times a week. But my brown boots I’m surprised to say I don’t wear that often.
I brought 5 scarfs and the ones I wear the most are the neutral colored ones (cream and black/grey). Thick and long socks go great with boots and when sleeping (it can get cold sometimes) 2-4 pairs is a goods amount. As far as gloves go I brought 2 leather pairs and one black fingerless, which are the ones I wear most often. I also brought hats that I haven’t worn once. I never wore them at home so I don’t why I thought I would here. I brought my patent leather purse which was probably one of my smartest decisions. It rains so much that anything leather or canvas would get ruined.
All in all I don’t think I did a terrible job packing initially. But I’ve come to realize that I can survive with less clothes than I ever thought possible! Sometimes you just have to get creative and mix and match things :) sorry this post was long and maybe a little boring haha
Til next time :)