Minimalist Packing: 10 Days in Europe

The first time I went to Spain as an exchange student I took a giant suitcase and packed an industrial-sized bottle of shampoo (lol), which ended up leaking and pouring out onto the train floor. Ugh. 

So not chic. 

I just returned from London & Paris and managed to pack for the entire trip in one tiny carry-on.  I am proud to say that I wore EVERY SINGLE THING at least two times - with the exception of one pair of earrings and a pair of socks.  Not bad right?

I was able to easily board trains, walk up metro & tube steps and saved money & time on baggage fees.

It took me about 2 weeks of planning.  Here's how I did it and what I wore.

 
 

My Inspiration

Like any design project I took to Pinterest & created a fashion board. Paris is colder than Los Angeles - even in May - so I needed some additions including a good all-purpose coat and comfy yet stylish walking shoes.

 
 

The end result was a little different than my initial inspiration but the spirit is still the same.

 

What I Packed

 
  • (1) Trenchcoat

  • (1) Black Sweater

  • (1) Linen Military Jacket

  • (1) Black Sneakers

  • (1) Tall Black Boots

  • (1) Dark Skinny Jeans

  • (1) Light Green Thin Pants

  • (2) Black Tunics

  • (1) Striped Shirt

  • (2) T-Shirts 

  • (1) Leggings (to sleep & lounge)

  • (1) Crisp White Shirt with Bow

  • (1) Scarf

  • (1) Red Dress (not shown)

  • (1) Black Dress (long sleeve v-neck)

  • (2) Black Tights (one sheer, one opaque)

  • (2) Bras / (8) underwear

  • (3) Sneaker socks / (1) tall socks 

  • (1) Crossbody Bag

  • (1) Sunglasses

  • (2) Pairs Earrings/ (1) Chocker

Staying Organized

 
 

If you don't already use packing cubes I urge you to consider them for your next trip.  They were absolutely essential for keeping everything compact and organized. I swear I will never leave home on another trip without them.  

 
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I also organized my makeup, liquids, electronics and essentials for the plane (sleeping mask, ibuprofen, ear plugs etc.) in handy water proof clear zippered bags, also on Amazon.  Anything like this would suffice but I like how you can see through them.

 

Foundation Pieces

Just like in Interior Design - good quality foundation pieces make you look pulled together and tailored and allow you to get away with simpler basics.  My core foundation pieces included my trench coat, boots, sneakers, sunglasses & cross body bag.  I ended up buying these in Paris: a Longchamp Le Pliage bag (it's cheaper there), a pair of blue glasses from IzziPizzi and a gold silk scarf with an art deco motif.  

 
 

 

I Tested Everything

I briefly wore everything beforehand during my walks with my dog to make sure they were comfortable.  In doing this I learned that I could feel my heal hitting the ground in ballet flats and that the silk pants I bought kept shifting up. Anything too tight, fussy or annoying went straight back. Frankly I'm sick and tired of wasting money on clothes that don't work for the long term.  This practice helped me minimize mistakes.

 

Three Rules for Buying

It was actually kind of hard to put a strong minimalist wardrobe together in such a short period of time.  In reality this process should be done over time.  I was happy in the end but I did buy and return a bunch of things.  Generally you should only buy something if:

1.  It's a clear hell yes & you love it.

2. It's good quality, can hold up over multiple washes & the cut is flattering. 

3.  It can be worn with multiple items in your wardrobe --  keeping a limited color palette is key.

When you follow these principles you will say no to a lot!

 

What I Learned

I think I put too much meaning into looking good BUT honestly if I don't feel like I look good I can't fully enjoy myself.  After spending time in Paris (and London) I see it's a real place. Not everyone is walking around like it's Fashion Week BUT many, many people ARE stylish and pulled together.  Why be sloppy in such a beautiful place?  

 

 
 

In the end I truly had the most amazing time. Paris stole my heart and inspired me in new ways.  And I'm going back very, very soon.  To see more pics you can follow me on Instagram .

And if you're planning an upcoming trip or interested in starting a minimalist wardrobe, let it be known in the comments below.  Merci!!