Things I Learned While Travelling

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    I thought this might be a sorta interesting post for those of you into the whole “capsule wardrobe”/”French wardrobe”/minimalist thing.

    I recently travelled to Melbourne for a week. For those not from Australia, Melbourne is a large city notorious for it’s fickle weather. “Four seasons in one day” or so they say. And it’s Spring! So I had to pack a *lot* of layers, plus some items suitable for going out, *and* we had a restrictive baggage allowance (also keeping in mind room for souvenirs and gifts to bring back!).

    **Things I brought with me:**

    * sleeveless hoodie zipper vest
    * cropped denim jacket
    * long cashmere coat
    * 3x 3/4 sleeve tops in different colours
    * black t-shirt (bought on cheap because I realised it was warmer than I thought!)
    * sweater
    * stowaway rain jacket
    * 2 scarves
    * 2 pairs of darkwash jeans
    * light crop pants
    * my trusty black ankle boots
    * sneakers
    * PJS, underwear, etc.

    **Things I** ***actually*** **wore:**

    * sleeveless hoodie zipper vest
    * cropped denim jacket
    * long cashmere coat (worn once :/)
    * 1x 3/4 sleeve top (worn once)
    * black t-shirt
    * sweater
    * 1 pair of darkwash jeans
    * light crop pants (worn once)
    * 2 scarves
    * my trusty black ankle boots (ALL HAIL)
    * sneakers
    * PJS, underwear, etc.

    **Things I learned:**

    Everyone in Melbourne looks fabulous all of the time. I think I saw 50 different Iconic Looks on Day 1 alone.

    I actually don’t hate black as much as I thought. In fact, I kinda love it. It’s so simple, so easy to work with everything, and it allows the coloured items I really love (SCARVES!) to stand out. BLACK IS THE BEST. I have been converted!

    Wearing the same or similar things everyday isn’t bad. In fact, I love not having to fret about it. I think I’m slowly turning into one of those cartoon characters with ten identical copies of the same shirt.

    I *almost* didn’t bring my orthotics-friendly sneakers and swapped them out for “fashion” shoes. THANK GOD I went with the sensible option, because my mother (bless her!) ended up succumbing to foot pain and buying a cheap pair from Big W just for the trip. They didn’t even look out-of-place anyway.

    On that note: sometimes impulse buys out of necessity can surprise you. That cheap black t-shirt? New fave.

    My trusty black ankle boots are AMAZING shoes – I could have easily swapped out my sneakers for those and they would have gone from night to day in Melbourne in a heartbeat. They are almost all-season shoes. SHOES ARE CRITICAL, GUYS.

    I *way* overpacked. I use maybe 10% of those items in my wardrobe. Next time, I could easily pack for 5 days and probably bring the whole lot in 1 piece of carry-on luggage. Maybe even a backpack. (And have more room for gifts!)


    To summarise: Traveling has been a fantastic experience for curating my wardrobe and realising that what I actually think I love vs what I’m comfortable and drawn to wear day after day are different things.


    I *highly* recommend traveling! (And I highly recommend Melbourne for fashion.)




    Thank you! As someone who travels a lot it’s so interesting to read these kind of posts. Where are your black ankle boots from? I’m still looking for a holy grail pair



    People in Melbourne are certainly well put together.

    I backpacked (35L, about 9kg) around Europe for 5 weeks. Most of my clothes were minimalist and neutrally coloured, therefore generally matched well. Things I regret: Not having slouchy pants (I developed a rash from seams chafing my waist, hips and thighs, whilst walking about 15km every day in fitted jeans and pants); bringing a romper (too difficult to pee in, with public toilets of questionable hygiene); destroying my one good jumper (TIFU). I’m also on the look out for super comfy leather sandals – only brought one pair of sneakers and have the crispest tan line ever.



    In real life I’ve been adding colour and more expensive, soft, thus fragile pieces, but when I travel I pull out all my old stuff in various greys and blacks. I know my ‘travel capsule’ can hold up well to more walking/washing and everything combines. So handy.



    I actually think you did pretty well! The only things you didn’t wear were two tops and one pair of jeans. You didn’t wear the rainjacket but I’d still say you needed it with you just in case. Sure, some stuff you only wore once, but if you were there for a little longer you might have reworn them, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to wash/launder clothes during a vacation that’s only a week.
    And like everyone else has said: show us the boots!



    Let’s see a link to these boots!



    I love people watching in Melbourne!!



    When did you wear the sleeveless hoodie? Do you have any examples of outfits or occasions? I am kind of drawn to them but I haven’t come up with a reason/theoretical outfit



    Shoes are SOO key. I have a bad habit of bringing only heels (because they make me feel good!) on trips thinking I can handle it…and of course even my comfiest heels are unbearable at step 20,000, and the psychological part of it really hinders my enjoyment of a new place. Then I end up buying a shitty pair of flats somewhere and questioning my intelligence.



    Thanks for this post. We’re going to Tokyo in April and I’ve been thinking about what to pack for a 10 day trip. I love seeing how other people approach travel packing.



    I travel a lot too and I’ve found you rarely need more than one pair of jeans if ever.

    I try to only carry a backpack or carryon when traveling internationally. I cull my closet for staples I love like a trusty pair of jeans and choose tops, pjs and undies from items I’m getting ready to toss anyway or I go to a thrift store to pick up a few things I like in my style (or even bolder than what I’d usually buy in a department store or boutique) and I discard items along the way as I go to lighten my load and make room for new things I’ve bought. If I plan to run while traveling I always bring a pair of running shoes that are high mileage to leave behind. I swear by this method and have done it all over the world. You can even leave items w lost and found or at some thrift stores. Someone else may use them. I’ve given items to housekeepers and a coat to a homeless person in Sydney.

    Twice I’ve bought things I normally may not have that I wish I’d kept after a trip bc when o saw the photos I realized how much I loved the items. One was a pair of dark red velvet flat front pants with a bit of stretch and a pair of Armani jeans covered in embroidery with wide legs. Those jeans would be perfect now. One the upside I’ve got great photos of me in them in iconic spots (Murano canals and Eiffel towel).

    Another trick I’ve found is if you’re desperate for an item while traveling and don’t want to or can’t buy it, check w a lost and found. Most places have tons of stuff no one comes back for in tourist spots and they’re happy to offload them. I’ve gotten camera lens caps, sunglasses and umbrellas like this. I normally leave them behind before coming home for the next traveler in need.



    > Next time, I could easily pack for 5 days and probably bring the whole lot in 1 piece of carry-on luggage

    5 days yeah. though it is kind of the limit. 2 pairs of shoes.

    lightweight scarves can occupy very little space and change your look a lot, I would rather bring more scarves than more tops for example.

    something I find really important when travelling, no matter how sort the trip, is to bring one good hands-free small handbag. a big tote or backpack for day touristy things, but to bring something else for dinner or something or just a short jount. I only ever bring two pairs of shoes (one worn) and a pair of slippers/flipflops, but one extra small leather bag.



    Really interesting!

    I’m a Melbourne woman and I’ve been in Queensland this past week. First in Noosa which has changed sooo much since I was there last. Super trendy, lots of WAGS, lots of designer shops, etc (very Chapel Street).

    Brisbane was a different story, I didn’t find it the most fashion forward place and I was surprised by how many bad outfits I saw. I probably sound super judgemental, but I do think Melbourne is better dressed in general.



    Thanks for the post, this sort of information is very useful to people who haven’t travelled before! My personal style tends to be pretty bland and practical, so it worked well when I went on holiday earlier this year.



    Where are your orthotics friendly sneakers from? I’m currently on the look for some!



    > Everyone in Melbourne looks fabulous all of the time.

    We have very different experiences.



    Black let’s scarves just pop. Try looking in stores for folks from India. Cheap. All kinds of scarves. In Berkeley, there’s a Saree store that’s amazing!



    Seconded: All hail black ankle boots! As a big traveler, both work and leisure, I take my Joie black leather ankle boots everywhere! They transition well through any kind of weather, and the slight heel gives any outfit a slight polish.

    Great advice and packing list!



    Also, fanny packs and the convertible purse<->backpacks are great for traveling. There are actually some cute belt bags out there.



    If I’m travelling, I look up the temperature/climate 1-2 days before and pull from either my spring or autumn wardrobe accordingly. So for my recent trip, since it started off a bit chilly then ended warm, I packed lots of light summer/spring dresses and rompers as well as a scarf, jacket, and cardigan.

    Aside from weather, I also try to always bring at least 1-2 nice dresses plus heels in case my bf and I go somewhere nice OR go clubbing (some clubs in Asia require all women to be in heels). Also, I only travel with my larger handbags so I can 1) carry a lot around and 2). not come off as too touristy.

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