Mar 19, 2014

Final European Capsule Wardrobe

3-1/2 weeks
5 countries
1 carry-on

This was no easy feat. Weather and activities would vary considerably.  Obviously, my strategy was to take only what I thought was absolutely necessary. This would require a lot of laundry and a lot of re-wearing.

Generally speaking, I packed neutral colored bottoms and bright or neutral colored tops for mixing and matching.  I also packed 1 black belt, 1 multi-colored scarf, 2 statement necklaces, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 bras, 3 pairs of socks, pajamas, a bikini bathing suit, a cover-up, and 4 pairs of shoes.

My European travel wardrobe:
5 countries - 3-1/2 weeks - 1 carry-on

Clothes close-up:

Top: Multi-colored scarf (Lands' End)
Left to right, top: Purple short-sleeve shirt (Athleta), gray short-sleeve shirt (Victoria's Secret), orange tank top (old Weekenders), ivory tank top (Old Navy), gray & white dot cardigan (Target), black short-sleeve wool wrap dress (Icebreaker).
Left to right, bottom: White convertible pants (Royal Robbins), lightweight boot cut jeans (Paige Premium Denim), teal skirt (Athleta), beige shorts (Athleta).

**Not shown is a black & gray striped long-sleeve shirt (Boden), orange w/ red piped dress that I used as a beach cover-up (Old Navy), and a black cinch-waist raincoat (Lands' End) that I forgot to include in the photo. I also didn't take a photo of the belt, jammies, undies, bras, or socks.

Shoes close-up:

Left to right, top: Black translucent wedge sandals (Crocs), red flip-flops (Old Navy).
Left to right, bottom: Beige hikers/walkers (Merrell), navy ballet flats (Boden).

**You can also barely see my multi-colored bikini (Lands' End) beneath the shoes at the top of the photo.

Because it was hot most of the time, the items I used most were the shorts, white pants, both short-sleeved shirts, the orange tank top, and the black sandals. It would have been nice to have an extra pair of shorts.

I barely wore the hikers or the ballet flats but was glad I had them.  The ballet flats were great in cool London and the hikers were necessary during hikes in the Alps and when exploring the country park in southern England.

I regret taking the black wrap dress.  I think I wore it exactly twice. It was comfortable, looked nice, and packed well but I felt a bit too dressed up and out-of-place when I wore it.

Here's everything all packed up in my awesome eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior carry-on and with my beloved eBags packing cubes (I used just the small and the medium of the 3-piece set; the large was too large):
All packed and ready to go!
In the photo above you can see the orange cover-up and my jammies through the packing cube (brown w/ beige & green flowers).  You can also see that I packed a flat iron (which ended up being totally useless because we didn't bring the right converter), a compact umbrella, and my bathroom organizer filled with makeup and hygiene/beauty items.  More on that in the "Everything I Packed For Europe" post.

I won't lie.  The luggage was heavy.  It felt surprisingly lightweight... until it was time to carry it/wear it for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Ouch.  It was torture.  Although I loved the hands-free feature of wearing it on my back or over my shoulder, there were many times I wished it had wheels.

By the way, here's my review of the luggage, submitted and published on the eBags website:

So far so good! I have used this suitcase twice so far: a 5-day road trip and a 3-1/2 week trekking trip to Europe. It has held up beautifully. For the road trip I used the shoulder straps and, therefore, weight wasn't an issue. For the Europe trip I used the backpack straps and noticed that it's easy to over-pack in weight. This suitcase hold a lot! In my case, it held more than it should have for my back's sake. Short walks were fine but since we were using the trains in Europe, sometimes the hotels were a bit far from the train station. This was my sole piece of luggage for 3-1/2 weeks in Europe and brought it as a carry-on. It kept everything nicely organized with the help of the eBags packing cubes. Everything had a place; it was nice to find what I needed without having to rummage around in my luggage. I brought an extra strap just in case any of the zippers or built-in straps gave out but it held up perfectly. No rips, tears, or abrasions. It's shocking to me that it really does still look brand new despite the beating I have given it. This bag is tough! I bought the apple green color. It's different enough to stand out from the rest of the red, black, and navy luggage yet feminine and not so light that it easily shows dirt. The gray zippers and other detailing looks nice with the green. Highly recommended all around. Much nicer than what I was expecting for the price. What an amazing bargain!

Live and learn.  Maybe I'll perfect my technique on my next Europe trip.  Perhaps third time's a charm?

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