If all has gone as planned, I’m in London today. How fun! I’ve journeyed to London with my dear friend Candy, who I’ve known since 7th grade, and we are in a small group of women touring the city with Shelly of Walkabout tours. My plan is to take daily outfit photos as the week progresses, and I’ll share those next week (or get early access by following me in the LTK app and on Instagram!). But today I thought I’d share with you what I packed for my week in London…carry-on only!
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We didn’t have to pack everything in a carry-on bag, but I really wanted to have as little luggage as possible. And, while it may surprise you, I honestly prefer wearing a small wardrobe, especially when I’m on vacation. So here’s what I packed for a week in London.
I started with my footwear
I put together my carry-on only capsule wardrobe by starting with my footwear. I wanted to carry only three pairs of shoes total if possible. Since we’re doing a lot of walking, I wanted them all to be comfortable. But I also wanted them to look nice enough for the vespers service at Westminster Abbey and the afternoon tea we had scheduled. I ended up also taking some bedroom slippers because the homeowner of the house we are staying in requested no shoes be worn in the house. I traveled in my On Cloud 5 sneakers, and carried along my Naot Whetu water resistant sandals and my Ally limited edition London Collection flats.
Then I selected my pants
After I decided on my shoes, I chose my pants for the week. I certainly could have included dresses or skirts, but I just really wanted to stick with pants for convenience sake. I wore my Talbots travel pants on the plane and packed my Doria utility pants (and here) (go with your lower size; I have the 29), my Eileen Fisher tapered pants (I purchased them in the #NSale) and my Paige antique black ankle jeans (also from the #NSale).
Next I selected the accessories
I felt like choosing the right accessories was key to really enjoying the capsule wardrobe. So even before I’d really settled on the tops I would take, I decided to take my trench coat and this London-inspired Allsaints scarf (similar option). Call me a romantic, but I just wanted to wear a trench coat in London. That just seemed fitting. I’ll let you know how that turned out. And I purchased the Allsaints scarf in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. At first it jumped out at me because I was specifically looking for a large black and white scarf for this capsule wardrobe. But when I saw that it was a map of East London, well, that sealed the deal. It keeps selling out, so if it’s not available, this Allsaints scarf is similar (and gorgeous).
I made sure to take options for home-base
I like to have something comfy and cozy to wear when I’m at home-base on a trip. So I always carry along some kind of loungewear besides my pajamas. Especially since I would be at the home with other women, most of whom I don’t know, I wanted to have something I could wear that looks decent and feels comfortable. So I took along my Eileen Fisher ponte lantern pants and a cashmere wrap. And I carried a tank to wear with my pajamas as needed.
I really didn’t have any trouble packing everything for my trip into my Away carry-on suitcase and this medium Everywhere bag. I think the key was keeping my toiletries and other sundries small and limited. I did use two packing cubes, a small one and a large one, only to condense my undies and some of my street clothes.
Outfits Created with My Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Like I said, I’ll share how I really put these pieces into outfits next week. But I’ve put them together into style boards for you below. This turned out to be a helpful exercise for me before leaving on my trip, too. So I highly recommend making your own style boards (I used Canva) or at least detailed lists for possible outfits before you complete your packing for a similar trip. It really helps you to see how things can work together and where you may be missing an element or two.
That striped tee above is super soft and comfortable, perfect for travel. I also kept my cashmere wrap handy so that if I needed to wrap up in it on the plane I could.
I’ve created touring outfits and dinner outfits, but I could use these interchangeably depending on the day. I’m not sure I’ll be changing for dinner every day, but it’s nice to have some options.
My thinking is I’ll wear a pair of pants for dinner one night and then wear them for touring the next day. Then if I need to I can wash or at least air them out before wearing again. I’m also trying to swap out shoes each day. I’ve heard that’s better for your feet on trips like this. Note, I did bring socks to wear with my sneakers and flats, too.
Originally the weather predictions were for the low 70s and 60s. But the closer we got to the trip, the warmer the temperatures were looking. So I tried to pack light pieces I could layer as needed.
Someone asked last week why I chose to wear all black pants and didn’t mix things up with khaki or green. A few reasons. I love wearing black. I feel like me in it. And I wanted to love everything I wear. Second, it just made it easier for me to make sure that I could wear all pants with all shoes. I wanted complete versatility. And with all black pants I could know for certain that all tops go with all pants, too.
I wanted to put the effort into packing well, and then I wanted to not have to think at all about my wardrobe once I got to London. Honestly, at first my wardrobe was ALL black and white. But when I realized I’d done that I intentionally added in some color.
Again, since my pants are all black I could know for sure that all of the colors of my tops would work with all of my pants. But that’s just me. I don’t think this is a strategy that everyone has to use.
As I’ve been preparing for this trip, I’ve been paying careful attention to other influencers who were packing for similar vacations. I knew from Susie Wright at So Susie that these retro sneakers were on trend in London, for instance. And I also learned from her the value of a versatile scarf and a trench coat on a trip to London. She’s traveled to London several times in the past year, and I’ve been paying attention.
I also watched Jo-Lynne Shane prepare for her trip to Italy last month. I’ve followed Jo-Lynne for almost as many years as she’s been blogging, so that was nothing new. But one of the main things I learned from her is to lean into your own travel style as you pack. She noted that she got a lot of travel advice as she prepared for her European trip, and most of it was good. But she said she decided it was best to sift through that advice and do only the things that resonated with her personal travel style.
So I really think I did that here. I knew that comfortable shoes were important to me, but so was looking nice. I’m not camping out. I’m in a major city, one that I’ve admired from a distance for years. And I wanted to feel like I looked my best as I stepped out into it each day. I also wanted my outfits to look like me. When I look back at the photos, I want to see me wearing things that look authentic to my style.
I’m really not a fashionista. I don’t need to look like a million bucks every day. But I do like to look pulled together and a little polished. So I wanted my travel capsule wardrobe to facilitate that. I’ll let you know how what I packed for London worked out for me!
I also wanted a little variety in my outfits. I wanted the ability to wear color…or not. I wanted shoes that dressed me up a bit and others that felt a little edgy and more relaxed.
Well, that’s what I packed for a week in London. And those are the outfits I put together before I left on my trip. I’ll share more of how I actually wore them when I return home. Meanwhile, if you like to travel and would need to do your overseas exploring on your own, I suggest you check out Shelly and Walkabout. If you contact her, be sure to tell her I sent you! And she actually wrote a guest blog post here with tips for women traveling alone.
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Blessed for My Day
We can be led by our emotions or we can lead our emotions to God. Each day – sometimes multiple times each day – we have a decision about how we will handle our emotions. Or if we will allow them to handle us. When your emotions feel big and overwhelming, the best thing to do is acknowledge them. If we try to stuff them or ignore them they just grow. So we must acknowledge the feelings we have.
But then we need to gently and graciously remind our soul that our emotions are not the boss of us. And we can call our soul to turn its focus to God and the truths He has taught us in His Word. So next time your emotions toss you about like waves in a storm, throw out an anchor in God’s Word. Reach for your Bible and cling to the truth. Remind your soul to rest in the truth of Scripture rather than be tossed about by big emotions.
Why are you in despair, my soul?
And why are you restless within me?
Wait for God, for I will again praise Him
For the help of His presence, my God. ~ Psalm 42:11