Roughly three years after my last trip abroad, I finally stepped foot on foreign soil again, this time for a weeklong trip to Berlin and Zurich. The trip itself was perfect (if you don't count having to deal with connections in the middle of a full-blown air-travel crisis), from the candlelit French dinner I enjoyed right off of Berlin's Spree to my day trip to Dielsdorf, Switzerland, a picture-book town 20 minutes outside of Zurich. My packing job? Let's just say it had its low points.
After so much time away from traveling, especially internationally, and with only a carry-on suitcase to work with, my packing skills were a little rusty. But now that it's been a week or so since I got back, I've had time to ponder those items that I probably didn't need, as well as the ones I couldn't have survived my seven-day jaunt around Europe without. Scroll on to see every outfit I loved from my trip and simultaneously learn all about the items I could've very well left at home.
Pack: Lightweight Tops and Trousers
Leave at Home: Non-Walkable Sandals
Breezy cotton tops and lightweight trousers were among my most-frequented items during my trip, which conveniently took place during a mid-July temperature spike. But even with the warm weather, I was able to walk miles on end in my flowy, breathable tops and pants. The only thing hindering me from walking everywhere were the sandals I chose to pack, which despite being easy to walk in in NYC, didn't quite cut it in Berlin, where cobblestone streets are the majority instead of the exception.
Keep: Silk Dresses and Versatile and Comfy Heels
Leave at Home: Items That Only Go With One Thing
I'm a certified outfit repeater. When I find a combination that I love, I'll wear it again and again until I get sick of it. Such is the case with this look, which includes a Miaou corset and a Silk Laundry dress that I fashioned into a skirt. Here's the issue: When you pack items only for the sake of wearing one outfit, you inevitably have to leave more versatile items at home, cornering yourself on days when you're not wearing that one perfect look. Next time, I'd keep the dress, which can clearly be worn in multiple ways, as well as my By Far shoes that are surprisingly comfortable and elevate any outfit, and leave this patterned corset at home. I love it, clearly, but a more neutral option would get more use.
A summer slip dress is perfect for any occasion, from a long day of walking to a formal affair. If you're especially crafty, style it in unexpected ways to get even more use out of it on your next trip. For example, add a thin, beaded belt or tie a cashmere knit around your waist.
Keep: Windbreaker Pants and Easy Sneakers
Leave at Home: Unnecessary Knits
Though I ended up finding a time to wear this cashmere sweater-vest, I don't think that I would allocate precious luggage space to it next time, especially in the middle of summer. I would, however, bring along these swishy trousers from Lioness, which I've already gotten tons of use out of this summer. And, of course, my Sambas had to tag along—they go everywhere with me.
Keep: Tube Tops and Slip Skirts
Leave at Home: Knee-High Boots
This summer, no clothing item of mine has gotten more use than my tube tops. Paired with skirts, trousers, jeans, and more, the Y2K style is proving to be a versatile and essential contribution to my wardrobe. So, of course, I brought along a number of variations on my trip. Not so essential, though, were the knee-high boots I somehow managed to fit into my suitcase. Though I have been known to wear them at all points in the year, bringing them along on a midsummer trip was simply unnecessary. I wore them once, yes, but I assure you there were countless other items I could've brought that would have (1) taken up less space and (2) proven to be more valuable.
Keep: Washable Fabrics and Cool Sneakers
Leave at Home: Just-in-Case Outerwear
I'm not sure what I was thinking bringing a heavy-duty leather jacket on a mid-July trip, but hey, what's life if not a learning experience? Rather than packing outerwear just in case the flight was cold or it looked good with one of my outfits, next time, I'd rather bring along lighter-weight layering pieces that could be worn to stay warm on the plane but also throughout the trip. No question, though, for traveling, there's no combo better than barely there pants (these are from SIR and are incredible) and cool and comfy sneakers (mine are Wales Bonner x Adidas).
Shop everything else I brought on my trip:
I love a waistcoat suit in the summer because while it looks incredible together, it looks honestly even cooler separate. At its simplest, you have three outfit options, but really, there are dozens depending on the different bottom and top variations you pack.
I've gone through stages of being really into stacking jewelry, but these days, my rotation is pretty simple. I wear the same silver chain necklace every day, have a gold bracelet soldered on (I got mine at Catbird), and never go a day without my Cartier Tank secured on my wrist. Really, the only bold jewelry item I ever wear is a belly chain, and even that is fairly low-key when you consider that this is the style I picked.
Packing running shoes is always a drag because they take up a good amount of space and don't really contribute to your daytime outfits. The way I justify them—besides the fact that they allow me to explore new places on foot and that running keeps me feeling energized and grounded on vacation—is by stuffing them with annoying small items, like socks, in your suitcase.