It’s only very recently that I’ve begun putting some real thought into what I’m packing to take away on holiday with me. Echoing something I mentioned in another post; when you’re well prepared for a trip away (regardless of where away is), you can focus all of your (positive) energy on enjoying yourself… coming from my experience as someone who's packed slightly wrong a couple of times when visiting family in the Middle East, it pays to get it right.
I know many people find going on holiday a stressful experience, which means there’s, even more reason to plan ahead – it’ll help you keep your cool from the very moment you leave home, knowing that everything’s covered.
So what exactly makes a well-packed case? To me, besides the case itself–which is a crucial ingredient to get right–there are four factors… practicality, comfort, style and interchangeability.
One item might make the cut because of stylistic reasons alone (such as my current favourite Stan Ray cream trousers) while others (such as a rain jacket) are in there purely for practical reasons. Go too far one way, you’ve got loads of real nice stuff that doesn’t allow for changes in temperature or weather. Go too far the other and you’re running the risk of packing too much for practicality’s sake, compromising style in the process.
For the purpose of this post, I was thinking about a forthcoming trip to Amsterdam in September – a four day trip to a city with relatively changeable weather in a month in-between seasons.
I want more than the minimum amount of options–because you never know where a city trip may take you–but I don’t see any value in paying extra cash for a large case to be stowed in the hold, so I still need to pack succinctly. Using the four factors set out above, let’s go through how to pack the ultimate case for four day break and then take a look at how we’re wearing it, putting my choices to the test.
Jordan and I set about using the ex-bank vaults in the basement of the Brighton Eagle Lab as a studio for this one, which was a totally new experience. I was pleased with the planning that had gone into the holiday wardrobe and put this to the test with a recent trip to Sweden for a wedding. I’m pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint, so I’m hoping there are a couple of tips you can take away from this piece.
The holiday wardrobe checklist
2 basic plain tees
2 striped tees
2 Oxford shirts
= 13 items
I've tested this out and it fits into an Eastpak Transvers S carry-on case with ease, so I see it as a rough guide that can be followed when packing your own case. Yes, I'm sure you can take even less stuff, but this is just as much about looking good as it is travelling light. Remember, you're going to be wearing an to travel in too(I hope), so wear those bulkier, heavier items so they aren't wasting space in your case.
Now we've got an idea of how much I'm taking, let's look at each type of item and what it brings to the party before looking at how it all goes together.
A cabin-appropriate suitcase
It’s not very often you need a new case. It’s even less often when you buy one that’s fit for the job.
The Transvers S is a reliable carry-on from Eastpak, the globally renowned luggage and bag brand that’ve been helping people travel in style and comfort for longer than I’ve been alive. It’s safe to say they know a thing or two about luggage, so I’m thankful they gifted us a case for this piece.
When buying a case, a key thing that I’ve been caught out with before is the internal shape. If the wheels are bulky or the zip closure ill placed, you’re loosing valuable space without any gain. Because this is a canvas case, it’s packs down if it’s not full, helped out by the strap fasteners, while the internal stowaway compartment comes in handy to separate shoes from your clothes.
(Just enough) comfortable shoes for all occasions
Let’s pick off the most obvious and bulky thing to pack to begin with, shoes. Try and think about everything you’ll be doing and ensure you’ve got something worn in and suitable for any evening dress codes. I’ve limited myself to three pairs, one for roaming around, one for evenings and sandals for when it’s super warm or there’s some poolside action going down. It’s tempting to want to take loads to be super prepared, but if you opt for one, solid pair you can do most things in, you won’t go far wrong.
Brilliant basics to keep you covered
Under open shirts, tucked in on their own or underneath a jumper… plain tees offer that essential go-to but also help you to get more than one outfit out of a shirt. I’m a big fan of the likes of Asket, Form and Thread and Uniqlo for basics. Brilliant basics form the basis of ace outfits while giving you plenty of options, it’s that simple.
Stripes for an interesting touch of versatility
Plain tees are great, especially when worn a little bigger than your standard fit, but you need a dash of colour in there to break things up, which is where the faithful striped tee comes into play. A couple of these are perfect when temperatures are rising as you don’t want to be dealing with layers, but want to brand out from a plain tee.
Oxford shirts for the ultimate smart yet casual button-up
Because we don’t always know where a night will take us, I think it’s important to have something smarter in case you come across a dress code that requires something more than a t-shirt. Oxford shirts are best for this as they can be worn super casually (open with striped or plain tees) or buttoned up the whole way with a pair of tailored shorts for something smart but not formal.
Tones to keep things interesting
Thinking about each category above, it’s also important to ensure there’s a good mix of colour in your holiday wardrobe so that you don’t focus too heavily on practicality. Here, I’m pulling in some cream work trousers from Stan Ray, a soft pink jumper from CMMN Sweden and a beige shirt from WeAreCPH. This is what pulls things together, makes outfits pop and adds a little bit of character.
The key looks: putting our packing to the test
To finish things off, here's a section of flatlays and outfit inspiration to showcasing the versatility, style and ease of my holiday wardrobe formula. Out of the 13 items selected, I've managed to get a total of 11 outfits from it... that's enough for four days, right?
How do you approach your holiday packing? Any tips or rules you have to avoid getting that dreaded heavy sticker slapped on your suitcase? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share this if you've enjoyed it.
The suitcase and bumbag in this post was gifted by Eastpak.
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