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What I’m Wearing While Backpacking Europe: Month Two

November 4, 2015

Karley here! As promised, I’m back with part two of the I’m-not-a-fashion-blogger-but-I’m-posting-travel-fashion-pics-on-our-blog series, otherwise known as What I’m Wearing While Backpacking Europe! (Whatever you want to call it, it’s a mouthful.)

Seriously though, I’ve had a lot of fun with this and I hope that y’all have, too! I also hope that three gold medals and some kind of official-looking document filled with words of praise and affirmation will be waiting on my desk when I return Stateside in a week (!!), because trading in my admittedly maximista closet for an ultra-minimalist travel wardrobe has been some kind of THANG. Then again, now that I’ve learned how to make it work, I can honestly say (without crossing my fingers behind my back) that I don’t think I’ll ever travel with full-sized luggage again. More on that crazy declaration later…for now, let’s get on with part two of this little series!

Okay, so I’ve already told you what’s inside my Osprey Farpoint 40. Since we’re talking about the “why” behind each item of clothing I selected in this post, I thought I’d show you exactly what my capsule wardrobe contains!

Ultra Light (and comfy + chic) Packing List: Europe 2


Not pictured: two pairs of tights (black and grey), four pairs of socks (all wool), three pairs of shoes (flats, ankle booties, and Nikes), a pair of Nike jogging pants (which I never actually jogged in but DID wear around our various hotels and apartments like sweatpants), and 10 pairs of underwear (highly recommend stocking up on your favorite style of these before your next trip, ladies!). That’s ALL. And as it turns out, it was more than enough!

and yes, you have permission to play the Usher song now

1. I could have done without the flats. I imagined myself dressing up for lots of chic dinners at European cafes lit by candlelight, but guess what? It turns out that A. we cooked a lot of “grocery store gourmet” meals in our apartment(s) B. my ankle booties looked just as chic when we did decide to dine out, and C. the flats feel approximately 1,000 times less comfortable on my feet than the other two aforementioned pairs of shoes I packed. So 99% of the time, they got passed over.

2. I should have taken fewer tops. I’m shocking myself by saying this, but it’s true. I wore my cobalt blue flowy top maybe three times on this trip, and that’s mostly because I felt guilty for not wearing it very much. As for the black flowy top with three-quarter length sleeves? Wore it once. Probably because I imagined pairing it with the flats that never hit the pavement.

3. I would have liked an extra pair of shorts. 
Blue jean shorts, to be exact. We were in sunny Croatia for an entire month, and while I love my Prana shorts, they got old after plus or minus 30 days of consecutive wear.


4. I would have traded a year’s worth of chocolate to have another scarf in rotation. 
That’s obviously a lie, but you get the point. I love my pink scarf, but I really, really, really started to miss the cute patterned guys decorating my closet at home. My plan was to buy a scarf or three on the road to function as combined souvenirs and wardrobe remixers, but literally until two days ago, when the most perfect Slovenian scarf wrapped itself around both my heart and my neck, I did not find a single scarf on our trip without a “made in China” label. Okay, that’s another lie. I found one on Hvar Island in Croatia…but it was over $100. So gorgeous, but so not in the budget.

5. I had to buy gloves on the road.
 Didn’t pack them initially, but that’s only because I honestly don’t think I have a single matching pair of gloves at home (and that’s because I’m from Texas and we’re currently living on an island in South Carolina). So I picked up a pair of black gloves with “texting” finger pads and cute black fur balls sewn to the front while we were in Romania. I think they were probably also made in China, but they make me feel like Audrey Hepburn when I wear them, so that’s okay.

pictured: my brand new Slovenian scarf + made in China, bought in Romania gloves! 


How did I go about selecting each item in my carefully-assembled capsule wardrobe? Well, that’s easy. I took all of the advice my adventure-loving, travel-savvy husband had to give, and Googled until I found the most fashionable version of each functional piece of clothing he recommended that I bring along. For example:

  • Patagonia long johns  (the fabric, color, and structure of the shirt lets it double as a regular long-sleeved top)

  • A convertible black dress from Nordstrom (it’s equally flattering as a strapless dress and a maxi skirt!)

as a dress in Croatia

as a skirt in Bosnia (worn with black long sleeved top + zip fleece)

  • Athleta pants from Gap (they’re convertible, but not dorky – okay, they’re a little dorky…but super comfy)

  • Patagonia zip fleece (it’s no leather jacket, and trust me, I feel pangs of jealousy every time a chic European woman passes me wearing one…with her patterned scarf…but it’s a great basic and an even better layering piece)
  • Patagonia rain coat (it has the always-in-style shape of a classic trench, and when combined with my zip fleece and nano-air jacket, it transforms into a winter coat!)

It’s also worth noting that I built my wardrobe around one unifying color palette. Every piece I packed was either black, grey, or jewel-toned, which made it extremely easy to mix-and-match and/or get dressed in the dark (4 a.m. wake-up calls for seven-hour train rides are no joke).

picture: Ljubljana + Bled, Slovenia

pictured: day trips in Croatia and Montenegro 

I’m planning on sharing more information about the three pairs of shoes I took to Europe + which beauty products made my must-have list in the future, but before that happens, Taylor will be filling you in on the what-and-why behind the functional gear we brought along for the trip. If you’re not usually into  gear talk, I promise you this post is going to be an exception. I can’t wait for y’all to hear about all the ways our DIY Duct-Tape roll has come in handy during our journey through Eastern Europe!

PS: If you have any questions about how to build a capsule wardrobe or would like more details about any of the pieces I selected, please ask away! I also highly recommend stopping by Travel Fashion Girl – tons of great wardrobe ideas, packing lists, gear reviews, and more. Happy traveling! 

Europe Fashion Gear

What I’m Wearing While Backpacking Europe: Month One

October 3, 2015

Karley here! Ever since announcing our 2.5-month backpacking trip through Eastern Europe, my husband and I have been the recipients of good luck wishes, safe travel sentiments, and more than a few “but what are you going to wear?” questions – the latter of which were mostly directed toward me, and always accompanied by a look similar to that emoji who looks like he’s smiling and grimacing in horror at the same time.

I totally get it. A. Ten weeks is a long time, B. backpacks are small, and C. I have a reputation for being a notorious over-packer. (As in, I took multiple suitcases to France for a stay that was only slightly longer than the trip we’re on now, and still “had” to have my mom ship me a few extra things internationally. Including instant pumpkin spice latte packets from Starbucks, but that’s another confession for another time. Ahem.)

Anyway, that’s all in the past. I am officially a “good packer” now, as evidenced by the fact that I can fit enough (decently cute!) clothes to last multiple months into a space I previously wouldn’t have thought was big enough to comfortably accommodate a Chihuahua. And while I’m not exactly sure how this happened, I can point with certainty to the “when” – that would be the day I took my wedding vows and promised to love, cherish, and follow my travel-loving husband all around the world with as little baggage (physical and otherwise) as possible.

Back on track: let’s talk about the backpack. The actual size of my Osprey Farpoint 40 is measured in terms of volume, but to give you a visual, it is small enough to be approved as a carry-on bag by European low-cost airline carriers.

I know what you must be thinking (and when I say “you” I really mean my best friend, who actually said this verbatim at one point) – “That is not big enough to hold my underwear for two weeks, let alone two months.”

The thing is, though, it actually contains all of this (and more):

  • Two long sleeve tops
  • Long johns
  • One pullover
  • Two jackets
  • One rain coat
  • Four tanks
  • Three short sleeve tops
  • One pair of jeans
  • One pair of black pants
  • One pair of comfy (I refuse to use the word “convertible”) pants
  • One pair of shorts
  • One dress
  • One maxi skirt
  • Three pairs of shoes

If I was a math person, I would tell you exactly how many possible outfit combinations that allows me. Since I majored in writing, however, you’ll have to settle for pictures instead. Here’s a quick peek at a few of the combinations I’ve come up with during our first month of travel!

warsaw & kraków, poland

poprad & bratislava, slovakia

zagreb & pula, croatia

split, croatia

Are you hashtag #impressed? I really hashtag #hopeso, because I don’t exactly have any other options to pull into the mix. Luckily, it’s a creative challenge that has proven to be – dare I say it? – really fun (and super convenient) so far. Who knows? Tricking myself into thinking I’m wearing something new using the same basic pieces is a talent that could eventually help us save enough money to see the Four Seasons Bora Bora in person rather than on Instagram one day. A girl can dream! (And her husband can pray.)

Next up in this mini series, I’ll break down why I selected each item in my pack + how I managed to cram it all into just one carry-on + what the heck doing laundry looks like on the road. And don’t worry, you’ll definitely get a look at what month two has in store, outfit-wise. Hint hint: My ballet flats and convertible maxi skirt/dress are just starting to make appearances…

Stay tuned! (And do me a favor…don’t bother counting how many times I’ve already worn the pink scarf. I lost track after week one! #pinkisthenewblack)