Backpack to ballroom: Flexible Packing Tips

So Findettes, leading on from Amanda’s fashion dilemma last week, we’re back talking about holiday packing.  Many guide books will try to tell you that all you need for a trip which takes in more than one country is a pair of cargo pants which zip off into shorts and a black t-shirt.  This, unless you’re built like Angelina Jolie and you enjoy being called ‘that bird who looks like, whatsername, Lara Croft’, is not true.

However. If you’ve just booked the holiday of a lifetime, be it a cruise, a jaunt through Asia, a road trip across the USA or a round-the-world trip, you’re probably not exactly rolling in cash.  So how do you pack a capsule wardrobe on a budget? Well, it’s all about multi-functional separates, day-to-night items and accessories.

ASOS peplum printed jacket and shorts

Taking a matching top and skirt, or jacket and shorts – wear the printed items together for a more formal look and separately with plain tops and bottoms for sight-seeing.
If, like Amanda, your trip calls for both black tie and backpacker, save on space and funds by accessorising. A great way to do this is with ribbon – a couple of lengths of coloured ribbon gives you 2 extra belts for any dresses you take, and they can also be tied around the top of a skirt for a retro-glam look.  Experimenting with texture, like velvet ribbon, adds a luxe edge for less.  

Say you’d packed two maxis like the ones we featured last week, with the black jersey number simply tie the halterneck cords into a bow at the bust where it’s ruched and thread a wide, coloured ribbon through, et voila! A totally new dress.  When a dress comes with a self patterned belt, don’t be afraid to use said belt on another item of clothing. Swapping floral belts from two flowery dresses, for example, works really well.  Finally, if you’ve packed ribbons and you happen to have a pair of espadrilles, re-thread your shoes for a ballerina.

Rebecca’s Tip: Look for heavier ribbons that will hold their shape if you’re expecting them to double as straps and go for patterns or stripes for instant riviera chic. Try VW Rouleaux for a great selection also available online.

Experiment with cardigans and shrugs – get it right and you can totally make the dress a different piece. This lace bolero from MANGO would transform a strapless top or dress: match your colours and they’ll look like one item, contrast them and you can easily change your look.  

Remember Rebecca’s cosy?  It’s another hard working staple that’s perfect for dressing up or down when travelling.  Another great travelling companion is an over-sized scarf – although it doesn’t look it in the picture, this American Vintage scarf is suuuuuuuuuper long and wide… and in a silk blend it can be used as a pashmina, scarf, draped as a sarong or tied into a big floppy bow for a dressier look. 

Scarf – American Vintage at Liberty

Finally, and at risk of sounding like my Grandma, it’s amazing what a good quality slip can do. A nude slip, with a lace front, is great for smoothing lines and wearing underneath wrap dresses and tops for added glamour.  

Slip by Yummie Tummie on ASOS and blue lace slip, Topshop

The ASOS slip above, though pricey, comes with detachable straps and would work under pretty much any dress, and lends itself especially well to wrap-over dresses, as well as making a previously ‘beach-only’ kaftan opaque enough to wear as a top or dress.  The blue Topshop slip would be great worn with a flippy little skirt and a cardigan over the top of it.

So readers, do you have any fool-proof travel items? Something that you took away with you and wore to death? We’d love to hear about it!

Gemma C-S xxx

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