by Lia Parsley
Springing in Paris? Summering in Milan? Beaching in Mykonos? Pubbing in Dublin? Clubbing in Ibiza? Floating (both on the canal, and off) in Amsterdam?
Whether you’ll be traveling to any of these tourist faves, or other Euro hotbeds of culture like Prague, Helsinki, and Budapest, the largest dilemma of any girl’s travel prep is of course: WHAT TO BUY? WHAT TO PACK?
Let’s talk fabrics: First and foremost, make jersey knit your friend. It packs tightly, wears well, and is a staple for any world traveler. Ironing is most certainly not on your Europe to-do list, so keep that in mind when choosing pieces to pack vs. pieces to keep closeted. Another tip to take seriously (and apologies for sounding like your Mother): PACK LIGHTLY. Especially for Europe. Within hours of landing and most definitely after your first stop at Topshop, you will have acquired at least two new pieces to bring home to jealous girlfriends – make room for this. With that being said, DEFINITELY under-pack on shoes (especially pumps and boots). We all know that Europeans have this mystical way of producing far better footwear than we ever could on our side of the pond so certainly, something to take major advantage of during your (shopping) travels.
The only footwear that you should give serious thought to bringing or buying (should you not already own) prior to your trip abroad is a comfortable and stylish pair of shoes that you can walk (potentially) endless hours in. Timberland’s Benin Ballerina ($80, from their Earthkeepers collection) is a great option: made from organic cotton and leathers, this versatile boat shoe meets ballet flat makes for pain-free site-seeing footwear.
To ground any and all of your fabulous, soon-to-be European looks, stock up on basics from Joe Fresh prior to taking off – super cheap (we’re talking $20 and under) and sleek, modern cuts? It’s a no-brainer.
Now, if you’re in the market for breezy summer dresses (thinking comfort no doubt), Urban Outfitters is always a must-stop. Silence and Noise (printed Navajo dress, $68, pictured) and Ecote (both designs carried at UO) produce consistently beautiful, feminine, and affordable dresses (approximately $70 and under). Not for the rock chick, both S. and N. and Ecote cater to the daydreaming, field-dwelling, all-consuming romantic – expect floral prints and subtle touches of lace and ruffle. Ecote, specifically, draws upon Missoni’s effortless glam appeal: Perfect for transferring from day to night with the right pair of heels.
Currently, at Liberty Village’s newly-opened Vocado boutique, some beautiful, well-made American classics by way of Lily + Jae (lilyandjae.com) are worth checking out. Crisp, elegant lines (Boler Blouse, pictured) make a good impression in any country – there really is something so timelessly chic about an oxford shirt paired with perfect-fitting denim. Be prepared, however, to spend a little more than you might normally do when prepping your wardrobe for vacation.
For edgier items, best paired with feminine pieces (faux-leather jackets, bold/studded jewellery, strong silhouettes), perhaps waiting for Europe is the best bet. If you’re looking for avant-garde, don’t bother spending money on our turf. Go directly to the source.
Cardinal rules for strolling the streets of Europe:
– no yoga pants of any kind, ever – this makes for impossible crowd-blending (you will regret leaving the hotel/hostel in those Lulus)
– for the same reason, avoid berets in Paris
– shop as much vintage you can: their markets are simply the best
– don’t be afraid to pop into H&M in Europe even though it’s now one of our own staples: the stock is different and (oh god, here we go again) somehow, intangibly, just better…
On that note, Europe in the spring/summer season is alluring, romantic, provocative, and always, always magical. If you’re not too busy shopping, send us a postcard. We want to hear all about it…