I was recently appointed the new London Resident Editor for Luxe City Guides to my absolute delight. Aimed at the more sophisticated traveller, Luxe City Guides gives you the insider guide to the world’s major cities across Europe, Asia, the USA and Australia. I always describe it to people as being a very cool friend you have in each city who tells you where to go for the best, exclusive places to eat, drink, shop, chill and get your dose of local culture (without bumping into the track-suit wearing tourist hoards).
This got me thinking about my city break wardrobe. With the amount of travelling I do, I am constantly planning city break outfits, primarily for trips to Europe. And I am the kind of person who feels better when I think that my outfit is working for me. A bad outfit can affect my mood (not for the better). In those situations, I usually claim it’s because I’m hangry so as not to appear completely materialistic to whichever poor buggers are travelling with me at the time.
So what are the ingredients of a fail-safe, mood-enhancing city break outfit?
1. adapt to the city aesthetic
What I aim for with each city break wardrobe, is to suit the city I’m going to as much as my wardrobe will allow. So for Italy, its all about the glam. Italians are not afraid of a sequin or two. And you can’t ever be overdressed for a night out in Milan or Rome.
For Paris, it takes an incredible amount of effort to look like I’ve made no effort at all. Quality pieces, nothing scruffy, slouchy blazers, button down shirts, chic little ankle boots. Effortlessly louche, in other words.
For the Nordics, I keep it minimal and casual. In Spain, I get more expressive and quirky in my attire – prints, colour and embellishments know no bounds. In Eastern Europe, anything goes.
And for anyone planning a city break to London, my advice to you is: the more bonkers the better. I’ve seen a girl walk down the street in East London in a zebra outfit (padded haunches, a tail and flowing mane) and no one looked twice.
I’ve written before about city break essentials for Luxe City Guides, and mentioned the importance of comfort. And I’m thinking mostly about footwear here. European cities are paved in cobbles – the natural enemy of the high heel. Flats are essential. Nevertheless, I sometimes feel more put together in heels, in which case, wedges are best.
Stretchy pants are possibly the most comfortable pants around, and I have found the most stylish pair from Toteme Studios (pictured). Thanks to their luxe fabric, I feel like I’m wearing trackie dacks, but look like I’m wearing a pretty darn fabulous pair of trousers.
3. invest in transeasonal pieces
The best items for city breaks are those transeasonal pieces you can layer up or down. The burnt orange shirt (pictured) works well for a mild spring day. I’ll also wear it open over a swimsuit in Greece at the height of summer, and under a tonal camel coat with a leopard print scarf on a winter city break. Everyone’s a winner.
I generally tend to pack separate outfits for day and for night. But you just never know when your day turns from gallery hopping into an impromptu cocktail hour into a dinner somewhere special into more cocktails somewhere fabulous.
For this very reason, I like to make sure my daytime outfits are versatile (i.e. dressy) enough to withstand the boozy/foodie possibilities that a day in an exotic city might throw my way.
So there you have it. My four rules of city break wardrobe planning, so that I’m a nicer person to travel with.
My top picks of city break pieces: