In the past when I’ve been packing for a trip I’ll search for travel wardrobe or travel packing list or something to give me guidance so I don’t go off the rails and throw everything in my suitcase! We’ve all been that frustrated before. I used some of the lists I found, but most of the time I ended up with a boring suitcase. Most of those travel lists tell you to stick to neutrals so everything can mix and match. This type of checklist makes sense if you have a 3 week trip and wany a minimalist wardrobe. What about me? Who wants to go away for a fun weekend and only bring one bag, but 4 pairs of shoes?
When I had the short Mexico trip in January I only wanted a small carry on but still have a few stylish pieces. I ended up choosing what to bring based on colour. Instead of 2 tees, 1 pair of jeans and a cardigan in neutrals, BORING. I chose vibrant orange blouses, linen pants and a leopard print dress. Everything could still mix and match, but the options were much more enjoyable.
Mexico was kind of an accident. My goal was to pack a small bag and still have fashionable options. I ended up with a great color palette and pieces I could easily interchange As were we packing for Seattle, I realized a key piece for the trip was a lovely burgundy wrap dress I’d purchased. I used that as the starting point for the trip, and built out from there. FULL DISCLOSURE, I only packed one bag, but had a few items hanging in the car as well.
I wanted a different dress for each night (I mean why not) and some casual clothes for walking around during the days. Starting with the burgundy dress and looking at my closet, I ended up with burgundy, pink and white as my colour palette. It felt stylish and romantic for our first wedding anniversary. My goal was not to worry about every piece working together but rather creating outfits for each day.
Here are my tips for packing a weekender bag with colorful pieces.
What is your key piece?
Do you have a special night on your trip, like a concert or dinner or celebration? What do you picture yourself wearing? Do you have a piece from your wardrobe you’ve been dying to wear? Or have you purchased something special for the occasion? Whatever the case, there is most likely something you are excited to wear or style. Use this piece as the starting point. For me, I splurged and purchased a beautiful burgundy wrap dress for our anniversary. Yes, I know! I bought something new! (More on this next week.)
What will you be doing while on your trip?
Think of the type of clothing you’ll need. We were away for 4 days, had a few adventure days with a lot of walking plus a concert and couple nice dinners. I knew I needed a handful of casual outfits as well as some dressier pieces. Write down what you need for each day. Although you may have jeans written down for each day, you might only bring 1 or 2 pairs.
Looking at your closet what works?
After I had my burgundy dress as the star, I hung it up in our room. Then picked pieces from my closet that worked and hung those with the dress. At the end I had all the pieces I needed, but a few didn’t work so I edited. If you pull it out from your closet, you are not committed to taking it with you. Edit, edit ,edit. I was still looking to stick with a somewhat compact packing list. I didn’t need the 4 jackets I originally brought out.
Here is what I ended up with for my 4 day weekend.
- Ripped jeans
- Black jeans
- Velvet high waisted pants
- White tee
- Striped tee
- White lace top
- Burgundy sleeveless blouse
- Grey cardigan
- Pink fleece
- White fitted dress
- Burgundy wrap dress
- Black floral off the shoulder dress
- Frey wool jacket
- Pink faux fur jacket
- Floral heels
- Pink heels
- Grey runners
In the end I shopped my closet. This has made packing so much more exciting. I am no longer intimidated by the list of essentials or to stick with neutrals. I’m creating a wardrobe based on the vibe I want for the weekend, for me, that includes colours, great textures and some unique pieces.
What do you think of this colour palette for a romantic weekend away? I think it worked out really well and I really enjoyed getting ready every day. I didn’t feel the struggle I normally do when sticking to the usual Travel Wardrobe packing list.