If you’re heading to Europe over the summer as the weather heats up in India, you’re going to have two points of focus for your outfits choices: glamour and utility. It’s not tough. Just remember Europe is vast, and if you’re traveling to more than one country, take into consideration that the weather can swing from cold, damp and bone chilling windy in London and Ireland, to the baking hot Mediterranean or mild and sunny Catalonia.
So, when in doubt, as the empresses of style say, just layer. We’re big fans of overlays — thin denim shirts and stoles to throw over our dresses. Also, let’s not forget the tyranny of air travel and super stingy baggage allowances that ensure you have to really put your grey cells to use while packing.
After you’ve moved past a pair of jeans, the standard issue black, white and striped tee shirts and a grey overlay, you’re looking to apply the same rule to your dresses. Black, white and a monochrome or grey T-shirt shift dresses transition seamlessly from am to pm, from a day at the Coliseum with gladiator sandals to a culinary night out on the chi chi Pigneto. Tackle the latter with a pair of slinky sling backs and some bling danglers on your ears. Or take it a step further with sexy headgear.
Of course, your stash of checkered and striped shirtdresses, or geometric printed dresses are also going to hold you in good stead during lunch in that small, but classy Provençal village. Whether you’re dining at a Michelin star restaurant or an eat-and-be-seen bistro, a standout dress can carry its own weight. So get experimenting with some daring cuts, silhouettes or patterns.
Crinkle-free georgette dresses are excellent for their propensity for wash-and-wear. And even if you’re carrying a maxi dress in a beautiful ivory or silver grey for the night, it won’t take up much space or weight in your baggage.
Night outs in Europe are unpredictable, and potentially wild, and if you’re in a city like Berlin, parties can notoriously go on for days on end. So if you’re thinking about wearing that silver swinger dress you can rarely pull out of your closet back home, or a sexy fitted bodycon, break down the look with a pair of high top black or white sneakers, or even boots, so you can dance the night (and day) away, and go from dinner to a nightclub in a few steps. Of course, if you’re carrying boots, carry a pair you can walk the city in during the day.
For a beach vacation, finding a cover up is basically as easy as choosing which kaftan you’re keen to wear over your bikini, and then supplement that with a long overlay.
Bags may be womankind’s much talked about weakness, but there’s a certain resistance one must channel and exercise while packing for a holiday. Your essentials are simple, a cross-body messenger for your day jaunts, an overnighter for your flight and any other journey within the continent, a beach bag that collapses into nothing and one evening bag, preferably in a metallic colour.
Anything else and you risk excess baggage after those fulfilling days of shopping on Bond Street, Via Monte Napoleone or Avenue Montaigne. Bon voyage!