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Fashion Friday: Traveling with Style

The first time I traveled to Italy I was convinced I would never have the opportunity to visit again. I threw myself into preparations: memorizing countless maps of Italy, noting various attractions’ opening times, and tirelessly researching the location and background of every major monument, museum, and art gallery I had been exposed to in my undergraduate art and history classes. The last thing on my mind was fashion!

Now for those who know me today, this seems impossible. I love fashion, and I live by the motto that one can never be overeducated or overdressed. But like anyone, my sense of style has developed over the years, especially my travel style. The key to traveling with style is form and function—clothes need to be practical but still photograph well, since for better or for worse you will be looking at these pictures forever!

Every year before departing, I receive countless emails from students stressed over what to pack. Packing is an art form, and I hope that by sharing my traveling fashion follies and triumphs selecting pieces to pack will be a less taxing experience.

What not to do:

These pictures are from my first trip to Italy and clearly I was not concerned what I looked like—I mean, I am wearing green terry cloth sweat pants for crying out loud (in my defense, it was 2004 and everyone was wearing Juicy sweats)! I also selected comfortable but ill-fitting t-shirts. I never did my hair and that scarf headband thing is doing me no favors. The end result was that I hated almost every photo of myself from this trip, which is a shame because these photos document a life-changing experience!

Better but not great:

The following years I focused on basics. Never underestimate the power of well-fitting wardrobe staples! While my clothes were not exciting, I was happy with the way they looked in photographs—clean lines, flattering shapes, and timeless style (try to avoid dating the photo with your clothes, case in point, my green terry sweatpants).

Finding my Style:
Over the years I started to mix it up a bit by adding color and texture or patterns. And I finally streamlined a packing system. Color and fun patterns or textures are great ways to inject style without moving away from the clean-lines and shapes that are most flattering in photographs. But, remember select one or two colors to add to basic neutrals, that way everything you pack can be mixed and matched for more outfit options.

I think it is also important to have a little fun and not be afraid of coordinating your outfit with your surroundings (I got a little carried away with this when I visited London following the royal wedding and wore a different fascinator every day).

A nautical striped top pairs well with the Amalfi Coast and a vibrant color-blocked dress echoes the beauty of Moroccan tile work. Obviously, you want to avoid looking costumy in all of your photos, but I am definitely for sporting a beret and striped top in front of one of your Eiffel Tower photos (just saying)!

Lastly, always remember that while it's great to be stylish, you also need to be practical when traveling. I always ask myself the following questions when packing:
1. Is this flattering? (Photos can be unforgiving)
2. Does it have clean lines and a basic shape?
3. If it is colorful I ask, can it be paired with both neutrals and the other colors I am packing?
4. Is it easy to care for, wash, and dry? Will it wrinkle easily?

Ashley B
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  1. Wow these pictures are great! I also love sticking to basics & classics when I travel.

    PS: Your insta feed was in my friday favorites post :)

    AJ | TheAJMinute | @TheAJMinute

  2. These are great tips!
    I nominated you for a liebster award, btw, you can find the questions on my blog (
    But seriously great post!

  3. Great post! I love all of your tips!

    Prep on a Budget

  4. I love these kinds of posts! I have a question, and I'm fairly certain it's an embarrassingly awkward question -- I remember in a previous post that you mentioned that when studying/traveling abroad that you should not expect things to work the same as they do here and that's the beauty of being abroad. Now, I'm pretty minimalist with my clothing and I can see myself bringing some white ocbd's, a couple of pairs of jeans, a skirt and a chambray button down... maybe a dress and some accessories. What has been your experience with laundering clothing abroad? Is that question too weird?

    Pretty Officer Kidd

    1. Hi Denise, not weird at all. I find visiting laundry mats abroad time consuming and expensive! Personally if I am traveling for less than 3 weeks, I won't bother washing while abroad. But if you are gone longer, you really have to - that 50 lb weight limit only goes so far! But all in all it is fairly easy to find laundry mats. Hope that helps!

  5. Love this post- fairly certain i'm still in the 'what not to do' stage and blame this partly of my super curly hair, that hates going on holiday.

    Rebecca Elizabeth

  6. It's so funny to see your style evolve though these pictures. I definitely agree about picking items that don't wrinkle easy (the last thing you want to do while on vacation is go hunting for an iron!). Have a great weekend.

  7. Which city were you in when you visited Morocco? I'm OBSESSED with Morocco--I'm actually working on a blog series about it right now!

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest

  8. I love all your travel photos


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