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Packing for 7 Months Abroad: Shoes and Purses

I am definitely a shoes and purses kind of girl. Why? Because no matter how fat I might feel, my shoes and purses always fit (#truth)! So selecting a small number of each to pack for 7 months abroad was challenging to say the least.

When packing you should always start with your clothing. Then based on the clothing you packed, select shoes and purses (and accessories last) to go with every possible outfit combination. If you pack wisely and stick to a color palette, this process is easier. In addition to matching your clothing, you need to consider functionality, especial when traveling in Europe. Shoes should be selected first for comfort and second for style, and if you are lucky you will find both in one shoe.

I have blogged numerous times about shoes and travel, because sore, blistered feet will quickly ruin your adventures abroad. Unlike traveling in the U.S., when you travel in Europe you will be walking everywhere. My finalized shoe capsule includes many of my go-to travel shoes -- Hunter Tour Boots, Melissa Flats, Supergas, and Converses. Thanks to boot socks and shearling inserts, my Hunter Tour Boots will work in both cold and wet weather. My Melissa flats are great for dressier ensembles, as are the navy loafers, and my black leather booties can go with dresses, jeans, and skirts (best to keep your heel height low). You can read more of my suggestions for selecting shoes for travel here.

You might be thinking that three pairs of slip-on sneakers is overkill, but I can vouch from experience that I will probably wear through at least two of them in 7 months. I usually wear out a pair of sneakers each summer in Florence. So I figured these three will get me through (allowing me to rotate to prolong the life of each) and will go with any possible casual outfit combination. I prefer slip-on sneakers because I find them more comfortable and they can also be worn with dresses and skirts.

Purses, like shoes, should be selected to go with all possible outfits and be equally functional. And like shoes you should think about every possible travel scenario you might find yourself in. You don't want to only pack one style of purse, or purses that are all the same size. Mixing it up will ensure you have a purse to meet different travel needs. Again, I tried to select purses that were equally fashionable and functional. I love bags that are both shoulder purses and crossbodies, since this gives you two bags for the price of one. And of course, I never travel without my trusty foldable Longchamp Le Pilage tote (more on selecting purses for travel here).

Melissa T-Strap Flats (similar)
Leopard Sneakers (similar)
Brown Leather Sandals (similar)
Navy Patent Loafers (similar)

Navy Dome Crossbody Satchel (similar)
Pink Crossbody (similar)
Red Crossbody (similar)
Bella Clutch (old)

I am not going to lie, as challenging as it has been, making these packing capsules has been super fun! I love a great packing challenge!

Ashley B
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  1. I'm living in China now and I can definitely say three sneakers is necessary! I packed three pairs for my ten month stay and I wish I had brought one more. Plus shoe size is a factor. I am a size 10 US. Which is pretty much non-existent in Asia. So buying another pair here isn't an option.

  2. I think it's smart that the majority of shoes you are packing are flats because with all the walking you will be doing there won't be any need for heels except for the occasional going out shoe (which I think you nailed with those bootie sandals).

  3. I've loved reading your packing lists. I ruin shoes like nobody's business walking around Madrid, which I hate. One of my best investments has been my Hunters. Even though we don't get much rain in Madrid, they're a life-saver when it's wet.

    And those t-strap flats are adorable!

  4. Lovely article! I am going to live abroad for a few months too because of my job and I should start packing my stuff. I am so confused! I just don't know what to take with me and what to leave. My decision in such situation is to take small amount of luggage and to go shopping in the town where I am going to stay. :) After all, shopping is the best way to renovate your wardrobe!


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