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What to pack for a spring city break 2015

Undecided or overwhelmed by what to pack for that European city break? It's all about perfecting a concise capsule wardrobe...

by 27 March 2015

Packing is a mission at any time of year. But the plus side of packing for Europe's cities in spring is that you don't need a multitude of layers to fight against the chill, and it isn't so stifling that your beachwear becomes more enticing than city separates.

If you are jetting off for a romantic weekend in Paris, a bank holiday and bank-breaking shopping expedition to Milan or a week cruising London's sights and sounds, your capsule wardrobe needn't be complicated. Start with your key pieces and work your way from there... so a few pairs of trousers, a skirt or two and a couple of versatile dresses for day and evening, and once these are 'in the bag' so to speak, then you can begin to play around with blouses, tops, jackets, shoes, bags and of course accessories. So what exactly should you pack?

Related: What to pack for a spa weekend

The trousers
Wide legged and high-waisted are a super chic and versatile option. A blush shade works with most palettes so is extremely wearable with your 'secondary' items, such as silky blouses and slim lightweight sweaters. A pair of cropped trousers will stand you in good stead especially for those days when you are hitting the streets. A dark hue such as navy or black is a failsafe option. Depending on your agenda, a pair of jeans is a good laidback option but instead of your usual every day jeans, why not invest in a pair of new season flares to take your jeans to the next level.

 trousers

Clockwise from left: raincoat - Bottega Veneta, blouse - Isabel Marant, trousers - Haider Ackermann, shoes - Chloé, bag - Michael Kors

Related: How to survive a long-haul flight like a lady

The midi skirt
A midi skirt will be a sure fire hit for any European city break. It is sophisticated and wearable, offering the perfect balance between style and comfort. A maxi can be too encompassing and impractical in the city and a mini often too flesh baring. This season the midi skirt is everywhere. Go for a hardy and versatile fabric such as suede or denim, as it will be the base for your outfit and work with staple separates such as a white or denim shirt, a floral blouse or a Breton striped sweater.

midi-skirt

clockwise from bottom left: tan boots - Gucci, blue shirt, Michael by Michael Kors, bag - as before, raincoat - as before, skirt - Tibi

The day-to-night dress
Perhaps the most important element of your spring city break wardrobe is that dress which you can wear by day and also by night. Now this is not to say, don't also pack an off duty shirt dress and an evening dress or two, but a dress which can take you from art gallery to cocktail lounge is a packing prerequisite. A single colour is a very versatile option and black, the easiest colour to transition from day to night. A shift style or belted dress is a good option which by day you can wear with a casual jacket and flats and after dark, with killer heels, an evening blazer or accessories and a clutch.

Related: What to pack for a spring city break 2016

 

Day-to-night-dress

clockwise from left: dress - Miu Miu, bag Mary Katrantzou, blazer - J.Crew, boots - Christian Louboutin

The staple separates
Brighten up your capsule wardrobe with these classic, colourful and print and pattern rich staple separates:
1. A white shirt
2. A silky blouse
3. A floral blouse
4. A denim shirt
5. Lightweight colourful sweaters
6. A Breton striped top
7. A structured cardigan, poncho and/or blazer
8. A wear with everything day jacket
9. An evening jacket
10. Colourful print and patterned scarves

Related: What to wear when it's not summer and it's not winter

The bags
Carry a large wear-with everything tote by day (large enough to hide those gratuitous must-have purchases!). An ecru or tan shade of leather or suede will go with pretty much everything. Then for some evening glamour go for a statement clutch - something which will pep up the more simple of evening ensembles.

Related: The art of rainy day dressing 

The shoes
As bulky items to pack, you need to streamline your takings in the shoe department. A pair of chunky heeled tan ankle boots will go with pretty much all your daytime wardrobe and a pair of nude sandals, mules or wedges is a welcome addition for the more refined of outfits. After dark, black heels or slick black stiletto ankle boots are a versatile option. A pair of flats is a wise option, go for whatever style you are most comfortable with – ballet flats, brogues or Stan Smiths for the ultimate in downtown cool.