I’m headed off to Amsterdam VERY SOON with STA Travel. It’s part of a YouTube promotion they’re doing (check out their channel here) and there’s going to be a film crew following me around. O-M-G I’m going to be famous. And you know what? I’m totally worried about what to pack. (Don’t worry — I’m not some sort of pompous, pretentious fashion freak, it’s just I’m not sure what outfits and styles I should have with me. Amsterdam seems from the outside to be a rather fashionable city. Those Dutch men… so tall and handsome….) Anyways, all this fretting about what to wear had me thinking: what are my travel fashion essentials?
If you’ve ever looked at my Twitter bio, you’d know that I (almost) always travel with skinny ties and skinny jeans. Truth be told, I rarely get a chance to wear skinny ties these days. The jeans, though — they’re definitely in my luggage for every trip. What else is in my bag? Here’s the skinny (sorry for the pun).
Travel Fashion Essentials: How to Look Good, Travel Well & Pack Light
Shoes make the man
I was late to the sneakerhead trend (even if it was a ’90s thing) but it seems to me that shoes are one of the more important parts of the outfit. There’s a long-running joke here in Europe that all you need to do to spot an American tourist, is look at their shoes. White sneakers? Oh yes. He’s a bro.
There are countless footwear brands but my time-old favorite has to be the Converse. I was as late to the Converse party as I was to the shoes-are-cool party, and because of that, I’m sticking to them for as long as I can. I traveled around the world with a single black pair of simple Chucks in 2010. These days, they’re 100% the one fashion brand that I consistently own. And for traveling, you can’t really go with a better shoe. The low-tops are small and can be easily compressed and put into a backpack (if you’re switching up pairs). They’re tough and durable — mine typically last for years.
SHOPPING TIP: I buy my Converse online from Zalando. Mostly because Zalando is the mega-online-shoestore in Europe and they give out discount vouchers like it’s nothing in Berlin. Careful when you visit their website, though, because it can be addictive going through their trends and sales pages.
Socks are the new ties
For the past few years, socks have been all the rage. Trend pieces pop up every couple of years claiming socks to be the new ties — they’re a chance to casually show some individuality, to express oneself. And you know what? Even if we’ve moved past the obnoxious, over-the-top patterns & styles, it’s still a quick and easy way to add a bit of character to your outfit. And when you’re packing for travel, always make sure you bring extra socks. I don’t particularly worry too much about my clothing getting dirty while traveling, but there are some clothes I just will not wear if they’re in an awful state. Socks.
Always pack sexy underwear
Listen up, guys. Underwear is important. Because luggage space is precious, I typically pack my skimpiest underwear (read: hipsters & briefs). They take up less space, they’re comfortable and they get the job done.
You always need denim
I’d be lost and uncomfortable without my favorite pair of jeans during a trip. They kind of make the whole outfit. A nice pair of skinny jeans can go a long way — especially when traveling in Europe. They’re often good enough to get you into a decent club without having to worry about dressing up or dressing down. Jeans are universally awesome. I wouldn’t dream of traveling without them. The only downside is the amount of space they take up in my luggage, but it’s worth it.
SHOPPING TIP: I’m 100% a Levi’s guy.
Tell time easily
This is it — my top trick for traveling easy with a bit of style. Wear a watch. I know this goes against every backpacking rule out there (ugh – rules?!) but in most city destinations, having a watch won’t make you stand out. In fact, you might just look even more like a local. In the past few months I’ve started a small collection of watches, buying most of them at the Berlin flea markets for between 5€ and 10€, though I did also buy a watch on sale recently from Zalando.co.uk.
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With these travel fashion tips you can easily add a bit of style to your trip without packing more than you need. Other accessories that I bring on occasion, though, include: suspenders, skinny ties, trendy t-shirts and hats. I still haven’t found a good way to travel with hats, though — maybe I should start bringing hat boxes like they do in the old movies?!
What are the simple things you pack to