build an essential travel wardrobe | travel diary french river cruise pt. 2

travel week is in full swing. on sunday, i showed you my outfit layouts and gave you some packing tips and tricks. in case you missed it, you can read them here. yesterday, i took you with me on my riverboat cruise to Normandy and Château d’Ételan. you can find that post here. today, i want to build on a theme from sunday’s post, namely how to build an essential travel wardrobe

in that post, i focused on three must-bring item types: i) denim, ii) black pants, and a iii) sweater. today, i’m showcasing 2 out of the 3 items much in the same way as i did yesterday’s post.  specifically, i want to show you how you can reuse elements of one outfit successfully in another (potentially) cutting down on the number of items you pack.  

day outfit

the importance of denim 

denim is one of the hardest-working items in your wardrobe. this is doubly true when you’re traveling. for those of you following the blog this month, i hope you got a chance to check out the definitive guide to denim i put together. you can read that post here.  

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | boyfriend jean | skinny jean | low heeled booties | scarf

the sheer flexibility denim provides when you travel is limitless. as i said sunday, dress them up. dress them down. dress them somewhere in-between. there is no single item more essential to pack than denim.  

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | boyfriend jean | skinny jean | low heeled booties | scarf

here, i’ve paired a cashmere turtleneck dress from Everlane with a blazer from Lafayette 148. blazers make my #4 essential items, and i put together a fall guide to blazers here.   you can match this look with a pair of boyfriend jeans or skinny jeans. either works perfectly. and if distressed jeans aren’t your thing, no problem. just make sure to check out these low heeled booties from Easy Spirit. i’m continuing to try to bring you chic but comfortable footwear, and these booties are just that. since September i’ve partnered with Easy Spirit as a brand ambassador, so please be certain to use code BETH25 for 25% off your purchase through November 2019.

evening outfit

the utility of black pants. 

at some point in your trip abroad, you’re going to spend an evening out. maybe you’ll head into town for a quiet dinner, or maybe you’ll spend the night dancing. black pants work in a variety of evening occasions, no matter what city or country you find yourself in.  and much like denim, they pair nicely with a mixture of tops and outerwear. you’re not going to want to forget them.  

cashmere turtleneck dress | blazer | similar turtleneck dress | faux leather pants | low heeled booties

for my evening wear, i’ve kept the cashmere turtleneck dress, blazer, and low heeled booties. i dropped the scarf and denim, swapping the latter for faux leather pants from Ann Taylor. just like that, i was ready to see an evening concert at the beautiful Château de la Roche-Guyon.

 Château de Chantilly

all right, gang! that’s a wrap for the second entry into my travel diary. like yesterday, i want to leave you with some breathtaking pictures.  these are from Château de Chantilly, and i hope you enjoy them. keep the comments coming! i’m loving hearing all about your recent travels or upcoming travel plans. tell me how you build an essential travel wardrobe in the comments below. 

the following photos were taken on our day trip to Rouen, France.


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  1. CIndy L wrote:

    I would love to hear more about this cruise — as I’d love to book one too. Looks beautiful.

    Also, thanks for showing how to wear skinny jeans with booties. I have struggled with inseam length on jeans to wear with my booties for a while. I see that you’re wearing a capri-length pair, so that the jeans don’t “bunch” around the tops of the booties. Tucking skinny jeans into tall boots is a no-brainer, but sometimes I like the look of ankle-booties with jeans, as you’ve shown here. Any other tips on this would be welcome!

    Posted 10.29.19
    • there will be a full recap of the cruise in early november. stay tuned!

      the jeans are ankle-length not capri but they skim the tops of the ankle booties. the current trend is to show some skin between the booties and jeans. flared jeans and booties are tres chic.

      Posted 10.29.19
      • Rose wrote:

        I like the look of the ankle jeans with booties and I’ve seen others showing a little skin. That’s fine, but what do us northerners do when it’s freezing outside? Do we show skin and use no-show socks or is there some other suggestion to keep warm? I’m talking about when you don’t want or need to wear knee high boots. You can probably get by with the look even during your winters in Georgia.

        Posted 10.29.19
  2. nancy page wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your trip photos.
    I ache to return to Europe.

    Posted 10.29.19
    • what a magical country France is! Normandy is absolutely breathtaking at every turn.

      Posted 10.29.19
      • Susan wrote:

        Every American should travel to Normandy, it is an unbelievable experience!

        Posted 10.29.19
  3. Francine wrote:

    My travel wardrobe is based around black, white, gray and accent color of red i.

    Posted 10.29.19
    • sounds as if you have your travel wardrobe down pat!

      Posted 10.29.19
  4. Becky Taylor wrote:

    I have certainly enjoyed your trip to Europe and it reminds me of my trios in the past. I only wish I had your packing tips at that time……I do admit I did exsist for almost a month in Europe with only a carryon and backpack. At that time jeans were a no no so I had to rely on more wash and wear travel clothing so jeans are a definite great addition!
    I remember all of the wonderful concerts in such unique venues in Paris, Venice and Bergen!

    Posted 10.29.19
    • france just loves to party at chateaus! but why not? what a gorgeous venue any time of day or night.

      Posted 10.29.19
  5. Linda L wrote:

    We enjoyed Rouen, the death place of Joan of Arc, 8 years ago. Such a pretty town! When we visited it was rainy & cool even though it was August. I always pack at least 3 scarves that can double as a wrap. On that trip I was glad to have something to keep the chill out. Looks like you had good weather!

    Posted 10.29.19
    • gray skies swirled overhead but the rain stayed at bay so we wandered the streets without dodging the rain puddles.

      Posted 10.29.19
  6. Mary Ann wrote:

    Hi Beth, I wish that I had had some of your tips for condensing a travel wardrobe when we took a 3-week river cruise with an extension on either end, making for a one-month trip. It was a wonderful trip, but I was overwhelmed by the packing. I’m so enjoying your photos!

    Posted 10.29.19
    • packing can be stressful especially if your trip is mover than seven days long! but in the end a vacation should be full of memories and fun! not the stress and strain of what to wear. so don’t sweat the small stuff. just enjoy!

      Posted 10.29.19
  7. Sandi Bush wrote:

    I would like to know what size suitcase you used for the trip.

    Posted 10.29.19
    • i checked in a 28″ spinner suitcase that weighed in at 50 pounds.

      Posted 10.29.19
  8. Violet L O'Brien wrote:

    Photos are beautiful! Love your outfits and the way you look wearing them. Glad you are travelling and enjoying life. Blessings be with you always!

    Posted 10.29.19
    • thanks so much, violet. this was a bittersweet trip for me as mr. style wasn’t by my side. he would have loved the river cruise and the wonderful food and scenery. but i’m so thankful jr. style got a taste of france.

      Posted 10.29.19
  9. Brenda S wrote:

    I would love to travel but my husband does not. Your trip looks wonderful.

    Posted 10.29.19
    • i have to admit this trip was delightful from start to finish. thanks for following along!

      Posted 10.29.19
  10. Susan wrote:

    Beth love Rouen! I have to say I am not a fan of the distressed jeans. I think if your over 50, you can move on from distressed jeans. Love the outfit with the black slacks and blazer. What an exciting trip, hope you are enjoying!

    Posted 10.29.19
    • we ate lunch at a very rustic restaurant that served traditional french dishes. afterward, we walked the streets of Rouen soaking in the history at every turn.

      i always chuckle at the the reaction to distressed jeans from women over fifty. short skirts and distressed jeans are always a polarizing topic for women of a certain age. i wonder why? style should always represent what you want to wear. not what others think is appropriate to wear.what does age have to do with style anyhoo?

      Posted 10.29.19
  11. Suzanne M Smith wrote:

    That chateau! Magnifique! I remember traveling all along the Loire valley and going through a number of chateaux, but not sure I’ve seen this one. Lovely! You look chic and it sounds like it was a delightful trip.

    Posted 10.29.19
    • what a wonderful trip, suzanne! a river cruise is an easy way to visit the smaller towns scattered throughout france. and, of course, omaha beach was the highlight of the trip. it was a somber day.

      Posted 10.29.19
  12. Cheryl wrote:

    On my very first trip to Europe, ( Rome, Florence and Tuscany) I packed like my French girlfriend advised me to pack…one small suitcase and carryon.
    I wore a pair of jeans in the plane, packed a pair of tan pants and black pants. Houndstooth blazer in back and tan. Good pair of black loafers. One packable black dress, low heeled black sandals. About 6 or 7 tops…ranging from cotton t-shirts, to white blouse, black tunic sweater, black dressy sweater, rust sweater top. A few others ( can’t remember).
    I was dressed well for every occasion..lots of sightseeing, casual dinners, one or two dressy dinners.
    However, I wanted to burn my clothes by the time we got home after a 12 day trip.
    I have yet to repeat that goal on subsequent trips to Europe. Usually overpack and regret it.
    What you’ve shown here so far looks wonderful. Will try to duplicate your choices in my next trip abroad.
    By the way, you look marvelous.

    Posted 10.29.19
    • Gwen Ewing wrote:

      Love seeing your trip pics! Getting great tips for clothes. My husband and I are going to Rome for 8 days December 3, and I am planning my outfits. I hope to take just what I need and be stylish and comfortable! Please tell me about the Easy Spirit boots, I love them and plan on buying that pair. Are they a good shoe for this trip, they are darling. Thanks pretty lady!

      Posted 10.30.19
  13. Sue wrote:

    Beth, I love your comment wearing distressed jeans at our age. Yesterday when my husband and I walked into a brewery for an early dinner, a young (about 20) year old went crazy over my white low Chuck Taylor sneakers. I was wearing a pair of navy Talbots knit slim pants, a navy/white stripe tee, and a jean jacket. Oh, I just turned 69.

    Posted 10.30.19
  14. Janet Park wrote:

    Hi Beth I am sitting on my balcony looking at the Great Pyramid of Giza on the 1st day of a Scenic Trip to Egypt and Jordan. We are then going to Europe and England, in all 8 weeks. Packing has been a challenge as have only a case of 20 kgs each. We did the same cruise you have just done 2 years ago, as my husband wanted to see where both his grandfathers had fought during the WW1. By coincidence we were at the American cemetery on July 4th and witnesses a very moving memorial service. This is our 4th Scenic tour in 4 years so highly recommend them as a tour company. Regards

    Posted 11.1.19

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