france travel capsule | packing tips

this week on the blog is travel week.  as i’m making this post, junior style and i are headed back from our weeklong river cruise in France. what an unbelievable time, and i can’t wait to share everything with you!  i’ve got outfits to share with you; food and wine recommendations for when you’re in France; travel tips, tricks, and hacks; as well as a travel vlog that will go up next Sunday.  to kick the week off, i’ve put together a fashion travel capsule wardrobe. i’ve got layouts of all the outfits and accessories i wore in addition to a few key packing tips and tricks.  

essential carry on items & packing tips  

for those of you who have followed me throughout the years, i’m no stranger to traveling.  mr. style and i loved to get away, whether it be local or international.  over the years, i’ve documented our travels extensively and given various piece of travel advice you can find here and here among other places.   if you’re looking for packing tips, specifically how to fit your travel wardrobe comfortably into your luggage, make sure to check out the video below. 

earlier this fall, i went to visit one of my kiddos in NYC.  that was the first trip i’ve taken without mr. style, and i put together both a travel guide & capsule, as well as a collection of outfits of the day.  this week in France is my first international trip without him, and stay tuned for Thursday’s post:  the definitive guide to international travel.  

top carry on items 

today, i want to focus on the must have carry on items for both domestic and international travel.  obviously, the most important carry on items are your bags.  you’re going to want to bring 2 bags: a travel bag/purse & your roller.   for those of you subscribed to my 7 favorite things email, you may have seen a few of the bags below.  (for those of you that aren’t subscribed, make sure to subscribe to our “product & sales” email on the sidebar to your right.)

i’m absolutely in love with the expandable travel bag from Nordstrom.  it’s extremely versatile in addition to just plain looking good.  and if you like this one, check out the entire Longchamp Paris line.  and how fun is this watercolor roller from West Elm?  if you want a bag to standout in a carousel crowd, then this is it.  be sure to check it and the other luggage sale items out at West Elm. 

once you’ve settled on your bags, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve packed at least the following items.  plane rides can be long, and if you’re in the middle of an unknown international city, you’re going to want to have these basic essentials at your disposal. 

  • passport
  • kindle
  • iPhone
  • headphones
  • portable charger
  • lint roller
  • water bottle 
  • advil
  • hand sanitizer
  • lip balm 
  • melatonin,
  • tide bleach pen
  • eye drops
  • hand and face wipes 
  • band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and gauze pads.

3 essential wardrobe items 

putting together your travel wardrobe can be daunting.  and like with anything, you can save yourself a lot of headache and frustration by going into it with a game plan.  a lot of us have a tendency to overpack and choose things we think we might want if...  and that’s fine, no doubt.  but that means that oftentimes we’re over our weight limit; or we check an oversized bag instead of a medium; or we bring 2 checked bags instead of 1.    

part of a packing game plan is knowing and bringing the absolute essentials.  don’t worry.  i’ve got you covered.  below are my top 3 travel wardrobe essentials. 

1. black pants. 

chances are, you’re going to go out to a nice bar or dinner in Paris.  or maybe you’ll catch a play in London.  and even if you don’t have anything formal planned, you just might change your plans last minute.  black pants work in any formal occasion, no matter what city or country you find yourself in.  don’t forget them.  

2. denim 

dress them up.  dress them down.  dress them somewhere in-between. there is no single item more essential to pack than denim.  this is because jeans are so darn flexible.  and being a good traveler just means being flexible.  when in doubt, pack a couple of pairs.

3. sweater

spring, summer, fall, or winter—bring a sweater.  i promise you, the plane you’re flying in and the museum you’re planning on touring is going to be cool, if not cold inside.  always bring at least one sweater.  always.  

travel capsule

now for my France fashion travel capsule wardrobe.  below, i’ve broken my items down by type and provided links for (at least) similar items.  stay tuned all week to see how i wore each outfit, both on the blog as well as YouTube.  

shirts & dresses

tie neck blouse | tie neck blouse 2 | similar zebra shirt | similar denim shirt | similar white shirt

similar black turtlneck dress | similar flower print dress

sweaters & jackets 

fisherman sweater | fisherman sweater 2 | grey turtlneck | red turtlneck | mockneck | crewneck | black sweater | similar stripe sweater

trench coat | trench coat 2 | black blazer | black blazer 2 | black blazer 3 | leather jacket | leather jacket 2lavender blazer | lavender blazer 2 | lavender blazer 3 | white jacket

pants

roaming tiger pantsglen plaid pantsleather leggingssimilar chinos | similar black trousers | dark skinny jeans | boyfriend jeans

and shoes & accessories 

coach bag | white loafer | booties | sneakers | scarf | pumps

and of course… sleepwear 

pjs | robe | similar hoodie | similar joggers | similar slippers

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21 Comments

  1. Susan wrote:

    Beth how many suitcases? I am a big International traveler and if flying business 2 suitcases, this is doable. If not and packing in one bag not so much! I hesitate to travel with jeans they are heavy and make suitcase weigh heavier. Hope you had a great time!

    Posted 10.27.19 Reply
    • Hi Susan!
      Just one suitcase that weighed in at 50 pounds. I love to check in my bag so I never have to contend with all the craziness of overhead bins. People get so stressed out about their carry-ons!

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  2. Carol wrote:

    Thanks Beth. What a timely blog for me! I’m trying to figure out what is a good river cruise that goes to Normandy. I’m planning on going next summer (2020).
    These outfits and packing ideas plus upcoming places to visit will be sooo helpful.
    As always I do appreciate your posts and especially giving courage to other widows to get out there. I know it must be difficult however. My husband and I lost our 26 year old daughter to cancer 13 years ago. Still tough. BTW I wrote 2 books The Zoopendous Surprise and Johari’s Joy about the animals she cared for at the zoo. Writing those books brought me out of a dark place as I’m sure your blog may do the same for you.
    Again, I appreciate your work.
    Sincerely,
    Carol (Boots) Hensel
    Award Winning Children’s Author

    Posted 10.27.19 Reply
    • God Bless you, Carol. It is never easy losing a loved one. But losing a child must be especially hard. I am so glad you channeled your grief through writing. I am off to check out your books. xo

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  3. Lori wrote:

    I love your style and you are one of my favorite fashion icons but that seems like so many items for a one-week cruise. Did you end up wearing everything?

    Posted 10.27.19 Reply
    • *technically* we left on a friday and came back on a sunday. so 10 days. did in fact wear everything.

      Posted 10.27.19 Reply
    • CB2 wrote:

      I agree. You brought way more clothes than I do for I week in Europe. I fit everything in 1 carry-on – 1 pair of walking shoes and 1 pair of boots. 1 pair of black pants + 2 pair of jeans (i wear 1 pair on the flight).

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
      • isn’t it great that we have different perspectives on the perfect travel wardrobe?! i just don’t get the carry-on mentality. but to each their own. it’s what makes the world go round.

        Posted 10.28.19 Reply
        • gayle wrote:

          I only travel with one roll aboard and a carry on/bag for the first items you mentioned. We have been on too many trips where people have lost their luggage. No one pays attention to how many times you wore those same pants and tops. This year we have been in Europe twice, one two week trip and one 8 day trip. Never needed anything that was not in my roll aboard. Yes, it is fun to read about choices. You do dress much better than I do and Mr. Style did, too. It is great to read of your continued travel!

          Posted 10.28.19 Reply
          • gayle wrote:

            have to add…We always travel business class (lots of points from business travel) so no worry about the space for my roll aboard in the above compartments.

            Posted 10.28.19
          • first-class or business class is the way to travel. which means you get two checked bags instead of one. no thank you to the overhead bin business for this girl. i’m happy to hand over my bags at the airport.

            Posted 10.28.19
  4. Susan wrote:

    Wow that’s a lot of clothes! I could never get that in my international size carryon. I usually have a pair of jeans and good black pants, I agree they are indispensable. I wear jeans since they are heavy. I also wear my jacket, scarf, and heaviest shoes, usually booties. I take one dress- a sweater dress if it’s fall. One blazer or dressy jacket or nice cardigan. I wear yoga pants or joggers for pjs as they can be worn as outerwear too. All the tech I can fit in an under seat bag along with meds, glasses, etc. I decant my cosmetics into contact lens cases- you really use much less makeup and lotions than you think. Travel sizes if everything else. The river cruises I’ve been on furnish nice shampoos and lotions etc so I use theirs for a week!

    Posted 10.27.19 Reply
    • Cindy wrote:

      Love this. I do the same as my husband refuses to travel with checked luggage. I do find it is totally doable. ( even for evening dressing up… I travel with a great patent Dansko shoe that takes me to night as well can take the rigors of rain). I don’t wear pants but find my skirts/ dresses work great with a pullover sweater or changing the look with a cardi, open / buttoned makes another look. My carry- on bag as well takes one work out outfit/ shoes. ( a must to work out when we travel). Most International Hotels we stay at have a good ( not great), workout facility. I as well love my Longchamp travel bag…. just goes with me everywhere.

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
    • No carry on for this girl! I am more than happy to check in my bag. People are obsessed with overhead bins these days making it a very stressful climate,

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  5. Lyn wrote:

    We recently returned from a 2 week trip to Italy with our daughter and one of her daughters – age 5. Dad had to stay home with their 4 yr. old. We decided to travel with only a carry on and one tote. We didn’t need as much as Beth did. We took black slacks, one pair of jeans, , a lightweight black sweater, and several dresses – one black, one black/green, and one black/white polka dot. They are of the material that travels well. I took several stretchy knit tops to wear with the black slacks – they looked great and were light enough to pack well. It was fun planning our wardrobes – much of which we already owned. I also took a few thinner material tees – white, also a white eyelet short sleeve top. All the tops I could wear with either the black slacks or jeans. Oh, I took only 2 pairs of shoes – one a pair of white sneakers, and another pair of black Mary Janes. A few years ago we did an extended 5 week trip to Ireland – more layers needed – we traveled very heavily. We needed both casual and dressy clothes for that trip so we did need to check a bag – really like the carry-on only way these days. I noticed that’s the way most seasoned travelers go. Can’t wait to hear more about your cruise.

    Posted 10.28.19 Reply
    • Lot’s of options for seasoned travelers. If you like to go the Rick Steves route you can condense your wardrobe into a carry on. Having lived and traveled overseas for years I’m more than happy to pack what I like and check my bag in at the airport. It all depends on what suits you best.

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  6. Cheryl wrote:

    Always love your posts. Great style and great ideas.
    Quick question..which French River cruises did you go on? Don’t need the name of the cruise line, but which river did you cruise on?
    We did a Danube cruise several years ago, liked it, and are thinking of doing a river in France for our next one, thank you.
    By the way, so admire the way you are picking yourself up and keeping on with living after your loss of Mr. Style. Hugs….

    Posted 10.28.19 Reply
    • Scenic Cruises invited me to the River Seine Cruise. I’ll have a full recap next week of my adventure. Thanks so much for your sweet words of encouragment. I have to admit I missed Mr. Style so very much on this trip. He would have had a ball! xo

      Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  7. Denise P wrote:

    I agree with the other commenters that I would pack far less for 7-10 days in Europe, especially all those jackets! However, it looks like you wanted a different outfit for every day, and to each his own!
    I also agree with you on the hysteria over carry-ons. I always check a bag when I travel. I don’t like fussing with big/heavy bags, or stressing about over-head space. I take a medium sized tote with flight necessities that fits under the seat in front of me while still leaving room for my (rather long) legs.

    Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  8. Lorna K Blake wrote:

    I agree with most posters that Beth packed a lot of clothes but when I go to Europe I always make sure to pacj an entire change of clothes in my carryon i case my luggage gets lost and thy need a day to find it. Once bitten, twice shy. In any case, Beth is inspiring us t look our and look our best selves– I think that is what an “influencer” does.

    Posted 10.28.19 Reply
  9. Suzanne M Smith wrote:

    You brought lots of good mix and match items. Can’t wait to hear all about your trip. J’aime la France.

    Posted 10.29.19 Reply
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