Travel Capsule for UK Summer Trip?

Hi Everyone!

B and I are headed to England the last two weeks of August! We'll be spending most of the trip visiting his family outside Manchester, and 2-3 days in London on our own for a little sight seeing. I'm really excited, because this will be my first trip to England and my first time visiting a place outside the US. Of course my first thoughts were on what to wear. ;)

I know the weather can differ quite a lot between northern and southern England, and that the weather can vary a lot even during the course of one day. Also, Londoners wear a lot of black (is that true?). I don't own anything black. :( If anyone can give me any more guidance, that would be great. I live in Texas, so "hot" weather to me means anything above 90. 

I used Pinterest to put together a potential travel capsule, but I'd love some feedback from YLFers who are in England or have visited during the summer. 

My goal is to take 3 bottoms, 3 shirts, 3 "toppers" (layering pieces), 1 dress, 3 pairs of comfortable walking shoes, my trenchcoat, umbrella and 1 handbag, plus a few small accessories. That makes 7 outfits that I plan to wear twice each (we'll be able to do laundry while there). The hitch is I do not want to buy anything new just to take to England, especially things that I would never wear here in Texas. The trip is going to be quite expensive, and we just don't have much to spare for clothes. The items below are all things I already own (or close approximations). 

So, does this capsule seem okay? Again, most of the things we'll be doing are really casual--visiting family and touring museums and hanging out at the pub. We won't be attending fancy dinner parties or theaters or really nice meals out (maybe next time). :)

P.S. If any YLF peeps will be around London at the end of August and have time, I would love to meet up for lunch and a little browsing/shopping. :)

Here's my Travel Pinterest board if you're interested in seeing the actual items I have.

Thanks again! :D


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Hot Weather Dressing: Realizations and Resolutions

Ironkurtin’s recent post got me thinking about my own hot weather strategy. Right now, I’m trying to fill in my wardrobe gaps (sandals, lightweight skirts and breezy tops). Supposedly, this summer is forecasted to be as hot as last summer (over 80 days straight of 100+ degree temperatures). Except this summer there is going to be more rain, so hot plus very humid. Hooray.

All of these aren’t recent “epiphanies” so much as things I’ve come to know after living through six hot summers. But I wanted to commit them to the page and compile them in one place so I can easily reference this over the coming months. I’m hoping it will help me resist temptation and buy a lot of things that I want but just aren’t suitable for our climate (this happens from time to time). I’m also posting it to my YLF Blog. ☺

These are things I’ve figured out about my own preferences, but hopefully it will also be helpful to some of you whose dominant seasons are similarly hot.

1. Showing some skin. I feel more comfortable showing more of my legs than chest/arms. This is probably because I have an hourglass/inverted triangle body shape, and I tend to carry most of my weight in my upper body. I also use sleeved tops to soften my shoulder line. So sleeveless tops often don’t work for me, because from the front they look fine, but in the back they cut in too far. They look like they have a racerback (and not in a good way). There are some styles that do work, such as v-neck, cowl neck or crossover tops with “thick” shoulder straps. But I feel like all my sleeveless tops and dresses fall into that category and I get tired of it very quickly. Which leads me to my next realization.

2. Summers are long and I get bored. This is by far the thing I struggle with the most. How do I mix things up while keeping my wardrobe smallish? By July, I get really tired of, “Now I put this top with a yellow skirt. Now I put it with a blue skirt, now a black skirt…” But the outfit really doesn’t seem any different. I feel like I’m wearing the same thing every day for months on end. And by that time, there are still four more months to go. I just bought a denim vest that I’m hoping will help as a layering piece and make some of my outfits feel like I’m wearing something different from day to day.

3. Abundance of prints. I generally don’t like prints, so I rely on interesting design details and color to make my fashion heart sing. This makes buying summer clothing difficult, because it seems to be very simple in design, and I feel like there are always tons of prints. I’m stocking up because this year there are a lot of them that I do like: polka dots, stripes, novelty. Many times all I could find were abstract floral, geometric, and summer novelty (Hawaiian flowers, palm trees, etc.) which I tend not to prefer.

4. Special bras and foundation garments are definitely out. This one I know from experience. Things that require strapless bras will never be worn because I'll always reach for something else in my closet. Our summers are humid and strapless bras just won’t stay up on me, no matter what, when it’s humid outside.

5. Items that must be layered are out, too. If it requires layering, it will sit in my closet. There are tops and dresses that work well on their own and under a denim jacket or cotton cardigan indoors, and I look for these. But if it’s something that needs a layer, such as a top that cuts in too far on my back or has thin straps, I will never wear it once the temperatures heat up here.

6. Camis and cotton slips are most likely out. This is also from experience. This year, I’ve been on the lookout for items that don’t require either. If it’s lined in cotton, that’s okay with me. But low-cut tops and dresses that require a layering cami will sit in my closet and never be worn. I say ‘probably’ because I will make some exceptions if I really REALLY love the item and don’t plan to be outside at all that day (but that rarely happens).

7. Experimenting with statement jewelry. I tend not to wear a lot of jewelry in the summer because honestly, it gets sweaty under bracelets and necklaces that sit on my chest, and then it’s just a big, disgusting mess. So I’m looking for cute earrings that aren’t too big or very dangly, since my hair is very short. For my personal style, big earrings just feel like too much. I also bought one big yellow necklace to layer over tops that have higher necklines. That way it will sit mostly on fabric instead of skin, and hopefully I can avoid the sweaty jewelry problem.

8. More summer shoe options. I’m not a shoe girl. I actually hate shoe shopping, and if I find shoes that I like and are comfortable, I’m likely to buy them in nude and black and be done with it. But I think maybe having nicer shoes and more color and style options might make my outfits feel different. So I’m working very hard to spend my money on shoes this year, instead of all the other things I’d rather spend money on that just aren’t practical once it gets hot.

Whew, that was a long post! ☺

I’d be very interested to hear all of your summer shopping strategies! I know it has come up before, but I really can’t get enough of it. I seem to always get ideas when I hear from you guys on this subject. Also, it must be just as difficult to avoid all the impractical-for-you fun summer clothing if you live in a cool climate, as it is to avoid it when it’s scorching hot outside. "Look at all these gorgeous blouses and dresses and pants...that would be a complete waste of money for me to buy. They'd sure make great closet decorations."