What to Wear: European Dash

What to Wear: European Dash

Here’s a special rush request:

My husband and I will be traveling to London, Paris, and a wedding in a French chateau (a little over 2 weeks total). He would be happy to wear sloppy old t-shirts and jeans and Chuck Taylors the whole time, but I want to look as stylish as usual (if not more).

Difficulty: we’re flying standby and can only take 1 carry-on bag each. Double difficulty: did I mention the wedding in the chateau (which will be populated by beautiful French and Portuguese people)?

He: 32, but a boyish 32, 6’2″, fair with dark hair and a very sweet (and not gross) potbelly. Will not sacrifice comfort for style. Enjoys wearing blazers over t-shirts. Has only 2 pairs of shoes. Entire wardrobe is black, denim, and earth tones. This trip will be his first time out of the US.

Me: 29, 5’11”, size 12-14 and a little chesty, also fair (we are the ghost twins), right now brunette, but usually red-headed. Mostly wears flats so as not to tower over the husband. Prefer not to wear pink, generally wear mostly neutrals with a pop of color.

The one bag thing is really killing me, because I know the weather will be somewhat unpredictable, and because I have a hard time wearing the same thing day in and day out. PLUS dressing for a French wedding in a chateau is very intimidating!

Amy (from Texas)

For most of your trip, pack a pair of jeans you love (preferably a dark, straight leg pair) and lot of solid colored layering tees. Use scarves and belts to make your outfit different each day. Wear your heaviest shoes and coat on the flight to make room in your bag. Now for the fun part:

Dress – From what I read online, you’ll need something you can wear all day and with enough coverage to wear in a church. Hats also seem to be prevalent, but I think you can skip. Depending on your schedule, it might be fun to buy your dress in London or Paris. It would be a fantastic souvenir. For example: Tara Jarmon has some beautiful dresses. If that would be too stressful, I like this simple gray dress J.Crew.
Jacket – To cover up in the church or in case it gets cold. Very Carla Bruni.
Necklace – A pretty piece of jewelry you bought at a Paris flea market. Like this one, but maybe not $200.
Shoes – Ridiculously cute frenchie flats with a big teal ribbon.
Clutch – From my favorite Etsy seller: Red Ruby Rose.

Suit – Unfortunately, my research showed that a suit will probably be necessary at the wedding. Luckily, this stylish option from J.Crew is on sale. If it turns out that the suit isn’t required – go with sturdy gray trousers that can be worn at the wedding and then with other, less formal clothes on the rest of your trip.
Shirt – A blue dress shirt in a tone to match your outfit. Try to find one that is wrinkle resistant for easier care.
Tie – A very appealing basic tie from J.Crew.
Shoes – European men wear their dress shoes with a longer toe. These Kenneth Cole oxfords will fit in well on either continent.

I’d love for our European readers to chime in with their suggestions for Amy and her husband!

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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Katie at 3:10 pm

    Why don’t I have friends getting married in a French chateau so that I can have a trip to London and Paris while looking that darn cute? Love those shoes!

  2. Jenny M at 3:20 pm

    Wow! 2 weeks and only 1 carry on bag each! I am a serious over packer, this would be my nightmare…

    I love the outfits Emily! Super sweet flats!

  3. kt at 3:41 pm

    Brooks Brothers non-iron shirts are THE best. I used to travel every week for work and they always look fabulous.

  4. Katie at 4:10 pm

    Love the pop of teal in her shoe! and if I don’t get a Ruby Rose clutch soon I might just keel over and die.

  5. Joanna at 11:03 am

    We have such changeable weather here in the UK I recommend a stylish mac that can be folded away when not needed and some flat pumps for all that walking you will be doing!

  6. K.Rae at 1:18 pm

    Ohhh, this is ROUGH. Just a carry-on?

    If money’s not an issue, you can plan on picking up new pieces as you travel, then mail them home before you leave.

    If I were you, I would pack one pair of nice jeans, a versatile jacket, 2-3 tees, a blouse, a dress which can be worn for the wedding and dinners, a couple of pieces of jewelry, dress shoes, walking shoes (cute ones), and underthings, of course. You’ll need to do laundry along the way, but you can also have fun shopping to fill in the gaps!

  7. Amy at 9:18 pm

    Thanks for all the suggestions, commenters! Emily, I love these looks and the hubs also approves! I talked to the French bride and she says that a sportcoat and slacks would also be okay, so that frees us up some in shopping!

    I have our carryons–21 inch rolling pilot cases. Current general plan is to pack 2 jeans, 1 trouser, (plus a light skirt or 2 for me), 2-4 assorted layering tees/tanks and shirts, a black cardigan sweater, and a pair each of sandals and sneakers (plus dress flats for me). Then we’ll wear our boots and heavier jackets on the plane. In order to limit wrinkling and maximixe space in our luggage for everyday duds, our fancy wedding duds will be arriving in a garment bag with my mom and brother, who are checking some bags and getting to France just in time for the wedding. Per Emily’s previous sage advice to travelers, we’re going to limit the palette and make sure everything mixes and matches. Rain jackets are not readily available here in Texas, so I see a stop in a London shop if the weather turns off nasty!

    Checking luggage on the way back won’t be an issue, because if a suitcase full of clothes gets lost on the way home we can wait for it to be found and returned. We were planning to expand into a third bag anyway in order to make space for souvenirs.

    We’re planning on going shopping tomorrow and I have to say that these outfits are IMMENSELY helpful. I especially appreciate the versatility—I think we could do wedding or nice dinner, out, cocktail party or work party in these outfits!