I’ve been perusing through my own wardrobe, my favorite J. Crew chino shorts, v-neck boyfriend tees and Italian-inspired cardigans ready to go, but I thought it would be fun to put together a new backpacker friendly wardrobe off the Crew’s current stock. Since we’re all facing tough times, a few choice items have been pulled from the new fall line, while others are coming straight off the sale rack. We’ll start with essentials.
Every trip needs a perfect white tee. It goes with everything and is super comfy. My pick, the painter.
The J. Crew 3″ or 5″ chino short is probably my favorite ever. These two lengths are great because you can go slightly conservative, like if you’re going rock climbing and need fabric for your harness, or tan-friendly while hiking across a beach. I chose the ‘fresh mint’ color because let’s be honest, I’m going to New Zealand because it’ll be summertime there, and this is a bright color to keep things interesting. Added bonus, these shorts are on sale for $25.
Another favorite, the ruffle scoopneck comes in a handful of fun colors and is a great way to spice up any outfit, whether you’re being outdoorsy or hanging outside a cafe. I picked slate as a great color to go from day to night.
The textured jersey v-neck is a great addition if you might go anywhere chilly. The great shape around the neck is interesting to wear out at night, and the longer sleeves help keep you warm skiing during the day There are lots of fun colors to choose from, and a not-too shabby price.
This next dress is definitely my obsession of the week. The great papaya color works perfectly for the upcoming summer and will last into fall, if I ever experience that season again. The ruffles at the neck are feminine enough to complement the jersey material that you know will give you a great Marilyn Monroe moment at some point. And the belted waist accents your figure so you still feel a little bit sexy.
I know I was skeptical at first, but I have fallen in love with my matchstick jeans. They are long enough for my 5’10” frame and hug in all the right places. Yves Saint-Laurent once said, “I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” That is what the matchstick jean does for me. Thank you J. Crew for finally coming out with a jean that doesn’t flatten my derriere.
Now we know to bring along a LBD (little black dress, boys), but the biggest problem with a backpack is wrinkles. So here are two wrinkle-friendly options, the Lorelei and the Piazza. Both of these embossed dresses are great day-to-night additions to any closet, and can be layered with long cardigans or a belt at the waist to add some color and shine. If you fall in love with it, buy it in another bright color, because every girl needs a little bright dress too.
If I didn’t already own two sorority sweatshirts, and one each from trips to the Bahamas and Martha’s Vineyard, this would be my winter guilty pleasure. The classic french tie adds an elegance to soft terry cotton. Perfect for a day skiing or a windy boat ride. Maybe I’ll add it to my Christmas list anyway.
Another addition for a day out on the slopes or a day at work, if you choose to work on your holiday or are actually adding adventures onto your business trip, the perfect shirt is actually cut to fit. The shirt tail hem makes sure you’re always comfortable, whether this is paired with a high-waist pencil skirt or chino shorts. Pick your color, new ones for fall will be out soon!
Remember shoes take up a lot of space and add tons of weight. One pair of nice, comfortable flats will work fine for your whole trip. I would recommend black, but these Kelcey suede ballet flats in plum are too fabulous. Remember to break them in before going, and purchase any special sole inserts as well.
In some way, every trip involves a bikini, a good one, at least it should. Hotel jacuzzi’s and the beach both deserve a great suit. While this isn’t the best pick for me, I still love the delicate petals and the sweet sex appeal they bring.
Now for the last two items on my list. First, a good scarf with plenty of wearing options. This washed silk scarf has a lot of the bright colors in other pieces as well as complementary colors, so it can go with most outfits on this page. Other good options are pashminas with fun prints, but try to limit yourself to one. If you have to do two, bring one print and one solid to cover all your bases.
Last on my list is these fantastic heirloom earrings. Sadly I’ll be leaving my Tiffany’s behind, and these butterscotch dangles are a great mix and match pair. They can flow with gold or silver necklaces and bracelets, and add enough flair that you shouldn’t wear anything else heavy with them. Another thing to add to the Christmas list – don’t bring anything expensive that you would be distraught if it got lost, damaged, or stolen.
It’s all about versatility. Don’t bring those pumps you love, something will happen to them and they’ll be dead weight. I know I’m going to want to shop when I get to New Zealand, and especially when I go to Thailand, so leave room for those goodies you pick up along the way. Just make sure to bring all the basics with you and one or two favorites so you aren’t lonely for your big wardrobe at home. You’ll find new things to obsess over and pieces of your trip to bring back anyway.
To customize your own packing list, try The Universal Packing List.