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I will be studying abroad in Rome this semester, and I was wondering how I could pack sensibly without going overboard. I’ve never been away for this long and the weather will be changing from winter to spring. How can I pack one suitcase (plus carry on) worth of clothing to last me four months? And I want to dress cute while I’m over there.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to help me with this overwhelming problem.
(Note: Khaighnen and I emailed each other back and forth over the course of six hours. She emailed me on a Thursday, and planned to leave that Sunday! She didn’t have time to do a lot of shopping, so after finding out a little bit more about the items she already owned, I came up with the following solution(s). Khaighnen and I are both Apostolic Pentecostals, so we do not wear pants. Skirts are shown here for women that opt to wear pants as part of their modest clothing choices.)
I’m so, so excited that you get to study abroad! That is awesome! The longest I stayed in Europe was three weeks, so your stay is definitely longer than my trip. However, I really do think that you can pack essential items without going overboard. The key is to pack items that you can wear multiple times, and that can work well for winter and spring.
- 2-3 pairs of black leggings or tights Why:Leggings are an easy way to layer during cold weather. I pack multiple pairs, so I can have have a pair ready when the other pairs need to be cleaned. If you opt for leggings over tights, then you’ll have to pack socks.
- 2-3 layering tank tops Why: Tank tops are another easy way to layer your clothing. I also like to wear tank tops under button up shirts (just in case a button or two pops open). I usually pack tan, black, and white tank tops.
- 2 bras Why: A black bra and a flesh colored bra are important. Flesh colored bras make it easy to wear lighter colored tops, while black bras are essential for wearing darker tops. When taking pictures, you do NOT want the color of your bra to be noticeable. Wearing dark colors? Wear the black bra. Wearing lighter colors? Opt for the bra that matches your skin tone.
- 1-2 denim skirts Why: Denim skirts are casual. They can be worn during the winter with boots and in the spring with sandals.
- 2 knee length black skirts Why:Comfy black skirts can be worn during the day and night. Knee length skirts are easy to transition into spring when it might not make sense to wear leggings.
- 1 black maxi skirt Why:This skirt is versatile; you can wear it high, low, or knot it.
Jackets and Sweaters
- 1 denim jacket Why:Your denim jacket might work better for April and May should it be colder in the early mornings and evenings.
- 1 trench coat Why: Trench coats are ultra chic and not too bulky. If you plan on layering, you want an option that won’t make you feel uncomfortable. You can button up your trench and belt it, or leave it open. You dress it up or down, and the color is neutral enough to be paired with anything.
- 2 oversized open front cardigans Why:You can wear these open front cardigans over your other outfits for warmth or wear them as a part of the outfit itself.
- 1 black maxi dress Why:You can make multiple outfits out of a black maxi dress. Finding a black maxi dress with sleeves is like finding a four-leaf clover. They exist, but are very rare to find. A dress with sleeves makes it easier to wear the dress without layering things on top of it. However, if you cannot find (or do not own) a maxi dress with sleeves, a sleeveless maxi dress will also work.
- 1 pair of sandals Why:These will be better for the warmer months when you’re ready to nix the leggings, tights, and layers.
- 1 pair of tall boots Why:Boots are an easy way to keep your legs warm in the winter–especially if you wear skirts!
- 1 pair of COMFORTABLE flats Why:You’ll be doing a ton of walking, so you need some comfy flats. Black flats are the most versatile; they go with everything! Read my post about comfortable flat shoes here.
- 1 pair of booties Why:Booties can be worn in winter and spring. I happen to really love Steve Madden’s Regennt Leather Bootie.
- Febreze Great for freshening up clothes
- Static Guard Eliminates static cling
- Laundry Soap Sheets Biodegradable sheets that dissolve with water
- Foldable Hangers If you have to wash your clothing by hand at night, use these hangers to air dry your garments over night.
- Tide to Go Stain Erasers I carry these with me all the time! They are great for cleaning up minor stains.
- Travel Iron If you don’t have a travel iron, a hair straightener can be used as an iron. Be sure to clean it first!
- A Travel Adapter The United States and most of the Western hemisphere use electrical systems operating at 110-120 volts. Almost every other country uses 220-240 volts as a standard. [source]