dress for the day: the trip you want to have

welcome to wednesday, where we dress with purpose and repeat our mantra:

dress for the day you want to have,
not the one that’s trying to have you.

today and every wednesday, i invite you to link arms, blogs, and instagrams in solidarity. here’s to setting the tone for the days we desire with the clothes we pull from the closet!


allow me to introduce you to my friend lacy, globe-trotter & pilgrimage guru, who packed with purpose & style for her recent trip abroad.


I have traveled for as long as I can remember, and my journeys away from home have always impacted my life in new, exciting, and challenging ways. In October, my husband Kyle joined me for his first trip to Europe. Since my travels have been so formative in the past, it was really significant to now be traveling abroad as a couple. Who knew what this new shared experience would bring?

Before we left, I planned to pack the same old stuff I’d worn on past trips abroad – clothes that are flexible, comfortable, sensible, and fit in the backpacking backpack serving as my suitcase. Packing for the off-season – cold weather clothes take up more room – meant I would have to bring even fewer pieces.

As the trip drew near and visions of tea time, the Eiffel Tower, and pesto danced in my head, I found my go-to travel wardrobe to be lacking in the inspiration department. When it came time to pack, I decided to apply Abby’s “Dress for the Day” mantra to my travel wear.

I found inspiration to dress for the trip I wanted to have.


The trip I wanted to have was largely based on how I wanted to feel while journeying: I wanted to feel cozy in Scotland, confident in London, fashionable on the streets of Paris, and care-free when in Rome – because when in Rome . . .

Basically, I wanted to feel empowered and ready for adventure, and there’s no reason why my wardrobe couldn’t pull some of the weight on this new endeavor.

With only a couple of new purchases and some rearranging, I managed to put together a new wardrobe to fit the bill.

4 countries, 40 days, one backpack.

Here it is, along with some tips of the trade and some photos of the wardrobe in action.


  1. DAYPACK – You need a purse, but when traveling, you often need a bit more – water, a guidebook, a camera, etc. A cross-body bag that zips or latches shut is easier to access and carry for a long day, plus it keeps you safer from pick pockets (you’ll definitely never find me wearing a money belt). I bought this handmade leather bag from Etsy for $65! Done.
  2. SHOES – These Naturalizer boots are one of my new purchases for the trip. Great for walking, any type of (cooler) weather, and can be dressed up or down. In a successful trip wardrobe, everything goes with everything, so remember this when packing. I almost always choose camel for my necessities (bag, shoes, belt).
  3. SCARF – Scarves are fashions best invention, especially for traveling! They can make an entirely new outfit, pack small enough to leave room for multiples, and are perfect when it’s cool but too warm for a jacket/coat.
  4. SUNGLASSES – Always pack shades. You never know when the sun will peek through, even if your destination seems dreary.
  5. THINGS TO BUNDLE – Staring in Scotland, I knew I’d need to keep myself warm. That doesn’t mean a winter hat can’t fit in my scheme, though (and double as a beret in Paris)! I also took a black coat from Land’s End. Not the most fashionable choice, but it looked nice and kept me dry and warm, whatever the weather might be (and had secret pockets!).
  6. SHIRT – Another new item I splurged on for the trip that had been on my list for a long time. I found a chambray shirt like this one at Canvas that I wore more than anything else.
  7. DRESS – You never know when you’ll go out to a nice dinner or see a show, and my blah wardrobe from before might have kept me from this! Unacceptable. Even though I’ve had this cotton dress for years, it just so happened to be in the season’s it-color – oxblood. Success.
  8. TIGHTS – Tights can go with a dress or layer underneath jeans on a blustery day.
  9. SWEATERS – I packed two of the cardigan variety. Perfect for layering, and great to have 2 to mix things up (or during laundry days!).
  10. T-SHIRTS – You just can’t go wrong with nice white t-shirts. These had a great feel to them, were long, had an elegant scoop neck, and cost under $10 at Forever 21. Buy 3 and bring them all!
  11. BELT – Always bring a belt, even if you think you won’t need it. Because when you wear your jeans three days in a row you will. You can also use it to accessorize the dress, sweater, or button-down shirt.
  12. JEANS – Dark and straight leg jeans are best for hiding grime and looking put together. Jeans need not be sloppy!
  13. JEWELRY – Choose a few select pieces that will really add to multiple outfits in your scheme – this time I went with gold.
  14. LEGGINGS – Another new purchase that was so worth it, these thick black leggings from Loft were cozy and elegant simultaneously. Win.

Out of the suitcase, onto the street!

I know, I know, it looks all nice out on the bed. Here’s how it worked in action:


  1. Dressing for departure: 2 days and three flights. Must feel good, and bring an extra t-shirt to change into!
  2. Outside Tower Bridge in London. Cozy dresses are great for exploring cities and feeling chic.
  3. Perfect outfit for romping in the leaves outside Buckingham palace, don’t you think?
  4. The coat – not so bad, right? Though I might have fared better with the policeman’s coat who was guarding 221B Baker Street. Classy and warm.


  1. In the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Picked up this sparkly sweater (still in my scheme!) at an H&M in Canterbury. Always leave room in your suitcase for a few additions!
  2. In Nice. In every picture before this I had to take off my coat for the photo, but no longer! This really was a perfect day for a dress.
  3. Hiking in Cinque Terre in Italy. Wardrobe still going strong.
  4. In the Roman Forum – ready for some excavating.


  1. We rented a scooter on our last day in Rome. This outfit is significant for two reasons – 1. it was great for riding the scooter (no need to wear sensible shoes!) and 2. I had to wear the same thing for the next two days. We were returning to the US the next day and sleeping in the Rome airport that night – not on my list of recommendations (bonus – outfit looks très chic when slightly cocking your hip to the right and leaning on a scooter)
  2. Another wardrobe addition – new shoes from Zara. When in Europe, shop as the Europeans do! (but stay on budget)


You can follow Lacy as she explores the intersection of spirituality and travel and shares more of her travel experiences on her new blog, asacredjourney.net.

have you traveled abroad with limited luggage?
what are your packing tips for long trips?

if you’re into buttons, feel free to grab this one, and link up a post or a photo that tells your story below. feel free to link up anytime during the week, and look for a new dress for the day story each wednesday. even if you don’t link up – join me throughout the week on twinstagram (twitter +instagram) by using this hashtag:



  1. So fun and helpful. Wish I’d had this when I had to pack for a month abroad. And the world keeps getting smaller — Lacy and I grew up in the same tiny town in Missouri!

  2. I have so many thoughts! First off, Lacy is the cutest person ever. I am not surprised by how cute she managed to look wearing the same thing over and over :) Second, my husband and I are planning a trip to Europe later this year and I think this will be such a helpful post for that. Last, Abby I am so glad I found your blog through Lacy! I’m a new follower!

    • welcome ashley! i’m hoping this post sends a hint to the universe that i NEED a trip like this to pack for, as well!

    • Hi Ashley! So great to find you here because I was thinking about your blog the other day and how you post so many great outfits and was thinking you would love what Abby’s doing in her dress for the day series. Connection made!

      • Ahhh yay! I LOVE making connections like this! So happy I found Abby!

        P.S. Lacy, I might send you an email with questions when we start planning our Europe trip! And say hi to Kyle for me!

  3. emmaleighrose says:

    Love love love love love!! I hope to be able to put this to use in the near future! Lacy, your wisdom never ceases to amaze me :)

    • I checked my calendar and it said you’re overdue for another trip across the pond! I’d be honored if you take my travel advice and spice it up with some of that good ‘ole Emily Hollingsworth seasoning :)

  4. this was great! lacy i love all of your outfits!

  5. Such great tips, Lacy! I’m truly impressed. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a really long trip but I remember trying to pack things I could layer and lots of neutrals for mixing and matching, plus a few fun pieces.

  6. When I did Spain and Portugal for New Year’s 2001, my friends and I decided we’d only take carry-ons. I found an article in some magazine about making a million outfits out of 10 pieces. I memorized that bad boy and it truly made me comfortable traipsing through Europe on limited pieces. To this day, I look back at the photos and marvel that I’m not wearing the same thing in every single photo! :-)

  7. Great post! And great outfits! I have never been abroad, but should I get the opportunity to someday, I will keep your tips in mind! ;)

  8. Great tips. I always over pack and hate everything I bring I need a uniform. :-)

  9. I can’t say enough how much I epic love this. EPIC LOVE.


  1. [...] couple of weeks ago, when her friend Lacy was writing about packing for her trip to Europe, she linked to this Etsy site with handmade leather bags that led me to the bag I wanted to [...]

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