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When deciding what to pack for Europe, whether it’s a short stay or a longer sojourn, there are a few things to keep in mind: You want to make sure your travel essentials are versatile, comfortable, and destination appropriate, keeping in mind the cityscape and climate you’re headed to. Bonus points if you can make your stylish gear sustainable by wearing clothing and accessories made using recycled or even remnant fabrics. With those goals in mind, we’ve put together some wardrobe essentials and outfit inspiration for a few of our favorite European locales, from Paris and Lisbon to a river cruise. Scroll down to find pieces that suit your style, or jump straight to an upcoming destination.
England’s bustling capital city of London can feel more like a cluster of villages than a grand metropolis. Whether walking around central London from Soho to Chelsea or hopping on a double-decker bus to explore neighborhoods further afield, comfort is key, as navigating this immense city can take time. Boots or sneakers are favorable to heels, paired with structured looks that will take you from day to night. With frequent gray skies, a stylish trench is always a good idea.
A cosmopolitan city dating back to the 11th century, Copenhagen unfolds like a vivid storybook. Its brightly hued harbor-front buildings nestled among bohemian and upmarket neighborhoods are brimming with buzzing cafes, art galleries, and boutiques. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll around this easily navigable city, also traversable by a system of metros and bus routes. A mostly mild climate where rain is no stranger, it is good practice to keep an umbrella tucked in your bag. Pack stylish sneakers along with contemporary minimalist separates and you’ll fit right in.
Join what sometimes feels like a catwalk when you stroll the cobbled streets leading from Paris’s trendy Marais on the Right Bank to the historic haunts of Saint-Germain’s Left Bank. Regardless of the neighborhood, the fashion capital seamlessly combines the latest trends with timeless elegance. Blend in with the Parisians by following a casual chic dress code heavy in understated tones. Even though the city is best explored by foot or via the public bike system, leave the athleisure at home, and allow vibrant accessories to take the spotlight.
When visiting the Italian art history mecca of Rome, prepare to spend mostly sunny days captivated by centuries-old sites including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the famous Villa Borghese Gardens, just to name a few. Casual but conservative attire is a safe bet, given the Vatican and the many basilicas dotting the city don’t allow shorts, miniskirts, or sleeveless tops. Comfortable shoes are key, and a light jacket will prove both fashionable and handy. Romans love color, so don’t be afraid to spice up your wardrobe with a flashy bag or scarf.
With an idyllic position along the Atlantic Coast, Lisbon makes for an enviable city and beach-hopping destination. Whatever the season, prepare for sunny days with shades and maybe even a sun hat. Whether traveling by foot or tram, you’ll want to wear your most comfortable shoes while exploring the hilly district of Bairro Alto or the narrow maze of streets in the Alfama. A polished pair of jeans with a button-down or a flattering wrap dress melds in with the casual, understated local style.
European river cruise
No matter where you stop along your itinerary, a European river cruise will include exhilarating days in centuries-old villages (think Avignon to Lyon along France’s Rhône River) followed by entertaining evenings beneath starry skies. To live your most comfortably elegant sailing life, pack dresses, jumpsuits, slip-on shoes, and accessories that can work both on land and on the water. With access to a pool and maybe even a lake, pack swimming gear and a kimono-style duster that can double as a robe. Don’t forget a scarf to dress up an evening look and keep you warm on breezy nights out on the deck.