Last week, I posted a photo and explained my intention to wear a uniform for an entire week of traveling. It was a random experiment, based off of everything I’ve learned and reflected on since arriving in France in September. I’ve also been listening to The Minimalists podcast more and more, and I’m intrigued by the freeing feeling of having less.
I grew up wearing uniforms. I never resented them, except when I couldn’t pick out my own socks. I continue to wear certain ‘uniforms’ in other parts of my life: I wear really specific workout clothes depending on if I’m pole vaulting, running, or doing Crossfit. I wear the same thing to every rehearsal dinner and wedding that I photograph. I typically wear the same outfit to church every Sunday. I find something that works, something that’s comfy, functional, and looks good, and I stick with it.
I’m not sure why I’ve never thought to apply the concept to travel.
I typically don’t enjoy getting ready in the morning, and I also have a hard time keeping up with my daily routines when I’m on a trip. This offered an easy solution to both of those complaints; it took no time at all to throw on my outfit and do my makeup, and freed up time for me to be more intentional about how I spent my time before we headed out for the day. I had time to enjoy my coffee, stretch, read, and do the reflection for my Lenten commitment. It’s not like picking an outfit was keeping me from doing those things, but my mindset was different. Having gone into the week with a plan, I found myself wasting less time.
A few factors lined up nicely for me to be able to give this a try. First, the consistently cold weather allowed me to wear pretty much the same thing every day. We spent time in Lille, Paris, Edinburgh, and a quick evening in Brussels. Lille and Paris were are as cold as I’d ever experienced them, and Edinburgh had a giant snow storm. Second, I didn’t pack for any workouts. I was getting over a bad cold, and knew I wouldn’t be running outside. I typically do some yoga in the morning and evening, but I just wore my pajamas for that. Third, and back to the consistent cold weather advantage, I knew I’d just be wearing my big coat in all pictures.
So, here’s a look at what I wore last week, and my thoughts on each piece individually. The outfit consisted of jeans, a thick and comfy high neck sweater, winter boots, gloves, wool socks, and a headband. One of these pieces caused me serious trouble one day...what do you think it was?
If you want my quick review of the entire experience, scroll to the end!
For this trip, I packed my favorite pair of sweatpants and this old, giant, UNC Gymnastics short-sleeve tshirt. I ended up being chilly, because we couldn't control the heat in our Airbnb. It's hard to pack a pajamas uniform because you rarely know what the sleep temps will be in advance. I typically get warm at night, but this time I really wished I had packed a long sleeved tee.
I will absolutely be implementing a travel uniform for any fall and winter destinations I visit. I seriously loved it. My outfit was always cozy and functional, and I really loved having extra space in my suitcase for my books, cameras, and other random small things that are usually fighting for a space in my backpack.
If I tried to this in the spring or summer, I would modify it a bit. I would pack one pair of shorts or pants + three tops that could be used in rotation, and choose a hotel or Airbnb with a washing machine. This isn't a problem for everyone, but I get really sweaty in warm weather, so I don't want to constantly be worried about having smelly or gross clothes just for the pride of wearing one outfit. I would adapt and still try and keep it minimal!
Have you ever tried a travel uniform? Will you in the future? I'd love to hear about it!
And ps... If you pack a travel uniform, one of the perks is the ability to shop a bit more and not run out of suitcase space! I took advantage of the opportunity and bought this cute bottle of gin from the Edinburgh Gin Distillery.