A holiday has a different meaning for everyone, but for me it usually means lying on the beach with a cocktail in hand (a pornstar martini, please). So, it might surprise you to know that I’ve booked three city breaks this year (shocked at myself too tbh). But it’s about time to do some exploring that doesn’t involve just walking from the bar to the sun lounger…
My first stop is Amsterdam in April, followed by Stockholm and Paris later in the year, and since you can’t exactly walk around a city in a bikini, I’ve had to start a whole new city break wardrobe (because I’m very extra like that).
If you’ve been scrolling through Instagram for inspo and saving your favourite outfit posts, but don’t know where to start, then stop right there. I’ve made it my mission to narrow down which pieces are a must, no matter your destination. From fine dining to museum visits and brunch spots, get ready to explore the city in style!
Chic and comfortable shoes you can count on
A city break means a lot of walking. But you don’t need to let that spoil your outfit plans. There are lots of chic and comfortable footwear options out there. It can be tempting to pack many pairs of shoes (especially if you’re a shoe addict like me), but if you stick to colours that will complement most of your pieces then you can’t go wrong.
Your best friend will be a trendy pair of trainers, no matter what time of year you’ve booked your city break for. And if you choose neutral colours such as browns, whites, creams and blacks, then you’ll be able to wear them with every outfit.
On warmer days, swap the trainers out for a comfy pair of black chunky gladiator sandals, which are more than durable when there’s lots of walking planned. Together with a floral dress and basket bag, you’ve got the ideal spring / summer city break combination.
Moving onto the evening, I would opt for a pair of leather boots, or if you’re going somewhere particularly fancy, then strappy kitten heels are a great choice (there’s nothing worse than having to walk to dinner from the hotel with inappropriate shoes, so never go too high). That way you’re prepared for every eventuality.
Layering options come rain or shine
Even if you’ve booked a city break during the warmer months, the weather can still be very unpredictable. So, the best way to prepare is by taking lots of layers. I’m talking t-shirts, shirts, jumpers and jackets.
My go-to combo at the moment is a white shirt paired with a chunky-knit sweater vest. It’s perfect for when it’s not quite warm enough to wear a shirt on its own, but not cold enough either for a big wool jumper. Depending on the day, you’ll then be able to strip to the correct layer.
You can never go wrong with packing a spare jumper or hoodie. One is enough, unless you’re taking hold luggage in which case go wild. A good quality grey knit is a must-have IMHO and will go with everything, including over summer dresses when it gets a bit chilly at night. If you prefer summer tops rather than dresses, then a little cardigan is another great layering option.
Let’s talk coats and jackets. This can be the hardest part of any holiday outfit. I always recommend taking a trench coat with you. I’ll be bringing along my trusty Massimo Dutti one. It’s not only the most worn piece in my entire wardrobe, but it’s a great lighter layer on top of knitwear and oversized pieces. Another option for city break outfits would be a long black belted coat – easy to throw on top of anything and always a chic alternative.
If you need something lighter, there are lots of jackets perfect for warmer city breaks. Leather biker styles are my favourite. They’re an edgy alternative for evening when you’re after something that works for al fresco drinks. Just throw it over your shoulders and grab your favourite pair of sunnies.
Stylish and practical bags when out and about
Just like how it’s important to have the correct footwear during a city break, your choice of bag is equally key, both for practical reasons but also because it can completely make or break an outfit.
There’s one style in particular that is an absolute lifesaver when you’re exploring all day. Enter, the crossbody bag. It allows you to go hands-free while also keeping your valuables close, the perfect combo (IMHO) for city break outfits. And nothing looks more stylish than a leather crossbody bag when it comes to street style.
However, the crossbody bag comes in lots of different shapes and sizes. There’s the half-moon option, banana bag and boxier styles like the camera bag. The best way to choose the right style for you is to consider how long you’ll be away for and how much space you’ll need. The square shape of the camera bag is best for volume, whereas the half-moon and banana shapes are really elegant outfit additions.
Accessories you can re-use with all your city break outfits
My research has shown that there are two types of holy grail accessories that you need to know about when on a city break. First up, a cool pair of sunnies is a must. Whatever the season, make sure you pack a pair! It will elevate any look and you won’t regret it.
Next, a cap – another vital accessory that you’ll wear a lot, even if you don’t consider yourself a hat person, trust me. A beanie is a great alternative for winter city break outfits.
If you’re a jewellery obsessive, then the top tip to remember is less is more. I remember trying to fit every piece I’d ever owned into my travel bag, and then ended up wearing the same pair of earrings every day. So, from now on I only pack my most versatile pieces which I can wear interchangeably with my city break outfits.
When it comes to looking the part on your city break, there’s no correct style, but if in doubt, stick to chic and comfortable, you’ll definitely look like a pro.