I looked in the mirror before we headed out to celebrate Shaun’s flatmate’s birthday.

Messy hair back in a low pony styled by Shaun: hot.

Smokey eyes: sexy

Graypink vintage shirt, dark jeans: Not too bad.

Then, I looked to my feet.

Backpacker black flats: Ugh.

I’m not the most stylish person, but I don’t think I dress terrible most days. Except when I’m backpacking. Then, I live in the same shirt and pants until they stand on their own (OK, slight exaggeration).

But, for a night out in London, a city that oozes style and fashion, I had absolutely nothing.

Standing next to the five girls, all dressed in ridiculously amazing clothes and accessories, hurt my eyes.

“Love, I have an entire closet full of vintage if you want a go,” Shaun’s friend had offered.

I stood in her room, gazing and marveling at her closet packed with sequins, sweaters and awesome, and then looked at what I as planning to venture out for a night out — a boring old striped sweater with a low neck I had adored when I got it at Macy’s.

 But  now … it just seemed so … obsolete.

London is a sick fashion city. Everyone looks amazing. The girls have some serious style Americans just don’t rock. It is an intimidating city to kick off a backpacking adventure when everyone around you looks just so … good.

Yeah, going out in what I was wearing was not an option, so I quickly shed my backpacker clothes and pulled her gorgeous silk shirt with a bow in the back over my head.

Not too shabby.

Even though I was still wearing jeans, it was  a little bit closer to the gorgeous of the other girls.

And then, there were my flats.

I had picked cute ones to bring with me, but they were still flats and when I stood next to the heeled-clad feet of my new friends, they were blech.

“D, you’re backpacking!” Shaun had exclaimed when I rolled my eyes at my original outfit. “You’re not supposed to have cute stuff!”

Smiling to myself as I cursed my lack of fabulous apparel, I knew she was right.

So, backpacker chic it is.

Maybe when I get home I will be OK with tossing the heels. Most of them are in storage, anyway.

And buy some vintage.

30 comments

  1. Girl, you need to start providing pics, my imagination can only stretch so far. I’m about to review a book that mentions dressing edict. Say Europe versus the outback. 🙂 Europe is most certainly full of chic, but you just brought your own to the table.

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  2. Girl, you need to start providing pics, my imagination can only stretch so far. I’m about to review a book that mentions dressing edict. Say Europe versus the outback. 🙂 Europe is most certainly full of chic, but you just brought your own to the table.

    Like

  3. Was the same way when I traveled. Then I realized that a) you are going to have a blast no matter what you are wearing b) great memories don’t usually include the clothes you had on. Plus, it is always a great excuse to pick up some fun items as you go. I still have the adorable skirt I bought in Barcelona 5 years ago.

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  4. Was the same way when I traveled. Then I realized that a) you are going to have a blast no matter what you are wearing b) great memories don’t usually include the clothes you had on. Plus, it is always a great excuse to pick up some fun items as you go. I still have the adorable skirt I bought in Barcelona 5 years ago.

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  5. I always bring one light dress with me for stuff like this. It’s not practical at all but I hate it when everyone else looks so nice and I look like I just got off a 12 hour bus 🙂

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    1. I have a few little dresses, but it was too cold in London for them and there was walking involved. I can’t to post the list of all the crap I am sending HOME!! When I got to my place in Madrid the manager of the hostal looked at me and my two bags (thank you, Ryan Air for making me regulate how much my pack could weigh) and wished me luck. Hahahaha.

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  6. I always bring one light dress with me for stuff like this. It’s not practical at all but I hate it when everyone else looks so nice and I look like I just got off a 12 hour bus 🙂

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    1. I have a few little dresses, but it was too cold in London for them and there was walking involved. I can’t to post the list of all the crap I am sending HOME!! When I got to my place in Madrid the manager of the hostal looked at me and my two bags (thank you, Ryan Air for making me regulate how much my pack could weigh) and wished me luck. Hahahaha.

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  7. That’s pretty much how I felt the entire time I was living in London. They dress so fabulously there!

    Of course I only wear flats when I go out at home so I guess I wasn’t any more deficient thaan usual on those grounds…

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  8. I feel your pain! We were living on a boat with a plastic bag as a shower for months when we started hanging out and socializing with “normal” people in Curacao and Colombia. I had to dig and mix and match like crazy but the best compliment we got the first night out was a lady telling us that “your…your not as skruffy as most sailors or travelers…you look….. very nice and clean” LOL! It was the sweetest thing I heard ( I did NOT tell her I had showered outside either!)

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  9. I feel your pain! We were living on a boat with a plastic bag as a shower for months when we started hanging out and socializing with “normal” people in Curacao and Colombia. I had to dig and mix and match like crazy but the best compliment we got the first night out was a lady telling us that “your…your not as skruffy as most sailors or travelers…you look….. very nice and clean” LOL! It was the sweetest thing I heard ( I did NOT tell her I had showered outside either!)

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  10. Knowing how to be stylish while backpacking is what it’s all about. Travel light, but travel right. 😉

    Sierra from the sexybackpacker.com

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  11. Knowing how to be stylish while backpacking is what it’s all about. Travel light, but travel right. 😉

    Sierra from the sexybackpacker.com

    Like

  12. I know what you mean… I have watched performance in Paris Opera (Garnier) and Sydney Opera House with my simple summer dress and flats – my best backpacking costume. I often jealous with the city girls with their crazy shoes and outfit, cool coats, that what they are wearing alone sometimes look like taking space more than my backpack size. Well, one of my family member is going to join us for a couple of weeks, and I’m tempted to tell him to bring one of my nicer dress that fold small. Not the most stylish dress, especially for major city like Sydney, but much fancier compare to anything else I have in my pack.
    Nice post!

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    1. So long as it can fit in your bag, do it! I miss my nice clothes, but also enjoy not being bothered. If I can’t go out in my drabby shabby backpacker chic outfits, then i don’t need to go there in the first place. Thanks for the comment!

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  13. D, as a backpacker who would call London home (If I were forced to) I find the fashions here impossible to deal with! One of the things I loved about travelling was that the bars and nights out in Australia or Thailand or Bali, never required anything other than what a backpacker might carry. But here, my comfy jeans and flips flops don’t cut it in Dirty Martini. It’s my dream to manage to achieve that backpacker wardrobe…comfortable, practical, yet cute and unique. And clothes I’d be willing to wear for 6 months straight. I could be dreaming for a while…

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    1. Sarah, I have yet to walk out the door or dorm room feeling remotely cute! Let me know when you figure out the key!!! Although, at this point, I am pretty OK with wearing my yoga pants and a t-shirt out to a bar. I know …

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