Backpacking used to be synonymous with bad fashion and bad body odor, both of which I’m all for, if I weren’t spending my entire summer in a place where women walk cobblestones in high heels and ride Vespas in mini skirts. Like it or not (and how could I not) I’m setting up shop this summer in the fashion capital of Europe, Italy, with zero dollars in my bank account, so wardrobe choices need to be functional, and fashionable and CHEAP!
Stick with these 10 essentials to backpack in style wherever you go.
1. Denim Cut-Offs (Free)- Don’t spend the big bucks for these. Find an old pair that matches current denim color trends and start cutting! TIP: Cut them longer than you’d like so that you can get the most washes without them fraying away to nothing.
2. Red Lipstick ($26) - Denin cutoffs and a white t-shirt go from boring to bold with a perfectly matte red lip. Nars Heat Wave is the perfect orangey-red hue for a hot Mediterranean summer. (this tip comes from my style guru @thelifestyled)
3. Sarong ($10) – make it a skirt, a dress, a beach towel or scarf. Sarongs are so multi-purpose and light that every girl backpacker should have one.
4. Linen Dress ($50) – it won’t weigh down your pack, will keep you cool, and will make you look like you just came from a chic hotel in Positano, even if you were shaking up in a 16-bunk hostel. Go for white linen if you can keep it clean!
5. Gladiators ($30) – Even if they are a little on the trendy side, gladiator sandals give good ankle support and are dressy enough for night without having heels. Head to Zara for major gladiator sales.
6. Mismatched Bikini ($20/piece)- Get the most bang for your buck by finding two bikini sets that can be mixed and matched.
7. Cheap Sunglasses ($30) – Please….don’t bring expensive sunglasses on the road. They are the first thing to be lost. Try Urban Outfitters, Top Shop or Forever 21 for great knock-offs at a fraction of the price.
8. Floral Maxi Dress ($30) – Long and comfortable, maxi dresses are a great crossover from day-night. Also essential for those days you just couldn’t get around to shaving your legs.
9. Racer-back tanks ($10) – The style is flattering on everyone, and is much dressier than a normal scoop-neck. Pair with a pair of shorts or a high-waisted skirt for a fun, flirty outfit. Old Navy’s are a steal at $10.
10. Sunscreen ($15) - Don’t skimp. Italy’s sun is no joke and Italians have amazing tans. You don’t want to be the lobster-red tourist with blotches and blisters.