Everything You’ll Need When You’re Visiting A New City

No two cities are the same. But when it comes to a long weekend of exploring an unfamiliar metropolitan area — be it Copenhagen, San Francisco, or the Big Apple — we find that the approach to packing can apply across the board. It’s all about prepping a wardrobe that’s equipped for the unpredictable and able to tuck securely into one carry-on, with room for the souvenirs you pick up along the way. Together with Cotton, we'll prove that it's a task that only sounds daunting. Despite what your prepared-for-anything outlook makes you think, all you really need are four versatile outfits. The looks ahead hit all the right notes because they're adaptable for day and evening, provide comfort for long walks (and wrong turns), and make the most sartorial impact with the fewest pieces. After all, the only thing you should be engulfed in is the local culture, not the contents of your suitcase.
The Wanderer’s Ensemble
Prepare an outfit that you can walk in. As in, walk a lot. Start with a pair of durable jeans, and bring layers that can be worn as-is or tied around your waist in case things warm up. Accessories such as sneakers, socks, sunglasses, hats, and a belt bag are practical for a mini-journey, but in this case, they're also the pieces that allow you to personalize your look with patterns and pops of clashing hues. As an added bonus, wear this outfit for the traveling day of your vacation. You’ll be thankful you have the extra layers on hand for that inevitably chilly train or plane ride.
The Party-Like-A-Local Outfit
Sure, a day in a new city may keep you on your toes, but that's nothing compared to your first night going out. Whether you're hitting up Berlin's latest dance-your-face-off club or catching the best live music in Chicago, it's likely the night will take a few twists. So when it comes to your outfit, start with something chic and versatile, like a black jumpsuit. You can layer it under a tailored, cotton jacket that adds polish when belted or feels casual enough to be left open if the vibes are chill. Finish off the look with structural pieces of jewelry, chunky heels, a statement scarf, and your favorite clutch — a great place to stash a bright lipstick and extra accessories, if necessary — to prepare you for whatever fun lies ahead.
The Window-Shopper Getup
Boutiques, local artisan markets, vintage stores — it's here that we pick out all out most precious of souvenirs on vacation. With that in mind, we like to keep our look relaxed and easy to slip in and out of in case we want to try a few things on. So recycle some of the pieces from your first look, and add a long, breathable, cotton tunic dress. (Bonus: It can double as a personal dressing room if one's not available.) Carry over your crossbody from the evening before, and tuck a soft, printed tote bag inside. It’ll come in handy for carrying any treasures you pick up without piling your arms with shopping bags.
The Gallery-Hopper Look
Today is all about taking in the best art the city has to offer, be it museum tours or gallery openings. For this adventure, you'll want to curate an effortless outfit that still lets you play up your own creativity. With some unexpected layering tricks — like wearing a camel trench and slinky knit dress over a vibrant, lightweight cotton turtleneck and slipping on sheer socks with your chunky heels — your look will deliver on quirkiness and practicality. Plus, no need to worry about iffy weather or transitioning from artist debuts to dinner. The abstract-print tote will seamlessly blend in with the art scene while stashing your refreshing beauty essentials, like a mini face mist, when your itinerary goes well past sundown.

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