For about two weeks of travel (hiatus post said three, but I was a fool), I packed the following articles of clothing, sleeping clothes, and undergarments in a backpack just barely acceptable as carry-on luggage. I've also reconstructed some example outfits to incorporate all these pieces, and leave the imagination of other combinations that I could have worn as an exercise to the reader. Because I am a liar/don't like taking pictures of myself, all these photos come from my parents' house in California, but do represent fits appropriate for time, place, and weather on some leg of my trip.
Temperature range: mid-60s to mid-80s F
Weather: blazing hot cloudless sunny days to torrential downpour and thunderstorms
Steps taken (day): 10,000 to 41,000
Mileage (day): 5 to 17 miles
Lots of walking done, lots of ground covered, lots of sites (and sights) seen. Looking at all these outfits, it's clear that most of my wardrobe consists of schwarz, blau, grau.
grey t-shirt (Forever 21, autumn 2013) | belt (Uniqlo, autumn 2014) | trousers (H&M, spring 2013) | watch (Casio, spring 2016) | bag (somewhere in China, summer 2012) | shoes (Sperry, spring 2016) | cardigan (Gap, autumn 2015) | raincoat (REI, winter 2004) | sunglasses (Ray-Ban, spring 2012)
Look at all that fast fashion! Truthfully, most of my wardrobe is like this.
The first six days in Berlin and Hamburg were on the cooler, rainier side, and I basically wore this outfit with different t-shirts. Because I did not pay attention to the weather forecast, I packed one pair of long trousers and needed to borrow a pair of jeans from my sibling. We got completely drenched in one storm in Hamburg and I wondered if all the summer clothes I packed were wasted (they weren't). Freak thunderstorms in Heidelberg as well, but warmer weather in general.
I did not bring this bag to Germany, but it is more practical than the black Fossil Sydney top zip that I brought. I also brought a very un-chic mesh track bag for more active days of sightseeing, or if I wanted to bring my raincoat, snacks, water bottle, etc.
black t-shirt (Forever 21, fall 2014) | denim shorts (American Apparel, summer 2015) | twill shorts (J. Crew, thrifted spring 2014) | sandals (Salt-Water, summer 2015) | black dress (ASOS, spring 2014)
I also brought and wore a few pairs of socks, but that's not represented here. Sandals were worn on unbearably hot days (mostly Salzburg). Sperrys without socks is possible on walking-heavy vacations! Just air them out and make sure they dry.
Here is a good place to share some of my observations about German dress. The temperature threshold for shorts is much higher than I am used to, and people generally dress more modestly than Californians. On one day in Berlin (high-60s F), I wore the first outfit here and was one of the only people I saw showing leg, which did make me feel self-conscious. But come our Bavaria/Salzburg, Austria/Heidelberg section, shorts and skirts and dresses galore.
Because Germany warmed up as our trip continued (and we made our way counter-clockwise south), I can't really make any observation about dressing in the north and the south. Funnily enough, it seemed like the starkest differences between German and American dressing was in the men's clothing than women's. Also, it amused me to see so many white leather Stan Smith/Adidas sneakers on German youth and early-20s -- my sibling explained that it's so they can seem trendy, but sporty. Hardly any casual leather shoes unless worn by fellow American tourists or older German Herren. More Isabel Marant Dickers-style boots there than here.
blue & white dress (Heavenly Couture, spring 2014) | grey shirt (Forever 21, summer 2012) | linen shorts (Old Navy, summer 2016) | hat (Columbia, very old) | striped crop top (Forever 21, summer 2015)
I wore the black linen shorts a ton on this trip, particularly in walking-heavy days and for any time spent in the woods. Despite the hat, my summer tan came from Austria, not California. While I did get some time hiking trails, the rigor of the "hiking" was doable with Sperrys and casual clothes. Fortunately, I packed lightweight, breathable, and easily-washed shirts and shorts so even on days when I was drenched in sweat (Salzburg), I was generally comfortable.
A bit more on comfort: with the exception of the grey denim shorts, all of these clothes were comfortable to wear on the many train rides we took. Having a light cardigan at hand was good for changing temperatures on/off trains. I never felt too out-of-place wearing the clothes that I did, though I am an oblivious, slovenly American tourist here. My feet never hurt from poor choice of shoes, but if you are going for a more nature-based trip, boat shoes will not be sufficient.
I think I have worn all of these varieties of outfits in museums and palaces. However, I opted for more conservative clothes when visiting memorial sites, government buildings, and cathedrals. Specifically, raincoat + cardigan + t-shirt + trousers in the House of the Wansee Conference, Reichstag building, and Hamburg Rathaus; t-shirt and jeans in the Cologne cathedral; and cardigan + blue & white dress at Dachau concentration camp and Munich Rathaus. At the Salzburg cathedral, I wore shorts (black linen) as did >60% of the visitors. I didn't see any dress code guidelines anywhere save for Dachau, but use your best judgment and show respect for the location.
Overall, I think that if I packed exactly these items with one pair of jeans and without one pair of shorts, I would have had the perfect set of clothes for the specific places and weather conditions of my trip. Though we encountered more forest "terrain" and did more walking than I expected, my footwear options were appropriate and sufficient. Accessories consisted of my sunglasses and watch, and I'm still not sure what the perfect bag to take would have been, but that's just details.
I own several other t-shirts, but this accounts for the majority of my warm weather wardrobe, actually. Also, these outfits include all of the S/S purchases I've made in 2015 and 2016 as outlined in previous wardrobe planning posts.
And the rest of this is post is just bonus material.
- die Hose - trousers
- das Kleid - dress
- die Lederschuhe - leather shoes
- die Sandalen - sandals
- der Hut - hat
- die Handtasche - handbag
- die Armbanduhr - wristwatch
- die Bluse - shirt
- die Strickjacke - cardigan
- der Regenmantel - raincoat
- die Sonnenbrille - sunglasses
- die Kleidung - clothing