Here is my issue : I am travelling long term on a budget but I am very much attached to my pin-up / vintage style. I have honestly try to go with hippie pants and formless “comfortable” tshirt at the beginning of my adventures but NO WAY. This bot who I am and I would feel quite uncomfortable.
I have no problem with this lifestyle, it is just not the one that suits me, my backpack beeing all I have, I’d rather be happy with what I wear on a daily basis.
For the past two years I have been roaming in the Indian and Nepali Himalayas where the weather can be extreme and the general state of mind is quite conservative. It is more than common that men stare at you shamelessly or even families come to touch your skin . The perception of the woman body differs from our western countries and a foreign woman’s body can be quite a curiosity. I would love to be able to wear my favourite wiggle dress but it wouldn’t be the most respectful and safe outfit.
To travel in conservative countries but still dress in your favourite 1930/40/50s outfit you will have to combine classy + comfy + culture friendly.
I am slowly building my perfect wardrobe, I wish I could only wear retro brands but most of my items are handpicked in local Asian markets. I love hunting for retro inspired clothes in modern shops. The items suggested down bellow are to inspire you and to get you started with travelling vintage style.
If you are going on a short trip or if you are not planning to visit conservative countries, you will have avoided half the headache to pick the right clothes.
As most of the time I have no idea in which country I will be in 3 months, I must be prepared for every climate, every situation so you can consider my travel capsule wardrobe fit for a round trip around the world.
SEPARATES & LAYERS
When you are planing a trip may it be long or short term you should think practical and elegant. Create a travel capsule wardrobe with a simple colour scheme so all your items can go together without you feeling you are dressing the same way everyday.
I have picked BLACK FOREST GREEN & BURGUNDY
The dresses are a key to every vintage girl wardrobe. I pick mine to be versatile. I can dress them up or down with some accessories but also according to the weather.
Luckily most of the vintage dresse’s shape are flattering without being too revealing. Stop Staring! And Miss Candy Floss would be my favourite brands for this type of dress. Swing and maxi dresses are the best.
The troublemaker swing dress by Vixen by Micheline Pitt is great as well if you don’t have a very important cleavage. It has pockets !
For the tops, we would avoid showing too much cleavage or shoulders so go for blouse or for printed rockabilly t-shirt. Chose a light fabric that dries fast and doesn’t wrinkle. I love polyester, viscose or light cotton.
Bringing a warm black cardigan and a nicely fitted black top is a smart move since they will match with everything If you’re not into All Black Everything, pick a dark reccuring colour. In these countries, do forget about white and pastels because of the dust.
And last but not least, a you can never go wrong with a Audrey Hepburn inspired black turtle neck !
To keep retro style, I pick anything highwaist that can emphasize your hourglass figure.
Pick something not too tight and that goes under the knee and which you can walk in for hours.
High waist large pants are classy, comfy , respectful and you can even put a warm underlayer when it is too cold
I don’t wear shorts even when I am in a non-conservative country (like Australia right now) , it is personnal taste.
The streets of India, Nepal and SEA countries are know to be bumpy, dusty and most of the time covered with rubbish. I have met numerous tourists wearing flip flops or even going barefeet but I wouldn’t let my readers do it. Go for a pair of simple but elegant black flats that can be worn during the day and night. Pack a nice pair of sturdy sneakers as well like our all times favourite Converse All Stars or Vans Old Skool. I also carry a pair of heeled boots for when the weather gets cold and I stay in the city.
If you are heading to Asia, I would highly recommend to pick shoes you can easily remove as you might visit many temples and visit people’s house. In both case, the etiquette expects you to take them off.
Accessories are the best way to make a simple/dull outift look retro inspired. I have dedicated a full article to whixh accessories to bring in your suitcase.
MY TRAVEL CAPSULE WARDROBE IN DETAILS
– Abby’s Design “Vintage but Not Tamed” Tee
– Voodoo Vixen Dita Keyhole Top in Black
– Leopard print Tee wih boat neck
– Revival Make a Wish Blouse in Black and Teal
– Long Sleeve Black Turtle Neck
– Light Black Buttoned Up Shirt
– Light Burgundy See Through Blouse
– Black Tank Top
– Traditional Tibetan green shirt
– Green Keyhole Dress from Elise Boutique in Melbourne
– Vivienne of Holloway Runaround Sue Jett Crepe
– Knock off of the green Claudette Dress by Miss Candy Floss ( I know it’s bad and the original one is my next purchase)
– Blue Floral wrap dress
–Chuba a 2 pieces traditional Tibetan/Himalayan Tibetan Dress
– Long black dress with open back and sheer details (can be dressed up or down according to the occasion)
– Black Midi Skirt (with pockets !)
– Long Bohemian Pleated skirt in Burgundy
– Hight waist black pegged pants
– High waist black large pants
– High waist black skinny jeans ( good for bike rides)
– Hight waist large stipped pants
– Fake Underarmour baselayer
– Black Yak merino wool socks
– Tresspass breathable rain jacket
– Decathlon hooded fleece
– Leather Jacket
– Revival keyhole black cardigan
– Black leggings
– Zara Floral Kimono burgundy (used also as a lounge item)
– Esther Williams Emerald Green one piece
– Underwired Black bra
– 7 – 10 bottoms ( Playful Promisses, Dita Von Teese and Victoria’s Secret are the best brands I have travelled with so far)
– 1 Garter Belt (you never know) + stockings
– Socks (never matching)
– black flats
– Vans Old Skool
– Salomon hiking shoes
– Sturdy heeled boots
For more advise on how to build a retro travel capsule wardrobe, you can read my Wandering Pin-Up series where I intereview well dressed & well travelled ladies from all corner of the globe !