I Only Packed 9 Pieces for a Trip to Europe and My OOTDs Still Hit

written by Amanda Modaragamage

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Source: Béis
Source: Béis

The week before a trip to Europe, my partner decided to tell me he saved money by only booking us one checked luggage bag. Instead of following my instinct to freak out, I turned to TikTok to find out how I could make this little dilemma work for me without sacrificing my style along the way.

My #styletok deep-dive led me to the 333 method, or the ‘top 3 outfit challenge,’ a new capsule wardrobe trend that, I have to admit, I was slightly skeptical of at first. Coined by TikTok creator and fashion gal Rachel Spencer, the 333 method challenges you to select three tops, three bottoms, and three pairs of shoes from your wardrobe and create as many outfits as possible with them.

In Spencer’s videos, she proves you can create up to 22 outfits if you chose your items right, so I set out to see if I could get away with spending a week in Europe on just nine items.

How I Packed for Europe Using the 333 Method

Source: Béis

I chose my clothes carefully

For my week-long getaway, I decided on similar recommendations that Spencer uses in her TikTok videos. For me, a comfortable white T-shirt and this oversized utility button-down were my top choices, but instead of adding in a third shirt, I opted for a black, long-sleeved fitted dress that I could dress up or down quite easily with the right shoes.

The bottoms were a bit easier because I knew I could get away with less. I chose a pair of versatile navy trousers, which were slightly oversized for maximum comfort and allowed room for a French tuck without the bulk. Secondly, I chose a pair of more fitted light-colored trousers. For a comfortable option, I chose my Lululemon aligns as my final bottom option. Not only are they my most comfortable pants, but since they’re relatively small, they saved space in my suitcase, too.

333 method
Source: Béis

I strategized my footwear

Only choosing three pairs of shoes for my vacation actually wasn’t too difficult. Even in the past, when I would bring several pairs, I never ended up using them anyway, so I knew footwear would be the easiest part of this challenge for me. I read everywhere online not to bring white speakers to Europe because they would inevitably get dirty, but I would die on the all-white sneaker trend and decided to bring them anyway. Even though I risked it, my favorite pair of white sneakers were absolutely fine and came home just as white as when I left.

The second pair that I brought was actually a new purchase, because I wanted something I could comfortably wear but that was also fun to dress up. I ended up getting the perfect pair of cute, black suede ankle boots. These boots were a lifesaver because they were comfortable enough to wear to walk around during the day and cute enough to wear out when meeting up with people in the evenings. Lastly, I bought an affordable and comfy pair of tan mules that I could easily throw on before heading out for the day. Quite honestly, I could have gotten away with just the sneakers and boots, but it was nice to have a third pair just in case.

I relied on accessories

I personally don’t over-accessorize, so having a black belt, a gold necklace, and a silver necklace was plenty. I was staying in Milan, and found that most people there don’t wear much jewelry, so I felt that my minimal choices “fit in,” so to speak, while still helping to make every outfit feel more put together. My three pieces also took up virtually no room in my suitcase, which was helpful while packing.

The Pros and Cons of the Packing According to the 333 Method

Source: Béis

The Pros

The 333 method proved to be incredibly effective in maximizing my packing space while still providing ample outfit options. I was amazed by the versatility of my capsule wardrobe and how easily I could mix and match pieces to create stylish and cohesive looks for every occasion throughout the week. The strategic selection of clothing items, coupled with a few accessories, made dressing for each day of my trip a breeze.

Out of the clothing I brought, I was able to style over 16 outfits that I wore throughout my time in Europe. I found the utility button-up the most flexible and versatile item as I could button it fully, French tuck the front, tie it in the front for a cropped look, and even leave it undone over the top of my T-shirt. The white T-shirt was also a great staple that I relied on heavily during my week abroad.

Packing a versatile dress was essential for this trip. The one I selected was wearable for a night out on the town, but still remained casual enough to dress down and wear with sneakers during the day. Another life-saving item I brought with me was this portable iron and steamer from Amazon, which I used daily. After tucking in or wearing clothing all day, it spruced up my clothing and made it feel fresh and clean throughout the week. Not only is it affordable, but it’s easy to pack, too.

The Cons

While my capsule wardrobe served me well overall, I have one minor regret—I wished I had packed a couple more T-shirts in different colors. While my white cropped T-shirt was versatile, additional options would have allowed for even more outfit combinations and added variety to my looks. Additionally, I must admit that I did end up purchasing a jacket, which I wore on the airplane home for added warmth. Europe in the spring is unpredictable, and a lightweight travel jacket is now a must on my packing trip for next time.