Thursday, April 19, 2012

Buying clothes prior and during your travels - the stuff you probably didn't think of..

There are a few little things to consider when buying clothes prior to your trip and while you're overseas.. so I thought I would share what I have learnt!

- Don't go nuts buying what you think you will need before you head off. Remember you are going to a different part of the world, with a different culture and different style. You want to blend into the crowd, so take the basics (the clothes you live in at home) and buy what you need over there if you can talk yourself into leaving majority of your wardrobe at home! Your taste in fashion will change dramatically, especially in Europe, as there is just so much to be visually exposed to. Consider what might and might not be accepted too - I remember wearing leggings with a polo top and runners down the street while I was living in Italy (an outfit I would usually wear at home) and I had to keep checking I hadn't forgot my pants or something, because the stares I got suggested otherwise!

- Another tip is to look at buying a few basic items such as thermal jumpers and tees/singlets of high quality fabrics. By high quality, I mean something that is designed to repel odour, draws moisture away from your body so the fabric always feels dry, is breathable, stretchy, blocks uv-rays, pre-shrunk, dries in half the time of normal clothes and does not need ironing. Yes clothes of this quality may cost a bit more, but they will make backpacking in hostels more practical, comfortable and care-free!

- If you can't justify spending hundreds on high quality clothes and have become addicted to H&M and Zara, then make sure you buy one size bigger. This is because living in a hostel you don't have a clothesline, you need your clothes dry asap, and the tag on your bargain shirt says do not tumble dry... I'm sure you can guess the rest! I found buying one size bigger would allow for shrinkage, and I could stretch the fabric almost to it's original size, making it the perfect size for me.

So check out stores/brands such as Kathmandu, Mountain Designs, Snowgum, Lululemon Athletica and any other sport/yoga/camping specific brands with a good reputation for quality and design. The major stores often have large sales on too, so take advantage! Another option is to hunt on eBay for those on a budget.

Comment any other clothing tips or advice on quality brands below, I'd love to hear what you have learned!

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