Whether you’re heading for the bright lights of London, the romance of Paris, Amsterdam’s museums and canals, or a bit further afield, you’ll need some key pieces to create a weekend wardrobe that’ll combine comfort with effortless city chic.

Start with a two colour rule and add pieces in black or white to maximise your options while still fitting everything into your carry-on luggage. Go for a lightweight cabin case rather than a leather holdall if your airline has a miserly luggage allowance, and check your case fits        with the carrier’s ever-changing size requirements. No-one wants to unpack before boarding.

Start with a showerproof jacket that goes with everything and a lightweight knit in cashmere that will combat the cool of the evening, and act as a cover-up for places that don’t allow bare arms or shoulders. You can wear these on the plane, so they won’t take up room.

Excavate your wardrobe for pieces with a relaxed fit and flowy lines. The last thing you need on holiday is uncomfortable underwear, fabrics that show sweat or clothes that make you feel trussed up like a chicken about to be barbecued. Try everything on and if it doesn’t fit, then it doesn’t make the pile of options for consideration.

As an absolute minimum, a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts could round out your packing, but adding a dress or tunic top, a blouse and some dressier trousers will take you everywhere from the city’s backstreet antiques markets, pubs and tourist attractions to upmarket galleries and restaurants.

Look for a bag that can carry everything you’ll need on board and can also use during your trip. There are some stylish backpacks around just now, but a cross-body style offers more security. If you can’t cope without an evening bag, try a flat suede envelope clutch with a wrist strap.

Lay everything out on the bed a couple of days before you head off and mix and match your choices to pull different outfits together. If there’s anything that only goes with one thing, then put it back in the wardrobe. Likewise, you know – deep down – that you won’t wear five pairs of shoes over a long weekend and that you really don’t need four dresses and a full length evening gown, packed, ‘just in case’.

Add your favourite, most comfortable, shoes or trainers for walking, heels for evening, a couple of pairs of cotton socks, a silk scarf or a necklace or two, undies, and a swimming costume if your hotel has a spa or pool. Chuck in a trashy novel, a plastic bag filled with mini toiletries and a lipstick, mascara and a pack of plasters for the inevitable blisters and you’re ready for anything.

Bon voyage!

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