Apr 8

A Year of Outfits and Outdoors

by Nikki · 3 comments

My Clothes For The Trip

Tanks, T’s & Tops

Aside from the tops I already owned (camisole, dress, sports tops, and a couple of T’s), I went to Target and had a field day in the little boys underwear section. I don’t want to bring anything expensive, valuable or irreplaceable. Basic tanks and T-shirts, are cheap, somewhat durable, and don’t take up much space. I also anticipate falling in love with clothes along the way, and going nuts in a market somewhere (everywhere). When this happens…because it will happen, space will be less of an issue. I can just trash or donate my old tanks and T’s, and replace them with the new market buys. They’re also versatile, I can hike the Himalayas,  go to a beach party, and hobnob with the “in” crowd at Johannesburg’s Fashion Week in the same shirt. Washing in between wears of course.

When you think about it, tanks are pretty nifty, and can come in handy when you least expect it. A tank can be a towel, a head scarf, a fan, cushioning for fragile stuff, a feminine product (lets hope it doesn’t come to that), a SOS signal to flail in the air  from a deserted island, a rope or clothes line if ripped up, and so on. I can’t see myself doing these sorts of things with one of my old Herve Leger numbers, so that’ll have to stay at home.

The blazer was a quick buy in Cape Town for only $20! I initially bought it for the NavigatingNikki launch shoot, but then decided to keep it, which ended up being  a good move because two weeks later I needed it for a couple of events. This trip is by no means about networking or maintaining professional appearance, but having a go-to piece for that unexpected moment when someone invites you to an event is a stress and money saver. It makes “What the hell am I going to wear ?” a no brainer.


ONLY ONE PAIR OF JEANS! Keeping it simple with a pair of skinny jeans and denim shorts. I took three denim items to South America last year and regretted it after two weeks. Jeans take up space, rarely get worn, and don’t compress well. A good pair of skinny jeans will get the job done when I’m not in the mood to wear leggings anymore.

Me at Jo'burg fashion week wearing a camisole, the cheapest and cutest blazer I've ever bought, and Lululemon yoga pants

I also made the mistake of taking one pair of calf-length leggings to South America. For this trip, I’m taking three: the calf-length ones from South America, full length lycra sport leggings for intense outdoorsy stuff, and a pair of full length Lululemon yoga leggings. Leggings are ideal for backpacking because they’re light, breathable, and you said it, versatile. All three are reversible, and have a small discreet pocket on the waistband for valuables. I am particularly excited about the Lululemon Yoga Pants because they are extremely durable and the most versatile, the stitching along the side gives them a jegging look and feel. Paired with a blazer or cardigan, you’d never guess they were just a regular pair yoga pants, that I probably hiked in the day before.

Cargo pants are essential in places where the weather is unpredictable or there are a lot of bugs. Though completely unsexy, mine have never failed me. It took a while to find some that could handle curves without making me look like a pudgy box, but eventually I settled on a pair from Prana Clothing. I like Prana because they are super stretchy and breathable, but still thick enough to keep most mosquitos from biting all the way through the fabric. I used them everyday in the Amazon Jungle and they faired extremely well. In spite of hordes of mosquitos resembling black rain, I got out with only a few bites. I also made sure to get them a bit bigger than my actual size. That way I can fit long underwear underneath if its cold, like in the Andean Highlands or Himalayas, and decrease the likelihood of mosquitos getting to my flesh in places like the Amazon Jungle or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where mosquito density and risk of Malaria are high. As for the skirt. The skirt is effing cute, and a bona fide club banger.


It really doesn’t matter what kind of underwear you use, just use what you got! I packed six pairs of Victoria’s Secret Yoga panties, and 2 pairs of Ex-Officio Give-n-Go panties. Exofficio makes underwear specifically designed for travelers and wanderlust minimalists. No, seriously,  watch this:

I don’t plan on spending the next year in just two pairs of underwear, but I also don’t think all six of my Vickies are going to make the long haul. The durability and engineered genius of the Exofficios will fill the void when the others give out.


All are a must with the exception of the pumps. Its personal when it comes to the pumps. I know myself, and I know I’m going to want to go out at least once feeling glamorous, and glamorously tall. I’ll probably let them go when I realize I’m being ridiculous. But for now, since I’ve got the extra space, I’ll hold on to them.

The Visual

This gives you an idea of what it all looks like packed. I’m using a Sea to Summit waterproof compression sack to keep all of my clothes together and save space. The best part is that all of the clothes listed and shown above fit into the very bottom of my bag, taking up less than 1/3 of the total space. I stack my shoes on top of the clothes, followed by other layers such as a first aid kit, toiletries, and other must-haves I’ll discuss in my next post.  Happy packing!

Nootropic April 16, 2012 at 2:16 am

salutations from over the ocean. detailed post I must return for more.

Mia October 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

hi, im new to your site so i may have missed this answer in another post, but what book bag do you use/recommend. What are some important qualities one should look for in a bag when traveling for months to a year?

Nikki November 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Sorry for the late response, the link to my post on backpacks is here

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