Packing for a weekend trip (when you have to dress conservatively)

Now that’s a title for the ages. The idea for this post came from a trip Giulio and I have coming up. We’re going to Jerusalem for a long weekend in September. It’s not unusual for us to visit ridiculously far off places and spend a ridiculously short amounts of time there. The concept of a relaxing holiday is completely foreign to us.

I’m really looking forward to Jerusalem, but I’m not looking forward to packing. Like a lot of the destinations we’ve visited (Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul), you’re expected to dress conservatively. I sound like the ultimate harlot, but shorts and short dresses are my usual holiday attire and I can’t help but moan when I pull out my long skirts. It’s not that I object to dressing conservatively. It’s a very religious place. Like if Venice’s St Mark’s Cathedral was an entire city.

The dress code for this holiday is covered shoulders, long skirts and closed shoes. When you pair that with 40°C weather, it’s no wonder I always do a rubbish job and spend the holiday hating how I’m dressed. So this time, I thought I would take a preemptive step and plan ahead.

Since I assume I’m not the only one who struggles with this, I thought I would share my packing guide, which is entirely dedicated to smart, versatile pieces and not about lugging around your entire wardrobe. So here we go!

Obviously, I didn’t go out and buy a whole new wardrobe for this trip, but most of the pieces are from Australia or really old, so in an effort to make this list wearable, I’ve sourced all new pieces that are very similar to what I have in my closet. I stuck almost exclusively to Zara and H&M because they’re the only two brands I shop at.

DRESSES: blue wrap around, black jumpsuitBOTTOMS:  black silk trousers, tie dye skirt, candy stripped mid-lengthSHOES: ballerina flats, tan slip on sandalsTOPS: white frilled, silk cami, white shirt, CARDIGANS: grey cashmere jumper, cream cardigan, pastel kimono, ACCESSORIES: light weight shawl, tan shopper, tassel necklace, floral bikini


The flight to Tel Aviv is almost 4 hours, so I want to be comfortable and not constricted, hence the silk pyjama-style pants and top. I’m adding a cream cardigan here just in case I get cold and some comfortable shoes.




Today we’ll be seeing the majority of Jerusalem’s religious sights. You’re expected to dress modestly throughout the city, but here it’s shoulders covered, long skirts and closed shoes. You’re not even allowed to wear pants, which would be easier to spend the day in. But since I’m all covered up, I thought I would push the boundaries with a shirt and skirt combination made from light and breezy silk. I’m also bringing a light-weight shawl in case I have to cover my hair. It’s something I recommend you always have on you in conservative destinations just in case you’re not modest enough!



Today we’re still in Jerusalem, but we’re not seeing any religious sights, so I can relax my look a tiny bit. I’m still donning a knee length skirt and covering my shoulders, but I’ve switched the ballerina flats for a pair of comfortable sandals. I’m tying the look together with a necklace I made. Here’s the DIY if you want to make one too!



We’re off to Jordan! The bus leaves at 5am and while the country isn’t as conservative as Israel, I’m still trying to look respectful in a black jumpsuit with a silk kimono to cover my shoulders. Since we’ll be scrambling up and down Petra, which is an ancient lost city, I want to wear something I can move in. I’m bringing along my grey cashmere sweater because I hear the evenings get quite cool in the dessert.



We’re headed to the Dead Sea today. I’m recycling my silk kimono on the beach as a coverall and switching into a simple wrap around dress for the rest of the day.



Today we head home and I’m wearing a few of the pieces I had on earlier in the week and bringing my shawl along on the plane in case it’s cold!


It sounds like a lot for a weekend away, but everything is light weight and wouldn’t fill a carry on bag, so you have plenty of space for souvenirs.

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