nashville: what i packed + what i wore (plus a few spots to add to your travel bucket list!)

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Last weekend, I got to go to Nashville to hang out with my best gals, Emily and Michelle. The three of us met and became fast friends about five years ago, back when we all lived in Austin.

Now we all live in different places — Emily is in Nashville, I’m in Abilene, Michelle is in Austin — but that doesn’t stop us! Our friendship has grown even stronger since we’ve moved away, and we make these little visits a top priority.

This was a particularly special trip, so settle in for a long post. Not only did I get some much needed girl time, I also got to visit two of my favorite responsible clothing makers: Elizabeth Suzann and FashionABLE.

Elizabeth Suzann happened to be having a warehouse sale that weekend — no clothes were for sale, but instead they were selling off warehouse surplus and equipment, like sewing machines, pattern printers, and extra fabrics. SO COOL. I was fascinated by it all.

I may be a total newb at sewing, but I couldn’t help it — I picked up a couple yards of beautiful linen and I’m hoping to sew it into a top soon. Just need to pull the ol’ sewing machine out of storage, ahem. :)

While we were there, we also got a tour of the studio from Liz herself (eep!) and it sent me into inspiration overload. I’m not really sure how to describe it, but it deeply impacted me. If you’re ever in Nashville, and even mildly interested in clothing manufacturing, schedule a tour at Elizabeth Suzann’s studio.

We also stopped by FashionABLE’s flagship store (pictured above). They are launching responsibly made denim on August 15th — this is a big deal you guys. Denim is such a staple in my wardrobe and it’s been challenging to find denim that’s both responsibly made and cute — but they nailed it! 

I got to try on every single pair while I was there, and I’m happy to report that they are even better than I’d hoped. Beautiful washes, fashion forward silhouettes, and excellent quality (I thought it was even better than Madewell) all at a price point around $120-$150. I can’t wait for you to see it all on launch day!

The vibrancy, creativity, and do-good attitude of Nashvillians really got to me on this trip. It inspired me to bits and impacted me in ways I’m still processing through. Aaron and I love (love!) our life in Abilene. But the responsible fashion scene is bumpin’ in Nashville, and there’s a part of me that longs to be surrounded by that kind of creativity and passion on a daily basis.

But you know what? The truth is, that’s not in the cards any time soon and that’s a-okay. The grass isn’t necessarily greener there — it’s greener wherever I water it. In the same way that Emily, Michelle, and I have cultivated a deeper friendship despite the distance, I know I can cultivate that Nashville creativity and passion right where I am. It’ll just take a little extra effort. :)

Yeesh! So many thoughts today, and we’re not even into the packing part! So let’s jump in. Today I’ll share what I packed, what I wore each day, plus a few spots you’ll want to visit on your next trip to Nashville.

WHAT I PACKED

This trip was a quick one — just a little over 48 hours. I overpacked for such a short trip, but even still, I ended up with extra space in my suitcase. It came in handy, though, because I came home with a few goodies, like the fabric from the ES sale and a pair of jeans from FashionABLE.

Our trip was split in half between fun outings and just relaxing at Emily’s home. So I packed a mix of cute clothes and comfy lounge clothes. I brought:

  • 4 tops (2 nice tops, 2 lounge tops)
  • 2 warm layers (1 nice cardigan, 1 lounge hoodie)
  • 1 dress (that I didn’t even end up wearing)
  • 4 bottoms (2 nice bottoms, 2 lounge bottoms)
  • 2 pairs of shoes (1 nice, 1 active)

You can see it all below:

LOUNGE TEE by Madewell

LINEN CROP TANK by Elizabeth Suzann (made responsibly)

LOUNGE TANK by Madewell

SILK TEE by Elizabeth Suzann (made responsibly)

JOGGERS by Outdoor Voices (made responsibly)

CASHMERE CARDIGAN by Cuyana (made responsibly) / Similar / Similar (under $30)

HOODIE by Outdoor Voices (made responsibly)

PATTERNED DRESS (old by Bridge + Burn) / Same dress, different pattern

HIGH WAISTED DENIM by grlfriend (made in USA)

CUTOFF SHORTS / Similar (made in USA)

WIRELESS BRALETTE by Victoria’s Secret

YOGA LEGGINGS by Girlfriend (made responsibly)

SNEAKERS by Veja (made responsibly) / Similar

SANDALS (old from Nordstrom Rack) / Similar (made responsibly) / Similar (under $25)

STATEMENT NECKLACE by Half United (made responsibly)

BAG by FashionABLE (made responsibly)

Other stuff, not shown:

WHAT I WORE + WHAT WE DID

This is my favorite travel outfit to date — athleisure all the way. On the surface it’s nothing that special — a lot of grey, black, and more grey. But I just felt fantastic (and comfortable) in it.

Three tiny styling notes about it:

  1. I embraced the sporty vibe with a ball cap and it created this extra layer of personal space that felt really nice in a crowded airport.
  2. I tied my hoodie around my waist to keep it handy in case I got chilly.
  3. I tied my tank in a knot at the side to give the outfit a little something extra.

• • •

Since I got my linen crop tank in the mail right before we left for the trip, I was so excited to wear it that I ended up wearing it on both Friday and Saturday. Don’t even care. :P

On Friday night, we had tapas for dinner at Barcelona (pictured below). If you’re drinking, make sure to order wine by the smaller “taste” portion rather than by the glass — that way you can have fun trying several different wines over the course of the meal.

After dinner, we hopped over to Legato Gelato next door for an after-dinner treat. Get the stracciatella flavor — it’s kind of like an Italian chocolate chip, and yikes it’s incredible.

On Saturday, we packed in all the things! We started the morning at Elizabeth Suzann, then brunched at Le Sel (pictured below).

After that, we explored around the 12 South neighborhood. GO THERE. It’s such a vibrant yet relaxed part of town.

We sipped iced green tea at Frothy Monkey and shopped for locally made gifts at White’s Mercantile, where I picked up this beautiful, responsibly made necklace from Half United.

Then we admired the flowers at Amelia’s Flower Truck (pictured below).

While exploring 12 South, we visited Imogene + Willie (pictured below). I could have lived in their store — SO my style. All the denim and white tees you could ask for!

Later that day, we had a blast at the FashionABLE flagship store, and grabbed dinner at Burger Up.

We finished off the day browsing the clean beauty goods at Lemon Laine (pictured below). Laura, the owner, was working the shop that evening and it was such a treat to chat with her. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by her passion for women and for clean beauty.

It’s such a cool spot — you can even schedule an appointment at their oil bar to have a custom facial oil made for your skin. It’s $65 and would make for a fun girl date.

Anyway, I’ve been on the hunt for an organic shampoo and conditioner that add volume and I might have found a winner — the Rahua voluminous shampoo and conditioner. I haven’t tried them yet (alas, I packed in a carry on and wouldn’t have been able to bring the bottles through security). But Laura gave me a sample pack to take home, so I’ll let you know once I try it!

Lemon Laine doesn’t have an online shop yet, so if you live in Nashville, make sure to visit the shop in person to support Laura and her vision — she’s a gem.

• • •

After our packed day, we went back to Emily’s home ready for some serious chill time.

Annnnd this was my favorite part of the trip. The three of us embraced the middle school sleepover vibe — as in, we put on PJs, green face masks, and watched The Parent Trap (the one with LL of course). And yep, that movie holds up.

Even with all the fun stuff we did out and about, chill friend time still wins.

• • •

On the last day of the trip, I kept things simple and wore denim cutoffs with a silk tee knotted at the waist, plus the statement necklace I got at White’s Mercantile the day before.

We didn’t do much that day, but we did grab brunch at Caviar and Bananas, where I discovered my new favorite brand of tea — Rishi! I ended up ordering a box of Rishi’s Matcha Green tea and Turmeric Ginger tea after trying them at C&B. In fact, I’m sipping on the Turmeric Ginger tea as I type this post. :)

After brunch, we had a little picnic in Emily’s backyard (pictured below). Goodness, I love those girls.

• • •

And just like that, our trip came to an end. On the way home, I wore the same thing I did on the way there — except I swapped the grey tank for my white tee. Done and done, and comfy for a day of air travel.

• • •

And there you have it!

Whew guys! Thanks for sticking with me through such a long post! This trip left me feeling more inspired than I have in a long while, and so it was special to get to share it with you a little more in-depth.

So tell me, have you ever visited Nashville? Got any places I should add to my list for next time? And do you ever feel that “grass is greener” thing when it comes to where you live? How do you “water your own grass” when you feel it? Share away in the comments!

xo,

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