Since becoming a NASA co-op nearly 7 years ago (and a NASA fellow 1 year ago), I have become accustomed to interning (living + working) in a new city over most of the summers since I began. As a consequence, I’ve learned to become quite the tourist of my own city on the weekends.
Don’t get me wrong, being on my own every summer can be really tough, but I try to keep an open mind and view it as an opportunity to explore a new-to-me place and to really get to know the area. It’s also served as a real confidence booster since I’ve had to learn how to navigate a city on my own (literally and figuratively).
At any rate, I thought it would be fun for me to share my go-to summer touristing outfit (as I have lovingly dubbed it) and a few of the essential things I take with me on my weekend adventures exploring a new city.
If you’ve never been to Houston, TX in the summer, then I believe you’ve never truly experienced the amplifying effects of heat + humidity. Even after working in Houston for multiple summers, I could never fully say that I had acclimated to the environment there.
Nevertheless, I somehow settled on a weekend outfit that kept me as cool as possible, while still remaining cute and polished for all the activities I wanted to do while exploring.
I pretty much lived in this outfit all summer. It was the perfect balance of stylish and comfortable, so why fight it?
And while I really can’t claim that this outfit is particularly new or special…it is one that works! So I wanted to share it with you all!
The outfit starts out with great basics–like a striped sleeveless tee and a cute button-up denim skirt. You could just as easily style this look with a classic pair of denim shorts or colorful chinos, but I liked the dressier subtlety of the skirt option. It felt just a tad more girly, and so I went with it!
I then layered on my finer detail pieces–like this straw panama hat, this fun necklace, and these psychedelic shades. If there’s one accessory I love having fun with in the summer, it’s got to be sunglasses. I love that you can go totally crazy with them if you want! They are such a fun expression to experiment with.
I typically get mine from Urban Outfitters, which I stop into once or twice a year simply to browse their amazing sunglasses collection. They are trendy and well-made but won’t break the bank. I also love that if I’m wearing them and something happens to them, I’m not heart broken. That is my one gripe with nice sunglasses–I never want to wear them because I’m too afraid of breaking or losing them. Can you relate? So I’ve just decided to go with more affordable options that still provide me with sufficient sun protection.
And perhaps the most important part of the entire touristing look…the shoes! It is essential that you find a great, comfortable pair of walking shoes that won’t keep you from exploring all the nooks and crannies of your city. The pair shown here is from Steve Madden, but since trying out this Josef Seibal pair in Guatamala earlier this year, I haven’t looked back. I swear by them. They are the best. So if you are looking for a well-made pair of sandals that you can do some serious walking in, THESE are the ones. I have them in both tan and black and literally lived in them all this summer.
Another must-have piece is a backpack to hold all your things while out exploring for the day. Normally I am all about the cross-body purse. But for long days on your feet, they just aren’t the right bag. Between the bag itself not being big enough to hold everything (read: my giant DSLR camera) and the strap cutting into your shoulder from the extra weight of everything, there are just better options out there for the type of functionality you need on the weekend.
Enter the backpack!
A backpack is a great bag to hold all your essentials on the weekend while dispersing the weight over both of your shoulders. I love this NorthFace mini backpack I raved about from our Seattle trip here, but I also love a great leather backpack as well, which feels a little dressier and on trend for the weekend. The one I’ve styled here is faux leather and a Target find! But Madewell makes great genuine leather ones that I’ve been eyeing for awhile now.
A few other essentials I like to bring:
…Snacks (in case you get caught up in walking and forget to eat 😉 ).
…Sunscreen and a hat for sun protection.
…A camera to document all the hidden gems you find.
…And a bright fun lip stain that can instantly make you feel put together for that great food or drink spot you stumble upon! I’m currently into this Revlon Matte Lip Stain in Devotion but I also love the Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Stick in Roomiest Rose. Both add lasting color that are appropriate for the every day.
Oh! And an umbrella or packable rain jacket…because we’ve all been caught in that one torrential downpour at least 10 blocks away from your car. …am I right? #lessonlearned
And then all that’s left is to have a great time exploring the city–making new friends and finding new hot spots along the way! (P.S. You can find all my favorite Houston spots under the Travel Section above or just click here!)
What about you? Have you ever spent the weekend become a tourist in your own city?
You might also like…What To Wear to A Museum and What to Pack for the Beach.
Photos by Dang Nguyen
Get the Look…
Tank: Madewell (similar) | Skirt: French Connection (similar) | Shoes: Steve Madden (similar here, here) | Hat: J. Crew (similar) | Backpack: Target (similar here, real leather here, LOVE/have this one too!) | Necklace: Madewell (similar) | Bracelet: Madewell (similar)