Monday, May 7, 2012

Packing for Europe

I'm back from my adventures abroad, and since I haven't yet uploaded my photos from the trip I thought I'd present an analysis of the wardrobe I packed and how well it worked for me during my travels. So without further ado, here's what I took with me:

3 Dresses:

3 Tops (this doesn't include a couple of layering tees and a tank):

2 pairs of pants (not shown: one pair of leggings and one pair of tights):

4 cardigans:

2 coats (the short one has removable sleeves, which also came along):

And last but not least, 3 pairs of shoes:

This capsule wardrobe was somewhat of a challenge because of the fact that I had both work and vacation portions, as well as several different cities. The low-heeled boots and flats got lots of wear when I was out walking around in Lisbon and Paris; the studded boots were great for making my outfits a touch dressier when I was only walking short distances for the work and conference portions of the trip.

Overall I did really well with the packing this time around. Everything I brought was worn at least 2 to 3 times and in multiple configurations, and at each stop on the trip I had enough clean clothes to last until the next time I did laundry (which I did twice). The patterned dress got worn as both a dress and as a tunic over jeans, while the short gray jacket was worn both with and without the sleeves. It was great having a couple of versatile pieces like that in the mix.

Here are a few different combinations I planned out while I was packing, all of which got worn as shown:

Shown above is the patterned dress worn as a dress; I put it over leggings when it was cold, and on one warmer day I wore it with bare legs and a pair of orange sandals I picked up along the way.

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At left is the same dress configured to be worn as a tunic. I thought it looked great with the red pants.

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The floral coat went particularly well with the purples, yellow, and neutrals I brought, but I also pushed the envelope and wore it with the red pants once or twice.

One thing I'll say about packing for somewhere like Paris is that bright colors make you stand out much more than they do over here. Parisian women stick mostly to neutrals and generally wear loads and loads of black. But frankly I've long since ceased to care about trying to blend in with the locals; I knew the weather was mostly going to be dreary for this trip, so I brought bright colors to look springy and to make me happy. And despite it looking fairly out of place, the floral coat still garnered several compliments even in Paris. It just goes to show that you're better off being yourself than trying to adhere to a norm.


Susan B said...

Great capsule. And let me say that you looked *smashing* in that purple dress!

Megan said...

I'm glad you said that about Paris. I noticed the same thing - a very muted pallet of colours. I felt really self conscious when I went to get my tattoo from Sunny Buick in a very colourful dress.

This post provides very helpful tips for travel packing. I'm going to remember this in case I get to travel again.

Megan G said...

This is a great idea for travel, and it could also be a great way of planning a week capsule. I think the outfit remixes came out awesome.

I love your red jeans. I'll be taking tips for color combos from you. I pretty much only wear mine with black and white.

Anonymous said...

I see you've got some things that don't wrinkle! I've seen the vest in some past posts and really like it!

Trystan L. Bass said...

That's so funny - I tend to stand out more at home bec. I wear mostly black & dark colors, & in Europe (which I visit most years), I blend in & feel quite at home ;-)

Nice combos tho. I always love a good travel capsule wardrobe!

Anonymous said...

I noticed that my bright colors stood out when I was in Germany and France this past Christmas. As I've been paring down my wardrobe in preparation to move to Germany in the fall, I keep thinking "too bright for Germany, perfect for me!" Oh well, at least they'll be able to spot me coming.

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

I lurk a lot and admire your fabulous style from afar, but had to comment on your great packing capsule. I recently tried a similar plan for a trip to Charleston, but with no dresses - I was traveling with my mom ;P

But what really inspired me to comment is your observation that Parisian women wear a lot of neutrals and black. So did I until about a year ago when I started reading more style blogs and expanded my professional blog to include career dressing on a budget. I've tried so hard to give up my monochromatic tendencies, and am now laughing because apparently that's what's in style in the fashion capital of the world :P

Sheila said...

Love all your combinations - the bright colours are lovely.

Looking forward to seeing your trip photos! Welcome home!

Rose said...

Wow! what a wonderful capsule. I like all the colors and patterns--they mix well together. It's a wonderful variety of clothing (professional and casual)--and it's not different from your ususal style. I hope that you will share information about the duration of your trip and how you decided on what to bring--did you start with a few key /select /favorite pieces?

Rose in SV

Mother Theresa said...

Hi, I followed you over here from a comment you left on a post about age appropriate dressing, and then I realized I'd been here before while searching for "shorts and tights over 40". I just want to say I love your style and how you don't let other peoples' ideas on what is appropriate or not dictate how you dress. It's refreshing and inspiring to find someone like you who hasn't resigned to looking frumpy after reaching a certain age just because everyone else has. I'm a 43 year old mother of three, and I refuse to join the mommy jeans crowd just because that's what is expected of me. I still have a great body, and I'm going to wear whatever looks good on me as long as I still can, even if it's not considered "age appropriate". Congratulations on a great blog, and please keep inspiring us all.

bubumotherof2 said...

I am a frequent lurker but had to comment -this was so inspiring and helpful! I generally pack all black and white with one accent color, and very basic shapes -- this just gave me so many color and combo ideas. Thank you!

MelD said...

I had to wait for a train in Germany recently and sat people-watching as I did so. In among all the drearily clad jeans/grey/black and plain awful, two girls stood out. One a young mum exquisitely dressed in sleek black slacks and a perfectly fitting red mac - she looked so pulled together, sleek and attractive. The other was wearing fairly ordinary clothes (a red/white striped shirt under a grey pullover and some grey slacks) but a smashing summer coat, white satin with a floral border print and embroidery - she looked fantastic, despite no makeup or any other fancy details. Turned out this young woman was in my train compartment, politely quiet and busy during all the journey and then off she went in that fabulous coat...

LPC said...

This highlights your astonishing skills. That you can assemble such different items, in these colors and patterns, and still dress to travel - damn, woman!

I have more to learn from you than anyone, I think.

Closet Coach said...

This: "It just goes to show that you're better off being yourself than trying to adhere to a norm."

My capsule collections for packing tend to run towards neutrals because they seem easier to combine. I like the way you made such a seemingly disparate collection of colors and patterns work so well together. I'll have to pack more daringly next time!

Ms. Falcon said...

during the last 1,5 years i've been traveling a lot and i love to travel light wight... i love to see your packing and mixing ideas. very inspiring!

oh and i love your photos from paris and strasbourg... (strasbourg is quite close to the town i live here in germany).