Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Travel Capsule Wardrobe - Packing for Uncertain weather, in black & grey

Pearl earrings – Majorica, Gray blazer – Stella McCartney, striped tee shirt – A.L.C., grey trench – Burberry, black cotton pants – Michael Kors, bags – Tumi, shoes – Thierry Rabotin, pearls – Kenneth Jay Lane, scarf - Hermes
Often, I receive questions about what to pack if one is uncertain of the weather at the destination. This is a question I wrestle with often, because my favorite time of year to travel is in those "iffy" months when a lot of families can't travel, because school is in session, and when the weather isn't warm enough to sunbathe, nor cold enough to ski.

Grey cotton cardigan – American Vintage, Striped cardigan – Day Birger et Mikkelsen, black knit skirt – T by Alexander Wang, Fair Isle silk sweater – Rag & Bone, black cotton sweater – T b Alexander Wang, black jeans – Levi’s, grey cotton pants – Calvin Klein, grey silk cashmere turtleneck – Miu Miu. Black silk sleeveless top – 3.1 Phillip Lim, black & white striped cotton turtleneck – Edit A. Miller, grey tee shirt – Old Navy, dress – Jaeger London
 So my approach is this:

  • Obviously - layers.  A lightweight turtleneck that can easily go under a cardigan or crew neck sweater, but will pack down to nothing.  A couple of silk or cotton modal tee shirts that are great for warm weather, but can slide under a cardigan or jacket.
  • Season-less fabrics: cotton knit, cotton twill, a flat wool gabardine.
  • Lots of accessories - especially warm socks, a hat and gloves.  Small space dedicated to these things can yield big dividends if the temperature drops.
  • Err more on the side of being prepared for cold, rather than for warm.  If the heat wave sets in, it will be quick and inexpensive to pick up a couple of extra tee shirts. But in a cold snap, you don't want to be rushed to buy woollies.
  • Trench with zip-out lining - invaluable.
  • Silk long underwear is a great pajama alternative, and can save your life when it snows.
  • And ultimately, if there's an unexpected blizzard, accept that you may have a day in which you can't do much except take a taxi to a museum and pass the entire day there.  Packing for every eventuality isn't possible, unless you have a personal staff of Sherpa to carry your bags.

Pinched oval earrings – Alexis Bittar, Grey socks – Muji, wool & alpaca hat – Burberry, grey disc earrings – Debenhams, necklace & hoop earrings – Dannijo, gloves – Dolce & Gabbana, Cross-body bag – Osgoode Marley, paisley scarf – Etro, ring – Vince Camuto, beaded bracelet – Chan Luu, Square scarf – Hermès, black pumps – Sergio Rossi, black open-toe flats – Stuart Weitzman, rectangular scarf – Leigh & Luca, tights – Fogal, striped socks – Black.co.uk








I'd love to revisit this suitcase in a different color combination - any suggestions?

19 comments:

  1. wonderful! This is a TOTAL wardrobe for moi, not only a travel wardrobe. I was never happier and freer than when I carried almost exactly the same items you show in a carry-on bag, spending 10 months (Sept.-June) in Europe. I only replaced one sweater during that time. The mathematical permutations continue to amaze me. But you have styled the items in a more modern and coordinated way than I could have.I so appreciate your talents.

    PS I had black, rosy red and ivory in my bag. Today I would probably swap the black for grey or navy or taupe.

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  2. You are a genius. I'd love to see a non-neutral in the bag.

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  3. I love this! I'd like to see a version based around blue jeans as the wardrobe basic. Can there be more than one color as the accent? Perhaps blue and purple or blue and red?

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    1. Ooh, I second Lisa's preference for a jeans based selection: navy (think dark denim) and......burgundy (rather than straight red) or cobalt..........these go with navy, don't they? But not gold or kelly green, please - I need something cool toned if at all possible.

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  4. Oh WoW! I love today's post. I admire how you are able to read my mind and give me capsule after capsule to emulate. Thanks for the world of accessories that your words and pictures have opened up for me.

    A different color combination? I need to wear brighter colors near my face and I have warm rather than cool coloring. I'm having trouble balancing warm and bright without looking like a neon sign walking. Would you please do a warmer version with bright accents, like Warm Chocolate Brown/Cognac or Bright Navy/Camel as the base colors with yellow-based bright colors as accent (possibly tomato-red)? Thanks, Kentucky Debbie

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    1. aesthetic intelligenceJanuary 24, 2012 at 7:46 PM

      I second this request. Please and thank you!

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  5. Brilliant! And I swear, you must be influencing me across the miles! Yesterday was a rare wet day in San Diego, and I wore black pants, a gray and black striped tee, gray cardi, black short boots. My only deviation from your plan was my bright red Burberry.
    I would love to see a version of this plan in lighter colors. Even though I realize that very light hues are impractical for bad weather, I"m thinking more of temperature variations. Maybe gray and cream?

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  6. My mother will be joining my son for 2 weeks in Vienna this spring and I will pass on some of your packing combos. My son will be toting all the luggage!

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  7. Awesome! You always figure out a way to represent the problem or opportunity graphically in a way that makes instant sense. Perfect capsule, perfect logic for how to think this through. Yes to this plan in other colors, please do! I also like the suggestions about "convertible" clothing (trenches with zip liners)-- are there any other kinds of things like this we could look for. Or perhaps ways to (stylishly and not dorkishly) add warmth under clothes with those thin silk leggings/camis they sell for travelers?

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    1. Thank you so much, "Vivienne", for excellent and inspiring wardrobe ideas!
      Whenever I travel, be it for a weekend or for 3 weeks, I prefer to bring a wardrobe in 3 main colours, and at least one of them must be a "real" colour (not a neutral). This helps preventing me from getting bored ... The third colour may sometimes be used for some accessories only - nevertheless, it brings my basics to life and cheers me up.
      How about a wardrobe in shades of these colours: grey, blue and blue-red?

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  8. Fantastic, we do a lot of this type of travelling, so this is perfect and love the way you have set out the capsule.

    I would also love a Warmer version like Dark Chocolate or Dark Navy as the base and yellow based accents, possibly golden yellow or orange/red.

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  9. I love this, but a pop of color would be great! How about a wardrobe of navy, gray, with purple or coral accent colors?

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  10. I LOVE the presentation of this wardrobe. Cooler on one side and warmer on the other. It's brilliant. I'd also like to see more of the same including a non-neutral color.

    ALSO...could you do this same concept for pleasure travel? Showing daytime on one side and nighttime (cruise dining room appropriate especially!) on the other?

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  11. Such a useful post! Where have you been all my life?

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  12. aesthetic intelligenceJanuary 24, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Thank you for another invaluable post.

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  13. What you do is amazing and so user friendly!!!! I am learning to pack much lighter and do enjoy the freedom it provides. I would love to see a packable casual wardrobe in black and olive with some dark denim and perhaps some red and purple accents (as this is mostly what is in my closet). Is this too many colors to work with?

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas!
    Terry

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  14. beautifuldreamer1066January 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Thank you for the baseline wardrobe. It is the perfect backdrop for colorful scarves, shawls, and jewelry. I love it!

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  15. This is soooo fabulous! I'm with Kentucky Debbie in longing to see what you would do with warmer colors. I'm heading to England Easter week -- three days at an academic conference (including two dress up dinners) and five days of travel/sight seeing with my Mom. Would love, love your insights: warm chocolate/cognac or navy with either coral or pear green? Thanks! Missed reading you while I was in China! Minneapolis Susan.

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  16. Love the grey. I'm another that would love to see more color with the grey. Purple, cobalt, red, berry. Thanks for wonderful post after wonderful post.

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