Friday, December 13, 2013

Petrol, Black and White: A Six Pack for Uncertain or Changing Weather

Maybe the question I am asked most frequently - how do I pack when I'm not sure what the weather will be, or when I know that I'm going from cold to warm (or warm to cold) temperatures?

Things to keep in mind:


  1. Avoid any garment that's overtly "one climate" - like a bulky cable knit sweater, or a filmy linen tunic. Try as much as possible to choose what you pack from that middle-ground of transitional clothes.  Consider:
    • merino sweaters (or cotton, or silk, or a blend of these), 
    • cotton blouses and tee shirts,
    • pants in flat finish fabrics like crepe, twill or gabardine, and 
    • dresses that can be layered under a sweater or worn alone.
  2. Plan around a color scheme that will be equally appropriate in both climates. A light neutral, dark neutral, and one accent color is the easiest way to go. 
  3. Be sure to include a simple, light neutral blouse, tee shirt or top.  Nothing feels more "warm weather" than an easy white tee shirt.
  4. When choosing shoes, try to pick your favorites that are not bulky, and thus are easier to pack, and consider that you may have some that are equally compatible with pants and dresses.  Multi-purpose is very helpful in a tiny suitcase.  And no matter HOW tempting it might be to buy new shoes for a trip - don't do it unless you have plenty of time to test-drive the shoes.  My wimpy white winter feet do not need to be tortured with lacerating new sandals...
Today I'm showing a six-pack that's suitable for a short trip - 3 or 4 days. Tomorrow, I will show how to add onto this six-pack to be prepared for a trip that's MOSTLY cold weather, and then on Monday (note, I changed this from Saturday, since tomorrow IS Saturday...), I'll turn the tables and show the same core, augmented for a WARM weather trip...

Please feel free to comment.  I welcome all comments - good, bad, praise, criticism - all are welcome so long as the tone is civil and the purpose is to share your thoughts.


Cardigan- Uniqlo, tee shirt – Emmanuel Ungaro,  earringsCaine, black crepe pants – Damsel in a Dress,  scarf – Pyaar,  trench coat – ADD, loafers – Munro, suitcase - Tumi

Scarf – LiekeVan Opstal, cardigan – Uniqlo, chalcedony bracelet – Neeru Goel, chalcedony necklace – Neeru Goel, white tee – Uniqlo, dress- L.K.Bennett, sleeveless top – Twelve-T, flats – Cobb Hill, capris- Mint Velvet, floral tee – Alice and Olivia, sandals – Munro





28 comments:

  1. at last.....!this are my kind of posts...

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  2. Great post!
    Linda C.

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  3. Much better for my climate. While you up north are freezing we in the beautiful land of Florida are enjoying 85 degree weather. The t shirt pants sandals are my everyday wear except when I substitute shorts for really hot days. I'm not much on layering, preferring to just wear a long sleeved shirt if the temperature dips lower.

    Thank you Janice for all your knowledge on how to pair things up.

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  4. Janice,

    I love this post. It's simple and easy to adapt and put into action. Thank you for all the work that went into it.

    The simpler it looks the harder it probably was to choose the right elements. I'll keep this guide for reference.
    It can also be used to show how you can wear one piece throughout the year. I used to enjoy those
    posts last year too. Saved all of them.

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  5. Gorgeous clothes, lovely colours, very inspiring! Thank you Janice, your posts are always a bright spot in my day, even when they are not my colours or style, they are always interesting or thought provoking or just fun!
    I don't have children either, but I clicked on the kids' capes the other day, and loved them (the placemats are a brilliant idea too). I'm really looking forward to the development of today's theme.
    Elizabeth

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  6. Gorgeous! But.... you didn't use the sleeveless top. I assume that you weren't saving it for the later posts, because you talked about augmenting them? How would you work it? It is probably just a personal fixation, but I find it difficult to know how/when to use colours that don't match exactly, so I would be interested to see whether you would use it with the lighter coloured of the two cardigans. I know you have mentioned before, but only in passing, mixing like colours; and several of us asked for a tuorial on how to manage this. Thank you!

    P.S. Have you ever produced a "check list" for packing like this? I was thinking somthing with, say, a number of boxes at the top labelled "neutrals - 1/2/3 and "accents - 1/2/3" wherein one could enter the chosen colours, and then a list of garments, one-by-one (e.g. "Pants - pick three items" and then a list such as "1 long pant/ 1 long pant/1 capri/ 1 capri/ etc") with a box next to each item for entering the colour.......

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  7. As an alternative to a merino sweater, consider a simple black cashmere cardigan. I have one that has literally been all over the world, ready to throw on at a moment's notice.

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  8. Lovely! I tend to follow these rules in my own packing. However, if I am certain there might be really cold weather, I add a silk base layer to my packing list. Silk is lightweight so doesn't take up too much space. It really came in handy walking the Great Wall in China in the snow in January a few years ago. I also pack a black cashmere sweater -- warmth and style without weight. Love that trench in this post!!!

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  9. We spend one month per year in Europe. I would love to see you do a posting for a trip that long with the requirement that everything is washable, nothing is "dry clean only" and that it all fits in a 22" carry on with enough space left for for underwear, pj's, socks, etc. This theme of cooler and warmer would be great. I have my own formula for packing for a month, based on the Rick Steves packing list and the examples on your blog, but I would love to see your specifics.

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  10. These are beautiful, I love the petrol.
    Still hoping you'll show us some olive for winter, I'm really struggling with a pair of olive trousers and how to integrate with my winter wardrobe.

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  11. One of my favorite posts and looking forward to the next ones! But I'm giggling because there are days when my internal thermostat is so broken, this is what I wear to work. With the exception of the capris, I cycle through all those combinations a few times during the day! :)

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  12. Love the packing posts!

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  13. Beautiful! I love the colors on this one and the items you chose...gorgeous!

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  14. I also like those travel posts a lot. They have helped me to pack much smarter. I often will pack a pair of nude hose to wear under trousers if I go somewhere where the weather might turn colder. Amazing how much a thin layer of nothing can add warmth.

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  15. Petrol is blah on the swatch, but it looks so "glamorous" in the combos here. I would not have thought to put it with these colors, but it certainly works.

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  16. Love this! I struggle with travelling between a mild climate and a very cold one and I always end up packing two complete sets of clothes. Janice, you make it look so easy and intuitive - thank you!! (Love the colours too - I never contemplated Petrol before I started reading this blog. Now it is one of my favourite neutrals!)

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  17. Just back from a month in Europe. I packed with your principles in mind and managed a much smaller bag than usual.
    This plan for transitioning with the climate is great.
    However my biggest problem is a tropical climate - how to be elegant when it is SO hot and humid and I'm in the not-slim category, sort of top end of the regular sizes. (ie Uniglo is not on for me.)

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  18. This is very timely as I will be heading from hot Sydney to cold Wales for about a week early next year.

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  19. Hi Janice, I would like to thank you for the Vivienne Files. I found it a year ago searching for how to pack for a trip. For the first time ever, I didn't over pack and I had a coordinated travel wardrobe in a small suitcase and was able to dress for all situations. It would have fit into a carry on bag and that's what I will use next time.
    Every day the new posts are fun to see and always something interesting to think about. I have used the principles for building a cohesive wardrobe since I found the Vivienne Files and it simplifies getting ready for each day. Scarves are now my favorite accessory and I love your scarf tying examples.
    I find for every day and when I travel, that I am most comfortable, temperature-wise, if my body core is warm. I wear silk camisoles as a layer under all other layers year round. On very warm summer days, I wear light cotton tops and in winter, they work under sweaters. I did this when I traveled and was always fine. I like the feel of silk on my skin and I think they give a smooth line to light-weight tops.
    When I traveled, I took Liberty of London cotton shirts which worked well under cardigans. I washed them by hand, and hung to dry overnight, they didn't require ironing. For travel, I prefer button front blouses and shirts and sweaters. I find it easier on the hair when shopping for clothes and sweaters are easier to remove if it gets warmer. I always have a scarf with me, even if it is in my bag, because of its versatility.
    Thank you again for this great site.

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  20. I am packing next week for 3 weeks away. Two weeks in 3C temps and then a week in 28C temps. We have decided to pack two seperate cases, the temperature differences are just too extreme for one case and one set of clothes.

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  21. Living in subtropical , Florida, this is my basic wardrobe plan, although the scale would be tipped in favor of warm weather items: lots of sandals, lightweight skirts, pants and long shorts, cute tops. Then I add the sweaters, scarves, jeans, and flats for the winter months and the hopefully chilly days, which are a nice break from the sweltering heat!

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  22. Love everything shown here! Now, to find it all in plus sizes....

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  23. Just when I was feeling a bit jaded with wardrobe selection - I opened this post and thought Wow! Love everything here and so cleverly put together (as always). Many thanks for continued inspiration.

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  24. I often travel into the areas surrounding San Francisco. In the winter time, you could easily wear any of these outfits on any given day. You need the sweater and scarf for the cool mornings, then stripping down to a t-shirt works perfectly for mid-day. Later as the temperature drops, back on goes the sweater and scarf! I am packing today for a 3 day trip and I am using your format as my inspiration!

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  25. If you travel to a "warmer" winter climate such as Arizona or southern Florida from a cold climate, keep in mind that if the sun is shining, the sun makes black clothing VERY warm...note to golfers: beige is a better color for top/bottom, can always add a black jacket.......

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  26. Is petrol a bluish grey? I thought at first it was a dark grey but in this post I see it as having a very blue cast. It is lovely.

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