Friday, March 07, 2014

I Worry too Much about Packing, Especially for Paris...

Do you worry too much about what to pack? Anticipation is a lot of the fun, but it's possible to reach a point in preparation where you drive yourself slightly nuts; I have reached that point with preparing for Paris next week.  For a while, I would just wear something that I really loved, and then (after laundering) hang it onto the rack designated for Paris packing.

Okay, so now about 50% of my closet is ready to pack.  Clearly not going to work out, eh?

And then I get panicky - what should I take?  What if I forget something I really love?  Will it all fit in my suitcase?  You would think that I'd never done this before, or that what I pack will be the most important thing about the entire vacation.

So first off, I must remind myself repeatedly that nobody has EVER been kicked out of Paris for repeatedly wearing the same outfits.

And I can always shop when I'm there.

And MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, as long as I'm dressed appropriately, it's more important for me to be paying attention to what's around me - the people, the food, the art, the architecture - than to be obsessing about my own appearance.  To some extent, if I simplify my wardrobe and my overall appearance, I will free part of my aesthetic sensibility to be open to take in Paris, rather than worry about what Paris will be thinking of me.

So let's say I travel like this:

Travel outfit in black, with pearl and white accessories
Pants – Phase Eight, scarf – Pierre-Louis Mascia, watch – Anne Klein
bag – Ina Kent,  cardigan – Mango, pearl earrings – Lauren Ralph Lauren,
 tee shirt – Weekend MaxMara, loafers – Tod’s

Continuing my hypothetical trip: I decide, first pass through my suitcase, that this is ALL that I can pack.  I've got an iffy left shoulder, and maybe I just want to carry a tote bag...

Packing in a tote bag
bracelet – Black Dakini, tee shirt – Majestic Filatures, infinity scarf – Tildon
rectangular scarf – Theodora and Callum, pearl necklace – Majorica, lingerie - La Perla
silver necklace – YooLa, black pearl earrings – Lee Renee, cosmetic bag – Lolo
toiletries – Flight001, ballet flats – Geox, dress- True Decadence

This gives me very little in the clothing department - I'm going to be very dependent upon the laundry at the hotel.  But realistically, I have a decent variety of outfits from which to choose:

Simple black outfits, for Paris

Classic outfits to wear in Paris

Classic outfits to wear in Paris

Classic outfits to wear in Paris

So I should be able to console myself with the knowledge that a clean tee shirt, a dress, and a pair of ballet flats are all that I need.  Panic attack should be over...

Now I theoretically feel mentally and physically strong enough to pack a few more things - my next additions are going to be the clothes that I specifically would like to have with me for the rugby match I'm attending:

A very casual sweatshirt outfit to pack for Paris
scarf - Hermes (no longer available), sweatshirt – Acne
jeans – R13, turtleneck – Uniqlo, athletic shoes – Munro

While jeans and a sweatshirt aren't the usual things that one packs for Paris, (although you'll see jeans and sweatshirts EVERYWHERE, on French people...) I will find these quite useful.  I'm a very sweatshirty kind of girl, and I'm comfortable wearing a sweatshirt over a silk dress...

Casual, classic outfits to wear in Paris

Casual, classic outfits to wear in Paris

Casual, classic outfits to wear in Paris

Maybe now that I've talked myself down from a complete frenzy of worry, I can consider one last round of things to include in my bag:

Three dressy additions to a Paris travel wardrobe
Dress – Theory, sweater – C Block
blouse – Armani Collezioni, pumps – Trotters

Yes, I wear a weird combination of dresses and sweatshirts... but this additional dress, sweater, and silk blouse will give me so many options that even in my most panicky moments, I should be comfortable knowing that I will be well and appropriately dressed...
Dressy outfits to wear in Paris

Dressy outfits to wear in Paris

Dressy outfits to wear in Paris

This should easily fit into my carry-on bag.  What in the world am I so worried about?

What to pack for Paris, in black, white and blue


UNIQLO USA

38 comments:

  1. That's lovely. I always say 'I'm never going to see these people again' so, who cares if I wear the same outfit more than once! Please don't take that sweatshirt dress (previous post).....it's just not French.

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  2. I really like the scarves you picked out, the one you purchased on your previous trip would look lovely too. I still swoon over that one and the Paris Lights you featured a while back.

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  3. And maybe a trench to keep warm? Last time I was there was in April and I froze my buns off.

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    1. I'm taking a black nylon "swing" jacket with a fleece lining and knitted collar and cuffs. It's Eileen Fisher, and much more chic than it sounds from the description! But you're right - we're looking at low temperatures near freezing overnight most nights...

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    2. Janice, your shoe selection looks cold. Why no boots to keep those toes warm?

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    3. I'm not in Paris but farther south, near Carcassonne. We have not had winter this year. All my windows were open today. The fruit trees started blooming two weeks ago (more than 2 months early). It was in the low 70s today (but frost on the wind shield this morning!), and the "cold" days have been in the low 50s. If you're out walking around all day, you need to dress warmly, but it isn't Chicago. The forecast for the next 10 days in Paris is for highs around 60 and lows around 39 and SUNSHINE!!!!.
      What does happen, more in Paris than in my region, is torrential rain. Walking around all day in 50 degrees with wet feet is NOT great. I guess you could duck into a Monoprix or something and buy some cheap rain boots that you ditch when you leave, especially since rain isn't forecast.
      Since you will be wearing a coat, you don't have to overthink the clothes. Focus on nice scarves to flounce around the face. Don't bother with gloves. And the women in the south at least are NOT into the bare-leg look, not even a bare ankle below jeans with ballet slippers.
      Today at the supermarket I saw a very chic woman, probably in her 60s since her impeccable Anna Wintour bob was silvery, with a straight, shapeless coat that had an attached scarf/bow on top in red. The coat was color blocked, with red to about bra-strap height, then a block of grey, then black. She wore sheer black hose and sensible black pumps. She looked like a million bucks/euros.
      Bon courage! Et bon voyage!
      --Catherine

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  4. It looks to me like yo are all set! Lots of options.

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  5. Very versatile! I think the jeans are essential. When I travel I usually end up wearing them most of the time. They are practical and still look good even when they are a little dirty. Plus everybody wears jeans in Paris. The silk blouse is a great idea to dress up your jeans, and you're ready for dinner! I would take fewer shoes. I think one pair of walking shoes and the ballet flats are all you need for the entire trip.

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    1. I have to disagree. There is nothing worse than uncomfortable feet on a trip where you will be doing a lot of walking; and in Paris it will be on hard often cobbled streets, which are very unforgiving. And there is always the possibility of wet feet/blisters/etc etc. So 2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes (the loafers and the lace-ups as well as the ballet flats (hope they are the sort with thick soles!) and the pari of heels in case of wanting to hit that note of elegance seems right to me.

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  6. You are a Chicago girl with a lot of cold weather expertise. Still--do you have one of those down or similar puffer jackets or vests that squish to nothing? All of Paris was wearing them during a cold snap in JULY a few years ago. My daughter took mine to Serbia and often wears it under a coat.

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  7. "And I can always shop when I'm there." Well, yes. Why would you not??

    Enjoy your trip.

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  8. Oh, you're going to Paris next week?? Me too, Monday to Saturday! What a coincidence :) I'm packing a very minimalistic carry-on suitcase. As you say: nobody has EVER been kicked out of Paris for repeatedly wearing the same outfits. :)

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  9. You have thought of everything and your palette is one that would suit any event. I am going to be interested in how it all worked out because I plan a trip to a Paris next year!

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  10. Looks as though you have all of your bases covered. Have a wonderful time!!

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  11. Just my choice, but I would add one more pair of slacks and change the dress to a skirt for more versatility.
    Lovely choices. Enjoy the trip!

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  12. Another long-sleeved tee shirt in grey or blue and a chambray button-up shirt. Both are lightweight and will add tons of "what do I feel like wearing" options! The puffer jacket (or vest) suggested above is a very good idea. Have fun!

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  13. OMG ... I can so relate to this post. I ALWAYS agonize about what to wear and how I’ll look, and usually end up throwing wayyyyyyyyy too much into my suitcase. Most of my travels as of late have been long weekends stateside. Invariably, I’ve been packing enough to outfit four people for four months. I’ve obviously forgotten all I learned when planning for a two-week trip to Italy in which I traveled with a carefully cultivated wardrobe using carry-on only luggage. I’ve got to remember that in reality, as long as I appear poised and put together, no one really gives a rip about what I’m wearing. As you so profoundly noted, “... it’s more important for me to be paying attention to what’s around me –the people, the food, the art, the architecture – than to be obsessing about my own appearance. … I will free part of my aesthetic sensibility to be open to take in Paris, rather than worry about what Paris will be thinking of me.” Amen! (Why do I always tend to complicate things?) Introspective contemplation aside, you will look just as amazing as you always do! Je te souhaite un merveilleux voyage à Paris!

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  14. BTW, not to give us all complexes or anything, but NY Magazine has a feature on Catherine Deneuve, who at age 70 is photographed in nothing but a body suit, pantyhose and pumps. My personal disappointment: she has a tattoo! But she still is magnificent.
    http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/02/catherine-deneuve-portrait-at-70.html

    --Catherine ("spelled like Deneuve," which always gets me laughs)

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  15. Hi, I was in Paris last week, took a carry on for five days, (and nights) I am extremely pleased with the selection I took!
    1 Black tunic dress, 1 grey and black skirt, 1 Grey silk blouse, ( could be worn under tunic also) 1 Pair of black skinny jeans, opaque tights x 2, 1 long sleeved slash neck top, (black of course) and a round neck grey cardigan. 1 pair of very smart low wedge knee boots, and 1 low heeled court shoes, both black. two scarves, pale grey and a mixed grey and black one, my black trench and crossbody satchel. It may sound a bit boring, au contraire! I felt very co-ordinated, smart, age appropriate with a side order of edginess. I wore everything and layered up when the wind whipped up. Dont worry about anyone looking at you, they all look at each other too! Have a wonderful time, you are in paris!

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    1. Dear Suzie, Your Paris capsule sounds wonderful. Could you show pictures of your key items please! Lyn

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    2. Hi lyn, I will try to get all the labels of the items worn to send to you asap, do you have an address/email? if not I can do a polyvore set for you especially, let me know, it would be my pleasure. Suzie

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  16. I guess you could check the weather in Paris before you leave. It seems like texture has become the new print.
    I find it interesting that another person suggested one of those packable down jackets. I am petite and slim and although I do have a down/puffer jacket for the really cold weather where I live I do look like a stuffed sausage in it.
    Last fall, I bought my son a down sweater/jacket from Eddie Bauer that he could easily stuff in his backpack in case he couldn't get to his locker. It was so nice, that I ordered one in a parka style for myself from Eddie Bauer when it went on sale. It is in a sort of metallic navy, has a hood and large square pockets on the front. It is awesome. You can see it on Ebay in other colors such as black and burgundy. You just can't wear it if it is really raining hard since the fabric is not water repellent.

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  17. I love it all but that gray hoodie with your lovely dress does not seem chic, or like you at all.

    Paris is one of my bucket list destinations, unfortunately I have to get kids through uni first. Have a great trip
    Angela

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  18. Please don't take the hoodie to Paris. Pu-leez!

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  19. Sorry I'm adding to the no-gray-hoodie votes! I remember you want to wear it to a football game but a leather jacket would fulfil much the same function without making you stand out as the type that waiters in Paris love to patronize!

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  20. how DO you do it? I'm still studying, still inspired. I just can't do that much black, but you offer insight with other neutrals. Every time I pack, I pack less.

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  21. I vote to take the hoodie...nothing is as warm and cozy, and being cold is not chic!

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  22. Anon@3:51 is on the money. If you walk in rain (and of course you will walk and walk), the backs of your pants will be full of muddy splatter, so I suggest you take either a techno pant that swishes out and dries overnight, or tights/skirts- b/c you will not feel good out for dinner in splashed pants and you can only spot-clean semi-successfully. The bag with a fleur-de-lis: I benevolently suggest carrying it anywhere else, where it will look chic instead of touristique. For a trip to the most romantic of cities, consider packing a beautiful nightgown or chemise, not that you have to show us that ;)

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    1. Actually, the fleur de lys bag is my cosmetic bsg, not a clutch. You're right that it would be a bit weird to carry that bag in Paris.

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    2. Oh thanks, Janice; I see it now!

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  23. I, too, vote for a trench/raincoat - something you'll have continued use for in Paris, and an easy layer to carry onboard with you. Have a great trip!



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  24. Really, a sweatshirt in Paris? Don't you think that's a bit limiting on a trip?? It's not that they're unknown, they just scream 'tourist', or at least 'weekend'. You could get so much more mileage out of a black or grey simple sweater, and you'd be dressed just like most people there at the rugby game..

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  25. A hoodie in Paris?? Absolutely does not compute! I personally never, ever wear one except for gardening. Why not a sweater with a cute hat for ear coverage?

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    1. Just because you as an individual never wear one doesn't mean one can never be worn, and worn successfully. Paris is like anywhere else in that people wear what they choose and some look good and some don't - it is a myth that ALL French women or ALL Parisians look amazing - they don't. So there's no need to make that an unnecessary stress. If you feel comfortable in your own skin wearing it, go ahead. As for waiters in Paris, they will patronise almost anyone if they are so minded. Crass behaviour (which of course they would not get from Janice) is more likely to provoke negative reactions.

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    2. “Wearing the correct dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners.” Loretta Young

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    3. That doesn't (and shouldn't) mean that there is only ONE way to dress for many occasions. A better (more correct) statement would be that Wearing APPROPRIATE dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners. And a sweatshirt such as this might be appropriate for some occasions and/or on some people and not for/on others.

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  26. ah...and here i am just worrying about 5 days in Austin/San Francisco next week :) but i do as you do and agonize over packing for weeks before a trip.

    i love your method though, and will try to adopt it while packing for my trip.
    oh, and i love the sweatshirt - i think it is very chic, and comfortable, which is what's most important. touristy or not, people are going to think what they're going to think about your sartorial choices no matter what, you might as well wear what you love !!!

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  27. I too agonized about my clothes prior to my first trip to Paris. It seemed so important to fit in. The irony turned out to be that I made no plans to go to Paris, yet had the opportunity come up virtually overnight, and was forced by circumstances to buy a few reasonable choices while staying in Sweden. I went with a black/white with touches of pink, but I had the advantage of knowing what the weather would be. Even so, it rained 5 of the 6 days I was there the first trip. Fortunately, I had. brought clothes with me to Sweden that turned out to be appropriate in Paris. But all the preliminary "worry" was about packing for a fantasy trip, rather than the real trip I actually experienced. One thing that was very clear once I got there, is that black/white is always appropriate, but so is a sartorial sense of humor. Self-confidence doesn't have to be expressed through "fancy" clothes and expensive labels; I found that a touch of whimsy or unusual color combinations, plus iconoclastic placement of jewelry or pins is very much appreciated. Style isn't really about the money invested, but putting interesting combinations together.

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