Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Perfect Clothing / Slot Machine / Backpack

I've been in the live-in caretaker role for quite a while now - since we got back from Paris, I've only been home a handful of days...  In order to uncomplicate my life, I just put some clothes into a backpack and hopped on the train, hoping for the best.

Turns out that my instincts were great - I was wearing three garments, I packed six, and there was literally NO combination that wasn't wearable.  I felt like my clothes were a perfectly weighed slot machine upon which I couldn't lose...

These were the clothes that I had with me: (okay, these aren't exactly the same garments.  My cardigans are from Lands' End, and are years old.  My denim shirt is from J. Jill and is no longer available. Everything else is Eileen Fisher...)

argyle cardigan – Apt. 9chambray shirt – Nili Lotanblack jeans- Eileen Fisher
  black cardigan – Jaegertee shirt – Mint Velvet, black pants – Eileen Fisher 
sweater- Marc by Marc Jacobsturtleneck- Majestic Filatures, skirted leggings- Eileen Fisher

I'm not kidding anybody here - this is a pretty monochromatic wardrobe, and nobody who saw me frequently was fooled into believe that I had traveled with steamer trunks full of clothes.  Of course, that wasn't really the point.

Having this kind of versatility accomplished a lot for me:
  1. Whatever was clean could be worn
  2. I didn't have to think about it
  3. If a garment become unwearable for some reason (torn, stained, etc.) it didn't really matter, because everything else I owned could still be worn in the absence of any 1 piece.
It didn't hurt that I had 3 scarves with me, and a whole mountain of jewelry... the accessories were absolutely critical to changing up my appearance and giving my poor patient a little bit of variety.

These were the options that I had:

I could have gone further with this concept - a grey cardigan, grey tee shirt, grey pants, a white shirt, blue denim jeans...

This isn't a travel solution for most people, but in a pinch, it's nice to know that you can grab the right handful of clothes and be set for a few days.



  1. You are pure genius, Janice. And I happen to think most people's travel,would be a whole lot less complicated if they would take your packing strategies to heart. Hope you have a restful weekend. :)

  2. Agree with Cornelia and Sara. You are pure genius and this simple collection is brilliant.

    Also, you say that "this is a pretty monochromatic wardrobe." Quite true, of course, but that's probably the main reason that it works so well. And, for what it's worth, I've read that Angelina Jolie always wears black when she travels. (Probably when she's not traveling as well.)


  3. I kind of disagree with your assessment on travel--one goal for me en route is to look good but quite unobtrusive. Actually, that's my goal most of the time! Is that wrong??

  4. A long-ago co-worker held a position where she could be sent to a client's site on less than a day's notice, for an undetermined amount of time. ALL of her clothes followed this principle (professional attire of navy suits and coordinating separates). She always had a carry on bag packed with toiletries and personal items at the ready. When the call came, she just grabbed whatever was clean and could be at the airport in minutes. She looked professional, stylish, and calm (due to the lack of panic packing).

    Wishing your patient improved health and circumstances. Bless you for stepping into the care-giving role. It is not an easy job.

  5. The clothes look calm, that's important- caregiving is hard work, and emotionally draining. Hoping for good results so you can return home. How we look when caring for a loved one is pretty far down the list of requisites yet you have done so well here!

  6. I love this idea! What would you put together for a warm weather slot machine?

  7. I'm a daily reader who looks forward to your work every day. When I realized that you were continuing to post even as you care for someone who is very sick, it's even more impressive. I second the Duchess: here's hoping for improvement for you and your loved one.

  8. I love these posts- so helpful for someone who just does not have the patience to stand in front of the closet and wonder what to wear. And it makes me realize that I really do need a few basic, key pieces. My problem is the opposite of most- I convince myself I have enough when I don't.

  9. Janet, I am making another assumption and might get this wrong ..... but I hope the one you are caring for (shingles?) is improving. Just another thought .... but at some point, arranging for some professional care or perhaps another close friend or relative to come in for a day or two may be necessary for you to get some real rest. Caring for someone who is in pain is not for the faint of heart. I have the greatest admiration for you; bless you. Susan in WA

  10. What a simple way to dress in a time of extra stress! I hope that your family member is recovering well and that you will soon be able to return to your home. I am finding grey and navy to be my staples during this trip. With your scarves and jewellery, I'm sure that you always look attractive and calm for your patient.

  11. Perfect for the situation. This capsule wardrobe is to clothing like mac and cheese is to food - comfort clothing!

  12. Janice, there will be stars in your crown. Not only are you unstinting caretaker for loved ones in need, you give unceasing aid and counsel to everyone out here in cyberspace who needs to put garments on every day. Thank you for your generosity!

  13. Sending get well wishes and good thoughts. Your travel capsule looks put together yet comfy and I am all about comfy.

  14. Don't forget to take care of yourself!