Saturday, May 16, 2015

Building a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Bracelets: Effortless Memorial Day Travel

Chicago, and the Chicago area, has some of the greatest companies making beautiful clothes and accessories. Last Saturday, at that absolutely wonderful Fashion Expo in Millennium Park (aka my front yard!), I also had the pleasure of stumbling across She-Beads.

Don't be fooled by cheap imitations! (I love that sentence...) These designs and patterns are FORMED IN THE CLAY, and will not rub off, scratch off, or otherwise be diminished in the way that painted or decaled jeweled can be. Their site has a video of them making beads - it's amazing that these crafts can exist and we don't know anything about them. There are creative and skilled people everywhere...

I was thinking about what sorts of things one might toss into a bag for Memorial Day weekend. (the last full May weekend, in the United States). It might be warm enough for sandals and bare legs, but I don't think I'm going to be anywhere that requires a swimsuit. Much more necessary will be a sweater or two...

This is my color scheme; you could also take a lot of latitude with shades of blue in your own "pack".

Emmy Small Bead Bracelet – She-Beads

I'm thinking that your voyage is either a drive, a train ride, or a very short flight. Otherwise, white jeans might be risky!

floral top – Max Mara, boyfriend jeans – Uniqlo, bracelets – She-Beads, 
watch – Skagen, nail enamel – Butter London (color is named Fiver), 
denim espadrilles – Jimmy Choocardigan – Sandwichtote bag – COET

Further, I'm assuming that you're not going to take off your bracelets for pretty much the whole weekend, and that you're not going to mess with any additional jewelry. At this point, you could get dressed blindfolded and be okay...

Palazzo pants – Max Mara, green tank – Dorothy Perkins, lace skirt – Vero Moda
sweater – Uniqlo, denim skirt – Oasis, white silk top – Alexander Wang, 
green sandals – Lucky Brand, silver sequined sandals – Vionic

Generally when I do an image that shows all of the garments that you have with you, I try to avoid putting things together in obvious outfits. But with these 9 pieces, there wasn't really any good way to avoid having the clothes fall together into natural and attractive grouping. So I just left them this way!

If it turns cold, you're covered (literally). If you go somewhere dressy, you're good. If you just lay around in a hammock and read for 3 days, you can certain do that!

My only Memorial Day plans are to attend a positively legendary family picnic held by some new friends of ours. What are you doing? (even if it's not a holiday weekend where you are)


Looking Back:

2012: Start with Art: Monet Water Lilies

Monsoon US 


  1. Hi Janice - I'm hoping you'll be interested in another travel packing challenge. I'll be headed to the tropics for work (business casual) for 2 weeks in July, then down under to Australia (middle of winter) for 2 weeks vacation. Id like to do it all in a carry on, and I seem to have a lot of black clothes (is it just me or is black easier to find, even though I prefer navy?). I should add the tropical countries I'm visiting are also very conservative so tank tops and shorts are out. I could really use your advice! Thanks!

    1. No, it's definitely not just you! In my experience, black generally is much easier to find than navy is. And to make things harder, items labeled "navy" are actually a variety of different colors. That means, of course, that a cardigan described as navy won't necessarily go with a pair of pants also described as navy. What's labeled "black," on the other hand, seems to vary only slightly from garment to garment.

    2. If you are heading to Victoria, ACT or Tasmania just remember that it will be pretty cold and could be rather drizzly. A winter staple in Melbourne is to wear warm tights under dresses with long boots for added warmth. I suggest that you bring a sleeveless classic dress in black that you can wear in the tropics at your business functions with a bright, fun necklace, then warm it up in Oz with thick tights, boots, a turtleneck jumper (sweater) and a lovely scarf to add warmth and colour. You may also need a warm outer coat and umbrella.

    3. excellent advice, thanks!

  2. Perfect! My colors for the summer. Love the beaded bracelets.

  3. You hit it out of the park again. Each item is lovely in itself and each item complements the other. The blue skirt is particularly nice.

    Deb from Vancouver

  4. Hi Janice- will spend the Victoria Day weekend (Canadian) at our lovely island place. Could you do the same travel combo with a different set of bracelets (no green for me).
    Thank you and enjoy the long weekend.

  5. Janice, the bracelets are beautiful. I see a road trip in my future! Mollie

  6. I'm going to a 4 day summer work organization convention and this is a great travel wardrobe. Lots of ideas! I won't need any sweaters but could adapt this very easily!! Love the bracelets!

  7. These charming bracelets are a sensational start around which to build a simple travel pack - and easily adapted, too. I can envision using these ideas in many guises over the next few months.

    This weekend, I'll be museum hopping Chicago with my daughters, sisters, and nieces -- and feel well prepared, thanks to your wonderful posts on planning quicktrip travel, Janice. We'll wave as we go by. : ) - Sue G