Wednesday, June 17, 2015

3 x 3 = >20; A Travel Capsule Wardrobe in Black, White and Red

Last week, I was going out of town overnight - literally for about 18 hours, and had to pack, even though I wasn't going to be gone long at all. (this was the situation that got me started on the whole thought process of "3x3")

I was dressed, getting ready to leave; this is a reasonable facsimile of what I was wearing:


White cardigan – Phase Eight, ballet flats – Born, tee – L.L.Bean, 
trousers – Jil Sander Navy, earrings – Majorica, bracelet – theKANG
Hermes Promenade au Faubourg silk scarf

I knew that, since I would be home by 8 a.m. the next morning, all I really needed to pack was a clean top (as well as pajamas, and minimal toiletries), so I envisioned this:


red top – Oasis

I somewhat literally held up the top that I pulled from the closet, to make sure that it would be wearable with my white cardigan and black trousers. And then, because I'm always dreaming of packing, I started thinking of what else I might tuck into my bag, and how it would be worn. Since I'd substituted a top, I thought for a second piece I'd substitute my cardigan for a different one:



Cardigan – Marc by Marc Jacobs

And then it was time to ponder what would go into my (imaginary) bag to take the place of my black trousers. A skirt, for me, is obvious:


Skirt – Hobbs

This is the point in the imaginary packing where one needs to stop and start thinking about another pair of shoes, maybe, and some different accessories DEFINITELY! (even I could get bored with the same scarf day after day...)


And then, to get to the cool "Six Pack" number, and to build a nice, symmetric "3x3", I just ran through the process again. First up, another cardigan.

Cardigan – Oasis

Yes, the cardigan is the same shade of red as my top - that makes wearing them together easier. If you know for an iron-clad fact what your accent color is, it makes sense to try to buy pieces like this at the same time, or at least from the same company. Even if you don't plan to wear them at the same time, having the option is never a bad idea.

Finally, something that's not a solid color! This top could have been any kind of a pattern, design, texture or print that included at least 2 of our 3 colors.

Tank - Uniqlo

And to offer a casual option, and tempt the laundry fates, some white jeans:



jeans - Levi's 501 

It all looks like this, when you plug it into the template:



This "3x3" does NOT equal 45, because you can't wear the white cardigan on its own. But I'm pretty sure that only cuts three possible outfits out of your options, so you've probably got 42 different ways to combine these 9 pieces. But I deliberately pictured 20 in my mind, which is more than adequate for most travel.

Does anybody else in the world think about packing as often as I do?

love,
Janice

Annoushka


 

30 comments:

  1. Hello Janice - yes, I am as obsessed with travel packing as you are - and these latest templates are so incredibly helpful - thank you! I printed one out and filled in my garments for a trip we were planning. Interesting, my packing list fit perfectly into the template - a definite sign I got it right! I think my obsession stems from the (a) the satisfaction of knowing that I have everything I need and nothing that I don't and (b) not wanting to worry about finding something at my destination. For me, I enjoy shopping when I travel but not if I "have" to find something to wear - to me that is just too stressful and takes all the fun out of the exercise. Like you, we travel carry on only - which as you know requires careful planning - but the payoff is absolutely worth it! Your travel posts have been indispensable to me and I frequently recommend your site to my friends who are planning trips!!!

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  2. Yes, I'm in the same camp. That's why I love what you do for us so much. Being a very visual learner, seeing things laid out like you do really helps solidify it all for me when it actually comes to packing a bag. Thank you so much for your posts and all the hard work that goes into them. I appreciate you!

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  3. Ditto for the two above comments ! Are you in the recovery phase ? Hope all is going well !

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  4. These are my colours! The scarf is a perfect touch.

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  5. Janice,
    When you actually wear your various travel outfits, do you have a particular method of rotation of ensembles, or is it as the mood strikes you, knowing that you have all the varieties, as demonstrated above ?

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    1. My question too! Just because we CAN wear a few pieces 45 ways, how often should we do that?
      Puzzled in Houston...

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    2. I'll give some thought to how I rotate my travel clothes and try to figure out how to share it with you. It's not lost on me that none of us are really going to go on a six week trip with just 6 pieces of clothing, but having options when we travel gives us both the ability to adapt to changing circumstances (weather, activities), and keeps us from being "stuck" if something with which we're traveling is lost, damaged, or at the laundry. What I want for us all to avoid is that "I have to carry this skirt to 3 more cities, although I tore the sleeve of the blouse that I wear with it a week ago..." problem. I've done that, and it's not fun!

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    3. Thanks! I agree. Plus we Can wear almost the same thing and make it look pretty different with your plan for accessories, etc. I'm wondering how many times I can wear the same item on a ten-day business trip in August. ;-)

      Thank you again! I've been a little wardrobe-challenged in the past, but seeing your examples over and over has finally helped some principles sink into my head!

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    4. I use a Whatevers Clean and Wardrobe Slot Machine for my everyday stay-at-home clothes. I have dated spreadsheet. I wear four skirts (each for two days) and I have eight or more long sleeved t-shirts (one each day). As it is winter in Australia I have allocated a vest and polar fleece for each top. I then click and drag the combinations down so I have what I could wear for the next three months. I am evenly wearing out my clothes. Special occasions I wear what is appropriate. Traveling would be a different matter as circumstances, like weather, change each day. Thanks for post. Carol S

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  6. These posts are helpful in so many ways. In particular, they help me, as a sewist, to stay focused on planning how the pieces I make are functional in my everyday wardrobe. Sometimes(!) I get carried away by a particular design or fabric and make one of those pieces that don't have any partners. So your blog assists with self discipline.

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  7. Packing is my hobby!!! I LOVE these posts. You've helped me so much, Janice! (I've never commented before because I've never figured out how to do it. Technology is Not my hobby. ;-) My daughter is new to Chicago, so I pass on your winter tips to her!) Thank you so much!

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  8. It is very helpful to me to see the template, with examples. These aren't my colors, but understanding the process makes it possible to apply the idea to any colors. I don't travel as much as I would like, but this concept is helpful even for everyday. Historically I am a terrible packer, and your posts have been a big help to me when the opportunity comes my way. Mary

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  9. Thank you! This is where I am heading and it is so nice to see it in pictures to get a visual. My wardrobe started out as a mishmash of colors and styles. When you published the starting from scratch series I decided to pair down my colors focusing around black and grey. Then you did the all black series and I realized that this is where I really want to be - a core black wardrobe with white and royal blue as accents. So if I were to swap out the red with royal blue in today's post, I would be well in my way to my new wardrobe. Thanks for your expertise, dedication and creativity.

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  10. Yes, I think about packing often! Husband travels often for business, and I often accompany him, so pretty much anything I add to my wardrobe needs to be travel-friendly. Which means, as much as I love white as an option, my tendency to stain pretty much anything light-colored during my visits rules it out. My wardrobe is dark, but coordinated :-).

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  11. Me me me! I love making packing lists. I love going only carry-on - even two weeks in Vietnam/Cambodia - it can be done! Thx!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I don't know what's happening here. It must be the triple-digit heat. Anyway, I tried to say the following: If you can do it for 2 weeks, you can do it for 4+. The magic words are layers, coordination, machine washable and laundromat (or clothes washer if you are renting an apartment). I hate layering, but for carry-on travel, it's a must. You'd be surprised how interesting it can be using a laundromat in Germany or Spain or France, or, or, or.

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  12. Your wizardry continues unabated. These wardrobes continue to help me dream of the perfect wardrobe for the perfect trip. It's so much fun.
    Vancouver Barbara

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  13. I used to be such a bad packer before I found you Janice! :) I love all your ideas! I am so much better at planning and packing now. Thank you so much! I'm still trying to pare down my wardrobe and get a more cohesive style. I so appreciate you!

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  14. Love packing! even if its imaginary, establishing clusters of clothes that work together helps a huge amount with wardrobe management. I'm really into navy with red (or orange red) at the moment, so would love a navy version of this, maybe with a nautical theme….
    Alice

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  15. I absolutely loathe packing. It's enough to make me not want to travel sometimes. I do overpack and can spend days stressing about it. I hope one day to overcome this with the help,of your wonderful blog.

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  16. For a bit of variety, could you please do a menswear post using the 4x4 or clean 13 templates?

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  17. I'd even be happy with a 3x3 menswear post. I'm kinda out of ideas for my husbands wardrobe.

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  18. Love all your packing posts, Janice! However, I really struggle with toppers. I am waaaaaay overheated these days, even in chilling a/c. I would really love to see some packing and/or wardrobe planning posts in which toppers play a very minimal role. Thanks!

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    1. Carter, I've been thinking the same thing too. I haven't quite hit the hot flash stage but I do tend to overheat easily. Here in Atlanta it's been high 90's and incredibly humid all week. I'd love to see some looks put together without a topper.

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    2. I'm in Atlanta too, Amy! Way too hot for cardis or blazers.

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    3. I never had hot flashes, but I never could wear blazers for work -- too restrictive. Cardigans were almost as bad -- too many layers. I do take one, and only one, cardigan on my trips, along with a hooded rain jacket. Three toppers are two too many for me. I'd also like to see some options with no toppers.

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  19. I'm so glad I'm not the only one always thinking about packing! After studying all the posts here I've realized just how haphazard my wardrobe is. I'm hard pressed to even find a workable 3x3 in my closet! I'm traveling the next 2 weekends and will be using this concept. When I get home I think it's time to take another long look at my closet with the Starting from Scratch ideas and finding where I have gaps to be filled. I'm positive I have plenty of patterned shirts and sweaters :-)

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  20. Hello Janice, I dont normally comment, I wondered if I could ask you a question? Looking through your archives, I noticed you took some slouch pants to Paris, they looked wonderful and comfy, but how were they received? I am not sure (having recently bought some!) whether they are leisure wear, which I have heard is frowned upon?? Absolutely love this 3 x 3, there is not enough red clothing in my opinion, its very smart and classy whatever the garment, and the scarf is perfect to pull it all together! :) Sarah,

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  21. Packing only crosses my mind when I have a trip planned...but wardrobes like these that are minimal are still relevant when planning new purchases or starting over...nice Hermes scarf choice!

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