Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What to Pack for Paris? The Easiest Answer, So Far!

Yes, I got back from Florida late Sunday night. And yes, I'm leaving for Paris on Thursday....

Somehow, that got past me when I was planning these trips individually! But it's going to be fine.

When planning a travel capsule wardrobe for cold weather, it's critical to start with your outerwear. During the day in Paris, virtually EVERYONE is going to see me in my coat, and only the rare person in a restaurant and maybe a museum will see what's underneath. Thus, the coat is pretty important!

For this trip, I felt like I wanted to wear my red Barbour jacket. Partly because I want a break from black, partly because it's a wonderful jacket (with two big snapped pockets that completely obviate the need for a handbag!), and partly because it's such a perfect color for the holidays.

I have a couple of secondary priorities for this trip, too:


  1. I want to take my hiking shoes with me, in case the weather becomes foul. The shoes have stellar traction, and are weather-resistant, which might be important. I figure that if I bother to carry them all the way to Paris, it won't rain, nor snow, the entire time we're there!
  2. So that I can maximize my relaxation on the flight, I want to take my Sennheiser headphones. My big, bulky, awkwardly-shaped Sennheiser headphones that have their own case. This changes a LOT for my carry-on bag.
So this is my plan:
  • three "pods," all based on black trousers - one pair of dressy-ish pants in which I will fly, one pair of corduroy pants, and a pair of black jeans.
  • three different, but primarily black and white, sweaters to go with each of the pairs of pants, and
  • the necessary tee shirts or white shirts to complete the outfits.

The big accent? SIX Hermes scarves!

This should be fun...


black, white and red winter travel outfit
cardigan - unknown (mine is from J.Jill); tote - L.L.Bean;
tee - L.L.Bean; pants - Eddie Bauer; shoes - Munro;
earrings - Majorica; jacket - Barbour (similar here); suitcase - Tumi


I've had my reindeer cardigan for a couple of years, and I really love it (mine zips, and is a little bit... less... "out there" than this one, but this one is perfect for the visuals here.) I really think that having it with me during the holiday season will be fun, at least for me if not for anyone else! With a sweater like this, only a simple tee shirt is needed.

My next "pod" takes shape around a comfy pair of black cords, a cashmere v-neck sweater, and white shirts! Add in some scarves, and I've got 3 outfits...

Please note that this plan absolutely REQUIRES laundry be done. I'm traveling with my friend La Photographe, so we're staying in a different hotel than I'm usually in - the Best Western Jardin de Cluny. Highly recommended - I love their single rooms, I love their breakfast, I love the location, I love the excellent staff...

And just around the corner: 5àSec, the same-day laundry service that makes this travel plan work!

My second "pod" is a simple turtleneck and jeans, with three different (quite old, in 2 cases) scarves that will look perfect with a red jacket.

The only other things I'm taking will be those hiking shoes on which I've set my heart, a change of shoes from the ones I'm wearing on the flight, and another tee shirt!

what to pack for Paris in the cold weather
1st scarf - Hermes Les Fetes de Roi Soleil, 
2nd scarf - Hermes Entente Cordiale, 3rd scarf - Gucci;
 white shirts - Lands' End; cords - L.L.Bean
cashmere sweater - J. Crew; 4th scarf - Hermes Parures des Maharajas,
 5th scarf - Hermes Les Clefs, 
6th scarf - Hermes La Cle des Champs; turtleneck - Lands' End;
 jeans - L.L.Bean; hiking shoes - Keen;  
athletic shoes - New Balance, tee shirt - L.L.Bean

I'm not worried about wearing athletic shoes most of the time; the last time I was in Paris, most of the people that I saw were dressed in just about this way. We don't have anything dressy planned, and it's more important to be comfortable than anything else. Wearing New Balance shoes puts you in the majority in Paris!

Assuming that I have 3 or 4 pieces of laundry done two times, I'll be in great shape - I have all of the following outfit options:


2 outfits including a reindeer cardigan

three outfits including a black v-neck sweater and an Hermes scarf

three outfits including a black turtleneck and an Hermes scarf

Partly as an experiment, and partly just to cut down my luggage as much as possible (so as to accommodate the aforementioned headphones and hiking shoes), I'm minimizing my accessories significantly. Normally, I'd take all of my earrings (it's not that many, really), all of my headbands, and a stack of bracelets. For this trip, this is a pretty clear representation of what I'm taking. There will probably be about 5 pairs of socks, and I suspect I'll wear a red headband...

minimal accessories to pack for Paris

It's almost amusing how much I'm rearranging in order to get these headphones into my bag! But I really am curious to see how much having them with me can change the experience on the plane - I know that last night, my headphones were so inadequate that I had to really turn up the volume of things in order to just drown out the women in the row behind me. (not a pretty story...) This might not be a great experiment, but I'm going to see!


travel extras - Sennheiser headphones and a Cocoon electronics organizer
  
These grid boards with lots of elastic straps are genius - I use mine for my back-up phone battery from Anker, my charging cords, my travel chopsticks (yes...), and anything else that dangles around in my bag. The back has a zipper pocket that would be ideal for documents you need at some point, or even spare currency. They come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose a size that's optimal for you. It's wondrous for tidying up my bag!

So beginning Thursday, and through next week, you'll still have blog posts on The Vivienne Files, but I won't be responding to comments or questions. I'm only taking my phone with me, and it's really appallingly inadequate for communication, beyond Instagram. But DEFINITELY follow me on Instagram (where I'm called the poorly-capitalized and spaced "viviennefiles" without the quotes) to see what I'm seeing.

And of course I'll report back...

love,
Janice
A travel capsule wardrobe for a winter trip to Paris, France
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36 comments:

  1. I see that the scarves you are planning to wear with your white blouses all have white in them- I can see why that makes a lot of sense. A lightbulb moment...... Enjoy Paris.

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    1. It's so easy for me - I've really concentrated on black, white and red for... decades? So I have a lovely abundance of scarves from which I can choose. But I did indeed choose the ones that I did because of that touch of white - I'm so glad you noticed!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  2. Your wardrobe looks great; very versatile and so crisp and festive with those touches of red. I just got back from nearly a week away and I am very excited about how well my travel capsule worked. It was nearly all black, white, and gray, although my scarves picked up a few accents and one of my three pairs of pants was blue jeans. I'll have to say that blue looked so welcome to my eyes in the sea of neutrals in my suitcase! I chose the shoes first (because of bad feet) - black, gray, and white NewBalance - and then the outerwear. - nancyo

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    1. I chose my shoes because I'm having recurring issues with my legs, and I'm NOT going to pull up lame in Paris! It's such a delight that Parisians are now wearing athletic shoes everywhere; once upon a time, I would have been madly self-conscious about wearing New Balance shoes all over town, but now it's normal.
      hugs,
      Janice

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  3. I am curious, you mention getting laundry done but why not do some washing in the sink at the hotel? I always do this usually using the hotel shampoo. I have successfully washed all type of shirts & cotton jeans. Everything drys overnight, so simple. Safe travels, enjoy the trip. Maryann

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    1. Well, I have 3 reasons: (1) sheer laziness, artfully disguised as treating myself on vacation, (2) I want my white shirts nicely pressed, because I know from experience that they won't turn out well unless they're ironed, and (3) fear that things won't be dry in time. (I've worn the occasional damp garment...)
      I will definitely be laundering my "small" garments... ahem....
      hugs,
      Janice

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  4. May I suggest:
    --plenty of socks. You could even stick a pair in your pocket to change if it's very rainy and your feet get wet. Dry socks help so much.
    --waterproof your shoes again before leaving.
    --gloves and a hat. If you coat doesn't have a hood, I'd also take a umbrella.
    --have you ever thought about getting your hair done in Paris? I used to do it all the time--I lived in Brussels and would head to Paris for weekends. I didn't have time to get my hair cut in Brussels, so I'd do it in Paris. And I would just walk into someplace and ask for a cut. Nothing planned. I never got a cut I didn't like. It almost became a challenge, to find a bad haircut. Just prepare your vocabulary (fringe=bangs; balayage=blowdry; degradé=layers; soin=conditioner)
    --you will be nearby so consider popping a nosy head into Hotel des Grandes Ecoles, at 75 rue du Cardinal Lemoine in the 5e. Utterly charming, quiet and reasonably priced. Just to scope out for future reference.

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    1. I will be packing more than 3 pairs of socks - I just shows these 3 as illustrations of the somewhat obnoxiously loud socks that I'll take. EXCEPT - I always fly in Jobst compression socks. Always. I've found that they make so much difference in how my legs tolerate the flight. I have leg issues anyway, and the socks are so important.
      Gloves and hat - absolutely. I don't know why I didn't show them!
      I've had my hair cut in Paris - it was hysterical. The man decided, even though I warned him about it, that he was going to blowdry my hair unto a great, geometric, very angular cut that was smooth and sleek. And it was raining. And I walked out the door. And 5 minutes later (literally) I walked back in with my usual curly chaos. I thought he would cry...
      I will check on the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles - I love living in a hotel, and variety is the spice of life!
      thanks for your very thoughtful suggestions!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. I was in a sock shop in San Diego's Gaslamp district recently (and I can't for the life of me remember the name). They had the most beautiful compression socks. I got a pair black and teal vines and next time I'm back I will get more. Functional and beautiful!

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    3. I second the hotel recommendation. I stayed there on my first trip to Paris this summer, and it was fabulous! It has a Charming Garden Courtyard behind closed doors that is just lovely in the morning

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  5. Love that you built the wardrobe around your Barbour jacket. And six Hermes scarves... simply beautiful. I also really like the addition of the colorful cardigan. Wearing it with the black turtleneck would be another great look. Best wishes for a fabulous trip.

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    1. Oooh, if it gets cold, that turtleneck and cardigan would be WARM together... thanks for suggesting! I seldom get cold, but when I do, it's permanent. (one thing that I didn't show that I plan to pack is a hot water bottle!)
      hugs,
      Jnaice

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  6. This is pretty much what I took for 2 months travel last Spring (I also had a dress and a skirt and some dressy flats and a few more tops, but in the same restricted color palette). It all fit in a carry-on and I always felt appropriately dressed and comfortably shod.

    On the other hand, I was sooooooooo sick of it all at the end. There are pieces I haven't worn since then because I'm so tired of them.

    The big difference with this, though, is the bright red jacket - I took a black quilted jacket. And I'm wondering if that might make all the difference. Interesting to think about.

    Have a great time.

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    1. Oh, I'm sure I'll be way sick of these things in 2 weeks. But I can just stash them for a few weeks, and they'll regain their appeal. But I DO think that the red jacket is going to be key; I didn't want to blend into the crowd the way I normally do, and it just feels festive.
      hugs,
      Janice

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  7. Janice,
    I am loving the simplicity of this, and yes, I carry up to 6 scarves when I travel someplace nice in cooler weather. I am leaving today for a very casual 6 days in another state, and am using 1 pair of dark dress slacks for a dressier dinner out, and for car travel both ways, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 cardigans and 1 sweatshirt, and 4 tops. One pair of dressier shoes, and one pair of sneakers, 6 days of socks and undies, 3 Cashmink scarves ( I do crave variety, and it will be cold ). This is fitting into a carry on with a separate smaller rolled tote for toiletries, iPad, chargers, a book, etc.. This is much less than I would have taken some years ago, thanks to your sage advice ! Have a marvelous time, and tell us all about it when you return ! Happy Holidays !







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    1. I'm taking my tablet, although I don't do a lot of reading when I'm on vacation; I really try to avoid any screen bigger than my phone when I'm not blogging! We're checking luggage, because La Photographe will have gear with her, but I'm still trying to stay small and simple. I'm anticipating a tiny closet of a hotel room...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  8. New Balance is being boycotted due to its strong support for Trump. Please consider other shoe companies and avoid New Balance.

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    1. I did some research, and that support seemed to be more for his position on the TPP than broadly based. They actually supported all 3 major candidates for their opposition to the TPP. Knowing who to buy and who to avoid is becoming a stick wicket of confusion, but I'm glad you brought this up; it's important to know who to buy. I was always pro-New Balance because they're made in the US, and that's so uncommon.
      Hugs,
      Janice

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  9. What a great minimalist travel wardrobe. I could do this same thing with navy/white/teal but don't have the great scarves. Have a lovely trip, Janice. You are quite the traveler! Will keep track of you on Instagram XXX Janice

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    1. You really don't need a monster assortment of scarves - 1 or 2 that you love are more than sufficient. This is just kind of an experiment for me, as well as good excuse for someone sitting at her desk in her running clothes to have SIX SCARVES out of the dresser at the same time. Some days, gym clothes are all I wear... sigh...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  10. Have a wonderful time in Paris! The pops of red are lovely! But you can't just throw something like "travel chopsticks" out there without going into more detail...(said in good humor)
    Sandy

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    1. I was on a hugely long business trip about 15 years ago, and found that sometimes I would get food on the street (like curry wurst in Berlin) and couldn't find, or use, the utensils provided. And in France, picking up food at an Asian take-out and taking it back to the hotel proved to be delightful as an antidote to endless business dinners. Of course, someone will give you disposable chopsticks, but I love having my own. Somewhere between a quirk and a full-blown symptom of nuttiness, but good for the environment!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  11. Bon voyage! Headphones are a necessity for my travels. I splurged on a tiny pair of Bose noise canceling headphones. They are a life saver! They fit in the ear comfortably, and have a small electronic neutralizer that really does block out the background noise. I use them at the gym to block out the obnoxious music and the machine noises, and tune into music I enjoy. I use them at the airport, where the background noise and announcements grate on my nerves. And then I enjoy peace and quiet on the plane. I feel so much better when I arrive. Here is a link - and I noticed they are even on sale! https://www.bose.com/en_us/products/headphones/earphones/quietcomfort-20i-acoustic-noise-cancelling-headphones.html#v=qc20_apple_black

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    1. Thank you for this tip, they look excellent.
      Robyn in Tasmania

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  12. Ah packing for Paris! How wonderful that you are on your way to the city of light..and how exciting to be accessorizing with your 6 Hermes scarves!
    I did my smalls in the hotel sink too and packed several pairs of socks...sending out your laundry is a great idea.
    Enjoy your trip!

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  13. That coat could convert me to red, it's so nice! I do learn a lot from reading about how you plan. Starting with the coat and the shoes is so sensible for a trip away with lots of walking in cool-cold weather. And the scarves add fun to choosing the indoor clothes each day. Clever! I love your socks. Also the little stars dividing the images - there's a sign of happy anticipation.

    I'm totally in the camp that has laundry (other than smalls) done for me while on holidays. It comes back dry and ironed, and the expense isn't usually great. If you stay in bed & breakfasts as we sometimes do, you may have access (for a fee) to a washing machine but rarely a drier. Besides, it's a holiday!

    Robyn in Tasmania

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  14. Have a great trip! The selections look so comfortable and stylish. In the years when I taught in an M.B.A. program in Singapore, I lived in a hotel. One of the great luxuries was to take my laundry across the street to the little shop appropriately named Washy Washy.

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  15. Dear Janice - are Sennheiser headphones good?

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    1. Well, I'm not an electronics person AT ALL, but when my husband bought me a digital piano (yes, he spoils me quite thoroughly!) he chose the headphones for me to wear while playing during the "quiet" hours. (I live in a very large condo building) I can attest that he did quite a bit of research, and these were what he chose.

      I'm interested in trying the smaller, "in-ear" Bose noise canceling headphones, too. The Sennheisers are HUGE to carry in my tote...

      hugs,
      Janice

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  16. Janice, I just got back from Rome last week, after not having been in Europe for several years. I saw the same thing you did - everyone in athletic shoes or low-heeled boots/"shooties"! I was really surprised. I wore a pair of comfort-type 2" wedges (I'm short) and they were fine for all the walking we did, but my feet were still sore enough from the straps and heels that I had to buy bandages and blister gel covers to be able to wear them. I thought these shoes were broken in, but I guess not. I was really wishing for my trainers, didn't have time to buy a pair over there, so just offered it up. I won't hesitate to wear athletic shoes next time! Ironically, I felt more comfortable in the dressier 3" pumps I brought for performances (I was there to sing) than the wedges, and traipsed around on the cobblestones in the pumps a day or two. You are very wise to bring your hikers, just in case!
    I don't comment often, but read your blog voraciously. I packed for this trip using your advice, I felt well-dressed and elegant, and more importantly, I didn't overpack. Two pairs of trousers (navy and grey), several tops and blouses to go with them; wore jeans for the flights. Three scarves (two silk and one silk/cotton), jewelry and watch, and I was good to go. I normally would've also packed a nice blazer, a dress or skirt, but those weren't necessary, as the choir robe (had to allow room in my suitcase for that, bleh) I wear for performances covers everything underneath. I wore a neutral trench coat around town, taupe/grey, but think your red coat is wonderful! You are right, the coat is all many people see us in, and I'll look for a non-neutral, mid-weight coat. Your advice has helped me tremendously; I've gotten my wardrobe well-coordinated; everything goes with everything, just about, and makes packing easy. Thank you soooo much! Enjoy your trip!

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    1. Singing in a choir in ROME sounds wonderful - such a moving and memorable trip! And yes, it's amazing to see trainers everywhere in Europe; many of us can remember a time when such a thing would have been completely unheard of. But it's somewhat the same here in Chicago; 20 years ago you only saw athletic shoes on people who were actively running or working out, and now they're the predominant footwear. While normally I don't like this kind of fashion change, for the sake of my feet, I'm going to have to say that I like it!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  17. Janice, you have just created the PERFECT travel wardrobe for me! My colors! My level of "casual-non-dressy"! Just have to start collecting the scarves and fair-isle sweater-- in each of the fairly neutral outfits the prints add that extra "zip" and interest to the combination -- you shouldn't tire of this wardrobe at all! THANK YOU!

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  18. So let me see if I have this straight. You're going to pretty much wear the same clothes over and over, but with different scarves to make you feel as if it's more variety? If you're traveling, of course, no one will know what you wore recently, so that makes sense. As few garments as possible (no one else will know!) but scarves to make you feel as if the outfits are different (because of course YOU know what you've been wearing). Is that it?

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    1. That's it exactly! I don't get bored wearing the same clothes - especially when I'm traveling, because there's so much else to keep me entertained. (and when I'm home, I'm looking at clothes all day, so I don't really need variety in my own wardrobe). And I don't really care if people notice that I'm wearing the same or similar things; so long as I'm clean and presentable, there's really no obligation to anyone to wear a wide variety of things. It's something that I'm struggling to fully grasp - the whole "different outfits" concept is a fairly recent cultural phenomenon, and not a productive one for my budget, nor for the environment!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  19. Great travel wardrobe! I love "loud" socks too! I really need to get some of those compression socks to try. This is about how much I take for a one week trip. Your posts have changed my whole packing strategy in a good way!! Enjoy your trip. That red coat is brilliant!!

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  20. Can someone please educate me on the wearing of silk scarves in winter (rainy/snowy/wet)? I bought my first Hermes scared this year and I am nervous to wear it out this winter because I love it and don't want to damage it.. Help!

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