Thursday, March 31, 2016

Remember, my bag is a hard-sided Tumi carry-on, very much like the great-grandmother of this beauty:


How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag
bag - Tumi

My bag is pretty "whacked" on the exterior, but remains in very secure, solid condition! One of my better investments, I have to say...

One of the things about rolling bags that makes packing difficult is that the interior bottom of the bag is bumpy - the bars for the handle run through the bag and make the "floor" of your packing area bumpy. So the first thing I always try to do is use unwrinkleable things, like workout clothes, to level the floor. Here, I've taken running tights, rolled them into long cylinders (fold in half at the knee, and then roll a few times), and then placed a pair of these into each of the "ruts" in my bag. I then put my tee shirts and skorts on top of the tights, in order to further flatten out the bumpy surface. (running tights are NOT like regular tights - they're more like yoga pants, i.e. completely INAPPROPRIATE for wearing anywhere EXCEPT while exercising).

So far, it looks like this:

How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag

Hmm, running tights to smooth out bumpy bottoms.... makes sense!

Next, I take all of my scarves, and my lone tee shirt, and put them into a packing cube which unzips on 3 sides. I really want a cube that opens up this way, so that I carefully place things into it and try to minimize wrinkling:


How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag

All zipped up, you can still see what's in here. I put the tee shirt on top for a bit of protection if something bizarre happens in my bag. I'd be hacked off if the tee shirt gets damaged, but I'd be MORE upset to have something happen to my scarves!

This style of packing cubes might not even be available any more; I've had them at least 15 years. They're one of those things that you think is a silly purchase, at the time, and then 15 years later you realize that you were a genius the day you bought them.

How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag
packing cube - Eagle Creek

One thing I don't use for vacations is compression bags - yes, you can get a TON of things into a suitcase if you squish them down really tightly and suck out all of the air. But there are 2 issues:

  1. Your bag weighs a TON, because it's so densely packed, and
  2. all of your things are wrinkled to the point of almost permanent unwearability.
I use them for dirty laundry, for the return flight, for which the whole airtight thing is wonderful; it's great to be able to squish down all of your dirty stuff and find a bit of space in your bag for purchases. We also use them when we're relocating and checking enormous duffle bags. So yes, I own them, and will lay one of top of this bag before I zip it up, but no, I never use them for leisure travel normal packing. 

Next, I use a cube from Standard Luggage for lingerie, tights of the hosiery family, and my flowered pajamas! These cubes only open on one side, which makes them unacceptable for me to use for clothes that I want to keep tidy. But this lovely thing has a Velcro tab on the back that makes it "hangable" over the bar of a hanger! So I can get it out of my suitcase, (along with everything else) and put said suitcase up on top of an armoire, or hide it somewhere else. Unpacking completely, and thus NOT tripping over my bag during my entire vacation makes a tiny hotel room feel much bigger.

One thing that you can't see in the Standard cube is my silk pillow case. I know, I know, that sounds so "Princess and the Pea," but my hair tangles like head-borne macrame, and using a silk pillow case can easily save me 5 minutes a day untangling the Gordian knot with which I often wake up. Plus it's supposed to be good for minimizing my wrinkles!  If you're going to go down this path, make sure you buy your pillowcase in a color that won't probably blend into the hotel's decor; mine is graphite gray! (Mine is from Soft Surroundings; available in a lovely array of 10 colors)

These cubes from Standard can also be fastened together using the Velcro tabs. So if B packs his "smalls" in one of these, we can hang them both from 1 hanger...


How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag
cube - Standard Luggage

Shoes, the bane of all travelers! I take 2 very soft, low-cut but comfortable pair of flats. I pack them in a big drawstring bag that came with a pair of shoes (about 10 years ago); I lay each pair of shoes with the toe of each shoe tucked into the other shoe's heel, and then I stack them, stuff them, and roll them tight. 2 pairs of shoes become a fairly compact fabric and leather burrito!

How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag

I travel with a TON of jewelry; I take literally every pair of earrings (because I only wear small studs), as well as a couple of bracelets, 3 or 4 necklaces, a few rings, and a handful of headbands. Everything fits into a zippered fabric bag that I bought from a seller on Etsy, 5 or 6 years ago. The bag is attractive enough that I could use it as a clutch bag, and padded enough that my things are a bit protected. Still, I make sure that I squeeze this bag into a spot where it won't take much of a beating...

Etsy has a ton of things like this bag available, but make ABSOLUTELY sure that you're buying from a real, individual craftsperson, and not a sweatshop in another country posing as a lone skilled seamstress. I so wish that Etsy hadn't loosened-up their seller guidelines...



How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag
bag - Etsy

Now, to the packing....

First, I draped each dress lengthwise across my bag - each dress is just about as wide as my bag! I suppose I could have alternated the necklines and hemlines, but I didn't....

Then, right on top of the dresses, I put my shoes (my running shoes are underneath, in one of the gulleys formed by the bars that hold the handles), and both of my cubes right on top of my dresses, like this:


How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag

The I fold (very carefully and neatly) the necklines of my dresses over the bags, and then I fold them hemlines up, too. I can then secure this whole bundle with the straps in the bag, and voila:

How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag
You can see the fabric from all 3 dresses, if you look carefully

There's still room on top of THIS for my toiletries, and the bag still closes easily. My toiletries have never leaked in my life, so far, but  I will probably put that bag into another Ziploc bag, in a moment of wisdom and good judgment!

Everything else will be in my Agnes B. handbag. I'm still debating about taking my tablet - I don't really read all that much on the flight over, and it's kind of fragile, even in a case.  I will buy books in Paris, so I'll have something to read on the return flight. My handbag ALWAYS has a wee plastic container with some candied ginger in it - I am the goddess of motion sickness, and I swear by the efficacy of ginger.

I'm home all day today - any questions?

yes, I'm getting very excited...

love,
Janice
How to Pack for Paris, France in only a carry on bag

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Belovedest and I are going BACK to Paris on Friday! Yes, I was just there in December...

And I'm going to try the strangest variation on packing yet - since we're only there for 6 nights, and since I always fly back from Paris in the same outfit I wear for the flight over (with a change of tee shirt), I'm just packing three dresses, which will cover the 5 full days that we're there. Two pair of ballet flats, and a stack of scarves.... This is going to be interesting!

I'm sticking pretty close to my uniform for packing - tee shirt (with my one-of-a-kind star design!), cardigan, scarf, and pants that won't collapse after 8 hours of sitting. This cardigan is going to be really handy on this trip, as I can wear it over all 3 dresses, depending on the weather. If it's really cold, I can wear both the cardigan and my jacket. My legs don't generally get cold unless the temperature drops well below freezing, so I'm not worried about wearing dresses with tights...

My jacket is a MUCH older version of this, and my suitcase is maybe the grandmother of this one - my bag looks like it's been through a trash compactor a couple of times. I prefer to think of that as luggage patina... but it's a tribute to how well made the bag is - it just won't fall apart, no matter how bad it looks!

 
How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses
cardigan - L.L.Bean; scarf - Nordstrom; (plain white) tee shirt - L.L.Bean;
pants - Eddie Bauer, jacket - Burberry; bag - Agnes B.; shoes - Munro,
star earrings - Rika (similar here); suitcase - Tumi

This is all of the "normal" clothing that I'm packing - a clean tee shirt for the trip home, and three black and white dresses! It's hard to tell from this, but the dresses are really pretty dissimilar, one from the other. This is an experiment, I admit...

(none of the dresses are still available - sorry!)

How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses
(plain white) tee shirt - L.L.Bean; ballet flats - Munro;
first dress - COS; second dress - COS; strapped flats - Trotters;
third dress - J. Jill

Here's where the real fun of this trip is going to be - mixing printed and textured dresses with accessories!

(It's really by accident that all of my jewelry is from Majorica - as much as I love their high-quality fake pearls, I didn't really plan to do this...)


How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses
pearl necklace - Majorica; pearl and chain necklace - Majorica; 
blue scarf – Nordstrom; pearl stud earrings - Majorica, pearl bracelet
 - Majorica; rectangle scarf – Image Diary; square scarf –
 Hermès Collections Imperiales; sequined scarf – Echo
stars scarf - Becksondergard

This is a big reason that I'm packing so little - we're planning to go to the Luxembourg Gardens every morning to run. (well, B will run, and I will do my rehab exercises...) We plan to rinse out our clothes and wear them on alternate days. Happily, workout clothing dries really quickly, so this should work out well. But still, by the time you've got shoes, and gloves, and a jacket, it still adds up.

How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses
Grey top – L.L.Bean; print skort – L.L.Bean; Superman tee –  
Under Armour; black skortL.L.Bean; jacket – L.L.Bean; gloves – Asics;  
shoes – Nike; socks - Smartwool

The L.L.Bean workout gear is really great - especially the skorts. I've had running skorts in the past that were so short that they were more of a "butt ruffle" than a real garment; these are long enough that the legs of the shorts stay in place, and the skirt covers everything you want covered - even when you're moving. It's nice to be able to not worry about inappropriate exposure when you're exercising!

And this is everything that will be in my suitcase (well, I'm taking pajamas, and toiletries, too):

How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses

If all goes according to plan, my suitcase will have a bit of wiggle room, so that I can make a couple of purchases that have been requested by friends. I don't have anything on my shopping like right now, which doesn't mean for a heartbeat that I won't buy something!


And this is the entirety of my stuff that I'll have with me; I particular like the two tee shirts that I customized, using my iron-on skills!

How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses

Is this plan madness? We shall see....

Tomorrow I'm going to show you how it all goes into the bag, and what odd little packing accessories, packets, sleeves, and assorted gizmos I use... (I know that I said day after tomorrow, but that's April first, which means "One outfit per month!")

love,
Janice
How to Pack a Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Paris, France with 3 dresses

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This is the 1,500th post on The Vivienne Files! If you're looking here for a specific color scheme, or general ideal, I encourage you to go to Google and enter "The Vivienne Files" and then whatever things you'd like to find. The chances grow greater every day that you might find something helpful to you in my archives! And if you don't find it, let me know and I'll build it, some day. I've got no intentions of stopping now...

And thank you, very humbly, and very sincerely, for your continued support of my efforts. You each mean so much to me!

love,
Janice

On with the show!!!

What a simple, but lovely painting:


How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey
Wrapped Orange by William J. McCloskey

It's the kind of painting that you might walk right past during a museum visit, but which merits some attention; a painting like this can serve as a sincere inspiration for a wardrobe, for a LONG time...


How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey

How Does She Do It?


No matter what kind of nuttiness the client requests, she will always be invited to the briefing. Afterwards, she takes her notes, and NOTHING but a legal pad and a pen, into an empty conference room...

No Ipad? No tablet? No cell phone? How CAN she work????

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey
Striped tee – Comme des Garçons; earrings – Gorjana; watch –  
Skagen; sneakers Paul Green; pants – L.L.Bean; leather coat – Loro Piana;
 scarf – Oasis; backpack – Penguin

30 minutes later, she comes out with a list of ideas...

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey
Sweater – Marella Cicaldi; white shirt – Uniqlo; striped tee – Velvet
square scarf – Hermes Tyger Tyger; Bisou bracelet – Shourouk; denim skirt – 8.
belt – Fossil; clutch bag – Elliott Lucca; ballet flats – Frye; white linen 
pants – Mango; citrine earrings – The RealReal; sandals – Sam Edelman
sequined cardigan – Twin-Set

So she always gets to go back to the client for the really fun visit where all of the ideas are discussed, and long-term strategy is established.

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey

She's often the oldest person in the room; she's certainly the oldest person from the firm to make the trip!

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey

Why haven't they figured it out - imagination knows no age limits, and is often just the product of sheer hard work? It can't be found on the Internet....

love,
Janice
How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Wrapped Oranges by William J. McCloskey

Monday, March 28, 2016

You have sent me SO MANY beautiful art ideas - I'm going to dedicate a few days to addressing some of them. Fear not, the "1 at a Time" wardrobes will be back....


How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe
Autumn Trees - The Maple by Georgia O'Keeffe

A travel wardrobe not for the faint of heart - but what beautiful, subtle colors:


How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe


She Has 24 Hours


Well, she could take longer, but her plan is to spend her entire 1st day in town walking around, looking, listening, feeling her responses. By the time she goes to bed the first night, she's going to decide - yes or no - if she's moving there.


How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe
tee – Uniqlo; scarf – Arte Cashmere; garnet earrings –  
Alok Jain; pants – Dosa; jacket – Vero Moda; watch – Fossil
espadrilles – Steven by Steve Madden; tote - Advantage

If she decides that she won't move there, she has the rest of the long weekend to enjoy her time off. But if she decides yes, she has the rest of the long weekend to find an apartment!


How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe
Necklace – Chan Luu; dress – Dosa;  red tee – Vince; scarf – Kaskol;  
pants – The Row; clutch – Hobo; sweater – Eleventy;  bracelet –  
Komang Suastra; earrings – Josie Natori; floral top – Madewell
cardigan – H&M; sandals - Vionic

Happily, she's whittled her possessions down to the absolute necessary minimum, and she can move with everything in the back seat and the trunk of her compact car.


How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe

So she's going to do a lot of walking...


How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe

And some dining out...


How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe

And if things work out, she'll be signing some paperwork too!


How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe

After all, it's just a rental - she can move again in a year. And she JUST MIGHT...

love,
Janice
How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Autumn Trees - The Maples by Georgia O'Keeffe

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Remember our friend in the cabin? She's made a bold decision...



how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3

WWSM


(Widowed Woman Seeking Man) for sporting events, opera, symphony, dining, and whatever else we want to do... (she thought about specifying an age range for respondents, but she really doesn't care if her new friend is just out of college...)


how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3
Lace cardigan – PF Paola Frani; sandals – Badgley Mischka
 dress – Theory; earrings – Kate Spade
blue cardigan – L.L.Bean; nail polish – Formula X Dollface

Must be a man who appreciates simple pleasures, and is unimpressed by logos, bling, and obvious displays of wealth or debt. (if they're hanging around with her thinking that they'll get written into her will, they've got another thing coming!)

how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3

I will buy tickets if you do the driving! (maybe this will give them a hint that she remembers when Nixon resigned...)

how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3
Eyelet top – IDLF Uniqlo; sandals – Vionic
pendant – Kendra Scott; denim skirt – Boden
earrings – Nadri; striped top - Boden

If you want a new friend with a wide range of interests, get in touch! (maybe emphasizing the "friend" aspect is a good idea?)

how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3


how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3
Denim jacket – Ganni; leaf earrings – Mistraya
dress – Diane von Furstenberg; leaf pendant – Tiffany & Co.
cardigan – Twin-Set; sandals – Nina


how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3

She can't wait to see who responds!


how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3

Has anyone ever dated someone they met online? And are willing to tell us how it was?

love,
Janice
how to Build a Capsule Wardrobe by Starting with Art: Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe Part 3