Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What I Packed for Ireland, and Why

By the time this is posted, I will in fact be back from Ireland, and in Florida! My head spins at the very thought....

But my packing for Ireland is pretty compact (as usual) and I had a specific approach that might be worth keeping in mind.

First off, my travel outfit, which includes one of my "target garments" to try to wear a lot in January:

A travel capsule wardrobe with what to pack for Dublin, Ireland in winter
earrings - Majorica; sweater - L.L.Bean; turtleneck - Lands' End;
parka - Lands' End; scarf - Nordstrom; corduroy pants - NYDJ;
backpack - Herschel; tote bag - L.L.Bean;
loafers - Stuart Weitzman (similar here)

Please note that I'm also checking a suitcase, because I am of course bringing undergarments and pajamas with me, as well as fleece leggings and a couple of wool base layer shirts. I've got gloves and a couple of Buff fabric gizmos in my parka pockets, too!

Because the whole purpose of this trip is to reacquaint ourselves with Dublin, we're going to be walking a lot, and thus I'm packing hiking shoes AND athletic shoes. They're both very bulky, so scaling down the clothing I'm taking is essential...

Note that I've included 2 cotton turtlenecks and my black dress, that are all on my "things to target in January" list. I made the January list with this in mind! 

A travel capsule wardrobe with what to pack for Dublin, Ireland in winter
turtleneck - Lands' End; scarf - Julie Egli;
dotted turtleneck - Muji;printed turtlenecks - Lands' End;
scarf - Nordstrom; denim shirt - J.Crew;
hooded sweater - L.L.Bean; natural sweater - L.L.Bean;
jeans - L.L.Bean; black jeans - NYDJ; dress - J.Jill;
black shoes - New Balance; hiking shoes - Keen

This doesn't really seem like a lot, but the beige sweater is bulky, and I'm going to have quite a few pair of wool socks, so I'm going to be pretty thoroughly loaded!

A travel capsule wardrobe with what to pack for Dublin, Ireland in winter

So there's a method here! I'm going to have 3 pair of pants with me - two pairs of jeans, and the corduroy pants that I'm wearing on the plane. Each of those pairs of pants will have a sweater that's (more or less) designated to be worn with them. And THEN, I have two options for what to wear under the sweater...

Yes, we're assuming that we're going to need to wear layers every day. We might cram our down vests into our bags on the off chance to see a warm-ish day, but we're resigned to carrying our parkas if it really heats up. (ha - that's NOT going to happen...)

And the only thing that we might do that dressy is go out for a dinner or two. My black velour dress of all tasks will be fine with opaque tights and my flat loafers, as well as any of the 3 scarves. Yes, I'll have to wear my parka with my dress. We're not going to any restaurant SO fancy that this would be an issue!

The logic behind the Dublin travel capsule wardrobe

And most important of all, we're staying in an AirB&B apartment, so we're going to do laundry at least once, probably twice, during our 11 nights there. 

I'm not concerned about having enough clothes, nor about staying warm enough. After being in single-digit Chicago, Ireland will feel positively balmy!

A winter travel capsule wardrobe - What to pack for Ireland in winter
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  1. It looks very versatile. You are smart to do layers like that. And yes for jeans, which tend not to show dirt as much as other fabrics, and yes to laundry, because if you're hiking you still risk getting muddy. Even though European washing machines are small, you still don't want to wash only one thing, and your wardrobe separates well into light load and dark load.
    In Northern Europe, the problem isn't so much the cold--temps often get above freezing during the day at least--but the rain. The damp gives a chill that's different from freezing but sunny cold.
    Bon voyage!

  2. I hope you stayed warm! I've been in the UK in March as well as May, and one thing I couldn't get used to was the constant high winds, everywhere, all the time. It made Chicago winds pale in comparison. I came to the conclusion that the rosy cheeks of the ladies in the UK come from windburn. I'm not sure I would have survived if I had been born in the land of my ancestors. :-D I visited Paris in April several years ago, and was relieved to find it very calm compared to what I'm used to in the Midwest, even though it isn't that far away from the shores of England.

    1. This made me smile! I'm a rosy cheeked English lady and live on the top of a hill by the sea, you are correct, it is very windy, but very mild, keeping the wind out is a year round consideration :)

  3. This is a great wardrobe for exactly what you planned to do - and I love the "planned" part of it - while I am open to adventure when I travel, unlike one friend, I do not pack for every single possibility - I think we all need to be honest about what might pop up and what we are much more likely to be doing.
    I love my LL Bean cotton turtlenecks and would include the black & white that you have but I'd substitute a couple of t-shirts or shirt for the others and while I'd pack one heavier sweater I'd tend to stick to cardigans as my top layer - I have big boobs and tend to feel like a linebacker in bulky knits - but that's just me. I do really love this colour palette - hope we get to hear more about your adventures once you are back home.

  4. I really like the idea of "targeted items" for each month as I too am on a shopping moratorium. It seems that Northern Europe has been warmer than usual. There was one day a couple weeks ago the Lerwick, Shetland Islands was warmer than Crete! The availability of laundry facilities is great thing. My sister and nephew are leaving Saturday for Dublin and Shetland where they will attend Up-helly-aa the Viking fire festival. I'm going to share your post with her. I hope that you're enjoying Florida.

  5. Janice,
    Welcome back ! Looks like you had a great packing plan ! Can't wait to hear your travel tales !

  6. I've found that packing for winter trips is much easier with the planned outfits in mind. Maybe it's the amount of clothing required (as you mentioned -- bigger shoes, socks, gloves, base layers, etc.). Less available space makes the visible layers have to work harder.

  7. We were surprised by temps near 90F in Dublin last summer! Hope you had a wonderful trip. I'm planning a long-weekend trip to Europe (Paris, Geneva, or Copenhagen, still TBD because I'm tagging along with my husband's work trip) in March, so I'm looking at your travel capsules!

  8. I just did a week in the Swiss Alps with only a carry on. No ski gear, but I took a huge long parka and massive boots. The only way it worked was wearing the boots on the flight (graceful!) and putting the parka into a vacuum bag (the travel kind you seal by hand). I used a second bag for puffy sweaters. I'm surprised at how well they survived the "squishing" and puffed back up when unpacked. I wore a wool coat and packed oxfords for times I didn't need to look like a walking sleeping bag.

  9. Well done Ivy, to manage all that in carry-on! The trip sounds fun, having a winter week in Switzerland. I too use the tip of wearing all the heaviest clothes on travel days, to keep space in the case for other stuff. You can still look put-together, and let's face it, hundreds of thousands of people are going through the airports so you don't stand out, and you can de-layer on the plane or train. I admire your ingenuity with the parka.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  10. Hope you had a great time in Dublin, Janice, love that city.
    You are so lucky to get away with two cabin bags. We are restricted to one only so there us no chance of suitcase overspill. Enjoy some wintertime sun on your bones in Florida, just what the doctor always orders!

  11. I enjoyed this post and the reasoning behind it. It made more sense to see each sweater had two tops and a scarf planned as an outfit with the black pants. Since everything went with everything it was helpful for me to see outfits.This whole approach appealed to my organized nature. I tend to let my creative side that loves color plan too many options. This gave me more clarity and helped the simplification process that packing requires. Well done!

  12. What a great packing list. Have a wonderful time!!!

  13. This is amazing! We bought tickets today to visit Germany and Budapest in March for similar activities, and this is going to be my template!

  14. This is a great winter packing capsule! Can't wait to hear about Ireland and Florida!