Friday, October 06, 2017

Reviewing what I Packed for Paris, September/October 2017

Well, this is interesting... At the relatively last minute, Belovedest persuaded me to take my larger suitcase (I'm still not quite sure why...) so I ended up packing a few more things than I had intentionally intended. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't really amazing, either...

Realistically, I could have rated every garment that I packed with a green star as a "keeper;" all of my clothes go together pretty well under almost any circumstances, and I wore every stitch of what I packed. But in order to force myself to actually rate things, I thought that choosing a third of the pieces as "green," a third as "yellow," and the remainders as the "red star" losers might be more illuminating.

evaluating a black and white travel outfit for cool weather
scarf - J.Jill (similar here); earrings - Majorica; cardigan - Lands' End; tee shirt - Muji (when I have to replace it, this is what I'll get); backpack - Hershel; watch - Timex; silver bag - Bao Bao Issey Miyake; jeans - Dearborn Denim; shoes - New Balance (similar here); suitcase - Calpak

First up, I have to say that if I had to spend a week in Paris with only the clothes on my back, I'd wear jeans and sneakers! This is such a change from even 20 years ago, when most adult women wouldn't be caught dead on the streets dressed this way; now, you fit right in...

My black cardigan was... fine. I only wore it a couple of times, so it really didn't pull its weight. And the striped tee shirt was never worn after the trip over, even though I had laundry facilities in our apartment. (Airbnb - wonderful... more about it in a following post...)

evaluating a dressy packing cluster for a trip to Paris
Paris scarf – Echo; pearl bracelet - Majorica; black & cream scarf - Hermès; brooch – Kenneth Jay Lane (similar here); cardigan - Talbots; tee shirt – Lands’ End; lace top - Talbots; bracelet – Kenneth Jay Lane; necklace – Majorica; pants – Eddie Bauer; necklace – MOMA; ballet flats – Thierry Rabotin (I will replace these with this pair); loafers – Stuart Weitzman (similar here)

This second cluster of clothing was interesting to evaluate; at the very last minute I substituted a black tee shirt for the cream one that I'd originally intended to pack. I ended up wearing the black one exactly ONCE - under my rugby jersey, to go to the match. I don't really regret having it with me - I don't regret having any of these things with me - but wearing anything once isn't a madly good use of space...

The 2 pieces from Talbots - the trimmed cardigan, and the gorgeous lace top - were complete winners. I wore the cardigan a few times, and the lace top was worn out to dinner a couple of times. Belovedest thought that both of them were lovely, and people actually asked me where I got them! That doesn't happen every day...

My black pants were, as always, useful and comfortable; I wore them on the trip home, which was a 24-hour adventure. But in the interest of separating all of my garments into thirds, these pants can't be said to be one of the best pieces that I packed. (I'd still never leave them behind...)

evaluating a cluster of shirts and sweaters after a trip to Paris
knot earrings – Pichaya; square earrings – Alexis Bittar (similar here); star earrings – similar here; dotted shirt – Lands’ End (similar here); gingham shirt – Lands’ End (similar here); chambray shirt - J. Crew; black sweater - L.L.Bean; tweed sweater – J. Jill (similar here)

Here's where I started chucking extra clothes into the bag - I swapped out my striped sweater that I was going to take for a solid black one, and I added my chambray shirt that always feels essential to me....

How foolish - each of these was worn exactly once. Sigh...

My 2 print shirts from Lands' End were their usual workhorse wonders - I'm going to be legitimately sad when they wear out. But the real winner here is my marled crewneck sweater. I don't know what it is about this thing, but it has real whappage, and goes on any cool or cold weather trip that I take. I can't imagine packing without it!

evaluating a cluster of dresses and skirts after a trip to Paris
3/4 sleeve dress - Eileen Fisher; velvet tunic - Eileen Fisher; sleeveless dress - J.Jill; plaid skirt - J.Jill (similar here); tweed dress - COS (similar here)

And then I went REALLY off the rails - to mixed results. The 3/4 sleeve Eileen Fisher dress that's a weekly-worn favorite right now at home turned out to pack really badly; I was a little bit nervous (aka terrified) around the iron in the apartment, so I didn't really press this dress all that well. Upshot - I wore it once, and could easily have done without it.

On the other hand, my new velvet tunic from Eileen Fisher (courtesy of a gift certificate for my birthday that I'd been sitting on for months...) was a completely winner. It's soft, flattering, comfy, and long enough for me to wear as a dress!

My sleeveless dress is fast becoming essential - it can be worn alone, or layered over a shirt or tee shirt. If I had taken fewer pieces with me, I would have done this, and been perfectly happy.

Don't quite know what possessed me to toss my plaid skirt into the mix. I love it, normally, but it was another one of those things that I only wore one time. To me, that's not really sufficient...

On the other hand, I also had the insane good sense to pack my endlessly gorgeous tweed dress that I've had for 4 years, and still adore as much as I did the day I bought it. Machine washable, hang to dry, wear the next day. I could have worn this every 3rd or 4th day, and been happy as a clam every time.

evaluating a black and white capsule travel wardrobe after a trip to Paris

So what's the bottom line of this chaos?

If I were doing this over again, I'd only pack 2/3 of what I had with me, and I'd take only the green and yellow starred pieces. Maybe the black tee shirt, because having it to layer under my rugby shirt was pretty handy when the temperature dropped after dark, and when we went into a bistro for dinner after the match and I was able to wear just the black tee shirt and not look too much like a silly sports fan. But otherwise, I've got to resist the temptation to take a larger suitcase just because I can...

Overall, everything was great. I unpacked every stitch of everything and put it in one of the closets, and then stashed my suitcase out of sight for the duration of the vacation. That in itself was a great delight; it felt like living (however briefly) in Paris! But the hauling of a lovely huge suitcase (okay 24 inches - not a steamer trunk!) up the narrow, sloping, very worn spiral stairs to our apartment was something I wouldn't ask Belovedest to do again, even though it was his idea...

I've learned that I need to take my own advice and be a bit more strict with myself!

No, I didn't wear all of the jewelry and scarves that I took, but I was always happy to have those options available. Jewelry and scarves make it fee like you've got choices, and they aren't nearly as cumbersome to haul around as a bunch of clothes...

One thing I have decided - I'm sticking with strictly black and white for a while! The ease, the clarity, the ability to mix patterns - it's me! My new art inspiration:

Trente by Vassily Kandinsky
Trente (Thirty) by Vassily Kandinsky

I have much more to share from Paris, including what the current most popular trends seem to be....

love,
Janice

Reviewing what I Packed for Paris, September/October 2017
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34 comments:

  1. I found this really interesting to read. After a trip, I always analyze what I took, but never as coherently as this. I like the idea of dividing it into thirds - that's very useful.

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  2. Janice,
    In the first Cluster you mentioned a skirt by J. Jill in the links, to but I don't see it on your demonstration -- did you take one other than the plaid one in Cluster 3 ?

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    1. Oh HECK - that was the caption from the original post (I cheated and copied it!). That was going to be my solid black skirt, which I didn't take with me. You've got good eyes - I should hire you to edit!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  3. It's interesting that two favorite pieces are the marled sweater and tweed dress, which both give a softer effect than the plain black T and sweater. And the two embellished black tops offer visual interest. Maybe the plain black T and seater are just too plain!

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    1. That's interesting! I usually really love wearing plain black... Must give this some serious thought... thanks!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. I thought the same thing ! The two favorite pieces -- tweed and marled, come across as gray on my monitor.

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    3. The 'greys' were my picks too...along with the chambray shirt...but then again since my hair has gone fully grey, and in the interest of slow/simple living/travel, I have divorced black and have chosen charcoal, navy/denim, white as my neutrals with icy and jewel colours for accents. One less colour/neutral simplifies life...exponentially...doesn't it?

      BTW: @ Janice...I just Love Love getting your newsletter...it has passed the cut numerous times when I am in declutter mode and go to my inbox for Mission Unsubscribe because it is one of my go-tos when I need a refresher/reminder...so thanks heaps for what you do for this 'tribe'.

      I have now rightsized to the [American] largest carry on...which is checked baggage for [my] Australian domestic air travel, and for every overseas carrier I have used...55x43x26/30cm [22x16x10in]. I usually depart with 15kg [33lb] and have returned with up to 17-19kg [37-42lb]...but I have to stop that as I am finding it harder to manage the weight as I get older. I have also minimised my cabin bag to a tote that I use as my day bag at my destination and it is usually less than the cabin weight allowance.

      I have been able to do this because of your 'work'. Thank you again.

      You probably have mentioned the size [measurement from floor to handle & max weight when full if you don't mind] of your suitcases on some other post but what are they...the smaller and larger?

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    4. Just checking the Notify Me to capture any responses...

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    5. The smaller one is 20 inches, and the larger is 24 inches. The difference feels enormous when I've packed the smaller and then shift to the larger! The depth of the smaller one is 8 inches, and the larger is 9 inches - it's surprising how much different it feels!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    6. Thanks Janice, and you're right going a little longer, wider and deeper doesn't seem much but the increase in volume, and weight is pretty substantial. I chose to give my 24in to my grandson [who's port self-destructed] because I didn't want to be tempted to take more than I could handle now. I was already struggling with the 20-23kg it could handle and it will only get harder for me as I get older.

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  4. Hi Janice, is there anything you wish you have taken but not there?

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    1. I can't think of anything, but I'll continue to ponder and update my comment if I remember anything. Generally speaking, if I can't remember it, it must not have been badly missed, eh?
      hugs,
      Janice

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  5. Love reading about what worked and what didn't, and the "why" behind them! What a great idea - I'm going to start analyzing my packing this way as well! And will be very excited for your blog post about your Airbnb apartment - I love airbnb and am currently planning a solo trip to Paris at some point so will anxiously await that post :)

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  6. I thinks it's interesting that the items you seemed to like best have details that keep them from being classified as solid black. Even the lace top is not a true solid because of the lace sleeves allowing your skin tone to show through. The Talbot's sweater has the pretty white trim, and of course the marled sweater and tweed dress read as texture not solid black. Maybe this is a sign of you wanting to soften your core neutral? Or maybe it just adds needed color variety? When a shift like that starts to happen I like to step back and question why, so I can move forward more confidently.

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  7. Clearly, you're a fan of tweed....

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  8. Will you have a post about your shoes? I'm about to take a two week trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon (and other National Parks) so I know I need a walking shoe but am perplexed on whether to take one or two additional pairs. I see you had three - did you wear your non-NB shoes during the day or just for dinners?

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    1. Oh yes, I had a total shoe disaster and ended up buying THREE pair of shoes on the trip... More to come, but I'm not sure at this point that you want to take my advice!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. I always need an excuse to buy shoes, now that I don't have to wear orthotics any more. But, I will be anxious to hear what you bought!

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    3. I am always looking for shoe advise. Who sells comfortable good looking shoe ?

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    4. I bought THREE pairs of Arche - one pair looks a little bit like Hobbit shoes, but they're well made and comfortable...

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    5. I'll bet you were glad to have the bigger suitcase when it came to getting three new pairs of shoes home on the plane! - nancyo

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    6. Actually, I donated the 2 pair that I couldn't wear to the Red Cross shop down the street; I figured that I was going to be haunted by the experience of being in so much pain from wearing them!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  9. So interesting Janice, and if you hadn't taken the larger bag I wonder if you would have chosen only the green and yellow items? It's nice to think that you would ...
    I'm back from a casual UK island holiday and although my carry on weighed only 6.3 kgs (yes, I'm smug!) and way under my 10 kg max., some things I only wore 1-2 times so didn't earn their keep and I could have done with packing less. Black was my predominant of the most worns.
    I'm now on a 3 week trip which includes a funeral and I kept your Paris case as the basis for my packing so thanks for sharing a few weeks ago. It was again way below max. I think the secret is to keep to the discipline of a carry on/max 10 kgs. With black and grey forming the base, life is easy!
    Wishing you a huggly weekend, x.

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    1. I definitely would have left the "red" pieces behind - I was planning to pack in a smaller bag and it was only at the last minute when Belovedest encouraged me to take a larger bag that I started tossing things in without serious thought... A lesson to be learned, for sure!
      hugs back at ya,
      Janice

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    2. For me also, it's usually those last minute additions that end up being mistakes. BUT on my most recent 3 week trip, the weather was wildly different from what the 10 day forecast predicted right before departure (supposed to be hot, was in fact quite cold and rainy) and I wore all of those long sleeved things that I threw in at the end. The carefully planned warm weather clothing did not get worn at all. We didn't really have laundry capability, but I did have to wash a few things in the sink to make it all work. - nancyo

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  10. Great post, Janice. Tell me, how many days was your trip?

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  11. How do you wear that gorgeous Eileen Fisher black velvet tunic?

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    1. I wore it over my black dress pants from Eddie Bauer, with ballet flats. I could easily wear it with opaque tights and flats or ankle boots - it's very "past mid-thigh" length on me and would make a great dress. I tend to wear shorter dresses with tights... I'm also targeting wearing it as a jacket over a black tee shirt and blue jeans!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  12. OH, tears here, too over the color-blind man who can now *SEE*! Such a sweet, sweet thing to witness. Thank you. :)

    Ann

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  13. Love your star ratings report. I'm also surprised that you could have worn jeans and sneakers all week. Wow, things have changed. Looking forward to you next post explaining all of this. How was Paris in October?

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    1. Paris was wonderful. We were there during Fashion Week, which really only meant that a few areas around the Tuileries were blocked off for shows, and that we saw a lot of... aspiring... models. Basically pretty young girls, overdressed for the day and posing conspicuously on the streets. It was sad - they were all lovely, but far too short and not nearly scrawny enough to be runway models. Maybe they got used in the 9 million showrooms that we saw in the Marais.

      Weather was warmer than a normal October - I think this is the new normal? I could easily have packed more summery gear and been fine except in the late evenings.

      Paris is always wonderful...
      hugs,
      Janice

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