Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to Pack Light: Uncertain Weather, and the "Whatever's Clean 13"

Something everyone struggles with is having to pack when the weather is iffy, or when you're going to be moving around through different weather conditions. So I thought I'd take our "Whatever's Clean 13" template as a guide to making this easier.

I'm laid it out this way:

A simple navy, white and turquoise palette is the order of the day. (and starting with the Kathkath scarf, I've loosely adhered to a theme of waves and water...)  No matter what the travel plan is, I like to make sure that I'm traveling with long trousers, closed-toe shoes, and a cardigan. Depending on your mode of travel, you want to be prepared for too much air conditioning, or a rotten heating system. And it's always easier to take off your cardigan and roll up your sleeves than it is to try to get dressed in warmer clothing that's tucked into your suitcase.

white denim shirt – Uniqlo, silver wave earrings – Lupita Betancourt, bracelet 
She-Beads, navy trousers – The Row, navy cardigan – Acne Studios, scarf - 
Kathkath,  driving mocsPluggz, tote – Street Level

This is everything that I packed (in my imagination, of course!). You can already see that there's sleeveless, and sandals, so a change of temperature is expected...

Striped tee – Vince, swimming pool clutch bag – Jimmy Choo, white cotton cardigan – Vince, white
 sleeveless linen shirt – Uniqlo, silver wave bracelet – Aoy, navy dotted cardigan – Uniqlo, silver 
earrings – Sarah Kostawhite cropped jeans – White Stuff, turquoise sleeveless blouse – Yumi
watercolor print top – Episode, navy pencil skirt – Austin Reed, white denim skirt – Closed, turquoise
 jeans – 7 for all Mankind, silver sandals – 9 West, organza scarf – Yuh Okano
turquoise ballet flats – Geox

And here's the entirety of your travel wardrobe:

Here's how things look on our template. Although I drew up the template making it look like turquoise is the second neutral, it really is the accent color. 

One important note that I've learned while doing these wardrobes: if you want to include prints or patterns in your travel capsule wardrobe, you need to do it with one of the three "rows" of the template. Otherwise, you're going to have to mix patterns between tops and bottoms. That's not impossible (and I might be doing it during some wardrobes here) but it makes things more difficult.

And here are a few (well, 15) of your optional outfits. There are, in reality, dozens of ways to wear these 13 garments.

I think this would be a great wardrobe for a trip that included both city and more rural pursuits. Not exactly equipped for fly fishing or rappelling down a cliff, but a nice outdoor walk, or a picnic, would see you well prepared!



Friday, May 29, 2015

How to Pack Light: A Mystery Business Trip, and the "Whatever's Clean 13"

This can't be good.... Your boss comes into your office: "I need to you to go to Des Moines (or Dusseldorf, or Dublin), because they've already spent 80% of their year's budget for widgets! Get out there and see what's going on!!!"

Nobody in your office has ever been to "The D City Office", and so you have no clue what to expect. Who buys and uses the widgets? The C-Suite guys in 3-piece suits? (I can personally verify that men in Dublin still wear vests with their suits...)  Or is it Jen, Roy and Moss, down in the basement?  Is some moron executive treating widgets as if they're disposable? Or did a genius in Procurement find widgets at 80% off, and buy a 5 year supply?  Your plate is full...

The IT Crowd - one of the funniest television shows I've ever seen...

So, in addition to having to figure out (a) what IS a widget?, (b) how is it used?, and (c) how many of them should an office use in the course of a year, you've also got to pack!

No worries; I've got this!

Start formal - it's always easier to peel off a suit jacket and a silk scarf than it is to try to pretend that you're "executive-worthy" in jeans and a sweater.

Fairies Penny scarf – Joanna Allsop, blazer – Paul Smith, trousers – Paul Smith,
  sweater – Steffen Schraut, mother of pearl earrings – La Kaiser
watch – Skagen, computer tote – Lodis, loafers – Gucci, suitcase – Tumi

If you arrive wearing this, and you end up in the basement with the tech people, you should be okay...

Normally, for a trip like this I would NEVER suggest packing 10 items - this sounds like it should be a 3 day trip. But when venturing into the face of the corporate unknown, you need options.

So let's envision our "Whatever's Clean 13" like this. On the left, a cluster of six items that are pretty dressy - your navy pantsuit, and things to wear with it. On the right, a cluster of six items in grey (which will go with navy perfectly), but which are a bit more relaxed in feel.  And holding things together there at the bottom, a pair of trousers, or a skirt, that will work either direction.

 Your travel outfits plugs in like this:

Yes, your blush top could be on either side of this equation, but I tossed it into the more relaxed side of things, just to show that it's possible to mix things from both sides.

This is the rest of your wardrobe for travel. Arguably, the hardest part of this wardrobe might be finding a skirt that you can wear with the blazer from your navy suit! The smartest thing to do would be to find a way to purchase all 3 pieces at the same time, from the same vendor. But in the absence of that, a change of texture will help "non-matching" things work together. This skirt is bouclé, which contrasts with your blazer without clashing.

And I chose a couple of short-sleeved sweaters to include here, because to me they span the "dressy/casual" divide really well. Under a blazer, they don't really make a statement. With contrasting trousers, they're more at ease and informal.

And I opted for tan trousers; men wear tan trousers with a navy blazer frequently, so it's a very accepted business ensemble. But if you're leaning away from "corporate dress", you can always just treat them like a pair of khakis!

Grey cardigan – Jardin des Orangers, square scarf – Hermes Au Coeur de la Vie, navy short-
sleeve sweater – Joseph, clutch bag – Tevolio, white short-sleeve sweater – Lamberto Losani,
 grey short-sleeve tee – Uniqlo, navy dotted silk tee – Uniqlo, striped scarf – Haider Ackermann,
 grey skirt – Uniqlo, pearl necklace – Elyona, circle brooch – Mikimoto, navy boucle skirt – 
Boden USA, taupe cotton trousers – Planet, grey trousers – Max Mara, medallion print blouse – 
Prabal Gurung, navy suede pumps – Jimmy Choo,grey pumps – Vince

Your template is complete:

 This is always a good time to toss a couple of seriously elegant accessories into your bag. If you're going to have to go toe-to-toe with a knucklehead CFO who breaks three widgets a week, you're going to want to have all of the psychological armor you can muster! (but just for spite, your clutch bag is from Target...)

Now, you have lots of options!

I used to LOVE business travel, and I miss it terribly, but I'm not going to pretend that it wasn't sometimes a pain in the neck!



Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Bracelet Giveaway just got MUCH more interesting...

You might have noticed that, when I asked what color palette everyone preferred for a custom bracelet, there was a wide divergence of choice. Which is great - I love diversity!

But when I tallied up the votes, there was no clear winner...

So I got in touch with our friends at She-Beads, and we came up with an even BETTER idea...

Leave me a comment here, tell me what 2, 3 or 4 colors you would use to make your dream bracelet. Next Thursday morning, I'll draw a winner, and that winner will have that bracelet MADE FOR THEM by She-Beads...

That's a pretty spiffy offer, I'd say!

If you're struggling for color names, check out this site, which has color names that you've never even heard of, or look at my earlier post here, which might help you be more precise.

I'm really looking forward to your responses, because I'm going to look to them for ideas about color schemes for upcoming blog posts, too.  Of course, when the winning bracelet is done, I'll be doing a post specifically about it!

My favorite color scheme?  They've already got bracelets just for me:

bracelets - She-Beads

What's your preference? Lots of brights? More classic navy and grey?  I can't wait to hear what you have to say!


Wool and
the Gang

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to Pack Light: The 'Whatever's Clean 13" in black and beige

I really love the "Whatever's Clean 13"... 

I love travel, and I love packing light, and I love the idea of being able to just stick your hands into your bag and pull out things that will come together in a beautiful outfit.

Today, I'm looking at warm weather, but prepared for some coolness. I know that trips to the south of France, ranging into Cinque Terre and Venice, will give you some hot, lavender-scented days in Provence, but then in Venice, after dark can be positively damp and cool... You can't be prepared for every last possible need, but you can be intelligent, and beautiful...

Lace is the unifying theme today, starting with this beautiful (and outrageously expensive) lace top. Comfortable pants and shoes, the always essential cardigan and scarf, and you're good to go!

Black cashmere cardigan – Dear Cashmere, lace top – Aquilano.Rimondi, mother of pearl 
earrings – LaKaiser,  cotton trousers – Uniqlo,  cashmere blend scarf – Faliero Sarti, watch –
Fossil, black patent loafers – Tod’s, tote bag – Longchamp, rolling suitcase – Tumi

I'm assuming, for purposes of our imaginary trip, that there will be abundant sightseeing, but that there will also be many romantic nights. Not necessarily black-tie dressy, but things for which you still want to look lovely, and feel alluring. 

So, starting with our travel outfit, our substitutions are as follows:

  • black cardigan, replaced by beige cardigan;
  • lace top, replaced by black floral top;
  • lace top, replaced by botanical print top;
  • lace top, replaced by beige sparkle top;
  • lace top, replaced by ruffled beige top;
  • lace top, replaced by black sleeveless top;
  • beige trousers, replaced by beige shorts;
  • beige trousers, replaced by black skirt; (just sort of roll and stuff in the bag)
  • beige trousers, replaced by beige lace skirt; (so easy to pack!)
  • beige trousers; replaced by black trousers.

This gives you thirteen pieces - two "covers", 2nd layers, or cardigans, six blouse/tee shirt tops, and five "bottoms".

I chose simple, flat sandals that area all described as being designed for comfort, and the jewelry, clutch bag, and black wrap all have an echoing sense of lace about them. 

Beige cardigan – East, lace medallion bracelet – Gag&Lou, floral sleeveless top – Quiz
white tee shirt with sparkles – Ginger and Soul, black lace-trimmed wrap – Uniqlo, black 
lace earrings – Liz Law, ruffled top – Part Two, gold earrings – Eina Ahluwalia, nature print
 top – Yumi, black sleeveless top – Raquel Allegra, beige shorts – North Face, lace skirt – Polo 
Ralph Lauren, black chiffon skirt –  Polo Ralph Lauren, black cotton trousers – Isabel Marant 
Etoile, lace clutch – Tevolio, black sandals – Gentle Souls,  gold sandals – Born, gold 
slingback espadrilles – Naturalizer

This all seems to live together quite nicely, doesn't it?

 And, as with any "Whatever's Clean" wardrobe, you have literally dozens of choices, suitable for a casual dinner, a rainy day in a museum, a sunny day outdoors, or a very romantic evening meal and walk around town.

If for some reason you strongly felt that you needed more clothes, you could add a skirt or trousers (maybe in a beige and black pattern, although this would break the sacred "Whatever's Clean"...), and two more tops. I can't personally imagine packing more than 16 pieces for almost anything...

But what do you think?



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Winner!!! And my new plan...

There's just nothing more glamorous than posting an Excel formula to open a blog post!

Remember that delectable scarf from Kathkath that they offered to us last week?

Riad scarf - Kathkath

Well, Lorrie, send me your contact information so that I can forward it to Kathkath - because IT'S YOURS!

Congratulations to Lorrie, and thanks, as always, to all of you who hang around here with me and share my day...

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but Belovedest and I are moving, at the end of June. Just down the hall, but we've been given an irresistible offer on a REALLY irresistible apartment with a spectacular lake view, and so we're going to accept...

The new apartment is a 1 bedroom, which is a big step up for those of us who have always lived in studio apartments! But so far we've been very lucky - someone gave us an absolutely amazing bed and dresser, along with enough bedding for a small army! (and it's not just ANY bed - it's a hardwood sleigh bed, with a matching "dry sink" dresser; I could not have chosen nicer furniture if I'd looked for a month...)

But we do have a couple of things we want for the new place - a pair of bar stools (I'll post pictures of the kitchen once it's built - it's going to be all new from the cement floor and the studs up and out!), and a large framed mirror. And we're ONLY looking for things that are second-hand; there's so much used furniture in the world that we really don't need to have someone cut down a tree and manufacture something just for us...

And that got me to thinking about clothes, which is never far from my mind. Since I already have SO many clothes - more than enough - why don't I commit myself to buying only second-hand clothing for a while. Like a year...

So, starting today! I am only buying clothes that have already been purchased at retail by someone else. Things might still have tags on them, they may have never been worn, or they may be "gently worn", but I won't be the person carrying them out of a store in a shopping bag. Exceptions: lingerie, and running shoes. (used running shoes - not a good idea!)

I know that many of you make your own clothes (I'm still awed by some of your work!), and that many of you are vintage and resale experts. This is going to be a new challenge for me, but one which I embrace in the spirit of thrift and ecology.

Tell me of your "already depreciated" clothing adventures!