November 8, 2017
Yes, I am going back to Paris on Tuesday…It’s a combination of a free plane ticket, a really inexpensive hotel (I’ll tell you all about that when I’m back!) and a bone-deep yearning to see holiday decorations in another country.
But more than anything, I’m really eager to see how completely… unfettered? light? I can feel while traveling. Normally, there’s the suitcase and the carry-on, and maybe a handbag, and while I know that this is necessary, I don’t feel relaxed when I have these things to corral and transport. I want to be focused on external things – other people, mostly, and be able to put my own “stuff” out of my mind.
This isn’t impossible – one could, in theory, go almost any place that has similar weather with just the clothes on your back, a toothbrush, wallet, and necessary prescriptions, in my case. I’m not going to be THAT liberated!
So this is what I’m envisioning:
First, I answer my own questions – Paris, by air to Charles de Gaulle Airport, and then take the train into the city (which makes minimizing luggage a good choice), I’m going to walk outdoors a LOT, participate in a 5K, and eat in very “not fancy” restaurants, and the weather will be just slightly warmer than it is here in Chicago.
My entire wardrobe is going to be anchored by my red Barbour jacket – this is what I’ll wear to fly:
I’m going to wear the HECK out of Fair Isle patterns, because they seem to be associated with the holidays in so many minds…
My bag will be carried as a backpack. I’ve found that even though I might look like I’m trying to pretend to be younger than I am, I can carry a TON in a backpack. However, one must be super-cautious not to whap people with a backpack – it changes the contours of your body completely!
And I’m thinking that I’ll just wear pearl earrings all week…
Okay… this is what I’m packing:
yes, my jeans are from the men’s section, and yes, the short boots are WATERPROOF!!! I still struggle to believe that my black cashmere turtleneck won’t accidentally fall into my bag…
I’ve also go to take some things that are specifically for the 5K, although they could be worn “in real life” too:
A down vest isn’t usual for a 5K, but since I will just be walking, it will be tougher for me to stay warm… These pieces, along with the New Balance shoes that I’m wearing on the plane, and the Fair Isle fleece, should do the trick!
So, if I don’t chicken out and toss in other things, this is what I’ll pack. While the scarves don’t particularly go with any of the outfits well or badly, I suspect that I’ll probably tie them over my coat when it’s completely fastened, so they’re there more to add interest to what I’m wearing when I’m outdoors. They’ll blow up into my face a lot…
Yes, if the weather warms up, I’m going to wear my down vest in place of my red jacket!
The thing that makes packing like this possible? The presence of a “5 à Sec” same day laundry and dry cleaner literally around the corner from my hotel! Tee shirts and turtlenecks, at a minimum, can be laundered as necessary…
Just to make absolutely certain that this will work, I’ve envisioned what I’ll wear every day of my trip:
Note: Saturday morning is when I’m 5K-ing, so I’ll be wearing the athletic things, and shower and change when I get back to my hotel:
As usual, I’m completely over-analyzing things, but I’m doing this in anticipation of arriving in Paris with nothing but a backpack (and what I have in my coat pockets – I’m NOT taking a handbag…)
I can’t explain this desire to travel so lightly, but I’m going to honor the fact that I feel this way and see what I can do to make it happen! I will share the results…
p.s. When I’m traveling alone, I always wearing a RoadID, that has my name and medical information on it, as well as contact information for Belovedest. It’s not elegant, but I can accept a bit of utilitarian style in exchange for knowing that I won’t be impossible to identify if someone robs me and leaves me in a gutter… (just kidding Mom!)
I like to travel light too. You have made a good choice. But, what is 5K-ing, a sport event or running, I do not understand.
Janice Riggs says
5K is a distance – five kilometers – that people either run or walk. A group called Parkrun hosts 5K runs in locations all over the world, every weekend, where I like to go to speed-walk – I can't run because of bad knees!
The 5K is about 3.1 Miles in length.
Thanks a lot, I did not know that. My distance is about 7 km of walking in Belgrade.
Have a nice time in Paris, I always remember Che Demago cafe and of course Latin Quartier,
I love, love, love anything to do with packing efficiency , so will you be using a packing cube or cube to keep the clothes organized within the backpack ? Do you fold, roll, or bundle pack ? Looks like a great choice of mix and match outfits with interest by either pattern or scarves, which take up very little space and weigh almost nothing ! It reminds me of some of your 2011 posts with the return to the original inspiration by your French friend, Vivienne. Have a wonderful time,and send pictures, please ! Bin voyage.
Bon voyage , not Bin —idiot iPad !
Janice Riggs says
Unmentionables, pajamas, and folded turtlenecks will go into a packing cube, and everything else will be more or less bundled… I'll try to remember to snap a couple of pictures when I get everything into the bag!
Shrebee, I find that with just a few clothes I don't have to "file" things in cubes, they organise themselves nicely into neat stacks in the carry-on bag. And when you're not moving on every day you can hang things up in the armoire.
Cheryl K says
Love my RoadiD! You know they have some that will slide onto the wristband of some smart watches, right? DH has one for his Applewatch and I have one for my Fitbit. If you get the black RoadiD on a black band, it doesn't show up that much. But yes, safety first. Have a great trip!
RoadID also has an app for your phone that will notify whomever you specify that you're out for a run or walk or whatever. You set how long you will be gone, there's an alarm that gets sent to your contact if you haven't moved in 5 minutes, and it also lets your contact track you in pretty much real time.
I use it when on my long runs or when I'm running out of town.
Janice Riggs says
I didn't know about the app – I wonder if it works internationally? That would be amazing though when Belovedest goes out in the mornings before I even wake up!
And I've quit wearing my Fitbit – I got to be so obsessed with the number of steps that I was taking that it quit being fun! And now that I can't run, and I lift weights, a lot of my workouts don't really show up on the Fitbit…
Kathy Donaldson says
Ooh, need to get a RoadiD!
Love this minimalist plan–but I, myself, wouldn't travel to Europe in December without a coat with a hood, warm gloves, and a wool scarf. What if it rains on your Hermes silk scarves????
Janice Riggs says
I'll be wearing gloves on the train to the airport, and I've got my earband for colder days. And all of my scarves have been wet – I wash mine! If it starts to rain I'll just take off my scarf and tuck it in a pocket.
The normal rules don't apply to me because I'm a very warm person – I rather adore super-cold weather, and tolerate it with less bundling up than a lot of people would require. It comes in handy!
Margie from Toronto says
Looks like a perfect wardrobe to me! The only thing I would change is adding a cross body purse and I'd have to switch the backpack to a wheeled suitcase. But I could get this into my 17" wheeled bag which I can left into an overhead bin. But what I would like is a soft-sided "case/Tote" that would also have a cross body strap (or shoulder strap option) and I'd carry that. Have fun!
Janice Riggs says
I'm putting cash and a credit card in 1 coat pocket, and my phone (and lip gloss, maybe…) in the other, so I'm not carrying a bag! I have a gorgeous crossbody bag, but I just really don't want to have to deal with it over a coat. I'm really feeling the urge for going as lightly as possible…. We'll see how it works out in real life!
If I'm flying, I don't travel with a purse. My cell phone case does triple duty – it protects my cell phone, holds my credit cards and a bit of cash, and has a mirror AND it has an adjustable strap that allows it to act like a wristlet. I can't tell you how many people ask me where I got it! It's such a clever little thing from EYN (everything you need). And because I'm a little quirky, mine is hot pink!
I have a little cell phone carrier that goes around my neck. Big enough for passport, tickets, couple of keys, credit cards, some cash and cell phone. In fact, you can use cell through heavy plastic. It is not overly attractive, but it saves the day when flying tired..and you can arrange things so what you need is visible. I have this by Eddie Bauer, usually ten dollars. It is sticky because it wants to keep water out of cell phone, so you have to dig into a big, but I wear it all the time now. If you worry about losing the important things, just glance down to make sure you have them. Use it for everyday life as well.
Great to see that somebody else buys men's jeans! There was a period when all I could find for women were either skinny or ripped – whereas men had sensible straight cut jeans in a range of shades. There is a wider range of women's now, but I still have a few pairs of mens and I'm sure they are better made.
Can't wait to hear your report on your trip and how your wardrobe worked out. My problem is always toiletries/makeup. I don't think of myself as using much, but it certainly adds up!
Have a wonderful trip. Sounds as though you're organized and planning to have fun!
Christine Moon says
I think you can totally do this!! Beautiful combinations.. so you'll add "unmentionables", but what about jammies? And do you wear tights with your skirt? I know you're a hair and makeup minimalist, so that's helpful to your quest….I like that you're honoring yourself to try satisfy your desire to travel and do it lightly. We need to honor those desires within ourselves. Have fun! Chris from Indy
Janice Riggs says
I'm taking red and white flannel pajamas – I expect it to to be pretty cold! I'll take a pair of tights, and of course unmentionables and socks. Makeup, to me, means lipstick and nothing else…
Janice, do you ever find that your convertible backpack is too big? I have a wonderful convertible suitcase/backpack carry-on that also has a shoulder strap (21x13x9) that I love but I often find that it is TOO roomy even for a two week trip. Have you found anything that is smaller that works similarly? I've resorted to using a conventional backpack but hate that I have to stuff it from the top instead of having zippers that work like a suitcase. I have 14 inch rolling bag that seems to be the right size and works well, but there are times when a backpack makes more sense.
Kathy Donaldson says
Yes! I always use a backpack, no purse, 2 pairs pants, 1 skirt, leggings, tights, 5 tops/sweaters, boots, walking shoes, scarves, and jacket. This is my formula for a week or month’s visit. Everything matches or blends. I prefer black and grey with 1 accent color.
Wow wow wow; I know you can do it and be fashionable as hell! xoxox
The Pouting Pensioner says
So pleased you are not taking a bag. I rely on pockets most days if the year and it's liberating.
Wishing you a wonderful time in Paris. Hugs, x.
Madeleine Prendergast says
No where else in the world are there store windows like in Paris — and before Christmas!! so wonderful! Also, the neighborhood streets are criss-crossed with lights and lanterns.
Absolutely enough and hey, if not you're in Paris! Have a fabulous time, eager to see photos, and safe travels.
I'll just add that I use a very small Eddie Bauer Connect Travel Wallet. I wear it cross body and under my cardie on the plane. It is small enough that it also fits under a zipped up jacket but holds my phone, my passport, cards and some money. ~Very~ inexpensive if you decide you need something and have an EB near you. LOVE this capsule!
Soooo jealous! Paris at Christmas. Get outfits too.
New reader. Thanks for brilliant post. I believe you have more than enough…I've pinned this page and hopefully will spend a holiday in Paris one of these days! Bon Voyage!!
My goal is to pack like this!!! I have back pain so backpacking is not my thing but a SMALL carry-on with just a few items with room for a couple purchases would be nice. SIX pieces besides your travel outfit – wow! Can't wait to read about how it came off for you! Wonderful post! Have a lovely time. I'm sure you will send us pics of your sightings – lucky us!
Janice Collins, Washington, DC
Yaaaayyyy Janice! A week in Paris, a 5k walk, and travelling light – it looks as though you've really nailed this! Your planning is very well done, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm confident that you have easily enough clothes and accessories (it's still more than I pack for 3-4 weeks because of weight restrictions), and you're being good to your body by keeping the weight down. I can't wait to hear all about it when you're back. Have a wonderful, wonderful trip!
Robyn in Tasmania xxx
I love this post. I love all of the pictures, which means I can really 'see' how it will work. I traveled once to China for a week with my 10-year-old, and I limited us to one carry-on each. It was great. I based it all on one color combo (brown/navy) and never wanted for something to wear. Getting dressed in the morning was a breeze, and I always felt chic. Have a lovely time and report back!
Well, you have certainly given me incentive to go light on my upcoming trip. Can hardly wait to see if this works. I think I will have to take more stuff cause I need some dress clothes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I'm catching up, and read today's (Monday) post first, then this one. I would be much more comfortable with this (minimal?) wardrobe than the NYC wardrobe, which seemed like too many items for such a short trip. I think you'll find traveling light is very liberating. In the winter, this all hinges on a great coat! Can't wait to hear about your trip — both the touristy stuff and the sartorial commentary. :)
Sorry but your title is very deceiving. You may have 6 items of clothing in your bag, but you actually have 20 pieces you are traveling with. I have traveled to Europe for a long weekend with 6 or 10 items total, in a small back pack.
Janice Riggs says
Very true. I can't imagine that I would ever be able to travel with only 10 items total, so I salute your discipline!
Hope you took that cashmere turtleneck! I just returned from 8 days in London. And never got a chance to wear my vest. I needed a long raincoat every day but one, when it was freezing with icy winds. Most days it rained hard enough to soak my legs if I had worn a short jacket, and I was so glad of my fleece hat and wool scarf. It was a great trip though.
Janice Riggs says
I had to cancel my trip at literally the last minute – I was in the airport when I realized that I was starting an attack of fibromyalgia, and that I wasn't going to have the strength to do the walking and carrying necessary! But I'm rescheduled to go (with my sweetheart!) for Valentine's Day, so it wasn't too terrible a change…
I've just recently found your site and LOVE it! I'm in the process of getting my body back in shape, so I can start my wardrobe. We are going to Spain and Italy in May/June 2018 for 3 weeks. It's warmer there that time of year. Have I missed the summer section ideas for outfits? Or, can you please do one for me with some of your awesome suggestions? Also, do you have an idea how to pack and coordinate for a male taking the same trip? We are going casual and plan to see some of the religious sites while over there. My 70-year old mother in law, my husband and I are both 42 and my 15-year old daughter. Thank you in advance for your help! -Angela [email protected]
Love your packing posts. Especially in this colour scheme!
The luggage in the picture looks similar to one from Standard Luggage?
It probably is from there! I love their stuff…