December 7, 2018
Every time I’m leaving Chicago, I check my pockets (mentally); if I have my passport, my wallet, and my prescriptions, I figure that I’m good for almost anything!
I then look down at what I’m wearing and wonder what I would do if my luggage were to absolutely, positively, forever disappear…
When I’m going to Florida, I resign myself to probably borrowing clothes from my mother, except for buying some gym clothes and shoes.
But going to Paris? That would be an entirely different story! (yes, I’m leaving Monday, for a week…)
So what if I packed in the same way that I might shop for a few bits, to get me through a week in Paris in December?
First, the very important travel outfit! One must remember – if traveling from North America to Europe – you’re probably going to wear this outfit for 2 solid days. I’m not going to hang around until I can get into my hotel room in Paris, so that I can change clothes! I will leave my bag with the people at the front desk, and I’m OUT THE DOOR until after dinner. First day in Paris – NOT to be spent in the hotel… (yes, waterproof boots can look nice and can be comfortable enough to wear on a plane… And my pants have an elastic waist, which nobody will ever see. They’re comfortable, but they are NOT pajamas!)
After a day or 2 in this outfit, the first thing that I’m certain I will need is a change of shirts! I will probably want a change of shoes too – there is a point beyond which you just don’t want to walk for miles a day in the same shoes, day after day.
And let’s toss in another pair of earrings, because they’re tiny, and weigh almost nothing!
For the next step, it’s a tough choice! I’m probably about ready to heave these corduroy pants out a window, but in terms of changing the way my outfit appears overall, a new sweater will have more impact. And yes, I’m perfectly happy layering a striped sweater over a striped shirt or turtleneck. I’m fearless in the world of black & white patterns!
Maybe the only thing I’m MORE tired of than my pants might be the scarf… Time for a new scarf! And a star bracelet is a touch of fun for very little luggage volume or weight…
Hallelujah! I’m definitely going to take these velvet jeans with me – both warm AND snazzy… And yet another scarf can come along, as well as a star brooch. (Yes, at this point I really considered my star cardigan, but it’s SO bulky I’m going to do without…)
I don’t think I’ve traveled in cold weather in the last 18 years without taking my black cashmere turtleneck. I can wear any scarf, or any jewelry, with either pants, and I’ll feel like a million dollars. This sweater just does that for me!
If I’m ever going to pack festive accessories, this is the trip. Holly is so pretty – better in a brooch because it won’t die!
I really could use 1 more “bottom layer” at this point… Hmmm…
For six days (a “week” away in Paris is actually only 6 nights there – that stinking night on the plane spoils everything…) I have enough clothes. I’m staying in a hotel very near a same-day laundry, so nothing will have a chance to get too disgusting…
So why not a warm dress? With super-warm tights? Yes!
Now that I have clothing sorted out, what else do I need? I’m packing long underwear to wear as pajamas – if the weather turns bitter cold, I will also wear them under my clothes! But what other bits and bobs do I always take with me?
Why the Mio drops? Get a bottle of milk, put in drops, you have an iced latte! Vastly better than any coffee you can get on a plane or in an airport! You can even mix it with water if you’re in a spot – the drops have caffeine…
I’ve been on 1 flight to Europe on which there was absolutely no drink nor food service. The turbulence was so severe for almost the entire trip that the flight attendants had to stay strapped down. It became a food and toilet… emergency… for some people. I actually had quite a bit of food with me, and I was the heroine of my row…
If I wear 3 garments and pack 6, these are the clothes I’ll have with me:
Will this give me enough outfits for 6 days? I think so:
With absolutely no guarantees about what weather I will encounter, this is sort of how I plan to dress while I’m there. After that first day in the same clothes for a REALLY LONG TIME, I think wearing a dress is going to feel really great!
For the middle of my little trip, a layered outfit, and then my luscious turtleneck…
Another day out in my cozy dress, and then back in layers for the long trip back to Chicago!
These aren’t exactly the same garments as mine (except for the velvet jeans, and that wonderful dress…) but they’re so similar that you can still pick me out of a crowd. Any time you see someone doing slightly demented things with black and white patterns, it just might be me!
Enjoy your trip. I found Paris in January to be bleak and coming from the hot part of Australia I didn’t have many suitable clothes. I wish I knew of your blog back then.
Have a grand time and be safe. You’ll look lovely. Love all the colors of those velvet jeans!
Your collection looks great, Janice, probably just right for Paris at this time of year. Obviously what works for Chicago in winter works for Paris too. I live in London and am going in the opposite direction, to Sarasota for Christmas, and I always struggle with packing for Sarasota. At home, I wear columns of either black or navy with bright scarves, cardigans, shoes etc, and that just don’t work in Sarasota, partly because of the layers but also, I think, because of the black/navy. I laid out my capsule wardrobe (thank you, Janice, I’ve been obsessed with them for years and have finally got it right) and felt so miserable becuase it was all navy! As I have to pack very lightly this time, I have told myself I will just have to go shopping for something brighter when I’m there and lighten up on my rule about columns. Have fun in Paris!
Taste of France says
I love that sweater dress. Brilliant for travel–no wrinkle, very comfortable.
I wore this dress 5 times the first 2 weeks I owned it. THAT’S a winner!
Virginia Gehrig says
I have those pants from Land’s End. They look “street worthy” and wear like your best “snuggle on the couch” pajamas. Have a great trip!!
Janice Collins Coyle says
I also have the Lands End corderoy pants – in grey and navy. So comfortable and street worthy too! I Love striped tops but don’t have your courage in mixing them! Yet! The simplicity of this wardrobe I will copy in grey and white with a bit of french blue for my next trip. I just came back from a 6 day trip with a similar number of items, I used one of your posts as template. Thank you! Love traveling this way. Janice Collins Coyle, Washington DC
Nice. I was considering pull-on jeans for Vienna in the spring; not sure if they’ll be really cool (PJs on the couch) or really irritating (little girls hitching up baggy tights.) Thanks, too, for the list of extras, but tell me…why the duct tape?
I’m the heroine of the airport when someone’s suitcase blows apart at the hinges… And you can fix almost anything with duct tape – my own suitcase or backpack, shoes, hems, etc.
Mostly, I give it away in the airport!
Janice, I love the magic you do in these outfits. Would you please share with us what coat you will be bringing to Paris?
I am still debating about what coat to wear/take. I know I’ll toss my lightweight Uniqlo down jacket into my suitcase, and I thought I would take a rain jacket to wear over it. But I also have a long-ish jacket from Eileen Fisher that’s probably going to be the winner – it’s black nylon with knitted collar and cuffs, upper-thigh length and quite snazzy.
Still watching the weather in Paris to be sure it’s the right call; if I’m looking at days and days of rain I might swap out for the rain jacket…
Worst case, I’ll buy something in Paris, right?
Ann Hicks says
No rain coat? The right coat and or coats always vex me!
What an exciting time to be in Paris! Will you be bringing a… yellow vest? wink face emoji
Best of luck!
Just perfect! You really can’t go wrong with black/white. Versatile and classy. I love your nod to the holidays – cheery, not cheesy!
I’m loving the pop of colours in your scarf and brooch against your black items. I know you love your monochrome palette, but I would have loved to see you add in a red top for your festive trip to Paris.
Have a lovely time.
P.s. looking forward to the December flower post, when you get back.
The flower post is queued up to be available for you while I’m on vacation – I’ve got posts scheduled for Monday/Wednesday/Friday when I’m away!
I think this (mixing and matching) is probably easier to do in black and white than other color combinations. Wish I could achieve it in navy and grey better than I’ve managed so far. And yes, the travel outfit is so critical: being in a smaller city in the US, virtually all international travel ends up requiring three flights. And plenty of snacks helps!
Vicki Cook says
Love this wardrobe! I’m all about black/white/gray combos, although I’m not as brave with mixing patterns. And at my age (ahem) it’s all about comfort and functionality. Thanks for sharing!
French Girl in Seattle blog is posting updates about where in Paris there are demonstrations–and where is good for tourists at the moment. Have a lovely time. You’ll be well-dressed and comfortable.
Any tips on traveling with knee high boots? I love to wear boots with my skirts, but I fear they would take up so much room in my luggage. Do you think wearing them on the plane would be miserable?
Brava! You’ll be stylish, warm and comfortable. Keep safe and have fun window-shopping. The window displays in the little shops will be ravishing. It’s great to see your advice to us being practised at your place too. A bientot
Susan B. says
Janice!!! Are we actually going to be in Paris at the same time??? (I arrive Wednesday.) Shoot me an email if so, would looooove to meet up!!!
Uniqlo has some great (hidden) elastic waist pants and leggings. I go up a size in the leggings when I want them to be more like pants. Reasonably priced and the pants are good enough for my (formal) office with a jacket.
I have velvet pants from Uniqlo that I bought last winter, and I absolutely love them. Since I don’t tuck in shirts or sweaters, it doesn’t really matter if my pants have an elastic waist. If anybody tries to check, I’ll have a firm chat…
Love the combinations!
Soft cashmere is so wonderful against the skin, once I got scratchy cashmere :(
How do you store your cashmere? I need a new way to store it so they don’t get moth holes.
Mine just hang in my closet. I wash them on delicate in the machines in our laundry room so there’s nothing to tempt a moth!
Gail Finke says
I love this wardrobe and would like to buy everything in it! But I have similar items, except for that patterned Land’s End shirt, so I will restrain myself… except maybe for the patterned Land’s End shirt. One thing that is fun to think about is that you can wear this with almost any color, so if you buy almost anything while there you can wear it before you get home!
Have a wonderful trip to Paris! When I am packing a capsule wardrobe, I often struggle with the lengths of sweaters and jackets – and typically avoid long sweaters with shorter jackets/coats, so I am wondering how that works for you in the travel outfit you show. I know you are also considering another coat, but can you wear that cardigan under that Uniqlo jacket? Also, when I leave my suitcase in the hotel on that first morning in Europe, I often change my clothes and/or shoes in the lobby restroom. – nancyo
I’m also going to have a longer jacket with me – they can both be layered if I need. Depending on how cold it is tomorrow morning, I might pack this little down jacket and wear my longer jacket in transit. Outerwear is a key “definer” of what else gets packed, for certain!
Bon voyage, malgré des temps! We rent a hotel or apt. as of the day we leave, so we can have it when we arrive, which is usually early to mid-morning. I want a shower, and a short nap after lunch. It’s worth it to me to not have to wait till 3 p.m. or later.
LOL re food on plane; 4 hrs on tarmac without food or beverage service. Now I always pack a days’ worth of calories and plenty of water in purse. The calories are not in the form of salads… but when you have nothing, peanut M&Ms and granola bars are a godsend.
Always a pleasure to read about your travel wardrobes. Also inspiring. You make it look easy and, despite have crossed the Atlantic about 200 times, it is never easy for me.
From your instagram, it looks like you are having a great trip.
I usually travel with a 3M command hook and several of the glue backs for it. Hotels never seem to have hooks where I want them, so I put up my own and remove them without damage when I leave.
But I’ve never taken duct tape. You’ve got me thinking.
Hope you’re having a wonderful time in Paris!