August 18, 2021
They’re FINALLY Going…
And she’s got to pack smart!
Their destination involves a lot of food and wine, but isn’t overall a really dressy destination…
She’s had a pretty clear color palette in her wardrobe for a very long time: black, beige, coral and pretty shades of blue, so THAT part of preparing is easy enough!
Her first impulse is to grab her “go-to” hot weather clothes:
And with that, she… is… sort of stuck!
But she starts thinking, and not just pitching clothes into her suitcase. Thinking is always a good way to get out of a packing “stall” like this…
How many pieces of clothing does she want to pack? Well, 7 days feels like at least a dozen garments, doesn’t it?
Does she want to pack BOTH of her accent colors? She feels like she wants them both, so a resounding yes to that question.
Does she want anything dressy? Maybe 1 or 2 things, but not an overwhelming stack…
Maybe, just maybe, a 4 by 4 Wardrobe will work?
Whew – TONS of possibilities at this point! She’s barely made a dent in her travel capsule wardrobe…
So yes, it will be hot during the day, sometimes. But what about evenings, and the possible rainy or just cool days?
Does this all work together? She tests her new choices within her chosen framework:
Pause. Get a beverage – perhaps an adult beverage, or at least something refreshing!
Dressy. Definitely. She’s traveling with her sweetheart, so there will be at least 1 or 2 opportunities to do something romantic. And she loves to be pretty for her darling…
Oh my; is she running out of space? Not quite yet…
This is all well and good – she’s really quite pleased – but she would dearly love to have the option of her favorite accent colors!
Her pleated top qualifies as something dressy-ish too – she will wear it with jeans, pants or shorts, but when seen across a dinner table, it’s the lovely color and sweet ruffled details that will matter.
Now, her travel wardrobe is starting to feel familiar and comfortable:
But she still wants to pack something in blue. She doesn’t need to have a reason – none of us do! The heart will want what the heart will want…
Alright – she’s up to 17 garments! She justifies this by reminding herself that these garments are almost all lightweight, and won’t take up nearly as much space as a pair of corduroy pants, or a bulky sweater…
And when she looks at her assembled wardrobe, she’s pretty delighted:
But she’s still just a wee bit nervous – does she have enough outfits? She can see 8 outfits easily, without even considering her dress!
She’s quite pleased…
Are you traveling these days, or do you have anything planned? For the first time in decades, I have absolutely NO TRAVEL scheduled – other things are keeping me busy…
p.s. Four years ago, I considered the merits of treating oneself to a new sweater before fall gets started… I may need to do this again!
Beth T says
Such an easy travel wardrobe plan that could be easily subbed for other neutrals and accents.
My choices would be navy and grey neutrals. I would also swap the shorts for trousers or jeans, so I had two pairs blue and two pairs grey
I’d keep the coral pink accent – love the pleated and ruffled top – but it would be a toss up between light blue and lilac. . My dress would be patterned – perhaps this is where I might sneak in the lilac.
Such an easy wardrobe needs some easy accessories for day/night wining and dining. Having resolved to be ready with a change of cardigan and jewellery for dining after a day out – I forgot to do last weekend. ?♀️ Mind you, I’d only been told of this adventure the night before. I only remembered as we were walking back to the car. At least I was wearing a pretty top and had a scarf in my bag to make a difference. Hubbie had come prepared with two jackets (day and evening activities) and a change of shoes… Must do better…
Thanks for the look back. I find myself looking at jumpers with embellishments and sparkle. I have bought some silver sparkly wool to crochet a jumper or cardigan….
Lori S. Biesecker says
I just saw that Boden has decided, in consideration of the environment, to stop using glitter and spangles/sequins on their clothing. They assure their customers that they will embellish in other ways such as embroidery. An environmental concern with findings is new to me — haven’t gotten around to researching, but your comment reminded me.
This makes me SO HAPPY… I will make a deliberate effort to feature their products, knowing this. Every little counts!
Beth T says
For those living in the UK, some Scope charity shops have an arrangement with Boden for selling their ex-stock clothing – brand new with tags at a much reduced price.
Oxfam charity shops sell brand new Marks & Spencer ends of lines and overstocks at a much reduced price. Also, If you take in a bag of M&S clothes, the shop will give you an M&S voucher.
Thames Valley Hospice, which is a regional hospice sells ex-stock Mistral clothes.
Does anyone else know of BNWT branded goods being sold through charity shops?
Things I’ve learnt for holiday packing: always have at least one spare pair of shoes to change into at the destination, your feet will thank you. 1 top = 2 days (but not right next to each other), 1 trouser = max 1/2 the length of trip. Don’t forget your pyjamas and alternate tight sleep tops. Hiking trousers are a godsend in variable weather, go hiking in shorts and reattach the legs of it gets cold out. And finally, if you need clothes in London, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.
Jackie Katz says
I am planning my first trip in the past 2 years for this October. Since I started following TVF, I have become more disciplined with my wardrobe purchases which has made packing much easier. Before, I was always frustrated packing for a trip because it highlighted my wardrobe’s incohesion. Inevitably, I would make rushed purchases to fill in the gaps that were were not ideal and contributed further to my wardrobe woes. Thanks to TVF, packing should be a breeze this October!
Oh how I long to travel. I agree on the spare pair of shoes. When I went to Hawaii back in April I used things I learned on TVF for packing. Black, white, purple. It was a short trip, so packing was very minimal. It totally worked – although I did get a bit bored. I do love my color. Your posts are always so instructional and I love the way you incorporate stories. Thank you!
Heidi Davis says
I discovered The Vivienne Files about two months before a trip to Europe several summers ago. Thanks to your tips I could pack with a PLAN! The result: 7 tops, 2 pairs of capris, 1 pair of pants, 2 skirts, 1 cashmere wrap, 1 light-weight rain jacket, 2 pair of day-time shoes, 1 pair of dressier shoes for evening. All fit in a carry-on, and it was enough for 3 weeks! Loved the freedom of not lugging a huge suitcase around (over cobblestones). Thank you!
Woman, you read my mind ! I would probably trade the dress for a dark pair of pants, which I could then use with most of the tops, and at some point create both an inner and outer column on separate days . I tend to think in always packing in 3 ‘s to start, with a top, topper, and a pair of pants all in the same color, and then branching out to another neutral or two with the same format, and then adding in my accent colors, which hopefully work with all of the neutrals . For a week I like to pack 4 pants, 4 toppers ( 2 neutral and 2 accent colors- I am always one of those cold people) and 7-8 tops , in case I spill on one . So that is still only 15-16 garments . For a longer trip I just plan on doing laundry or rewearing if laundry isn’t possible .
I’d like to get down to 4-5 tops and rewearing, but I haven’t gotten that brave as of yet , plus I crave both variety and accent colors balanced with neutrals .
I have been blessed to have had 2 beach vacations this month, one for a week, but that added up to a 10 day trip because of stopping overnight at a half way point, both coming and going , plus a long weekend trip just last weekend, requiring more careful planning, as everyone there “ dresses for dinner” . There is another out of state trip coming up next month for my granddaughter’s wedding ( am I really that old already ? ) , which shall involve several short overnight stays in different locations, so I’ll be taking several different small duffle bags for each separate location with my clothes for that stay, plus my small rolling tote with my daily needs of toiletries, nightie and overnight amenities . It shall be a car trip, so I’ll have the flexibility of space and a variety of small bags to pack . I use double sided compression cubes to have clean/dirty sides to pack as things get worn , as well as the space saving option of compression. A lot of these are now listed as “ unavailable”for purchase on Amazon , which is a shame, probably due to their country of origin , because they work so well for packing !
Sandra Madsen says
I don’t understand how you can pack this many garments into a carryon, plus undergarments, a couple of pairs of shoes and toiletries, even in mini packaging. How do you do it?
Oh, I agree! I would love to see how it works. I have a medium expandable suitcase that I always use, but can’t see how some people can fit 12-14 items plus shoes and toiletries in a carry-on.
I’ve never had too much trouble with it… For work travel I used to do the following: Travel in: Jeans, top (usually black tee or stripes in varying sleeve length depending on season), scarf, cardigan, heaviest/bulkiest shoes. Jacket if needed. Pack: 3x trousers, 1x dress or skirt, 3x cardigans (2 neutrals one accent); summer = 6-8 sleeveless tops, plus an extra cardigan; winter = 3-4 lighter sweaters, 2 long sleeve tops, bunch of scarfs; underwear, PJs, socks, 1-2 pairs of shoes (sandals, ballet flats).
Packing style (hard-sided carry-on + backpack): on the ‘large’ open side of the suitcase, put all trousers, tops,dress/skirt, cardigans, scarves, PJs…in a large compression bag. (I used to do it all “free” but the TSA likes to open my bag…). strap it into the side using the buckle. in the other, zip-up side: small compression bag with socks, bras, underwear. ‘main’ toiletries bag (i.e. not the stuff with the liquids that needs to get pulled out to go through security). shoes, double wrapped in a plastic bag, squeezed into the corner. If I’m tight on space, shoes are what get ‘cut’ or moved… definitely pack deformable, squashable shoes. If I absolutely cant, i move the shoes to my backpack).
Backpack: work laptop, electronics, toiletries liquid bag, small crossbody that is my handbag must be able to fit inside. snacks, anything random. my ipod.
My favorite way to travel: carryon + backpack. I used to do trips with this method for work and vacation from 1-2 weeks without issue. 2 weeks is easier in the summer/warm climate since tops pack down smaller so i can fit a few more in. in the winter, i re-wear my sweaters with different scarves to change the look/feel, since scarves pack down small as well. Jewelry goes in my main toiletries bag.
The only time this gives me issues is when I need to travel for a wedding + vacation or activities… the wedding clothes/shoes usually take up more room or cant be mix&matched etc. usually need to expand the suitcase for that. then again, i tend to skip the backpack for that and go with a large purse/tote. maybe i should re-consider….
How nostalgic!!! I miss travelling…
I do about the same thing as Ezzy but not quite as much. I have a small carry on roll aboard that I do not extend and a medium backpack. I follow Janice’s Whatever’s Clean 13: 3 pants, 1 – 3 toppers (depending on weather) and fill the rest of the 13 in with tops. I take one pair of shoes – very comfortable walking shoes that have been broken in! I do use compression packs. I use a medium garment folder for my tops, a small compression cube for my socks and underwear and a medium compression cube for my toppers. There is room to compress more clothes, but I need to be able to carry my suitcase on and off trains so weight is definitely a consideration. I put my non-liquid toiletries in a lightweight toiletry bag in the suitcase. My pj’s and pants are folded in the suitcase too along with a couple of scarves. I have a very small travel hairdryer that fits in too. In my backpack I have my liquid toiletries in the zip lock bag, a small crossbody purse to be used everyday, IPad, travel stuff, etc. The backpack fits nicely under the economy plane seat in front of me!! I pack 6 days of underwear and have the set I wear day one. We just plan on doing laundry every 4 – 6 days. We try and find hotels with laundry service although doing laundry at laundromats always has a story!! It’s very convenient to just put the backpack over the handle of the suitcase and off you go. Before Covid, we travelled a lot for 4 – 6 weeks at a time and this worked fine. Thanks to Janice for helping me organize my wardrobe and make travel fun!! I can’t wait to get back on the airplane I’m busy thinking about trips and putting together wardrobes so I’ll be ready at a moment’s notice :-)
I do similarly to ezzy and Beverly. I use a hard side carry on and packing cubes. Amazon basics & Eagle Creek are great, & I fold or roll everything neatly into the cubes. I cram them full. Eagle Creek compression cubes are on my wish list. The idea is to squeeze out the air and reduce bulk. It works. I never pack wrinkly linens, but rely on knits that shake off wrinkles or improve being hung by a steamy shower.
I take advantage of a large purse- often it’s my Longchamps (my black hole) or my Travelon nylon zip down to nothing purse with a sleeve that secures to my suitcase trolley handle. I also cross pack between us. Dh puts his electronics (&mine) plus his travel CPAP into his knapsack.
I don’t like the larger packing cubes, the medium and smaller ones or the long tube style work best for me. I bought an envelope style shirt and pant thing for pants, dh’s shirts and a dress for me. Works well.
Then I pack smaller cosmetics pouches or ziplock freezer bags with odds and ends in the spaces. Or odds and ends go in shoes. That tube style cube works well in between the railings from the handle. I take the bare minimum for toiletries and cosmetics and size/weight are deciding factors.
I pack a collapsible to palm size light nylon duffel bag so if I come home loaded or can’t be bothered playing Tetris I can check our hard side carryons. It’s also handy to pull out after we get through security to put our parkas into (we do fly from Canada south in winter and it’s handy to stow them).
I avoid bulky stuff or I wear that & the bulkier shoes for my travel outfit. We do a lot of cruises normally and this particular capsule reflects what I would bring (& a bathing suit or 2, squishy hat and coverup). My bulkiest jacket or cardigan is always on me while I rely on thin merino wool for pullovers or cardigans in my suitcase. Warmth without weight. I don’t pack a bulky dress or tops same reason.
I aim for 3 shoes- for a warm cruise I wear loafers, pack flat flip flops and a thin light dressy sandal. Nothing bulky. If we are doing a lot of shore excursions a thin light canvas sneaker as well. For Alaska weather, I pack loafers and wear sturdy heavy leather runners and in Alaska we often skip formal nights which eliminates my dress and shoes (Dh rents a tux on board). Dh wears Skechers, they are light but sturdy so they’re ideal for his alternate pair.
For coats I have some collapsible windbreakers for us that fold up to almost nothing. We just bought some down jackets that squeeze into a small pouch for our next Alaskan cruise in ‘22 I get laundry done once or twice per trip and I don’t care about wearing something over & over. I do fine on 2 bras, 4 panties and 4-6 socks depending on warm or cool weather cruises (plus what I am wearing). I don’t wear pjs. I wash my underwear myself but get socks, tops and pants done for us.
Scarves are a must even in the tropics for air conditioning. I always wear a cashmere shawl scarf onto the plane and if I get chilly on the cruise it’s come in so handy.
It takes time and practice. I got this way by using my packing list on my iPhone in notes. I kept track of what I used and most important what I didn’t. I learnt what works for us. Everyone is different.
Where does she say it is to fit into a carryon ?
If anyone else wants one of those squashy puffer down jackets that cram into a pouch to save space packing— Costco Canada has them in store and online right now. We just had this conversation a week ago discussing winter packing and George and I got them for $55 plus tax ?? Total $133 with taxes online. (After which effort we found them in our local Costco for $50). We were able to check the size in the store though and thankfully the ones that are coming will fit.
I adore that she starts by putting a pair of pants into the row that says “four tops”. Break the rules ;-)
Kate Malatt says
Hi, I like the color scheme. I would substitute 1 denim lightweight jeans for 1 of the light colored pants as they don’t show the dirt of travel as much.
The whole look is very casual I would add a linen shirt for a more dressy occasion such as shopping or an art gallery and take out some of the tops? I would do occasional hand washing/drip dry instead of packing a top for every day.
solitaire spider says
The medium and smaller ones or the long tube style work best for me. I bought an envelope style shirt and pant thing for pants and dh’s shirts and a dress for me.