March 21, 2022
She finally realized that nobody pays much attention to what she wears… So long as she is appropriately covered, doesn’t smell terrible, and isn’t decked out in something garish or deliberately conspicuous, it really doesn’t seem to matter!
So how does this empower her? Now she is wearing her favorite clothes more often. She’s packing less and is comfortable repeating garments or entire outfits during a trip. She cares more about HER feelings in her clothes than about the reactions of the rest of the world…
So taking a long weekend away in March isn’t nearly as intimidating as it once was.
The weather? Could be toasty, could be cool.
Once upon an insecure time, she could have used this as an excuse to pack everything she could fit into 2 suitcases, just in case!
But now, she looks at what weather is likely (in this case, warm!), and she plans for most of her wardrobe to reflect that. She makes sure she has just enough cool-weather stuff with her to be able to function…
Her corduroy pants aren’t bulky or stiff; her linen shirt is just as useful under a sweater as it is worn over a sleeveless top; her green sweater can be worn without anything under it…
Editorial detour – I’m starting to be REALLY methodical in my thinking about Six-Packs, and the 9 garments that make up one of these travel capsule wardrobes; this is my draft of a template:
The weather forecast at her destination IS suggesting a beautiful summery weekend, but it’s cool where she is right now, and she’s never 100% comfortable putting her faith in the weather prognosticators!
So she packs a warm sweater, some very light linen pieces, a shirt that can go over or under, and her favorite dress!
How does this look in our “work in progress” template?
All of the clothing and accessories that she will have with her seem quite coherent; the 3 different shades of blue and green tops don’t bother her too much, because she doesn’t need to wear any of them together!
Just to be sure – as a true reader of The Vivienne Files will do – she checks her possible outfits:
When she meets up with her travel companions, she knows that she will have BY FAR the smallest bag. She loves that feeling of being able to wrangle things on her own!
I recently bought this bag (it’s not even here yet!); I envision using it for 6-Packs!
p.s. Eight years ago, I was doing guest posts for A Femme d’Un Certain Age while she wrote a book… The post was “Packing for Paris – Black, White and Clouds…” It’s still a pretty efficient travel wardrobe, and hasn’t gone out of style!
Ardyth Eisenberg says
Amen to this post!
Chris in Indy says
Hmmmm… I was looking at a similar bag myself…I sort of hate having to lift my rolling bag into the overhead. I had to gate check my carryon recently due to a very full flight and that’s annoying too. I am a light packer (thanks VF!!!) so it’s a challenge to go even smaller!!
I love this color story. I feel like some proper outerwear is called for suing our transitional seasons. A packable raincoat/ windbreaker at least. Laying is a thing – as you’ve taught us’!
I love the light blue and green. Shocker! That’s what I have in my own closet! Yep, switching out of red and purple. I also appreciate having a variety of colors, but still packing light. After two trips of packing purple/black/white, and becoming very bored with wearing the same color during the trip, this makes much more sense to me. Maybe I was trying to pack TOO LIGHT? Is there such a thing? Taking a road trip this summer, so I’ll have to keep this in mind!
I adore the color of the green shirt, even though the style is a bit voluminous for me. I hope we will see that color of green show up everywhere this spring.
The capsule colors are marvelous and the blueprint for light packing is always brilliant.
I have that roller bag and it is perfect. It fits under most seats (except aisle seats on very small planes).
As a petite small, I can easily fit 6 shirts, 3 pants, 2 sweaters, shoes, socks/unders, and my toiletries bag.
My bugbear for packing light are my shoes – UK size 10s – which is one of the reasons for my propensity towards hiking sandals.
Looking at how the green shirt was utilised in this, I would switch it out for a linen cardigan and swap it’s place with the green sweater seeing as I would be willing to wear that as a top. The brown button front would be easily subbed with a pullover tunic in the same material and pattern, just no buttons.
I think that it would be possible to use a light grey instead of the blue bits and not loose the effect. I’ve been wearing grey and brown (of varying shades) together a lot recently.
erica c. says
I also have this bag from a trip to Maine last June and you’re right, Kim, it IS perfect. I plan to use it on our trip to Cancun this June. We recently plan on a move in the future and the house (a Cape Cod) will be in these beachy colors so I absolutely adore this color scheme. It reminds me of home :)
Enjoyed these options. I do not own brown so I would need to switch to navy but could easily wear everything else. I will try your “lighter” packing idea. If you don’t have it, you can’t wear it. When I travel by train, my stop is always the one where you need assistance to get down to the platform. A lighter, smaller bag would be perfect. Thanks for the wonderful and applicable ideas.
I’ve thought long and hard about bags for a 10 day upcoming trip to Italy, as I’m hoping to get everything into a carryon! I decided I needed not only wheels but also something that could convert to a backpack. I learned on the last trip to London that getting a densely packed roller up long flights of stairs is pretty difficult. Got a convertible one at Rick Steves. Fingers crossed.
I really love these colors and how you’ve blended several together in such a pleasing way. They aren’t “my” colors, as I look better in high contrast and bright, bold, clear ones, vut you’ve given me inspiration for my 4 day trip to a mountain conference next month. I love these travel wardrobes and seeing how they can work. Oh, and I LOVE that neckerchief!
I adore this one. The colors used are so exciting, and make this wardrobe seem much, much larger than just nine pieces. The variety gives plenty of options for changing temperatures, too. Such a small thing, but the little white bag will make the evening feel extra special, and again the wardrobe seems so much larger than it is. I think I would trade out both pairs of brown shoes for just one pair that would serve for all my brown shoe needs.
What a great template! I’ll have to use it next time I travel, it looks like you could travel for a week with those clothes. A template like that forces you to be ruthless in your packing, which is a good thing in my book.
I am loving this, though for me, the white bottoms would have to be a stone or a very light tan color. My dilemma is always in which level or layer to emphasize color. My choice might be to keep colors in the tops and stick to neutral toppers , one dark and one light , so that I bore less easily in seeing the same color as the outermost layer the most number of times of wear. Or I might throw caution to the wind and have two neutral toppers and one colored one . It ‘s an excess of pieces to pack, but I like lots of options as I am a mood dresser . As always, I am delighting in seeing your template , as it always is so clarifying for me !
Typo in name —it’s supposed to be Shrebee, but I hit Send too soon !
Thank you for showing some brown things! I am encouraged that I can actually find some things to work for the brown in my wardrobe without having to make them all myself. I love the colors too. That small bag would be perfect if I traveled more. Although with my daughter going to college next year out of state, maybe I will be!
Sally in St Paul says
What a gorgeous color palette, and it would look fantastic on a dark brunette with blue-green eyes! I like the range of blue-green colors here.
As I am probably not alone in not ever finding white pants that work for me, I always think about what bottom piece to substitute in for that. Here, I’m thinking pants in chambray or light to medium wash jeans, depending on the expected weather. I agree with Shrebee that a light stone color (as long is stays on the neutral-to-cool undertone range) would be another good option.
The L.L.Bean color stone is perfect for a cooler, light neutral; I suspect a pair of chinos in that color may be my next pant purchase!
So excited to travel again! I’m finally leaving the Chicago area for a Covid-delayed four days in cool-weather New York, NY. Great template. The brown is very appealing. Coincidentally, I had come up with a 9-pack on my own in similar greens/light blues, but paired with gray/black plus jeans: what I have on hand (besides packing light, I’m not shopping right now). It must be the influence of all these years of reading Vivienne Files! :) Swapped out the dress for a pair of travel-friendly dressy pants. Have a lightweight, insulated, water-repellent jacket.
That is a really nice roller bag, and L.L. Bean makes good products. I’m using an Osprey woman-specific travel backpack that I’d bought for a planned trip to Ireland in spring 2020 (cancelled for obvious reasons) and never got to use.
I’m fascinated by the idea of an underseat bag, as I can’t imagine how there is space for it. On all the long-haul flights I’ve been on, that’s where my feet go! Are US plane seats structured differently to European ones?
You just have to be short! I can easily put my feet on the floor at the base of my seat, and never even REACH that space under the seat…
I got one a few years ago as I wanted to be able to access notebooks, journals and novels while on long haul flights. The bag is designed with laptop sections and multiple zippable compartments so that when the bag is flat under the seat you don’t need to move the bag, you just unzip and slip your hand in to grab what you want. It even has a separate sealed section for shoes or wet towels. It’s a wheelie bag and I got it primarily for transiting through airports with 100’s of gates… My shoulders were getting so fatigued.
I’m not ultra short at 5 foot 4″ but I find that the bag becomes a wonderful footrest. I tend to take my shoes off for long haul flights so I’m just wearing socks.
Linda P says
Hi Janice and Everyone! >smh< of course turquoise would pair with brown, I say to myself. TVF is always good for reminding me of colors in my closet that should get acquainted.
Way back when I had a backpack with wheels on it and it was the best thing for a 4 day trip involving NYC and Philly. It but the dust from too many winters in (salty) parking lots. I have bought wheeled briefcases from McKlein and they can hold up better in the winter. Plus they also come with a detachable shoulder strap if you want to carry it that way.
Beth T says
I like this first nod to warm weather. It’s beautifully sunny and warm in the UK for going without a coat during the day but still dropping to freezing at night. However, it is forecast to cool down again in a couple of weeks with rain, so I’m not putting away my cool weather clothes just yet.
The colours are lovely and dark brown makes me think of mint choc chip icecream in reverse. Like Rex and Shrebee, I would sub out the white for silver grey or taupe. The neckerchief is stunning and opens up possibilities of a pink accent colour should our heroine decide to stay a bit longer.
Certainly VF has given me confidence to wear different colour combinations. The teal/burgundy combination I wore a couple of weeks ago for afternoon tea (teal dress, burgundy biker suede jacket) was repeated this weekend in a more casual style with light teal jumper, taupe trousers, plum waterproof and burgundy shoulder bag. Friends whom I haven’t seen last year were very complimentary. I shall probably wear the teal dress and a burgundy velvet jacket for my son’s graduation. The other day, I was complimented wearing a pale lilac cardigan/jacket over soft slate blue tee and blue teal trousers. Simple outfits in co-ordinating colours make me happy and quietly confident.
As for the discussion of carry-on flight bags, I have never flown (long story), so my only concession would need to be if I went on holiday by train. Otherwise, I can be a bit more liberal with boot space in a car!
I am loving trying new color combos that have never occurred to me in the past, such as your burgundy and teal combo. On Sunday I wore tan pants with a yellow top and teal blazer ( think standing up for Ukraine here) with a scarf that combined the colors. That particular combination is a new one for me . Burgundy with yellow is another one . I have to be a bit careful to not go too high in color contrast, and keep everything a bit muted because of my own coloring . I feel that I have been so limited in the past by not trying different color combinations ! So many new outfits are now possible with that simple new concept but with using the very same garments and not having to buy anything new !
I also like your observation of the warm color in the scarf to add an accent so as to vary the color scheme a bit — good eye !
Hmm, Your LL Bean bag appears to qualify as a personal size piece (not to be mistaken for a carry on). I flew O’Hare to Tampa and O’Hare to Miami this winter with only a personal size. I flew Spirit Airlines, round trip, non-stop for around $57 per trip. You only get the one bag for that price, not even a handbag, but with carefully chosen/packed pieces it can be done.
Great wardrobe, for myself the brown is a hard no so would replace with navy and would rethink the accent colours. As a dark brunette with blue green eyes and fair cool skin these most decidedly don’t work for me but it’s the concept of the six pack wardrobe not the colour choices that intrigues. I will file this idea for another month to six weeks….we are expecting a little snow and nowhere warm enough within 400km to wear sandals! I am going to check out the colour ‘stone’ I would like another light neutral for warmer months besides white that is not beige, warm white or khaki.
The button front eyelet dress Janice featured last week in a pale lilac is on sale for 52% off….
This is really beautiful. Janice, would you do a very casual version of this with a more minty green, light aqua blue, light lemon and white? Maybe show accessories and nightwear, then a second article showing how to make it a whatever’s clean 13? That would be super helpful…thank you! I really feel like you are helping me winnow out the not working pieces with these smaller capsules…and am very grateful.
While we’re discussing luggage, I’ve got to add a shoutout to Dakine bags. I’ve got one of their mediumsized backpacks & find it very well designed – the whole front face unzips, which makes it more like packing a rollaboard, but when you need to hustle up and down stairs in crowded transit stations, the “real” backpack factor saves the day every time – proper padding & adjustments make it comfy to carry. (In normal times, I’m a fairly frequent global traveller who Does Not Check Bags.).
And I love the blue & green in this wardrobe! 😊