June 6, 2022
Iceland, and Packing in a Different Way
She knows her color palette, she KNOWS she’s going somewhere relatively cool, and she knows what she wants to wear on the plane…
Is that enough?
She understands that she’s going to be wearing her travel outfit for quite a while on her actual travel day, and she plans to wear all 3 garments frequently while she’s there…
So she thinks… what additional garment – just ONE thing – would she bring with her for a cool place and lots of sightseeing?
There’s a BIG advantage to packing this way – she remembers immediately that she wants to bring her labradorite earrings, so she grabs them and puts them in her little jewelry bag. And she digs her green socks out of the drawer and tosses them into her suitcase!
Now, she has 2 outfits…
She knows that her plans include being out in the countryside, visiting geysers and hot pools and such marvels of nature. To her, that suggests both jeans and waterproof shoes; she’s going to be brave and choose sneakers rather than hiking shoes:
Rarely can you make a good case for wearing warm sweaters in June, but this is the trip for them! She loves her bright colors, and her scarves…
She quickly remembers that she can get more mileage from her marigold sweater if she packs her gold printed shirt too – a day or two of the sweater over the shirt, and then a day or 2 of the sweater on its own…
Don’t forget the citrine earrings!
A cardigan is another sweater that’s wildly versatile – worn over things, and then worn buttoned-up on its own. She tosses in a simple black tee shirt to wear under her cardigan; it’s such a basic garment that it almost doesn’t count as a piece of clothing!
And OH YEAH – she’s going to need a smaller handbag!
Even though this is a casual vacation – she KNOWS that she’s going to find the best food available and have a lovely dinner. It’s one of her favorite things to do while traveling…
So when she packs her all-purpose skirt, she remembers to grab another pair of pretty earrings, and some dressy shoes. Tights too…
Now she swings to the other direction, and decides to pack her favorite flannel shirt. It goes beautifully with gold and with berry, and can be worn under, or over, or alone…
She feels like she’s finished, but those of us who live in black will understand this – just ONE MORE TOP… and a nifty bandana!
While it’s not technically part of her “travel capsule wardrobe,” she would be nuts not to remember her swimsuit – hot springs abound in Iceland! And a pair of shorts is never a bad idea. Waterproof sandals, too…
This is what she will have with her – wearing while on the road, or packed in her bag.
She already knows that she has quite a few outfits available, but she pauses to find just a few more possibilities…
It’s almost the complete opposite of packing “1 outfit at a time,” but it seems to work well for this heroine.
How do you pack? I admit to sticking with 5-piece clusters; although I haven’t packed AT ALL for 18 months!
p.s. Eight years ago, one of my favorite questions every – I want an Hermes scarf in black and white – HOW TO CHOOSE??? I still like my suggested plan…
I love the variety of colour options here and how you explain the process, step by step. Iceland currently has about three and a half hours of darkness each night so I would definitely pack an eye mask for sleeping and sunglasses.
I’ve been to that beautiful country – it’s wonderful there! Today’s heroine might consider leaving some room in her suitcase in case she wants to buy some Icelandic woollen goods.
Just saw a ton of photographs from a friend’s visit there and it looked AMAZING… And someone else asked about the same destination, the same week! Synchronicity…
One of the many nice aspects of travelling there is that the vast majority of the citizens speaks very good English.
Such a lovely wardrobe! I used your blog as a guide when my husband and I went to Iceland for our son’s wedding a few years back. I packed 2 tunics, 2 fleece lined leggings, my “Irish fisherman’s “ sweater, 2 thermal shirts that could be under layers if needed, 4 tank tops, 3 scarves, 2 jeans, assorted hiking socks, 2 swimsuits, gloves and hats and hiking boots. Since we were going for a wedding I also needed a dress and shoes. The kids were married on a cliff overlooking the Greenland Sea with a frozen waterfall on the other side. I never wore my heels. I danced my mother-son dance in my hiking boots! I ended up with 21 total pieces in my bag. Everything fit in my carryon. But I will admit I spent 3 weeks sorting and planning and packing my and my DH’s suitcases to get it right.
The Vivienne Files were crucial to helping me get it right I was so proud that we made it with carryon only, but I shouldn’t have bragged. My son and new daughter in law had us take 2 bags of theirs home with us
Iceland is very beautiful but rugged so doubt if she wears her skirt, but may need another tee as the weather can change to warm (it reached 28f) and cold in the same day so yes to the layers.
I thought the same about an added tee shirt or lightweight shirt. The countryside is rugged but I travelled there with only skirts and had no problems. I was in Reykjavik most of the time but we did tour the Golden Horseshoe and get out at many stops for geysers, waterfalls, etc. I was there in early December (many years ago). One of my favourite memories was stopping on the side of a road to watch Icelandic horses in the nearby field. It was marvellous!
All this color just speaks to my soul. I keep thinking I’m going to add more neutrals, and go “softer” (now that I’m gray), and to some extent I’ve succeeded, but then this spring I turned around and added pieces in bright yellow that I just adore. oh well. This is just wonderful. When I pack I work around a capsule I can mix and match. There’s a little kink for this summer’s trip in that we will be going more north than we usually do, and taking a boat tour, which they’ve already mentioned will be on the chillier side – so I’ll be packing mostly warm weather things, but having to add at least one cold weather outfit for one afternoon. On the water, looking at glaciers. The good news is it’s a car trip, so we aren’t limited to one carry on. Hope you are feeling better. Thank you for a wonderful way to start my work week. Only two weeks to go and we are out for summer. woohoo!
Sandy b says
Interesting approach. Interesting situation. Iceland. Wish I was going. I do believe that this set of colors and the clothes would work with any darker neutral. Navy, grey, maybe camel.
Sandy b says
Also, very interesting artwork.
Do you see a hint of the Eiffel Tower in there?
Definitely – that was somewhere in the back of my cluttered mind!
Definitely see the Eiffel Tower!! Perfect!!
I’m boiling in Naples at the moment so Iceland sounds divine! Lol
This is the umpteenth trip to hot weather where I realized I really only needed two dresses to wear on alternate days. Maybe someday I’ll work up my courage and actually do that. I like to pack mix & match two outfits, a dress and an airplane outfit of my favorite clothes for a week.
I try really hard not to throw something in ‘just in case’ or anything ‘wishful’ like ‘I’ve had this forever maybe I’ll wear it on vacation.’
LOVE the color palette! And interesting way to pack. I’m getting better at packing what I really need and not all the “what ifs”. Just got back from a trip to Seattle involving a semi-formal wedding and a log cabin… managed it easily in a carry-on. It was delightful but came home with COVID. Stay protected, people! Should have worn a mask.
Beatriz Maria says
After some years reading your files and trying to doing my travels more lights just today after readed this one Delaunay I can realize that I can do it with only my carry- on .
Love every item exposed .
Thanks a lot Mrs Vivienne
I love dreaming about going to the wonderful places you suggest. Would you please give us a complete example of what you pack using the 5 piece capsules? Is it more than one capsule? Thank you! I hope you are feeling well again.
I don’t know where that “profile” picture came from- it certainly isn’t me! Lol!
Beth T says
So many options…. I like to pack more than one accent colour, so this is a helpful guide. Navy or grey would be my neutrals but equally, I would be happy to dress in top to toe in accent shades of purple or burgundy or green. I like to have variety, even on a short trip. The furthest north I might go would be Scotland.
Iceland’s weather is impacted somewhat by the Gulf Stream so it is actually milder there than its name implies. I joke that the Vikings quickly learned a bit about marketing in the first millennium. They found Iceland first and named it, based on seeing ice in the harbour. They struggled to convince people back in Northern Europe to join them in Iceland; people said it would be too cold there. Then, they sailed west and named the new land “Greenland” (which is colder than Iceland)! They quickly learned the power of a name. ;-)
Sally in St Paul says
This is a fun packing capsule with its several clashing accent colors! Grounding everything in black makes it work though.
Love this! I have a question though. I have avoided button up shirts for years because of my broad shoulders but finally got a linen blend one that fits. It is great to layer over a tee but how to layer it under a sweater? I cannot get my cardigans over it. I have a pullover that is looser that I can get over it but it looks so bulky. Any tips???
Not really – sometimes you find the miracle shirt that works both ways, and sometimes you have “over” shirts and “under” shirts. I have good luck with Lands’ End petite sized shirts – the sleeves are a better length than regular sizing, and they have plenty of room in the balcony for the crowds that flock to my torso… ahem…
Thank you! That makes me feel better. I also found a sleeveless linen blend button up in a cheery pink that layers with everything. That can be my under!
I was in Iceland a year ago in August. What I remember most besides the incredible landscape was the wind. Some serious head cover an ear protection would be really useful for our heroine. Love the colors. Could’ve use this plan when I went last year. I used pinks and purples with black. Glad you’re back with us Janice and hope you’re feeling better.
Betsy Chapman says
I love your blog and it has helped me enormously rein in my buying and reduce the number of colors to just what I love.
Several years ago I enjoyed a great week in Iceland. I wore merino or cashmere layers and slept in long johns. Not only is the weather cold, the hotel was also. It rains often and the wind is something else. For example the wind chill over the next two weeks is between 45 – 55 degrees Celsius.
It was great to have my waterproof hiking shoes for walking around the city and out in the countryside. A raincoat and down sweater was something I wore most days and they say the purpose of umbrellas is to amuse the locals! There are lots of fun things to see and do.
I’m cruising Alaska in July. This is VERY similar to how I’ve been packing. Alaska can go from wet and freezing to hot sunshine.
I started with one of your stress dressing mini capsules. I always start there whether it’s a seasonal capsule or a travel capsule.
My 6 items are 1 grey lightweight cardigan, 2 grey pants, a white cotton tank, white cotton T-shirt and white sleeveless cotton eyelet blouse.
4 accessories; Black leather loafers & black leather purse. A grey silk print scarf & big “pearl” stud earrings. That’s the stress dressing core of my summer capsule.
From that core I began to bend it for Alaska- I have hot weather covered now.
I rarely wear navy on cruises- I leave that for the crew. So my usual cruise capsule is based on black, white and grey even in hot climates. Soft grey blue and rose pink for colour accents.
I need a second pair of shoes to alternate. Black leather running shoes- great for walking on rough ground. They’ll get wet so my loafers are for on ship wear. My one purse is fine. All I need.
2 more pants in black. That’s 4 pair- more than enough as I use the ship laundry as needed.
My cashmere cardigan in soft blue, a blue & white scarf I love with it. The scarf is polyester and washes easily so it functions as a bib to protect my cashmere from spots.
The matching blue cashmere V neck pullover. Blue & silver teardrop earrings.
Silver hoops. Silver watch. White carved shell earrings.
My cotton lace cream short sleeve top- it’s for in between weather.
Soft cashmere blend crinkle scarf in blush pink. Thin small and warm.
A rose top in a rayon blend – thin, silky and breathable but warm. A favourite rose toned silk scarf to go with or to add colour to an all neutral outfit. Pink pearl earrings.
A heavy Grey cotton rib pullover. Deep grey pearl earrings.
Another white T-shirt cotton tank top just for more layers really.
Grey cashmere shawl scarf for extra warmth as needed.
A black down puffer jacket that folds into a stuff sack and a navy windbreaker that also folds down into a tiny pouch.
We aren’t planning to attend formal nights on this cruise but if I were- I have a silky black knit twinset with glimmers of gold lurex I can pair with dressy black pants and lacy black sandals or a cut velvet top and black silk & lace shawl. When I pack those I include my black grosgrain silk clutch that belonged to my late mother. It’s got gold trim and it’s purest 1950 chic. Love it.
Betsy Chapman says
Oh dear I meant 45 -55 degrees Fahrenheit!
Thanks for the clarification, but I think we were already on the same wavelength!
I am LOVING this post ! It has it all ! Neutrals, dark, light, warm and cool colors, patterned, solid and a variety of styles . Perfection ! Saving this one, as I have so many of your other posts !
Janice, how nice that you’re feeling better. Thank you for the pretty artwork. I needed the visual perk-up on a frustrating day following a weekend of sad news. My favorite 50s resale vendor is closing shop & following a system upgrade, my retirement account is misplaced with me locked out of reviewing it. All this to explain how very much TVF is appreciated…a spark of joy when needed.
Our heroine definitely needs some good weatherproof outer wear.
Lorrie Orr says
I love all the colour in this wardrobe. Iceland is on my list of places to visit one day. We’re planning a trip this summer, driving from Vancouver Island to the Arctic Ocean, towing our 21 foot camping trailer. Space is limited and I’m using your tried and true advice for packing capsules and layers as who knows what the weather will be like!
At first I was wondering about summer relevance, before realising that it has been quite chilly here in the UK and I’ve no idea what the weather will be like later this month when I go on my first beach holiday in years – this post is probably just as helpful as the other “swimsuit” posts I was able to find in the Files. All I am sure about is the high pink content of the wardrobe (tops, bottoms, swimwear) and some combination of brown/beige and grey/green to go with it.
Sara K says
I visited Iceland in summer a few years back. Garment-wise, this resembles quite a lot of the wardrobe I built: too flimsy, too dressy (though probably great for any other cool destination). My style is usually on the dressy side -and Iceland laughs at it. Summer is cool and winds are *really* something. Weather may change from sunny to pouring rain in an instant. Which is why local shops are full of warm & water resistant things. You’ll be buying them if you didn’t bring your own. I’d recommend packing a beanie, gloves, wind & waterproof jacket (maybe one with detachable lining) and pants, and a pair of sturdy trekking shoes.
While I had packed a “dress for a nice dinner” or “visiting art museum”-outfit, it went unworn. Locals wear their lopapeysa sweaters everywhere, and it won’t take a visitor long to see the wisdom in that. For my next visit to Iceland, I’d pack trekking gear, swimwear, lopapeysa & jeans and little else.
Ahh! So happy to see this post…Our herione went to Iceland. The array of possibilities are great in this capsule. Thanks again.
Linda P says
Hi Janice and Everyone! I love the colo(u)r palette – it reminds me of the Northern Lights, so Iceland is a most appropriate destination 😊.
When I pack I say to myself ‘wear what you love’. I’ve had enough suitcases packed with what-ifs or pieces that only coordinated with one other piece and it just takes up space.
When we went on our 10-day Alaska cruise, I went with a black-white-pink-olive green combination using the 4×4 chart. I packed black (Ponte knit) pants, white jeans, a black pencil skirt, and and black fleece leggings. Most of my tops were tunic length so they went well with the bottoms. My shoewear consisted of comfy lined waterproof high-ankle boots (grey), black flats, slippers, and forgettable slip on sneakers (so I wore my boots most of the time). We bought North Face coats that had zip in/out liners. Also packed the requisite warm waterproof gloves, ‘gaiter’ , sox of various weights, and hat. So if the 16 pieces of clothing I did not wear 1 piece, and that was a shimmery sleeveless top.
Alison M Gunn says
I’ve stayed in Iceland in every weather, including a blizzard in January. Nicest (warmest) months are summer, of course, and then you could probably get away with a skirt and those tiny little shoes, maybe, but wind is always a factor, and if you’re going outside Reykjavik, you’re going to wish you’d packed those hiking boots rather than sneakers. Late October (3rd week approx.) is when the weather really turns cold and you start to see snow on the mountains again. Any time of year you’re going to want (at some point) gloves, ear protection (hat), rain jacket/coat, and hiking boots. Only the locals manage to pull off ‘fashion,’ and theirs is somewhat unique to Nordic countries and usually means no dramatic heels and long skirts and tights cause it’s cold there most of the time, but yes, temperate with the Gulf Stream, although that’s been shifting in recent years. Best time of year for most tourists is June, July, August, but I personally prefer September and October best of all. That’s when you get the best light for photography. :-)
Okay Alison, you’re making this sound really appealing!
Hassainar Alanjery says
We love dreaming about going to the wonderful places you suggest.