So, next week, LB and I are off for eight days in Paris with my Dad. It will be fun, but knowing I have enough to keep track of with a toddler in the City of Lights, packing must be kept simple. Only things I KNOW I will wear get packed. Sure, I’d love to be the stylish femme strolling down Champs Elysses in a tulle tutu skirt, perfectly crisp oxford blouse, and strappy heels. Wait, I’m still pretending. Right, I’m back. Let’s face it, I’ll actually be the one wrangling a 2.5-year-old while trying to take in the glorious city. High fashion is not what I need for this trip. Which caused me to dump the contents of my closet on my bed and sort through to see what works with what. I had a few rules:
1) No single-use item allowed on this trip (except for one or two evening dresses for special functions).
2) Must be versatile and not too casual. Wearable playing in a park with LB or popping into a restaurant for a meal.
3) Natural fibres preferred. Paris in the summer is quite warm, so my focus is on cottons, linens, and airy blends that allow me to stay cool (and look cool).
4) Suit my schedule. My trip will include mostly playing in the park with LB, two fancy dinners, everyday meals with family and friends, plus a couple train trips to the countryside, I hope. For this reason, I want to pack mostly stylish items that can be worked into a nicer or more casual outfit as the need arises. Though there are some more casual or dressier pieces that have earned their places because they pack small or fill a need.
5) I need to remember that it is nice to have slippers or flip-flops for around the apartment and essential to have comfortable shoes for extensive walking.
As you can see, I have my work cut out for me!
I was inspired by some images on Pinterest (of course)…
Honestly, I’m a clothes horse. I could have my own movie studio wardrobe department if all the clothes at my current place and all the clothes at my parents’ house were somehow organised in a gigantic closet (it would take a large room actually). I have to give credit to 1980’s TV for that. Did you ever notice how the characters rarely worse the same thing twice? I thought that was just how people dressed. Of course, more recent years have had similar influences. Gossip Girl anyone? But there are also programs like Veronica Mars in which the main character wears her favourites time and again. I’ve been working on Closet Clearouts regularly since having my son (and earning a new curvier figure), but this is focused on a mini version of my wardrobe that is easy to bring on a trip.
There are some inspiring blog posts about capsule wardrobes and their usefulness. Like:
But to each her (or his) own. I am not focusing on all the details (like camera case or pairs of socks) in this blog posts, just the clothes and shoes. I’ll mention a few jewellery pieces, but not go into details about all the contenders just because that doesn’t take up much room so discussing a capsule jewellery selection is a blog post for another day. Here are the items that made the final cut.
Basic blue dress was second-hand shop find and a classic cut. It actually pulls double duty as a dress or a skirt (with built-in tank top attached). Here it is with just a belt (LLBean outlet $5 several years ago):
And a J.Crew lacey split-neck vest and a necklace I bought in 2008 from Elizabeth Scott:
Of course, I could wear a blue or navy dress or skirt every day and no one would notice, but that would get boring. What about black capri pants (GAP)?
Classic striped SuperDry button-down paired with the pants. The bracelet is from the Louvre Museum (circa 2000), but no longer listed as available, though they do still sell my other favourite bought-for-myself piece, a Baroque Pearl Necklace:
So, it seems all the bottoms so far are hard wardrobe workers, and most of the tops too. For a capsule wardrobe to work well when traveling, I like when I can go two to three days wearing the same skirt or jeans. Much easier in cooler months, but in summer heat daily washing is sometimes essential. Speaking of jeans…
Yet another second-hand top. What can I say, I love thrifting for clothes since it means lots of variety, not just one season’s style. Yes, elephant polo…
I found this top at a second-hand shop in Mission Beach about 13 years ago. Still in great condition because I fold it inside-out and hand wash it while singing a lullaby.
Ok, so having confessed my love of thrifting, now I am in a new top phase of photos.
So, jeans with the right top and shoes can be dressed up or down, but what about when I need to look quite dressed up? I have a few ideas…
This classic Ralph Lauren gold herringbone skirt has a touch of elegant whimsy with the metallic touch. Another thrifting find.
Now, as I mentioned in the beginning, a nice dress for an evening affair would be outside a capsule wardrobe in that it doesn’t need to go with multiple other elements. These are my favourite versatile yet vibrant dresses for a summer trip or warm weather capsule wardrobe:
Then there are spare tops. You know, in case LB throws food on me or the heat is so sweltering I need two tops per day to look less sweaty. Plus a spare neutral lined chambray linen-blend skirt from Laura Ashley:
Now for non-dressy everyday dresses, these are some classics that can stand for themselves:
So, that’s what I came up with. I’m still not certain what I will pack, but I think the most photographed items will make the final cut. And the last dress here is so comfortable so that would be nice for wearing around then wearing on the plane trip home.
For shoes, I will simply pack my cream GAP Converse-style casual sneakers and a pair of pretty ballet flats. I’d love to bring my stroppy wedge sandals too, but not sure they’d get much use.
What is your MUST item to bring on a trip?