This is all I’m taking with me.
I’m going to sound incredibly neurotic but I ended up spending about 3 months coming up with this packing list, as I attempted to reconcile the pros and cons of packing lightly. Apart from running the risk of overpacking, one of my more major concerns involves not packing enough or underestimating the weather – to the point where I’d have to buy clothes to purely compensate.
Also, the more I travel, the more I’ve become appreciative of travelling light.
My husband and I are very independent travellers; we walk to our destination wherever possible or use the subway as an alternative. We rarely ever catch cabs or chauffeured vehicles whilst on holiday, unless, say, we need to be at an airport at 3am. I remember coming home from my month-long European honeymoon with the palms of my hands covered in blisters because I lugged my 20kg suitcase through five different cobblestoned countries. Lesson learnt!
So for America, here’s what I’m packing:
6 tops (including a sweater)
4 bottoms (1 x shorts; 3 pants)
1 dress (with long sleeves for practical reasons) and 1 playsuit
4 jackets (including a cardigan)
3 pairs of shoes (ballet flats, ankle boots, wedge sneakers. I would have loved to bring heels but I sadly won’t wear them as much (nor will they be practical enough) – especially as I’m planning to catch public transport/walk everywhere.
3 handbags (not including my medium coral YSL BDJ clutch as it will double as my ‘wallet’).
There are a couple of items that aren’t shown above (a Maurie & Eve silk shirt and a Cameo playsuit) in addition to a pair of black woollen tights that will serve to winter-fy my skimpy Lover shorts.
It’s really not much at all for a 3-4 week trip, and admittedly, I panicked a little after putting together this layout. To help visualise how my packing list will come together on holiday, I’ve created a few different outfits using the tops (only). My ‘strategy’ is to basically ensure that I’ve one weeks’ worth of outfits already in my suitcase, as I’ll no doubt be replenishing the emptiness of my luggage with purchases I’ll make along the way.
I always find it mind boggling how my husband packs much less than I do (and spends waaaaaaaay less time thinking about it) yet still manages to breeze through a long holiday wearing the same things day in, day out – and without buying a single thing by the end of the trip. Men really are from Mars, aren’t they?
One of the easiest ways I’ve found in helping me pack for month-long holidays is to choose one item I would like to take with me and start scrapbooking outfits from various fashion blogs, Pinterest and style websites.
I’ve decided to bring a faux fur jacket with me in favour of a wool car coat which I hope will see me through three-ish weeks of temperatures that range from 2 degrees celsius in Vancouver to a balmy top of 29 degrees in Vegas (I doubt the fur will make much of an appearance in the middle of a desert but you can never be too prepared, right?).
It’s going to be pretty chilly for the majority of my trip, though, so I’m focusing more on winter-based outfits. I plan to pair my faux fur jacket with:
Burgundy ponte pants
Cotton jersey sweatpants
Leather shorts & silk/lace shorts with woollen tights
Printed long-sleeved dresses with tights and ankle boots
One of my readers recently asked me how versatile a faux fur jacket would be in a northern hemisphere winter if I was to compare it to a wool coat. Both are quite bulky to pack and are warm as the other but I find that if you stick to a neutral coloured fur jacket, the possibilities are endless when it comes to putting together an outfit in the morning or evening. I’d go for a light brown/beige, ivory, black, flecked grey/blue or a jewel-toned hue like ruby. Picking a go-with-everything colour in a flattering jacket shape (my pick would be a hip-length with a round neckline) means you’re more likely to never run out of easy-peasy and toasty holiday outfit options when the cold snap hits.
Colour palette done!
If I was to fling my wardrobe open right now, I’d find four distinct sections: softly-hued prints, blush/nudes, faithful black, lace/silk pieces in varying shades of ivory and milky white. I’ve also thrown metallic gold into my palette. I have found that I wear all these colours throughout the year so it makes sense to loosely base my wardrobe culling (and future purchases) on this colour scheme.
Fine-tuning my colour palette was the easy part, though. Below is the thought process behind my latest (and greatest) wardrobe cull.
I buy clothes that look amazing on other people, even if they may not be necessarily to my true taste. A FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), perhaps?
I hang onto items of clothing that I like, not love, or because I want them to stow away for a ‘rainy day’.
It still takes me forever and a day to pick out an outfit for work every morning. I like wearing a completely different outfit to work each day.
My style’s split personality disorder – massive issue.
What do I want out of this?
A separate work and play wardrobe.
An everyday ‘uniform’ for the office so that I don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of time figuring out an outfit to wear that’s vastly different from yesterday.
A closet full of clothes I love and wear to death, whether they be five days’ or five years’ old. I kind of want to get to that stage where I’m wearing the same thing several times a week.
Lastly, my own ‘style’ based on my personality and lifestyle. I’ve found this to be the perfect antidote to envying somebody else’s wardrobe (and style).
I removed the items that I don’t and know I won’t wear to shreds, then I literally divvied up my newly-detoxed wardrobe into two sections: ‘play’ clothes and office clothes. I’m going to try my darndest to refrain from delving into my play section when picking out an outfit for work. The plan here is to not only lessen the amount of clothes to choose from each morning, but to also gently encourage myself to develop a no-thought-required uniform for the office. And, eventually, I’ll get over my fear of wearing essentially the same (or similar) outfit to work each day.
To answer a question I was asked earlier today, this is what goes through my mind when wardrobe culling (for argument’s sake, let’s say I’m talking about a pair of pants):
Do I have too many pants? If yes – cull. Do I wear this often (i.e. once or twice a fortnight)? If no – cull. Do I have many other pants that are similar in colour and cut to these? If yes – cull. Do these pants actually fit me or are they too big/too small for me (and be honest with yourself!)? If they’re ill-fitting (and if you can’t get them altered) – cull them. I’ll also quickly try on the pants and if my immediate gut instinct is a ‘nay’ as soon as I look into the mirror, the pants go into the cull pile.
So, where to now?
Sticking to my colour palette
Coming up with a ‘uniform’ for work (I’ll do a separate post to elaborate on this)
Keep tabs on my style schizophrenia
Less mindless spending, duh!