Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Packing Light

Before our trip to Chicago, I planned out everything I was going to bring.  I only wanted to bring one suitcase for both the Cat and me, so I knew I had to make each outfit work at least double duty.  Our trip was for about 7 days. I started by writing down the main pieces that I wanted to bring.  I then took a look at my list and started editing.  What would go with what?  What pieces could I mix and match?  Right around the time I was doing this, I received an issue of Lucky in the mail.  They had one of their features on key pieces and how to mix and match them for a month's worth of outfits. 

from Lucky
It was very inspiring.  Some of the pieces were already in my closet, like the chambray shirt, the black skinnies, the black tank, the striped tee... the list goes on.  So I looked at my list with fresh eyes and was able to do some more editing.  I listed all the bottoms in one column, tops in another, and extras in a third.   It looked something like this:

But with lines all over it, connecting everything that would go together.  I did have a versatile, light weight cardigan and a black and white striped sweater that I brought on the plane, too.  I was pretty happy with the list, because it meant that I could pack lightly.  I wore the jeans, the heaviest piece, on the way there.  I wanted to cut down on the amount of shoes I would bring, too- I wanted to bring a pair of flip flops and just one other pair of shoes.  I knew the other would have to be versatile since I was mixing in navy with black and grey.  The shoes that kept coming into my mind as perfection were leopard print ballet flats.  I got that stuck in my head, and I began my search.  Madewell had some beautiful skimmers that looked like utter perfection, but they were sold out at the time and not expected back in  time for my trip.  I searched high and low, but couldn't find what I had already decided in my mind's eye to be perfect.  They would need to be comfortable- Chicago requires a lot of walking.  I wanted pony or calf hair, or a synthetic of one of those, but none of this printed onto regular fabric business or any of those patent leather print jobs.  No embellishments.  A rounded toe.  The ones I eventually found happened to be at our local Dillard's, not Nordstrom like I had been banking on.  They have a little bit of a loafer quality to them, and I LOVE them.  I treat them as a neutral and wear them with everything.  

Buy them here.

On the dock.

Because I had saved so much room in my suitcase, I was able to bring two bags- my new striped Kate Spade and a vintage navy.  I really did stick to a VERY neutral pallette- almost all blues, blacks, whites, and greys, which I know can be boring, but the leopard print on the shoes and the stacked gold on my arm kept my neutral outfits from being blah.  It ended up being so damn hot there the whole time that I never did wear my black skinnies or jeans, except for on the plane.  And all this extra room in the suitcase allowed me to bring back a couple of dresses I picked up while there.  I have gone on trips before where I bought so many clothes and shoes that I had to leave a pair of shoes behind (!) AND I had to ship clothes home.  It was a little ridiculous, but pretty fabulous too.  What can I say?  It was my first time ever visiting Zara, Topshop, Monsoon, Accessorize, and other shops that were at the time only located in Europe.  Except for maybe Zara.  That might have been in the states already.  Whatever!  The point is, this time I packed smart.  And it was pretty simple to do.  So what can you take away from this?  If you are planning a trip and have to pack lightly, make a list of the clothes you would like to/need to bring.  Go through with a careful eye and take out anything that is not absolutely necessary.  Do you really need two pairs of skinny jeans?  Originally I wanted to bring a really dark wash and a lighter wash.  I decided which was more practical for my trip (in this case, the lighter wash, but if I were planning on doing more adult activities, like dinners and drinks, I would have gone with the darker wash, since you can so easily dress them up for nighttime).  After you have chosen your items, see what will work together.  Can you pair the black top with the jeans and the shorts?  If you bring printed shorts, will you only be able to get by with wearing them once?  I wore my black shorts and grey tank one day, and then on another I wore the chambray shirt thrown over it for a new look.  Scarves added into the mix add even more variety.  I've got a couple more little vacations and getaways planned before the summer is over, and now that I have packing down, I can focus on the fun!

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