Who out there loves packing? Let's see a show of hands!
Packing is an unfortunate but frequent necessity for those of us who travel for a living. It's always been painful but now with the airlines vampirically sucking every cent out of their passengers and charging astronmical luggage fees, it's a misery not even my fantasy harem of martini-bearing cabana boys can assuage.
Along with the cabana boys, a perhaps even more compelling fantasty has always been to have a complete travel wardrobe which always fits, has all necessities for any occasion or climate, and stays neatly packed, ready for the next expedition. This time, as I readied myself to hit the road for nine weeks running, I even tried to find a travel wardrobe I could simply purchase in one fell swoop.
And I did found exactly one such possibility, but sadly did not like enough of the styles. But I noticed something interesting --- I already owned several similar garments.
So, I started searching for capsule wardrobes, and thus found L'amour de Paris --- the blog of photographer Stacey Reeves, to be sure, but containing travel tips and a fantastic, totally wearable, chic capsule wardrobe for a short visit to Paris.
Isn't that marvelous? Be sure to visit the site; Stacey shows you how to put together the pieces to make a number of appealing outfits AND she has one other capsule wardrobe you might wish to peruse. I immediately set about assembling my own, plus-size version. Many of the items, or at least versions of them, were already in my wardrobe. Here's what I came up with (not as snazzily presented):
Chambray shirt (already had)
Sheer white blouse (bought; couldn't find a plainer one but the bling suits me)!
Breton stripe t (bought --- in fact, bought and returned 3 before I found the best fit)
Leopard print t in lieu of a sheer blouse (already had)
Boyfriend jacket (already had - mine is a stretchy material with a bit of sparkle to it)!
Black pants (leggings? Um, not on these thighs. Already had).
LBD (I had one, but this one has simpler lines. Very nice and inexpensive dress from Lands End.)
I had the boots; searched in vain for a pair of leopard print flats for my huge feet and decided to go with black flats instead; subbed a purple scarf for the black one; bought the leopard print; and added a black, white, and tan tote which will hold my purse items, scores, and tablet.
Not wishing to imagine what I might look like in "flutter shorts", assuming I could even find a pair in my size, I decided to opt instead for a pair of dark wash jeans. Nor do I have a trench coat, alas. I'm going to rainy Portland, so my purple raincoat with removable lining will have to do. Also, I carefully tried on Stacey's suggested outfits to make sure they'd look good on ME and that I would really wear them. Thumbs up.
The above wardrobe, with a couple of pairs of small earrings and a necklace or two, could easily last a couple of weeks with washing in the sink and/or judicious use of Febreze. But I'm going out for 9 weeks, not 2, and as adorbs as the above is, I needed more. I am the type of woman who might wear the same 10 or 15 items day after day, but needs a whole closet full of stuff to look at and reject first. This does not bode well for travel packing.
Further poking around the Internet ensued, and this cute and breezy beach vacation capsule showed up on OutfitPosts.com (great resource, ladies)!
I was attracted to this capsule because I already had many of the items; there are several duplicate items from the Paris capsule, it's easily modified to my needs, and just look at all the fun outfits! The color scheme for my trip is black, white, teal, purple, with a little leopard print thrown in to establish my diva cred. Here's my interpretation of the Beach Capsule:
Neutral light-colored cardigan (already had)
Neutral dark cardigan (already had)
Black capris in lieu of shorts - these have a cute tie detail at the calf and can double as workout pants (already had).
Patterned tank #1 - funky purple tie-dye tunic with a silk ruffle (already had)
Patterned tank #2 - tealish tunic (already had)
Solid purple shirt (already had)
Patterned skirt (already had)
One short dress (already had)
One maxi dress (already had)
Instead of a bunch of sandals, I added a couple of low-heeled pumps and walking shoes.
Instead of a patterned coverup, I added a sarong (which can double as a scarf) and a bathing suit (the top is cute enough to wear as a halter under a sweater). I already had all of these.
Ah! je ris de me voir si belle dans ce miroir ...
It was difficult to discipline myself on jewelry, and I'm probably taking a piece or two too much ... but they are all things I wear often, and pretty much compatible with each outfit.Plus, they don't add much weight or take up a lot of space, and they add a lot to your outfits. I skipped on the hat, watch, and extra pair of shorts.
In addition to the capsule items, I added a cocktail dress (I'll need it for the post-opera parties and the LBD isn't dressy enough), a light patterned jacket, a slinky black shirt because who can have enough black, workout clothes, a pair of sturdier sneakers for hiking, and of course, all the necessary underpinnings. It all fits, along with toiletries, makeup, travel curlers, and the like, in one full-sized and one carryon suitcase. My laptop, tablet, phone, and chargers will go in my tote, which also acts as my purse; and I'll carry my Camelback with all my scores and the other things I don't trust to checked luggage. Normally I wouldn't take the Camelback, but Portland Opera rents bikes for their artists who want them (yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, Portland Opera!), and besides, I'd like to get in some day hiking on my days off.
So there you have it: my Great Wardrobe Capsule Experiment. It was a little bit of work to assemble it all, butI made a spreadsheet at the same time so it will be easy to recreate; and I plan to keep notes on what does and doesn't work for me. I can totally see taking the Paris capsule for my frequent quick audition trips to New York, or for a symphony gig which tends to be a lot shorter than opera. And it would be easy to switch out other color items for the Beach capsule to freshen it up for other seasons. I'm looking forward to playing with it all!