It’s that time of year! SUMMER VACATION! Many of us take vacations year round, but since school is out for summer it seemed the perfect time for a post about packing. I have learned a great deal about packing for trips over the years from trial and error. I have been known to take WAY too much (I like choice!) I also have been the laughing stock of my family when it comes to loading for the airport as I always have the heaviest luggage. I usually weigh in at 48.5 pounds- thankful for my scale that weighs heavy and prepared to take something out if need be. Travel has changed in recent years. Gone are the days of taking 8 pairs of shoes and as many outfits as our suitcases would hold. My luggage is only 3 years old, yet is quite heavy before clothes. In December we went to Hawaii and I knew my ways had to change. I still over-packed. Within the last months I have helped several clients pack their trip as it is an additional service I provide. Here is short version of what I teach. While it is better done in person, I can give you some basics that will help. Bear with me, it takes a few more words to explain this one!
1. Plan outfits carefully including each accessory. Lay each outfit out on your bed to get the visual of mixing/matching. The capsule concept is the best when it comes to cutting down numbers of garments (see below) If you have choices, go for the lightest weight option.
2. Try on each outfit as you plan to wear it before you put it in the suitcase. Even if it is something you wear regularly, trying a new combination may not look just right on. Weight fluctuates. Take the time to try on to avoid disappointment and unexpected purchases (well that may not be a bad thing!)
3. Plan ways to layer and be prepared for the weather to be different than the forecast. Lightweight cardigans are the best way to add warmth quickly especially if it cools off in the evening or you’re hitting heavily air conditioned places.
4. You already know how I feel about scarves. This is the perfect thing to slip in a suitcase to cover bare arms. One of my clients was going on a European cruise. Even in June she wasn’t sure what to expect. She gets cold easily. Solution: A scarf.
My best tip is from my personal experience. LEARN TO LET GO OF THE LUXURY OF CHOICE IN YOUR CLOSET AT HOME. Simply said: You can’t take it all!
The best way to learn the concept of mixing/matching is by creating CAPSULES. This concept is one many stylists use when helping clients shop. It works beautifully for packing.
1. Choose one or more capsule colors depending on the length of your trip. When creating a capsule, you want to center around your NEUTRAL colored bottom pieces: Pants, skirts, shorts. Good color choices are black, brown, or navy. Brown capsule bottoms could be varying shades from chocolate to khaki. Black could include gray or even white. The amount of pieces in your capsule depends on if you are able to do laundry, amount of space you have and how tired you can become of wearing the same thing. A 5 or 7 piece capsule can give you up to 12 outfits depending on if you count the combinations without the jacket separately.
2. Next add tops that will go with EACH BOTTOM. I think prints add variety–your choice. Please keep in mind that I’ve chosen pictures where the pieces coordinate in color– style was not my first preference.
3. Finally add a jacket or cardigan that will go with BOTH tops and ALL bottoms.
4. If possible, ONE pair of shoes with this capsule, two at the most. It will depend on amount of walking required on trip. Obviously the Puma street sneaker shown wouldn’t work with the skirt. I also left out accessories. You’ll see more of that in another post.
My friend Leigh Anne over at Your Homebased Mom asked for a phone consultation about packing. She blogged about her outfits and took photos which I recommend to everyone. Note the multi-colored brown, black, pink, coral top with brown rosettes around the collar. I wore this one day to her house and she asked about it. It is the ultimate capsule piece as it goes with 3 neutral colors and several cardigan options. Although Leigh Anne didn’t take the photos in capsule groupings, you can get the idea of where she was going with her packing. Layout in capsule format is a visual that can help you see quickly what could be eliminated. She wanted more choices and I think she did great!
And now to “unveil” a black capsule…I’ve been experimenting with a site called Polyvore. I’m so excited as now I’ll be able to group items into outfits like magazine layouts with the links to purchase! This layout was created especially to show a capsule. As you can see, some pieces would even work with the brown capsule. Two Capsules: So many possibilities and less space taken. What do you think? Will this work for you?
$84 – nordstrom.com
More Not Your Daughter’s Jeans shorts »
$98 – anntaylor.com
More Ann Taylor pants »