Hello everyone, it’s lovely to be back! I’m home from my vacation (ten days in sunny South Beach, Miami) and, as I’m busy unpacking, I felt moved to say a word or two about the perennial packing predicament!
We’re coming up to that time of the year when all the fashion magazines do their piece about packing the capsule wardrobe for your vacation. You know the kind of thing …… how five perfectly judged pieces of clothing and a pair of espadrilles can be mixed and matched to provide you with a fabulous wardrobe for a ten day vacation. Yeah, right! Unfortunately for me that is so NOT doable.
Here’s what I took with me: 4 dresses, 2 skirts, 6 dressy tops, 7 knit tops, 2 hooded zip up velour tops, 1 lightweight rain jacket, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of cut off jeans, 6 cardigans, 2 sweatshirts, 5 pairs of shoes, assorted swimwear plus, of course, underwear, cosmetics, toiletries, hair equipment, various accessories and the clothes I travelled in.
I know that it was too much because not everything got worn. We’re told that when packing we should lay everything out on the bed then cut it in half. But here’s the problem - which is the half I really don’t need and which is the half that is absolutely essential for cutting a fashionable figure down in fabulous South Beach? Or, forgetting fashion, what do I need to keep me cool, warm, shaded from the sun, dry or whatever? Also, there is a bit of me that says, “I have all these nice clothes, a lot of which I’ve spent time and energy making myself, so I want to have them available to me while I’m away?”
I do, however, have one essential packing tip, particularly for this time of the year. Put aside an hour or so and try on every single item of clothing that you propose packing. It’s been a while since I put away my summer clothes and it’s really quite extraordinary what happens to them in the intervening period. Things that I could swear looked really lovely last year have now, mysteriously, become quite hideous. Also think in terms of outfits – try on clothes together. Have you ever arrived at your holiday destination and realised that you have plenty of clothes but nothing that works with anything else in terms of colour and proportion. I know that I have!
For anyone who wants to streamline their packing, I must pass on some words of wisdom gleaned from reading Tim Gunn’s wonderful book – A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style.
Tim suggests picking a narrative as a way of streamlining what you are going to pack; he says “If you are going for ‘Urban Sophisticate Visits the South of France’ you will not bring your ‘Hoedown Elegant’ outfits as well.” And he warns “You may be tempted by the packing theme of ‘Person Who Wears All the Things in My Closet That I Never Wear’. Resist this. If that kimono top doesn’t feel right in Berkeley, it won’t feel right in Berlin, either.” Excellent advice!
Looking at the pile of brightly coloured clothing in my suitcase I think my theme was ‘London girl, normally starved of sunshine, goes tropical crazy’.
What about you? Are you well organized, do you travel light or do you pack for all possible eventualities? What would your packing theme be and have you got any great packing tips for me?