I've had the title on the draft of this post for about two weeks but haven't added another word. Truly, is packing fun? I like the idea of getting outfits together, but I would have been much happier in an era when trunks were used and one could bring everything and more.
I know this isn't practical in today's world (or at least in my world). I made the mistake years ago of traveling to England with a very large, heavy suitcase (before the advent of wheeled luggage) and couldn't find a porter late at night in a train station. Lugging that case by myself was a lesson learned. Well, not really. I just learned to buy luggage with wheels -- not to pack any lighter or bring any less.
Note: This is NOT a how-to for packing. In fact, if you wish to use it that way, just take everything I write and do the opposite.
Back to the problem at hand: I need to get together clothes and accessories for our trip to Vegas to attend the Blog Expo. Ann and Sheila laugh at my choices when we travel. The last time we traveled together was for a three-day get-away to Sheila's parents' summer home with the mission of creating this blog. That meant a lot of sitting around in comfy clothes, but we also talked about going out in the evening, and perhaps going to the country club for swimming, etc., etc. When the girls came to my room and saw the 7 (or was it 10?) pairs of shoes lined up, I got a lot of good-natured ribbing. I'm hoping to do a better job this time of narrowing the choices.
Like most people, I start by thinking about what we'll be doing during our trip. The girls and I chatted -- we'll be attending conference sessions, but also going out in the evening to the Vegas strip and perhaps attending an Expo party or two. I write out a list of the days and the events like this:
Saturday a.m. Driving to Vegas
p.m. Vegas night out
Sunday a.m. Conference sessions
p.m. Opening party
and so on..
You get the picture...
The Vegas stripAlso, I check the weather. The weather in Vegas is chilly by our standards so I reviewed my available options for outerwear -- mostly leather jackets in my closet with the warmest one being a fox fur-collared, blingy black Harley jacket -- not exactly the right choice for this trip. The solution presented itself when my brother and his wife came to our house for New Year's Eve dinner. Marianne has exquisite taste in clothing, invests wisely in good classic pieces, and has a wardrobe of coats and jackets to die for. As I explained what I needed, we both took a look at the jacket she was wearing, and the dilemma was solved. Talk about giving you the shirt (coat) off her back. She traded her coat for a heavy sweater to wear home that night. I got the best deal (although my brother was very careful to remind me that the coat was just a loan): a beautiful black cashmere St. John's pea coat with shiny gold anchor buttons. Since I had already decided most of my clothing choices would be black, camel, and gold, this coat was definitely a perfect addition.
Now this is where I get a little weird (or maybe I'm normal and there are others out there like me -- please let me know if you're out there, okay?). I keep a notebook of possible outfits that are currently in my closet and I re-do this seasonally. As soon as I purchase a major clothing item, I jot it down in "the notebook" and the first time I wear it (and sometimes even before), I list the entire outfit I've put together - jewelry, shoes, scarf, purse, and so on. Each outfit gets an assigned number, so when I create a packing list for a trip, it ends up looking like this:
Saturday a.m. drive: #75 or #93
p.m. Vegas night out: #20
A page from "the notebook"Back to the packing list. I have 8 possibilities for wardrobe changes - two for each day since we're doing the conference and then some nighttime activity -- along with sleepwear, lounge wear, and exercise clothes (seriously? will I use them?).
At this point, I lay out the possible outfits on my bedroom floor and place the appropriate accessories with each. I usually over-do it at this time, and have about twice as many outfits as I'll need. I like options. I'm going to guess that this is where most people pare down the options. I'm not so good at that. Sometimes they all make it into the suitcase(s) because I just can't make a decision today as to what I'll want to wear two days from now. I try the outfits on, complete with accessories. If the outfit looks right, feels good, fits in with the chosen color scheme, and there's a time/place to wear it, it's a go. It only gets confusing if there are more outfits that fit all criteria than there are times to wear them.
Here are some pictures of the work in progress. After I tried outfits on, I found that I needed to move some accessories around as well as add some and delete others.
Here is what I will be packing:
- 1 coat
- 4 blazers
- 5 sweaters
- 5 shirts or camisoles
- 8 black jeans
- 1 leopard print pant
- 5 shoes/boots
- 4 watches
- 5 scarves (plus a few extra just in case)
- 3 hats
- 2 (only 2!!! I'm really proud of this) purses
- 3 sunglasses
- too many bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings to count
One of the smarter things that I do when I pack is to use the jewelry bags one gets at Chico's or White House Black Market to package the accessories together that go with a particular outfit. When I'm ready to put on Outfit #7, I just pull the bag of accessories for that outfit and I'm all set.
Join me on Monday to see some pictures of Ann, Sheila, and me at the conference. Hope I've remembered to pack everything I need. We'll see..