the 15 piece travel wardrobe

3 week Europe travel wardrobe

Putting together this 3 week, 15 piece travel wardrobe has been a real challenge, not so much for the length of the trip (our longest yet), but for the variety of both weather and activities on the slate. Our first stop, Amsterdam, is likely to be cool and wet, at least for the first few days. Bordeaux has good odds of being sunny and warm. London and Paris are anyone’s guess at this point. I’ve gone back and forth, but ultimately I decided to Go With What Works™ based on past travel wardrobes. Yes, that means lots of black (and some navy).

I am changing a couple of things up, though.

  • Luggage: I still recommend the Lipault spinner bag, but I’m trying out a new carry-on spinner suitcase, one with firmer sides and a bit more capacity. Last year when I compared and chose the Lipault over the Briggs & Riley spinner, the B&R was decidedly a heavier bag, though I loved the design and features. B&R has re-designed the bag (mostly exterior details from what I can determine); it’s now about 1 lb. lighter than the one I wrote about, and only about 1 lb. difference from the Lipault, a reasonable tradeoff for the extra space. Which I may need because…
  • Usually I don’t plan to purchase clothing while traveling to wear on the trip, but rather than pack sandals (a 4th pair of shoes) that I may or may not need once there, I’ll purchase along the way if needed. (I love European footwear, and sandals will always be used back home.)
  • I’m allowing myself to pack a few more pieces than usual.
  • Shopping happens. 😉

As with past wardrobes, I’ve selected mostly simple and lightweight pieces that can dress up or down, and will layer easily as needed. I’ve used scarves for color.

So let’s get to it…here’s the core. I gave myself an allotment of 15 pieces, not including accessories, shoes, underpinnings and outerwear. You can click on each item listed below for links. Some of the pieces here are from past years, so are not currently available; in those instances I’ve tried to link to something similar.

15 piece travel wardrobe







*Decided this one was redundant, will look for something along the way in a different color.

I know some don’t like to travel with jeans, but they are my go-to’s at home and I’ve never regretted bringing them. In addition to being easy to style, they can be worn several times in between laundering. Nothing I’ve packed needs to be ironed. Most of the tops can be hand washed and hung to dry. All of these pieces fit into the framework of a “long over lean” silhouette which makes it easy to put outfits together.


travel outerwear and bags
That leather jacket looks teal in this photo, but is actually a soft navy.



What didn’t make the cut:

  • Short sleeved tees. I always pack them, almost never wear them. The lightweight collared shirts are just as comfortable and more versatile, as well as looking just a bit more polished.
  • Skirts or dresses. I’ve found they complicate the equation. Using the concept of “Tabletop Dressing” I can utilize the black pants with one of the dressier tops and jacket if needed.
  • Lots of sweaters. I tend to overpack sweaters, which can be bulky and heavy. Both of these selections can be hand washed if needed.
  • Lots of jewelry. I’ve packed a few earrings, a couple of necklaces and bracelets. I’ve found that a few pieces are all I need.

You can see more of my travel wardrobe suggestions on my SHOP page. I’ll do my best to post outfits daily during our trip. Tomorrow I’ll show you how I pack toiletries, medications and makeup.

When you pack for long trips, do you have a strategy for maximizing your options?

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soft summer jacket

This post (like my attention) is all over the place. It’s been a busy weekend chez nous. We’re doing our last bits of travel prep (check back Tuesday for my final travel wardrobe) getting haircuts (I’ll show you mine in a couple of days once it’s “settled”….le Monsieur just said I look like “The Fifth Beatle”), getting everything squared away at home, and dealing with accusatory stares from the dogs. Compounding (and confounding) weekend plans, we’d scheduled a caregiver for jeune homme for a few hours today and he was called out of town, putting us back on tag team duty and unable to get out of the house for any substantial amount of time. If plans hold he’ll be here tomorrow, freeing us up to take care of errands in the outside world. I’m SO grateful for this additional day before we go back to work Tuesday.

Of course, as soon as I stop searching for lightweight spring/summer jackets, they suddenly appear, at least online. The J.Crew deconstructed jacket (above) looks promising; sadly none of our local stores have received it yet. I’ve been disappointed with the spring/summer versions of the Regent blazer so far, which in my opinion have been very heavy and stiff. With any luck, this one will be lighter and softer.

seersucker blazer
Ann Taylor

If you prefer something a little more tailored, this seersucker blazer from Ann Taylor might be worth a look. As of now, it’s 40% off with code SHOP40.

Now that my feet have thrown down a NO HEELS mandate*, I’ve been on the lookout for Flats With Attitude™.

tapered toe loafers

These loafers from Everlane look sharp and punch well above their weight. They run a little narrow, so I went up half a size, and wore around the house with socks to stretch out. Mission accomplished! The leather on these is superb, and the construction top-notch.

Memorial Day

Finally and most importantly, even though I am a pacifist, I hold in the utmost respect those who have served and sacrificed for their country. On this and every Memorial Day, those who paid the ultimate price deserve our thanks and remembrance. And let’s hold out hope that we can find our way to a world without war.

What’s on your mind as we turn the corner toward Summer?

Linked up: Shoe And Tell

*I can still cajole them to accept a low-ish heel on occasion.
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something new in beauty

posted in: La Beauté, Maquillage | 12
Lancome foundation
Lancôme “Miracle Cushion” Compact

Have you seen or tried this new foundation option from Lancôme? Apparently “cushion compact” foundations are all the rage in Korea and Japan, and this is the first version I’ve seen available here.

I tried this yesterday, and found that:

  • it goes on sheer but is build-able
  • it feels very soothing and moisturizing and gives a luminous, dewy finish.
  • it evens out skin tone and minimizes redness
  • I didn’t find that it settled in pores or lines at all.

This is a nice portable option you can carry with you for touch-ups, and one that I think would travel well. I wish it had some SPF. I’ve read reviews that indicate you don’t get a lot of product, but you can purchase refills rather than the whole compact each time. Here’s Lisa Eldridge doing her thing:

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Nordstrom half-yearly sale

Eileen Fisher tunic
Eileen Fisher

So the Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale is on, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point our a few pieces that are worth a second look. With big sales, I usually start by seeing what pieces from Eileen Fisher are marked down. There are quite a few, and some good styles, but be prepared: many are already sold out in some sizes and colors. The linen tunic above still has several colors and sizes available.

EF silk tunic plus
Eileen Fisher

Still available in Plus sizes, this silk tunic is one of the pieces I’ll be packing for our Europe trip.

Eileen Fisher scarf
Eileen Fisher

I’ve seen this scarf in person and it’s really lovely. I’m tempted to snap up this one myself.

comfortable walking sandals

These ECCO sandals are similar to the ones I took to Hong Kong and Thailand last year, and would be great for summer travel. Other ECCO styles on sale here.

NYDJ colored jeans
NYDJ – Love this color!

There are lots of NYDJ styles included in the sale, including my current favorite, the “Clarissa” ankle jean in several colors.

Popular items do seem to be selling out fast, so my advice would be not to hesitate if you find something you like.
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your new summer pants

posted in: Pants, Shirts, Shopping, Tops | 15
J.Crew slim pants
J. Crew “Martie” pants

If you’re looking for a pair of slim, lightweight, flattering summer pants for the office, going out or travel, these “Martie” pants from J.Crew should be on your radar. Tried them on yesterday and they came home with me in Navy, though I’m thinking about going back for the color above (“Aztec Rust”). Machine washable too.

ikat top
J.Crew Ikat Shirt

I was hoping they’d have this ikat popover shirt in the store, but it wasn’t in stock yet. This one definitely has possibilities.

Both of these styles are available in Regular, Petite and Tall online.
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