3 weeks in a carry-on: travel wardrobe planning

3 week travel wardrobe for Europe
top: core capsule | bottom: outerwear and accessories
see below for links to items

We’re now just a little over five weeks away from our departure, and I’ve begun to mentally assemble my travel wardrobe. I start this process early because a) it’s fun and b) it allows me time to make sure the pieces I’m considering are in good shape or replace any that aren’t and fill any potential gaps. I also will try on these pieces in as many combinations as I can to be sure they work in cohesive way. This is going to one of my most challenging carry-on travel wardrobes yet, not only due to the length of our trip, but also the various destinations and weather conditions we may encounter. We’re starting off with a few days in Amsterdam, then London for a couple of days, then south to Bordeaux, then yes, bien sur to Paris. Looking at average monthly weather for each of these cities, we could encounter temperatures anywhere from the low 50’s F to low 80’s F on this trip. Scheduled activities so far include bike tours, winery tours and tastings, theater, museum exhibits and the usual on-foot sightseeing.

Another challenge (one I’ve set for myself) is building a cohesive capsule that relies less on black and incorporates more light neutrals and color. ;-)

Top image

Row 1, L to R: tee | tee | sweater | top
Row 2 L to R: jacket | tee | sweater | skirt
Row 3 L to R: top | pants | jeans | pants
Shoes: sandals | wedges | sneakers

Bottom image

Top: jacket (similar) | earrings | bag | bracelet | sunglasses | necklace | scarf (similar)
Bottom: scarf (similar) | necklace (more pre-owned Chanel necklaces here) | bag | jacket (similar)

A note about items shown: some are pieces I own, others are similar. I’ve tried to use items for these sets that are currently available, but in some cases I’ve linked to similar items.

The top set is representative of the types of pieces I’d choose for my 12-item core travel wardrobe. As we get close to our travel date and I can gauge at least the first several days’ weather, I may make some adjustments. I’ve selected pieces that are lightweight and can layer well, and as many as possible that can be hand washed and line-dried. I’m also leaving room for 3-4 “wild card” pieces that I’ll choose a few days before we leave. I’ll use at least some of my wild cards to add more color, texture and/or pattern to the mix.

Weather forecasts may also shift my shoe choices. I usually advise against bringing heels or very dressy shoes, but some evening activities we’ve planned may call for dressing up a bit, and those wedges are low enough for comfort if we need to walk to and from. I may also bend another of my own guidelines and include a more weather-resistant 4th pair if sustained rain or a cold snap looks likely.

The bottom set includes outerwear and accessories. Again, these may shift with the weather forecast and as I adjust my core items. I’ve learned not to pack a lot of jewelry, as I tend to wear the same few pieces over and over. Scarves are a great way to add color and pattern. I’ll be sure that my scarves coordinate well with my core and wild card pieces. I also tend to purchase scarves as souvenirs along the way.

As Lisa would say, let’s look at a couple of “use case” scenarios:

3 week travel wardrobe Amsterdam

3 week travel wardrobe London
try this top with a knit pencil skirt…instant LBD!

Once I’ve settled on my final travel wardrobe I’ll do the usual Polyvore on the Floor and share what made the cut. In the meantime, if you have any travel planned or need some ideas, I’ve collected some favorite travel wardrobe pieces at my SHOP page.

Is there travel in your future that’s made wardrobe planning a challenge?


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lighten up…

linen sweater, Mulberry Kensington bag
sunglasses (similar) | earrings | scarf (similar pattern) | sweater | tank | bag | jeans | shoes

While it’s true that I wear a lot of black (and love it, and feel most at home in it) sometimes a gorgeous spring day makes me want to go crazy and bust out the…beige. ;-) (Actually, these light neutrals call themselves bone, mushroom and nude. Not a “beige” in the bunch.) I must say that linen sweaters seem to have been created with our climate in mind. They allow me to go from cool mornings and evenings to warm mid-days in comfort. The jeans are the same Eileen Fisher boyfriend jeans I’ve worn in a few prior outfit posts, but this time I un-cuffed them and wore full-length and really like how they look this way. The scarf is one I picked up in Paris last year. It’s by Kenzo and the pattern reminds me of van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

The “lighten up” in the post title refers not only to color, but also to handbags. I’ve been trying to transition to smaller, lighter bags even on work days to give my shoulders, neck and back a break. As I mentioned in a prior post, I’ve become quite particular about my bags, and have been looking for quite some time for a non-black option that is just the right size, offers some interior organization, doesn’t have prominent logos or a lot of gimmickry, and doesn’t weigh several pounds empty. I’ve looked into nylon bags, but the interior organization was often paltry. This “Kensington” bag from Mulberry is a very workable option. The style is reminiscent of a bucket bag, but there’s a sold center divider which both provides structure and compartments. It can be carried in hand, worn comfortably on the arm, and on the shoulder or cross-body with the longer strap. It’s not as light as a bag without some structure, but it’s lighter than most of a similar size I’ve tried on.

Mulberry Kensington satchel

The cuff bracelet was also a Paris purchase, and I have not yet found anything similar online here. However Shopbop is currently having a Friends & Family Event, offering 25% off with code SPRING25 and does have some nice gold cuff options:

The block heel on these sandals looks higher than it feels, and my feet tolerate this kind of heel very well. I find these quite comfortable.

Eileen Fisher sandals, boyfriend jeans

On a special note, I’d like to thank the lovely people at WhoWhatWear who included this blog in their feature, 7 Best Blogs By Older Women. I am thrilled and flattered beyond belief to be included among these incredibly stylish women!

Do you have light neutrals in your wardrobe? What are your favorite shades?

Linked up: Throwback Thursday , Fun Fashion Friday, Shoe Shine, Shoe and Tell


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inspired by flowers


This month’s By Invitation Only topic is “Flower Power,” and how our style is inspired by flowers. I think of my Grandmother every time I see camellias; they were her favorites. She also loved her scarves. You probably see where I’m going with this…


Harpers Bazaar top ten list scarves
LOVE that scarf!


If the Fashion Weeks street style sightings were a hint, Harper’s Bazaar (March issue, above) and WhoWhatWear have gone on the record: you can safely pull your printed silk scarves out of storage and begin wearing them again.

silk scarf spring 2015

If you’re a little hesitant, my suggestion would be to start with a sheer or soft, lightweight scarf in a floral pattern. Square or oblong, small or large, it’s all good. I’m always drawn to floral prints, and find that scarves are the easiest way to add florals to an outfit.

Alexander McQueen scarf, French Kande bracelet

Keep the arrangement simple, not too fussy. A just-threw-it-on look keeps a silk scarf looking modern.

To see more “Flower Power,” please do go visit Spenderosa for the rest of the By Invitation Only blogger linkup.

By Invitation Only


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