Monday, April 21st, 2014

Travel In Style: My 12 Item Wardrobe

France travel wardrobe 5

I’ve been obsessively checking the extended weather forecasts for the last few days, and while I know that trying to get an accurate picture of the weather in France beyond a few days out is a fool’s errand, it does help to at least get a sense of what range of conditions we might reasonably expect. While the lightweight layers I’ve planned to bring will work for a wide range of temperatures, I’m trying balance what’s now looking to be a cool-ish, wet-ish couple of weeks with a desire to incorporate some visually lighter pieces (it IS spring, after all).

There are a few new pieces in the mix, so I made sure to do some “dress rehearsals” over the weekend to insure that the outfits I was planning would all actually work together. After a few final tweaks, I’m ready to pack. (If this wardrobe looks suspiciously similar to last year’s, that’s not a coincidence. Other than a couple of sweaters that were too warm/bulky, it worked well and I believe in not messing with success.)

France travel wardrobe shoes

I’ve lightened the exposure a bit to get details on black items. All are darker in reality than they appear here.

Of course I start with the shoes, and have ruled out sandals for this trip. I’m bringing the Aquatalia by Marvin K suede ankle boots, as a) they are waterproof and b) work with both casual and dressy outfits. The Gentle Souls wedge boots worked well on last year’s trip, so along they go. These will be my travel day and touring shoes, as they not only are comfortable and supportive, but the texture of the leather doesn’t easily show scuffs and marks. The Taos sneakers are new and, I’ll admit, included mostly to give myself some variety, and an option for warmer days. These have awesome arch support and I love the pewter metallic finish. (They’re darker and less “bling-y” than they appear in these photos.)

France travel wardrobe 1

Working up from the shoes, for bottoms I’m bringing:

For tops, I took a lesson from last year, and chose lighter weight sweaters.

Jackets:

You’re right, that’s only 11. I’m leaving myself space for one “Wild Card” that I’ll choose at the last minute depending on whim or weather. I’m definitely bringing these 2 scarves, and will choose a third depending on my Wild Card, hoping to use both to add more color.

The necklaces are both from earlier seasons. The “statement” necklace is J.Crew, lots of options here. The longer one is LAUREN Ralph Lauren, similar style here.

What I’m not counting in my 12  items are what I call “underpinnings.” Those are pieces that I’ll wear as base layers underneath other tops for either warmth or modesty. This time I’m taking long sleeve layering tees from Adea, and a couple of silk jersey tanks from Eileen Fisher. Both of these are excellent choices for travel, as they are lightweight, layer without bulk, and can be washed in the sink and hung to dry overnight.

I’ll be bringing my Sandro utility jacket as my outerwear piece. It’s roomy enough that I can layer up considerably underneath if I need for warmth. And I’m now on the fence about which bag to bring. The one I’d assumed I’d use is suddenly experiencing potential hardware malfunction, so I hope to have my cobbler look at it today and advise.

I’m using packing cubes for all of my clothing, and it’s amazing how small everything packs down with these. I’ll share a photo of my bags once packed tomorrow.

How far ahead do you plan a travel wardrobe? Do you often make changes at the last minute?

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Monday, April 14th, 2014

April Flowers

Scarf selfie

Scarf selfie. J.Crew scarf from last year. Gap jacket, similar.

Despite my minimalist leanings, I do have an affinity for a good floral print. I find floral clothing items hard to wear without the nagging feeling that I’m wearing curtains or upholstery. But a floral print scarf? That I can do. And they feel just right for Spring.

Do you like floral prints? How do you wear them?

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Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Travel In Style: Wardrobe Planning

Travel wardrobe for Paris and Loire Valley

Hoping to see lots of scenery like this!  Links to items shown at bottom of post.

Yikes! We’re less than two weeks out from our departure, and I’ve hit that frustrating stage of wardrobe planning: too early to get an accurate weather forecast, but late enough in the process that I need to hone in on which pieces will best work together.

I know from past trips that there are a few types of items I can rule out right off the bat.

  • No-close cardigans…while these are often my go-to’s at home, they are harder to make work as an intermediate layer, and often not warm enough as a top layer.
  • Dresses. While knit dresses are GREAT travel pieces for many people, I find they often require specific footwear that won’t be worn otherwise.
  • Anything too warm or bulky. I’m much better served by multiple lightweight layers than a single heavy piece.
  • Clothes that are only appropriate for dressy venues. It’s tempting to want to have something “just in case,” but I’ve learned not to pack pieces that may be worn once or twice at most, or not at all. I’ll be bringing some dress-up/dress-down options that can go from day to dinner.

I’m planning to take at least one pair of ankle boots, as I’ve found them to be comfortable and versatile. The other pair (or two) of shoes will depend, again, on weather. We’ll be spending the first week in the Loire Valley, which will include lots of time outdoors visiting chateaux and gardens, local open-air markets, a winery or two and hopefully some lovely strolls through the countryside. Then we’ll have a few days in Paris. (!!!)  This means I’ll need shoes and clothing suitable for both rural and urban environments and activities. Though I’m mentally building the wardrobe around 12 pieces (plus “underpinnings” and outerwear), I may end up with more or fewer pieces, depending on weather forecasts and what my carry-on bag will accommodate.

How do you handle packing for a variety of activities and levels of formality?

Sweater: Eileen Fisher // Tee: Eileen Fisher, similar // Scarf: Halogen // Jacket: Sandro, similar style // Jeans: Eileen Fisher // Bag: Givenchy // Boots: Gentle Souls

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Friday, April 4th, 2014

Click.

Vince leather moto jacket

That’s the sound I hear in my head when I find something that feels Just Right. It’s like a piece of a puzzle snapping into place.

While there is a science to style (proportions, textures, colors, etc.), for me it’s also about instinct and gut feelings. Though many of you expressed that you loved the pale blush jacket from last week’s post, I said later that it didn’t sing to me; though I did like it, it didn’t click. Some ineffable something just wasn’t there. While returning it, I spotted the same jacket in “Charcoal” (which is actually a dark taupe) and it was an immediate “oh YES.”

Vince paper leather jacket, taupe moto jacket

Here’s a closeup that better shows the color. For those who are interested, it’s a perfect match for the darkest brownish-grey on my Light Summer fan.

This goes with almost everything in my closet. The leather is super light, perfect for LA about 8 months out of the year (even in the summer, it gets cool in the evenings).

leather moto jacket

Scarf: J.Crew (I think) from prior year, similar // Earrings: Argento Vivo, no longer available, similar // Jacket: Vince // Sweater: Eileen Fisher, several years old, similar shape // Jeans: Citizens of Humanity // Boots: Aquatalia by Marvin K, no longer available, similar.

Do you have a similar recognition when a piece feels Just Right? Does it sometimes go against what you think you “should” wear or like?

Linked up with: Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Travel In Style: Versatile Separates

Travel capsule wardrobe, neutral travel capsule

**Just a note: the collages shown here are meant to be representative of the kinds of clothing items that I’ve used when building my travel wardrobes. They may or may not be the actual pieces that I have or will bring, but all items shown will be listed at the bottom of the post.**

Perhaps you’re wanting to pack lighter for your next trip, or just more efficiently. Even if you’re not a carry-on traveler, there’s no frustration like having a suitcase full of clothing and “nothing to wear.” As with any capsule wardrobe, cohesiveness and versatility are key. You want to include pieces that can work for a variety of activities and venues, and you want most of the items to work with most of the other items. The easiest way to achieve this is to start with a foundation of one or two neutrals. My own preference is to go with darker neutrals (less likely to show dirt), but any neutrals will do.

But even I get tired of a wardrobe comprised entirely of dark neutrals. So…

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 6.07.12 PM

Some color, texture and pattern can liven things up. I’ve found that choosing a “color story” (two colors than can be worn together as well as with your neutrals) helps retain cohesiveness. Above, I’ve chosen olive and a medium blue, and added some lighter neutrals in the taupe family. I’d suggest keeping your “interest” pieces for your top half, and keep your pants or skirts simple and day-to-night versatile.

Eileen Fisher stretch crepe pants dress up or down

It’s a concept that Duchesse has referred to as “tabletop dressing,” as most of the time you and others will mostly notice what you’re wearing on the top half.

Regarding dresses, my own experience is that they have always been under-utilized in my travel wardrobes. I rarely wear dresses as daywear at home, and have not found myself more inclined to do so when traveling. But I know that some of you prefer dresses, or at least wear them more than I do, so I will put together some travel wardrobe suggestions including more dresses in future posts. I will stipulate that we may have an occasion or two on this upcoming trip where a dress would not be overkill, and le monsieur is lobbying me to pack one. So I may have to find room in my final travel wardrobe. ;-)

NEUTRALS: (top row, L to R) Jacket // Striped Top // Tunic // Sweater  (bottom row, L to R) Ankle Pants // Straight Leg Jeans // Sandals // Ankle Boots // Silk Pants // Skinny Jeans

ACCENTS: (top row, L to R)  Scarf // Striped Embroidered Tee // Floral Sweatshirt // Scarf  (bottom row, L to R) Jacket //  Blouse // Slip-ons // Sweater

Now I need your help. :-) I’ve received comments and emails asking about dressing for formal occasions while traveling. I’ll admit this is something I haven’t had to deal with so am asking you wise and well-traveled women….how do you pack light and still accommodate dressing for “formal” events??

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