Planning Stages – Packing

It will probably not surprise any of you regular readers that I’m already thinking about my travel capsule wardrobe for our 2-week+2-day trip to Scotland and England in just a little over 8 weeks. The excitement and anticipation of the planning process is part of the fun of travel for me, and that includes figuring out what to pack.

I’m planning to keep my luggage to two carry-on bags (one rolling suitcase and one “personal item” large tote), which means a capsule of lightweight-but-warm layers and pieces that (mostly) can be hand washed and hung to dry overnight if necessary. Neutrals are key, but I’m challenging myself this time to include more pieces in lighter neutrals such as grey and fewer in black. This ensemble worn with a lower heeled shoe would be a great option for traveling and sight-seeing, and includes a few pieces I’ll definitely be working into my capsule.

As a base layer here, I’m wearing a 3/4 sleeve tee provided by Adea clothing. Fabric technology has really come a long way; it’s not your Aunt Goldie’s polyester anymore. These new microfibers breathe, wick moisture, and help regulate body temperature. Adea clothing is manufactured in Italy, using an Italian-made microfiber fabric. They offer a wide range of items including tops, underpinnings, leggings, and casual clothing items.

While this top is a bit too “body conscious” for me to be comfortable wearing on its own, it really does function beautifully as a base layer under other pieces, due to the close fit and almost weightless and silky fabric that doesn’t catch or bunch up even with another snug layer over top. Unlike many women my age, I tend to run cold and appreciate how this keeps me warm without feeling overheated. (Especially helpful when traveling and dealing with cold airplanes, sauna-like hotel lobbies, freezing conference rooms, that outdoor heater stuck on MAX just over your left shoulder…you get the picture.) There are also tanks, camisoles, and short-sleeved tops too for my warmer-blooded sisters. My shirt is available in a wide range of colors, as are many of the other items on the website. All pieces are machine washable, and this one dried within a few short hours on a hanger.

The cardigan is new, purchased during our vacation in Colorado from a new shop called Camelid Connection, and is 100% Alpaca. It’s a lovely, lightweight sweater, perfect for travel and something I’ll be able to wear most of the year here in coastal LA. Unfortunately the shop doesn’t yet seem to have a functioning website, but their clothing and accessories are beautiful and unique, all Alpaca or Vicuna yarns, and handmade in Peru. If you’re in Beaver Creek, Colorado, be sure to stop by. And did you know that llamas, camels, alpacas and vicunas are all descended from a common ancestor that originated in what is now the southwest region of North America?

Other pieces…

Tunic sweater: Eileen Fisher, here.
Jeans: NYDJ “Alina” Leggings, here.
Boots: Paul Green, similar.
Scarf: Eric Bompard, here.

How do you plan your travel wardrobe? Are there any items you never travel without?

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  1. February 27, 2013 / 11:22 am

    Believe it or not, a fleece hoodie, I am always cold and it has saved me from whining on many a trip.

  2. February 27, 2013 / 11:22 am

    Believe it or not, a fleece hoodie, I am always cold and it has saved me from whining on many a trip.

  3. February 27, 2013 / 11:36 am

    Layering is a good idea for a trip to the UK – and you’ll be needing a waterproof, lightweight mac too!

  4. February 27, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    I usually pack the day before, preparing each outfit by day and occasion. I do plan before, and do any needed shopping if there is an event I don’t have the right items for (i.e., a wedding or special something).

    Mostly I wanted to comment to say that I really appreciate that you have been doing more full outfit photos. I just love your style, and you always have the most perfect accessories for it (besides your amazing scarf collection, of course). It’s very inspiring, particularly as I move into the age where Eileen Fisher becomes more and more a brand I am interested in. 🙂

  5. February 27, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    Wonderful travel pieces here, Une Femme. I always travel with a large scarf that works hard on the plane and on the trip too. And my best walking boots, now on their second re-soling.

  6. Anonymous
    February 27, 2013 / 2:46 pm

    Spent 3 weeks in UK and Paris last October, went with 22 inch rolling suitcase and 1 tote. Black was my neutral with some charcoal and navy. I took a pair of wool gloves and was glad I did!. In May, going back to europe this time London, Germany, Vienna and Paris and crossing on QUeen Mary2. Will be taking a few more dressy clothes for the ship and a special event in Germany, so may need a bit of extra packing space!!! At any rate, everything was so black and dark, I thought I needed to lighten up a bit and actually bought some new EF pieces in grey, just yesterday. So loved your outfit. I live near SF so that sweater looks perfect for our climate! Have a great time! DK

  7. February 27, 2013 / 3:08 pm

    You look great and I love the neutral tones of your outfit.
    I always pack a cozy pashmina for that surprise burst of air that blows down from a vent!
    If my neck is warm I feel so much cozier.
    Looking forward to more packing tips.

  8. February 27, 2013 / 4:11 pm

    You do look great and ready to go! I only pack jeans on a long trip if I am sure I’ll have an apt. with a dryer. And they take up a lot of space. Instead I take matte jersey or techno pants.

  9. February 27, 2013 / 5:20 pm

    I always travel with just a 17″ carry-on and a large personal tote. Did 4 weeks out of them one year. I love the gray as an alternative for black!! I always travel with a large pashmina in the “pop” colour I’ve chosen for the trip. Dress it up and down, keeps me warm and looks so dramatically chic wrapped with a fabulous statement pin.
    And may I say? You look fabulously slim!! Well done.

  10. February 27, 2013 / 6:07 pm

    I never go on a trip anywhere without a black ponte skirt — even if I don’t think I’m going to need it, I nearly always do! A single pair of fairly indestructible tights take up no room…

    I’d suggest packing a pair of fingerless wool gloves for the trip. Even though it shouldn’t be cold in London and environs, it will be much cooler in Edinburgh. I know you’ll have a light-but-warm scarf on your list already, and a really rainproof mac is essential. (Best if it has a hood tucked into the collar.)

  11. February 27, 2013 / 6:17 pm

    I spent 8 days in Oxford a year ago January and packed in one small roll on bag. My wardrobe was all composed of clothing that would take very little space. I had mostly black and olive green. (It’s what I owned and being somewhat thrifty did not buy anything new for the trip). I had black knit pants and tops, black knit dress, some sweaters (one Peruvian Connection) that would work with everything. I had my La Canadienne boots (so perfect in terms of comfort and style) and one sweater dress ( I packed olive green pants, shell and long cardigan from I had a shoulder injury at the tine and was very motivated to not have much luggage. It worked beautifully.

  12. February 27, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    Susan, you are looking mighty fine in these photos. I’m still chuckling at “Aunt Goldie’s polyester.”

  13. Lady of Style
    February 27, 2013 / 12:25 pm

    I love that cardigan and I am sure you will wear it a lot because it is so versatile. Certainly looks good with a black dress or skirt as well.

    When I am travelling I never forget my huge beige Pashmina sarf which I can wear with almost everything and also use it during the flight.

    Lady of Style

  14. Mary
    February 27, 2013 / 1:20 pm

    I traveled for 2+ weeks to England, Belgium and France in Winter with a 17″ wheeled-carry-on and a decent sized tote bag (esp good to keep it light when traveling on trains). I never travel without scarves…large pashmina-types (substitutes for blanket on planes and cold rooms), oblong ones to swish around the neck, etc. Black is the color of choice for the basics in my wardrobe, but scarves add color and drama. Have a great trip.

  15. Anonymous
    February 27, 2013 / 11:02 pm

    Does anyone have a particular favorite brand or piece of luggage that is suitable for carry-on on transatlantic flights? I have not found the perfect piece , yet!

    • February 27, 2013 / 11:07 pm

      Anonymous, I’m a big fan of Eagle Creek luggage, the Tarmac line. (I’ll be doing another packing post the week before we leave.) My wheeled carry-on is the Tarmac 20″ Widebody. Tons of space inside and Eagle Creek has a lifetime guarantee on their bags, will repair any defect or damage free of charge.

    • Mary
      February 28, 2013 / 10:12 pm

      I love the EastpakUSA Transverz wheeled bag I bought in London a couple of years ago (19.3×12.4×9.1) and weighs about 5 lbs – so light. Great for train travel in Europe. Sadly I don’t think you can’t buy them in the states anymore. Think I got mine in a shop on Carnaby St in London.

  16. February 27, 2013 / 11:08 pm

    I have spent alot of time traveling in Europe in late winter/early spring and I think your packing concept sounds good. Picking a base color – I always prefer black because it shows the least wear and tear – and planning on layers are both essential. It always makes me a little sad because I want to take my favorite styles with me, but practicality rules. I always get pizzazz from scarves and jewelry! Have a wonderful trip!

  17. February 27, 2013 / 11:20 pm

    I pretty much live in skinny jeans, boots of any variety, cardis layered over tees, and a cropped pea coat. That will get you everywhere you need to go. And dresses for night, they pack easily and are light.

  18. Crystal
    February 27, 2013 / 3:40 pm

    Love the gray idea for travel! I’m like you–I get tired of black.

    The more I travel, the more I realize how little you really need to pack. I did a three week trip abroad years ago with 2 skirts, 2 trousers, a pair of capris and a few mix and match tops/cardigans and several scarves. Lots of undies–cause I really don’t like having to wash things out and worry about having them dry AND because we were on the move a lot from hotel to hotel.

    Sounds like a wonderful trip!

  19. Dawn
    February 27, 2013 / 4:05 pm

    Love your outfit! We’re it me, I’d replace the scarf with a print one with color. Would also try a long simple necklace (pendant type).

    Have a fabulous trip!

  20. Anonymous
    February 28, 2013 / 12:33 am

    Now you are making me feel like a slacker. I leave for Rome in two weeks but you are way ahead of me re packing. I have tentatively chosen gray & navy as my color theme, and just bought a small, red leather crossbody bag from Fossil yesterday. I also found Clarks Privo nubuck leather slip-on shoes, which feel like sneakers, but look (IMO) much sleeker. I’ve had a brown pair for years, & was excited to find them in black.

    Keep checking the weather, debating whether to bring my leather jacket and a short trench, or my gray double faced wool jacket, or some combination of the above. Glad some of the above commenters mentioned gloves; as I live in Texas, I tend to forget about cold-weather wear.

    One thing I always travel with is a small inflatable neck pillow from Eagle Creek. I have a bad disc in my neck, so trying to sleep on a plane is usually uncomfortable for me. I discovered this pillow, which folds flat but inflates with a couple of puffs, and supports my head & neck. Found mine at the Container Store.

    —Jill Ann

  21. Anonymous
    February 28, 2013 / 12:39 am

    If the weather is rainy and cool or cold, no one will see what you are wearing so be sure to bring
    a fabulous, waterproof, jacket/coat. Head to Liberty and Harvey Nicks the moment you land in London and you
    can supplement what you don’t have. Don’t over think…….keep your neck warm and stylish and your feet dry.
    Your boots and jeans are perfect for daytime. Black slim pants and a cashmere sweater or two for evening…
    have fun!

  22. Pam @ over50feeling40
    February 27, 2013 / 5:01 pm

    You look gorgeous in the top picture!! All of these selections seem like smart travel wear…you are going to look London fabulous!!

  23. Debbie
    February 27, 2013 / 6:02 pm

    I’m going the opposite this weekend–a trip from NC to FL. It’s rainy and cool here and hot and muggy down there. My clothes for a 9 day auto trip are: trouser jeans, black stretchy jeans, blue jeans; 6 print tops,2 brightly colored Gap tshirts; summer print jersey maxi dress; a white cardigan and short sleeve white jean jacket; sandals, booties, clogs; 1 nightgown and robe; slippers; underclothing (of course); small selection of jewelry. Should get a lot of outfits out of this and yet not take up too much room in the suitcase.

  24. Adrienne Shubin
    February 27, 2013 / 7:28 pm

    I really like you in neutrals. This outfit is very flattering and perfect for spring in Europe.
    The layering tees are wonderful! I am leaving for Paris in about three weeks and am worried about freezing all day long while out sightseeing. I think I will pick up a long-sleeved layering tee from Adea. Thanks for the recommendation!

  25. February 28, 2013 / 3:54 am

    I always pay attention to your packing tips and the ability to get everything into two carry on bags. I’m going right over to the Adea sight to check out the layers. They look fabulous on you!

  26. Madame Là-bas
    February 27, 2013 / 8:07 pm

    I think that the layering approach is best for Europe because the weather can vary a lot. I’m going to be there from March 12 to May 21 and anything is possible weather wise. I am going to start doing a floor polyvore thing just to see how many outfits that I can make with my beige and coral. Your outfit looks perfect for travel and sightseeing.

  27. February 28, 2013 / 5:15 am

    Great outfit and smart packing.

  28. Val Sparkle
    February 27, 2013 / 9:52 pm

    Your outfit looks perfect for traveling – just a few more of the shirts and a change of pants and skirt, and you will be stylish anywhere! I’ve got a raincoat with a hood and a liner that is handy for travel so I can take out the liner if the weather is warm. I use both black and white for neutrals, but of course, the white can get dirty so quickly. Comfortable shoes and an easy cross-shoulder bag are essential for walking, shopping, site-seeing.

  29. gracefully50
    February 28, 2013 / 1:11 am

    I just have to say how wonderful you’re looking these days! Great layering!

    I’ll be going out West(Breckenridge, CO) here in about a month but haven’t even thought about packing yet! I’m a last minute packer and tend to overpack…always!

  30. C'est Moi
    February 28, 2013 / 3:25 am

    i love the cardigan, it suits you well! and i adore packing posts and advice, so this is a fun post/comments to read.
    i am a big proponent of carry-on only, with room for shopping at the destination too. i think about my feet first – what shoes will be most appropriate/comfortable for the destination and weather – and then go up from there. i am an avid user of polyvore, at least to get the basics/color theme worked out, though i end up taking less than what i plan in the “virtual” world. i do all this at least a month ahead for big trips, that way if i feel i am missing a critical piece, i can research and plan for it without making it an impulse buy. we’re getting ready for a China trip in April and I’m at that stage currently… looking for good but stylish walking shoes if anyone has recommendations. 🙂

  31. February 28, 2013 / 5:05 pm

    Scotland and England – so exciting! And love, love, love the outfit. (You look absolutely wonderful.)

  32. March 1, 2013 / 12:27 am

    Whether I’m going into town or traveling I always have a lightweight raincoat and a pair of “all-weather” flats that won’t slip in muck or ice. I also find a good pair of earplugs to be essential!
    You look wonderful in your photos. I tend to have a lot of grey accessories but, aside from a new winter coat, not many articles of clothing. I’m afraid that I’ll look frumpy if I wear too much grey. You, of course, don’t look even remotely frumpy!

    Spashionista (Alicia)

  33. mette
    February 28, 2013 / 5:19 pm

    With delight I am waiting for more posts about your packing series : ).

  34. Marla Robinson
    February 28, 2013 / 6:02 pm

    This is such a fabulous layered look, I love it. Your trip sounds fabulous.

  35. Rhiannon
    March 1, 2013 / 12:19 am

    I challenged myself to pack mostly lighter neutrals when I went to Ireland and Wales and am glad I did. It’s still easy, but photographs so much better thank black in natural light.

  36. March 1, 2013 / 6:37 pm

    Thank you for featuring grey for travel! So many of us look terrible in black, and I am sooooo tired of hearing of black as the only solution for light travel. One thing I like to bring is a scoop neck 3/4 sleeve silk underwear shirt. It is made of a very fine weave, and is undetectable under street clothes. It is a nice layer for colder hotel rooms too! Add in a lovely waterproof coat and you are good to go! I may bring a pair of light silk bike gloves (in black) for rain/wind days.

  37. March 2, 2013 / 3:45 pm

    Be sure you have lots of warm layers. The cold there is wetter and more cutting than in your area. I was amazed by how cold I was when I was in Ireland last spring- and I live near Chicago!

  38. Cindy at enclos*ure
    March 2, 2013 / 9:00 am

    Go with the body conscious! You’re looking very slim. How about a medium to wide belt over the cardigan in photo one above?

  39. March 2, 2013 / 6:15 pm

    I always take a pair of black ankle boots.
    Layers are good, as is the 3D grey monochrome effect you’ve created here.

  40. Maggie Mae
    March 14, 2013 / 8:44 am

    I pack pretty much how everyone has shared –
    one carry on roller bag, one back pack,
    one dress or skirt;
    2 pants,
    1 maybe two shoes,
    8 under wear,
    5-7 shirts,
    Leave room to bring home any purchases.
    A hat, gloves
    Scarves, tights, and leggings for pops of color
    Be sure the shoes you wear on travel day are your largest pair to save room in your suit case. They also need to go on and off easily for airport security.
    Jewelry for pizazz
    Layers like you shared with us.
    One good coat
    A cardigan

    If you bring clothing you really like, you won’t need as much and you won’t tire of them.
    Clothing should be easy care and quick dry. Knits of any fiber pack great!

    No wide leg pants. I have caught my boots on them several times and almost fallen while climbing stairs. And bathrooms . . . We have used the public toilet/WC on this trip a ton. Wide pant legs drag on the ground and don’t mix well with Asian “squat pots”.

    Speaking of bathrooms, I have found it helpful to carry a small hand towel, tissues, and wet wipes. Especially in Asia.

    Sorry, I know this is a lot, but we ( hubby, 3 kids -21,17,15) are getting close to the end of a 3 month trip in Asia and Europe. What I would or wouldn’t pack in hind sight has been on my mind.

    If you are traveling with many people, make a list of where you want to go. Plan a loose schedule together so you don’t forget where everyone wants to go and make changes as necessary. Patience and flexibility with everyone and everything is super important.
    I love reading your posts and have been working on defining my style and finding clothes that fit. Fit is a tough one. I had given up for several years. I found shopping depressing. I now have a bit more time to shop and am working on finding companies that make clothes that fit me. I am also considering having clothing tailor made – tops in particular. I can sew. Lots of people around where I live sew. But no one really knows how to tailor. I about am 46.
    Wow, long winded. Thank you!

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