Easy outfit of the week: polished casual with a pleated skirt

Navy is one of those neutrals that “plays well with others.” Don’t be afraid to mix navy pieces with other neutrals or colors in your palette.

Easy outfit idea with navy and brown...J.Crew pleated midi skirt
*currently 30% off with code SHOPNOW

If your palette is cool, just swap out the brown accessories for black, silver jewelry for the gold, and a charcoal, burgundy, or emerald cardigan for the camel.

My travel prep process

This week, I’ve been firming up travel plans, and scheduling get-togethers with many of my London friends. And of course, that means figuring out what I’m going to pack.

I’ve become more relaxed about packing for most casual road trips. I’ll do a last minute weather check, and then assemble the night before or morning of departure. But I’m still pretty compulsive about longer or overseas trips.

About two weeks out, I’ll start adding pieces to my rolling rack to create my capsule (always starting with the shoes). I’ll try everything on in multiple combinations, to be sure it all works together. (I spent a couple of hours doing this yesterday, and am pretty pleased with my choices so far.)

Then it’s a matter of keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and adjusting for that and planned activities if needed. At the last minute, I’ll check the weather again, and make swaps if needed, or add one or two “wild card” pieces.

In addition to my travel wardrobe, I’ll also prep the following at least a week in advance:

  • make sure all of my travel documents are in one place
  • go through my toiletries kit**, remove any expired over-the-counter meds, and replenish if needed
  • refill my travel size containers with skincare and other products
  • re-stock dog food & supplies if needed

As I said above, it’s a bit compulsive, but I do find it saves last-minute scrambles or forgetting something I need. Plus, I find the anticipation and preparation is part of the pleasure of travel.

(**I’ve recently been asked about my toiletries kit. The one I have is several years old and no longer available, but is quite similar to this one. For travel days, I’ll keep the liquids in a separate clear bag for airport security.)

Do you plan your packing list in advance, or are you more spontaneous?

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  1. Like you, I’m compulsive when it comes to packing, no matter if it’s a road trip or overseas. I start 2-3 weeks ahead by checking weather and laying my selected clothes on a bed in an extra bedroom. I try everything on and make sure my clothes work in multiple outfits. I agree that this step is part of the fun and anticipation of my upcoming trip!

  2. I took the J. Crew midi skirt in deep chocolate on a recent 3-week trip to Europe. I wore it with a variety of tops and shoes (flats, sneakers). It packs beautifully too.

    1. I used to travel a lot for business, so I’m pretty good at business packing. However, I have to say that when I went for about 3 weeks to visit my son and new DIL, I used your 12-item planning list. It is terrific!!! – the first time in a while that I did not overpack. Like you, for 2-3 weekends, I pack at last minute based on weather forecast.

  3. I’m in the UK right now, and I think planning ahead is just using common sense. I don’t like having to run to the store at the last minute, when I could be calmly taking care of packing and shutting down the house. For this 4-week trip, I checked weather fairly often, then a week ahead printed up a calendar to pencil in different locations and what I might need. I found that I was able to cut down what I would pack by seeing it all out on the bed, mixing and matching. The changing seasons made it harder to pack extremely light, but overall, I’ve worn almost everything repeatedly and looked fine. This time I relied heavily on Eileen Fisher items and they’ve performed beautifully.

  4. I, too, am an “advanced packer.” We go away for two months every fall and I have the suitcases packed 5 days before we leave. That, of course, is after spending considerable time in the months ahead of the trip planning my wardrobe and listing my items on a spreadsheet. We manage for two months with a 24-inch rolling duffle bag, a daypack, and a day bag, i.e., purse. We inevitably make an adjustment the last few days based on initial weather forecasts, but as I use pacing cubes it is pretty easy to swap.

    With only 24” we have to be concise on clothing selection, limit ourselves to two pairs of shoes, and must layer for everything from hot summer to close to freezing in the mountains on occasion. This year we had everything from 34 degrees F to 93 degrees!!

  5. I’m a terrible packer, usually just throwing stuff into a bag the morning of. Once, I was on a flight to eastern Europe for work. As I sat at my window seat waiting to take off, the flight attendant approached and asked if I’d watch over a 12-year-old girl traveling alone. I said, of course! This young person put me to shame! She came organized with travel docs and instructions in folders, and chewing gum and hand sanitizer and games and food in her bag, and even had a letter of thanks and a $5 bill sealed into an envelope from her mom, addressed to the person who agreed to take care of her in-flight. OMG. I still think of this person every time I haphazardly organize my carry-on, LOL.

  6. Hi Susan – Like you, I’m a planner for a longer trip. I assembled a capsule for my Italy trip a week ahead of time, then adjusted for the anticipated warmer weather. The clothing capsule worked super well, but I’ll have to work on the shoes I packed the next trip. I wore one pair more frequently because of their comfort and fit. Could have excluded the 3rd pair.

    Love your posts. BTW – you mentioned a fragrance recently purchased – could you remind me?

  7. My husband spent a forty year career travelling! He can pack what he needs in less than thirty minutes. I.. am very disorganized but I’m getting better. We are doing a three day road trip with DIL and three grandchildren. Taking her van but space is limited with three car seats..diapers etc. husband reminded me that packing light was going to be necessary. So I planned accordingly( we are attending a special event) and managed to get everything I need into a small carry on..mind you I also have my large Longchamp tote riding up front with me LOL!
    Would also a suggest if you require a kennel to inquire early rather than late. Certain times of year they book up quickly. Also arrange for mail and police/neighbour check of empty house. Bon voyage!

  8. Susan, I’m devastated to hear the travel toiletries kit is no longer available. Years ago, I purchased one of those as a gift for my wife. She travels extensively for work, and she loves it! When her current kit wears out, I hate to think what I’ll go through finding something she loves as much. (But thank you for the original idea. I’ll keep my fingers crossed this one lasts a few more years!) Enjoy your trip!

  9. Lovely outfit! Just curious if you’ve tried the featured skirt on or a similar one with pleats? Always learn something from your posts. Especially, on packing for a trip. Enjoy yours and safe travels!

  10. Having just returned from England, Ireland & Scotland I am definitely interested in the toiletry kit you recommended. Mine was too disorganized for my needs. I also needed to add a few pieces to glam up myself after a day of touring. Some of the women in my group put very put together. For my next trip I’ll hopefully be thinner & more stylish.

  11. Hi Susan,
    Definitely a planner. I am obsessed with travel capsule wardrobes haha, after being introduced to them by yourself several years ago. Thank you!
    I hate unpacking unworn items, and love the simplicity of fewer choices on holiday, and knowing I haven’t forgotten anything!
    Best wishes,
    Julie x

  12. Like you, I plan ahead, especially when we’re flying. To me, that’s part of the fun of traveling.

  13. I love an outfit with navy, and the cognac colors are a nice complement. My only issue is the prices being charged for 100% polyester (skirt). I’ve noticed this trend even with designer clothes. I really dislike 100% polyester but can’t seem to find an affordable blend anywhere.

  14. Has anyone traveled with this pleated JCrew skirt? How is it when packed/squished in a suitcase? Some of the reviews say that it is good for travel.

  15. I wish I could be more spontaneous instead of planning my wardrobe as if it were a military exercise. If travelling overseas, like you, I regularly check weather forecast and select clothes accordingly, arranging outfits weeks beforehand. My downfall are the toiletries and they can weigh as much as the clothes and prevent me from just doing carry on luggage – along with my usual pillow. I hope you have a wonderful time in London – at least you can be assured your raincoat, umbrella and water proof boots will definitely be worn.