The *Actual* Napa Trip Wardrobe - une femme d'un certain âge

The *Actual* Napa Trip Wardrobe

So the heat is on, not only in LA, but also in Northern California.  My lovely visions of crisp fall weather have melted under predictions of 90+F temperatures for at least the early part of the week in Napa Valley.  That’s during the days…nights are supposed to drop back down into the 50’s.  Which means I’ve had to drastically rethink my assumptions about what I’m going to pack.
Aside from the day-to-night temperature differentials, over the six day trip I also have to prepare for venues and activities ranging from very casual to slightly dressy. We have a couple of dinners scheduled that call for attire a notch (or two) above Nice Jeans. I’ll also be attending my high school reunion south of San Francisco, and while it’s being billed as casual, I don’t want to show up looking like a schlub, or worse, like I’m trying too hard.

Last year about this time when I was preparing to visit Paris for a week, Karen showed me the Polyvore on the Floor™ method to put together a capsule wardrobe.  This is such a helpful tool!  What you see above is a work in progress, but aside from a tweak here and there, I think it’s close.  Laying everything out this way helps me to really see what goes with what, as I want to be able to mix and match as much as possible.

I started with the bottoms.  For casual (hot weather) daytime
–1 pair white cotton capris
–1 pair beige cotton capris

For casual evenings

–1 pair jeans

For dressy evenings
–Black knit pencil skirt


–1 rust linen jersey tee, 3/4 sleeve
–1 navy v-neck tee

–3 silk jersey tanks in taupe, grey and black. (I love these for travel not only because they are light and layer well, but also because I can wash them in the sink and they dry overnight.)  
–1 navy linen jersey tank with some sequins around the neck
–Linen knit striped open cardigan (white, black, taupe)
–Lace knit cardigan in grey
–Cotton and silk lightweight 3/4 sleeve black jacket
–TBD casual cardigan/hoodie or jacket for early morning excursions or evening walks
(You may wonder why I’m bringing cardigans when it’s going to be so warm.  These are for evenings, but also because I tend to get chilled in air-conditioned interiors.)


–Converse All-Stars
–Beige walking sandals
–Black gladiator sandals
–Boots (for cooler evenings)

–Long strand irregular pearls
–Fleur-de-lis gold earrings
Bags (not pictured):
–LV Damier canvas cross body bag.  Lightweight and durable, great for daytime activities.
–Small black bag for evening, probably the same Miu Miu I took to Paris last year.
All of these pieces will roll up so shouldn’t take up much room in the suitcase, and none require pressing.  I may swap out one or two items during the final assembly, but I’ll still make sure each piece can coordinate with at least two others.  Putting together le monsieur’s travel wardrobe won’t be quite this easy; he likes to take multiples of everything!
–the striped cardi, mostly because the holes in the arm are now noticeable. 
–beige capris, fabric too heavy and discovered a stain I don’t have time to remove. 
–lightweight white cotton 5-pocket pants which can be rolled up.
–four of my lighter weight scarves
TBD assigned:
–featherweight cotton J.Crew 3/4 sleeve cardi in a mushroom color.
Do you have any tricks for putting together a capsule travel wardrobe?
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  1. Anonymous
    September 26, 2010 / 1:30 pm

    Looks great–but do you really need TWO pairs of sandals (along with boots and sneakers) for a six-day trip?

  2. September 26, 2010 / 1:52 pm

    That’s a challenge, such a range of activity and temps. Your tanks are so great. My travel wardrobe is: black matte jersey.

    And the reunion- can’t wait to hear about this! Is the pencil skirt/sequined tank for that? You have such great shoes, have fun- reunion in leopard or another hip pair?

  3. September 26, 2010 / 2:12 pm

    Anonymous – possibly not. My thinking was to have a very sturdy and casual pair for outdoor activities, and a dressier pair.

    Metscan – honestly, I think it’s just going to be too hot during the daytime for scarves. I’ll probably bring one or two for evenings. I’ve already discarded one cardigan.

    Duchesse – the pencil skirt is for our fancier dinners, and I figured I’d wear the nice jeans to the reunion with the sequin top, as I’m told it’s a “casual” event. I’ve been toying with bringing my leopard ankle boots; you may have just pushed me over the edge.

  4. September 26, 2010 / 3:26 pm

    Interesting — this is very chic and very practical, but it shows little of the Twist you were working on adding to your wardrobe with Karen last spring. I’ve been curious, lately, about those pieces, and wondering if you’ve moved away from them with all the beautiful neutral and minimalist options this Fall (which you’ve captured nicely here) OR is this a more restrained palette/wardrobe because of the functions you’ll be attending AND the weather.

  5. September 26, 2010 / 3:27 pm

    Sorry about having to shelve your dreams of a crispy fall but as Oregon is supposed to get some of that sunny warmth I know you’ll understand, ha.

    Sounds like a great trip. I am a pack-to-the-brink-of-carryon packer myself, because I hate duplicating on trips less than 2 weeks long and like you seem to have a range of stuff/weather with which to contend.

    So I think you are in great shape here with room to add if desired!

    [I thought the same as Metscan — a Pseu suitcase without a scarf or shawl in sight? Can’t be! Not even one tied on a bag, ha?]

    Have you tried everything on as an outfit?

    This is what I do (tedious) but it helps me make sure that items work together vs just LOOKING like they will work together. [Checking for top length, how necklines layer together, fabric textures etc.]

    Then, if desired, you can ditch things that don’t let you maximize the number of outfits and/or add more accessories to change things up.

    From your sleek set here, though, I don’t see you ditching anything — but if you haven’t done the try on you may end up substituting or adding!

  6. September 26, 2010 / 3:38 pm

    jenny wren – I hear you about the shoes. I find that city-only vacations allow for just a couple pair, but when there might be “nature” activities, the number increases.

    materfamilias – it’s a little of both. Most of my “twisted” pieces will be too warm for this venue. And the simple pieces are easier to coordinate.

    Vix – I’m not much of a shawl person, but I will take a couple of scarves for evening. Most of these are pieces that are in regular rotation and in the combinations I’ve planned, so I’m comfortable. I’ve already ditched the striped cardi as I’ve discovered some holes in the sleeve. 🙁

  7. September 26, 2010 / 3:56 pm

    You may want to toss in a lightweight sleeveless dress–it’s blazing hot up here right now, even on the coast. (This is the only time of year I get to wear my lone sundress!)

    P.S. Have a wonderful trip!

  8. September 26, 2010 / 4:10 pm

    I have always packed like this. I take everything I think I want out the day before I go. Then I mull it over. Then I roll everything up in its groupings, workout, lunch, pool, night. I mull some more. Then I put everything into the bag last minute. Everyone is in dresses here, even in the city. Also, don’t forget the impact of heat on feet, swelling, rubbing, etc.

    I love the tee with sequins. It must look fabulous on you.

  9. September 26, 2010 / 4:29 pm

    Nancy – thanks! If I had a dress, I’d pack it, but other than one lone wrap dress for work, I don’t own any!

    LPC – I’ll probaby do one more run through before everything goes in the suitcase. I hemmed and hawed over that top, but have worn it a bunch and love how it just picks up whatever you put it with.

  10. September 26, 2010 / 4:51 pm

    I love the converse all stars for walking about in comfort. The pieces that you have put in look like they will mix well…I would add some chunky jewelry and a scarf…even to tie on your bag like Babe Paley!
    Have a great getaway!

  11. September 26, 2010 / 6:25 pm

    This looks like the perfect set of clothing options for Napa. But did you add a pair of shorts for bike riding?
    You are going to have a great trip!

  12. metscan
    September 26, 2010 / 1:43 pm

    You have many options here. But where are the scarves? You could manage with less, by using your multiple scarves and shawls.

  13. September 26, 2010 / 9:44 pm

    Just saw the first comment from Anonymous – has to be from a MAN!! Love the idea of setting out all your outfits – I usually stick with one colour palette and add extra shades with scarves etc. And, p.s. I have those exact same converse sneakers Deja! xx

  14. jenny wren
    September 26, 2010 / 2:48 pm

    I always find shoes the hardest part of packing. The take up a lot of space but can totally change the look of an outfit. I am currently trying to pack for a 3 week trip that will include: business, hiking, city siteseeing. I am travelling outside of the US, which for me at least, makes me want to always look put together – even while hiking. I never can pack less than three pairs of shoes – no matter how short the trip. And I am not even a shoe person!

  15. September 26, 2010 / 10:23 pm

    hostess – I’m planning to add a couple of lightweight scarves, but don’t own much in the way of chunky jewelry. But I’m hoping to do a bit of shopping while we’re there, so who knows what I’ll come home with…

    Belle – Thanks! I don’t own any shorts either! 😉 I figure the capris will have to do.

    Semi Expat – Yes, sticking to one color palette is a good strategy. I love these All Stars, and I can fit my orthotics inside to keep my feet happy!

  16. September 26, 2010 / 10:52 pm

    It’s all based on how much I can get into the smallest possible piece of luggage! Because I like to travel light and I hate schlepping bags.

  17. Tiffany
    September 26, 2010 / 10:44 pm

    I hate packing for trips – I tend to underpack (and spouse overpacks) and then get upset because I feel like I’ve got nothing to wear. I love your selection. I have to pack for two weeks in NYC in November and I don’t even know where to start! I know I’ll be walking a lot every day, so most of my favourite shoes (heels) won’t work …

  18. September 27, 2010 / 9:26 am

    I agree with Jenny Wren on shoes and accessories changing up an outfit the most. In July we went away to a dance competition and I managed to pack 18 costumes, dance shoes and a weeks worth of regular clothing and shoes (casual plus evening) for me and my two teen daughters into three carry on bags and one checked bag. We didn’t skimp on shoes & accessories, those made the outfits.

  19. September 27, 2010 / 10:33 am

    The only shorts I wear are a dreadful (black) pair with a drawstring waist and big pockets which I wear ONLY for doing housework in warm or hot weather. I cycle most of the year – except when we have a lot of ice and snow (almost none last winter) and there is no way you will catch me in shorts. In town, usually in skirts; I’d wear capris for sportier cycling in the countryside as in Napa. For serious treks, now there are cycling skirts with hidden shorts or a chamois underneath. One does have to take a stand for cycle chic!

    My travel wardrobe is pretty much like Duchesse’s, though also includes some grey and taupe. Jenny, shoes are a pain – and heavy. Don’t see how you can do with fewer than three pairs, as you have three different activities. Depending on the weather, I’d have to throw sandals into the mix.

    Travelling between climates makes the footwear situation more dire still. You can’t layer shoes.

  20. Terri
    September 27, 2010 / 4:46 am

    Since I’m a new reader, I’m not entirely familiar with your style, but at first glance it looks good and mixable.

    I’ve been following Rolf Potts NO LUGGAGE challenge and you may want to look into that.

  21. September 27, 2010 / 1:02 pm

    I really like those tan sandals. What kind are they. My dog keeps going in my closet and getting out sandals to chew up, so I need some new kicks. Love your ‘polyvore”

  22. September 27, 2010 / 1:59 pm

    Tiffany – I aspire to be a light packer, but I always end up not having something I wished I’d brought! I’m hopeful that as I get to be a more seasoned traveler I’ll get better at packing.

    Phyllis – my problem with carry-on bags these days is the limit with liquids. I hate having to go out and buy stuff like suncreen and my favorite toothpaste once I get where I’m going.

    Terri – welcome and thanks! I’ll have a look at that website.

    Phyllis – you’re so right about the shoes and accessories!

    lagatta – this is one of those times when I wish I had a nice, loose skirt. We’re supposed to hit 98F where we’re going today!

    Julianne – those are Eccos. I’ve had really good luck with that brand, very comfortable and durable.

    Couture Allure – if you’re going to be in the San Luis Obispo are and are visiting for the first time, drop me an e-mail. I used to live there and can point you to some great spots. Have a wonderful vacation!

  23. September 27, 2010 / 5:28 pm

    I don’t do well putting together travel wardrobes. I always end up bringing stuff I don’t need, and forgetting stuff I wish I had.

    Shoes are always a problem – balancing comfort over style.

    Is it hot in Northern California, too? We’re in Seattle for the weekend, and enjoying the mild autumnal chill. But reading about the heat in LA is scarey.

  24. Couture Allure Vintage Fashion
    September 27, 2010 / 1:43 pm

    I’m also packing for a 10 day trip which will be split between northern and central CA. I have the same dilemma, as I will experience both hot and cool weather. I’m sticking with solid colors and packing a mix of scarves and jewelry to change my look.

  25. September 27, 2010 / 11:09 pm

    Have a great trip!

    Speaking of Karen, has she moved her blog? I just realized I hadn’t read anything in my feed for several months, and when I try to locate it, blogger says it’s no longer available.

  26. La Belette Rouge
    September 27, 2010 / 4:13 pm

    This is a great wardrobe. I envy you the weather to wear it. And, dear Deja, you are NEVER a shlub–NEVER. Have a great time.
    p.s. I am a big believe in over packing shoes. I took 5 pairs of shoes with me on my 5 day trip to Chicago and I never regretted it.xo

  27. Susan Tiner
    September 27, 2010 / 5:33 pm

    I guess I’ll be surprised if you really wear those boots. Too hot I think, but I’m not a boots wearer in general.

  28. September 28, 2010 / 2:50 am

    hi Ms. Pesu! steph here-my mom lives in napa (city of). your wardrobe looks REALLY GOOD to me! just a couple suggestions – be sure to take a hat or parasol to keep the sun off. you can end up getting a lot of sun walking from car to winery, around town, etc. even if you aren’t planning on being ‘out in the sun’.’ in the same vein, if you have a cotton sundress (or !heavens! shorts) you mite appreciate it.

    depending on how you take the heat and sun, you might want to consider packing a lightweight short sleeve blouse – something that can go over all those great shells and keep the sun off of your neck and shoulders. a big lightweight scarf could do the trick as well. you want something washable (if you’re like me and actually sweat).

    Truthfully the napa county isn’t sensibly designed for keeping people out of the sun as much as would really make sense considering how friggin’ hot and sunny it gets here in summer and fall. every year.

    DEFINITELY take at least a hoodie/warmer cardi/lite to medium jacket. Napa river runs thru the valley to the SF Bay and when the fog comes thru it comes with wind and things chill right down. i’ve also heard from people that those balloon rides can get pretty chilly, as they leave bright and early (when the winds are calmer). if you’re up there and see a lady with two cairn terriers, a blonde lab, and a bunch of chickens in her center-of-napa-city yard, give my mom a wave hello! the balloons often float right over her yard, so close you can hear the gas flaming to heat the air.

    it is possible to buy things you need when in the wine country. but do you really want to spend precious vacation time shopping for a hat? especially since you will have to spend days and days looking for something with no grapes on it? St. Helena has some swanky shops (and hideous traffic) but everything else is grape-cluster-encrusted kitsch!

    Have a great time!! we’re having a lovely fall this year, the light’s incredible…..steph

  29. September 28, 2010 / 9:58 am

    Yes I hate those restrictions too! The beauty arsenals (3 of them) went into the checked bag because only dance costumes were allowed in the carry-on’s. We had a direct flight so the risk of losing the checked bag was low. And for some reason i always forget toothpaste! Now I keep a travel size tube and a tootbrush permanently in my luggage.

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