travel wardrobe recap – France 2014

France travel wardrobe 5

First, let me say that I’ve dubbed my Lipault wheeled luggage “The Little Suitcase That Could.” Not only did it hold my travel wardrobe with room to spare, it rolled through airports and train stations like a champ, and its light weight allowed me to bound right up a flight of stairs more than once. While it’s not as structured as a hard-sided bag, I found that by carefully distributing the weight of contents with heaviest items toward the bottom and back, it remained stable even with a fully-loaded “personal item” bag stowed on top. Because I’d purchased some full-sized skincare items (and was given a LOT of samples) I checked the bag on the way home, and it stood up to the rigors of the baggage handling system brilliantly.

I was quite pleased with how well my travel wardrobe worked for this trip. Because we traveled on the seasonal cusp, I had to be prepared for a wide range of weather, and I mostly had it covered.


  • The linen sweaters (here, here and here) were the perfect weight and warmth for the fluctuating temperatures, and I wore them all but the last day in Paris, when it just was too warm for any kind of sweater. I sink washed two of them and they dried overnight draped over a towel rack.
  • The silk tanks were indispensable layered underneath the other tops.
  • In case you couldn’t tell from the pictures, I lived in the jeans this trip (both the blue and black). I had them washed once during the trip, but probably could have foregone that as they don’t easily show dirt and held their shape quite well. 
  • I was happy with my shoe choices. The wedge boots were perfect for our days in the Loire Valley, which tended to be wetter and involved a lot of walking over gravel or dirt/mud. The sneakers were perfect for our drier, warmer days in Paris. I walked in them for hours each day in comfort. The heeled suede ankle boots were great for evenings to dress up the jeans or wear with the ponte knit pants.
  • The water-resistant utility jacket was perfect for the climate and with the rest of my wardrobe. That jacket has definitely earned its keep in the last year.
  • The bag was a great choice, worked well both cross-body and carried.
Paris travel wardrobe, utility jacket
Photo taken by Josephine of Chic At Any Age. Thanks again for a fabulous day, Josephine!

Pinch Hitters:

  • The black tuxedo jacket was nice to have for the few “smart casual” dining venues. I mostly wore it with my black jeans and rotated the tops. It came out of a tightly packed cube with nary a wrinkle, and would be an excellent option for business travelers too.
  • When the jeans felt too casual, I wore the black ponte knit pants. (It was still plenty cool in the evenings.)
  • Though it was mostly too warm for the cashmere sweater in both the Loire Valley and Paris, I was glad to have it on the long flights going and returning.
  • The leather jacket was worn a couple of times on drier evenings. Again, nice to have as an option.


  • The skirt. Though I have to say had I not brought it I probably would have wanted it. 😉
  • The necklaces. Just didn’t wear them this time.

I did purchase a couple of tops and lightweight scarves in Paris, and wore them when the weather turned warmer. I’ll share those in another post.


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  1. Thank you so much for this recap and the information on the bags Susan. I am in a season of my life where I don’t travel much but next year I will be making a short trip to Canada where, spring will be very cold (to my Australian perception.) Your plans and recap are invaluable to me, I am going to print all your relevant posts and pop them in my ‘travel’ folder. I am so glad your planning was such a hit for you on your trip.

    1. Rose, as a Canadian with Australian relatives, I can say that I’ve never been as cold as I was in Melbourne one Easter! (Something about not having central heating.) Layers are key, as the temperature can go from 20+ to snow in a matter of hours, depending on the season. (Snow is much less likely in July, but we did get it at the very end of August the year my Aus BIL visited!) I live near the Rocky Mountains, though, so that’s not typical. On the other hand, we have had picnics in February, and one year it was warmer on my deck on Christmas day than it was in Melbourne.

      One good thing is that good quality, high-tech fabrics (including fleece) are very acceptable day wear, at least out west, and especially at resorts. Mountain Equipment Co-op is a very popular store here.

      This is less true in Toronto or Montreal, where fashion is more important. Either way, you might want to add one really warm sweater to Une Femme’s wardrobe. I’ve been wearing my winter-weight cashmere, and glad of it, but I’m also wearing an insulated jacket on top. An ultralight down jacket is great for warmth and they pack up super small.

      Enjoy your trip!

  2. Great recap, and so relevant for my upcoming trip to NYC. I always bring necklaces but rarely wear them! Love your choices, esp of footwear – so crucial to having a good time.

  3. I’d have expected to wear the boots in the city and the sneakers in the country, but that’s just me.

  4. Pseu, I’ve been off the grid since January and I’m finally feeling like writing again.

    That said, “you look mahvelous”. No kidding! You are svelte! I’m at work now or I’d take quick peruse through your past posts but no-can-do-now. Yes, work trumps blogging.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  5. My ONLY travel bag is is slightly larger(17″) than your personal Item. My personal item is a small, foldable lightweight tote that will hold a small cross body bag (about 1/2 the size of the one in your last photo) with wallet, cell phone, etc.; travel docs; 3-1-1 bag; scarf or pashmina (needed to keep warm on flight); and airplane reading material. The tote gets a work out during the trip as a beach bag, shopping bag, laundry bag, etc. My travel wardrobe is amazingly similar to yours but — just 2 pairs of pants (1 pr. “dressy” but no jeans), 1 skirt (IF heading to a big city with opera tix at will call), 1 cardigan-style sweater, 3 layer-able tops (one “dressy”), base layer top (l/s in winter, sleeveless or s/s in other seasons), 1 pair walking shoes, 1 pair comfy dressier shoes, sox and tights, pjs & undies, and outerwear. I take a watch, a non-metal bangle, and 1 pr. earrings for jewelry as well as a second scarf. I also use packing cubes and other aids to squish all of my stuff into my carry-on. I guess I take about 1/3 fewer items than you and wash my clothes more frequently. I generally wear the heavier pair of pants on the plan with a base layer, top, cardigan, outerwear, and walking shoes. I pack the second pair of pants, the skirt (if needed), scarf, second pair of shoes, other 2 tops, pjs, undies, sox and tights and so forth. This has worked for me since I stopped checking bags in 1985.

    Love those sneakers!

  6. I am going to buy packing cubes for next time. I’m glad that I haven’t brought a skirt. Washing out clothes often is the answer if you have the heated towel bar.

  7. Excellent selection of travel clothes….I love the cross body bag but I will need to find a less expensive option for Paris next Spring. You really have perfected the packing part of travel. I think you look great in all the photos and not what I would call touristy either….much more French Chic.

  8. The link to the sneakers doesn’t work, at least not for me. What kind are they? Are they leather? They’re very cute without being too jeune fille, if you know what I mean.

    I wonder why you didn’t wear the necklaces — I’ve started packing necklaces only recently for work travel, and find that they’re the easiest thing to throw on and then forget about.

    Excellent clothes selection.

  9. I love that picture of you, Susan!! You look so happy and relaxed and the outfit is great!

  10. You luck very stylish in that photo & I really like the Givenchy bag . I’ve seen it on the web but it didn’t appeal . Looks much better on you – price rather hot for me though

  11. Oh, what a helpful recap, Susan, thank you! I have benched necklaces already, in preparation for an upcoming trip. For me they often get in the way of crossbody purse straps, so they end up staying in the suitcase for my entire trip. Invaluable ideas, thanks again. -Linda

    1. P.S. (Forgot I’d wanted to ask a question.) Susan, could you us how the one-handled (the shorter or the two straps) bag style worked out for you? I’ve seen these around and the single handle has seemed kind of weirdly off-balance-looking on me, but this one looks fantastic on you here! I would so appreciate your insight. Thank you!

  12. Do you think that you would have worn the necklaces more if it was warmer out?
    I wish I could wear Eileen Fisher, because they are beautiful and elegant clothes. Somehow, with my body type, I look like a cow in them. Sigh!

  13. Sounds like it all went swimmingly! I think part of the trick is making sure that the things you buy and take are *just right* i.e. that the waterproof coat is actually waterproof and is the right weight (i.e. not too warm or cool) and the right colour etc.

    I am still prone to buying things that are 80% there but have a fatal flaw i.e. the cheap boots I got that are comfy and stylish but leak like sieves as soon as it rains!

  14. And you looked totally fabulous in every photo I saw! I will need to look into this bag. My vintage Hartman is not as nimble as this one sounds, and I think I’m due an upgrade. Terrific wardrobe pieces.

  15. Great wardrobe and you looked fabulous in all the photos posted. I’m so impressed with your luggage and the packing cubes. You scored on the shoes as well. I can’t wait to see what you bought yourself in Paris.

  16. Am loving all of your Paris posts…I have been to Paris twice; both times in May, so I know how hard it is to dress for the weather…looks like you did great! Sara

  17. You have the best travel wardrobe ideas. Do you mind letting me know the brand and style of your grey jacket. It looks great.

    1. Hi Rita, thanks! If you’re referring to the short grey leather jacket, it’s from Vince. It seems to be sold out most places but Neiman Marcus still has it in stock, and it’s marked down quite a bit! Here’s a link: