Travel Wardrobe Recap - une femme d'un certain âge

Travel Wardrobe Recap

After a long flight (12+ hours in the air total) an early evening stroll through Paris was just the thing.
Blustery Sunday morning in Jardin de Tuileries

Above are pictures taken on our first and last days in Paris. Le monsieur snapped a few more of me in between but I’m wearing the same thing in all: slim pants (skinny jeans or ponte knit), boots, grey scarf, black leather jacket (and two or three layers of tops underneath). It was cool and intermittently rainy in Paris, and I was glad I’d swapped out my lightweight coat for my leather jacket at the very last moment after one final glance at the extended weather forecast.

In Provence, it was a bit drier and a few degrees warmer, so was able to shed the jacket periodically.

At the seaside in Cassis 
Market day in Aix-en-Provence

Overall, I was very pleased with how my capsule travel wardrobe worked out.

What worked:

  • The Naot mid-calf boots were a good choice; coordinated with all of my pants whether worn inside or out and they never gave my feet cause for complaint. 
  • I always had something to wear that was appropriate for the weather and venue, even if that meant wearing some pieces almost daily. 
  • I appreciated having a small and relatively lightweight suitcase while in transit (especially navigating up and down a narrow flight of curving stairs on the TGV train) and realized one more advantage to packing light when we arrived back home: less to unpack!

I did “sink laundry” for a few items twice on the trip and almost everything dried overnight, even with the cool and damp conditions.

Didn’t wear: 

  • the polka dot dress. I wore the other one (above) on our second day in Provence, but the weather didn’t cooperate past that point. Too chilly/windy/damp even with leggings. 
  • most of the jewelry. 

Wish I’d brought: another 1 or 2 mid-weight scarves with some color.

In retrospect, I do think this was my most workable and best travel capsule wardrobe yet.

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  1. May 15, 2012 / 11:31 am

    Thanks for this so-practical recap, Une Femme. We’re headed to NYC for 5 days soon, and I learned a lot from your packing. And I agree with Pam – you look chic and tres Francaise!

  2. May 15, 2012 / 12:53 pm

    We are headed to Washington DC for six days soon. I’m already thinking capsule—and scarves.

  3. May 15, 2012 / 1:43 pm

    Looking good Missy!
    I would love to wear more dresses and if I lived anywhere other than Northern Europe I would but like you, I can’t abide exposing my legs to rain and cold.

  4. May 15, 2012 / 1:58 pm

    Missy I have to say I am so happy you just did this “what worked and what did not!” It is easy to find posts on what to bring, but harder to find out what the outcome was.

    I love your posts and am enjoying your pics. Thank you!


  5. May 15, 2012 / 2:40 pm

    Well done! (And, as you did, one can always buy scarves there.) Am interested in hearing abut another strategy, how you coped with jet lag (12 hrs is a lot of time zones) when only there for a week. You seemed to hit the ground running and never let up!

    • May 15, 2012 / 5:54 pm

      Duchesse, I’ll include some of my jet-lag tips in a post later this week. (Short version: fresh air and movement.) I did buy scarves there, but everything in the stores was spring/summer collections, so too lightweight for my ensembles.

  6. May 15, 2012 / 2:48 pm

    It sounds to me like you must have slept on the plane to be able to pop out right away for a stroll.
    Jet lag must not have been much of a factor.

    Your packing skills get better with each jaunt to Paris.
    Like Duchesse mentioned you could always buy scarves!

  7. May 15, 2012 / 3:27 pm

    Really nicely done. And I think the dress, when you did spring it, looked great.

  8. May 15, 2012 / 3:47 pm

    Hello….Thanks to you and to your pal at The Vivienne files…I have begun to embrace the capsule wardrobe philosophy and the French chic style. I so love your blog!

  9. May 15, 2012 / 4:05 pm

    Thank you! This is very inspiring! I always wear the same thing at home. I am working to learn that I also wear the same clothes when I travel!

    You are an excellent example! Thanks again.

  10. May 15, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    You really look chic and not at all like a tourist!

  11. Pam @ over50feeling40
    May 15, 2012 / 10:51 am

    Ah, you look so French!! I love the top two pictures!

  12. May 15, 2012 / 7:27 pm

    Clever and chic! I’m finding a bit more challenge in making my carry-on last a month, especially given the changeable weather: low teens and windy in Amsterdam; low 30s in St. Emilion last week (and people were swimming in the ocean at San Sebastian yesterday!). But isn’t it great how easy it is to get around with only a single rolling bag? Worth the extra planning. . .

  13. May 15, 2012 / 7:38 pm

    Thanks for the recap. It is good to know what works and what doesn’t. I’ve often heard people always pack more than they will actually wear. It is helpful to know what worked and what didn’t work for you. 🙂

  14. May 15, 2012 / 10:04 pm

    Nice going…really appreciate the commentary too! Love the first two photos best, chick, sophisticated and cool. Something about that dress–dowdy, but love all else. Great hair cut as well.

  15. mette
    May 15, 2012 / 3:55 pm

    I too have noticed the same thing about jewelry on trips. The extras don´t get worn. Arriving from California, the weather must have felt cool, if not cold. A good thing, that you had your leather jacket along!

  16. May 15, 2012 / 11:14 pm

    This is a great idea – recapping what you did and didn’t wear. (I always forget to remember what I didn’t wear… which would be so useful when packing the next time around!)

    Love these pictures! You packed so smartly and you look so French! And oh – seeing Aix brings back very sweet memories for me… A lovely place.

  17. May 15, 2012 / 11:42 pm

    Esp love the first photo. Can you show us the actual luggage you used. Also, did you carry it on? I just cannot figure out how to not over pack.
    Ps love your blog.

  18. May 16, 2012 / 2:43 am

    Practice makes perfect. You look elegant in each photo and the light packing looks to be a highly developed skill. I am taking note!

  19. May 16, 2012 / 4:59 am

    You look very chic and I love your clothing choices. I was taking note of your shoes as I would like to wear something attractive and don’t want the track shoe look. We will be there in July so the weather will be warm (swollen feet!). I’m considering a flat and wedge.

    I think you look wonderful after the 12 hour flight. I’m dreading that part..

  20. May 16, 2012 / 6:36 am

    Great recap and views on what worked! I was so envious of you going to Aix en Provence I love the little town it is so gorgeous.

  21. May 16, 2012 / 4:57 pm

    I have enjoyed your travel posts so much. I don’t travel that often, but when I do I try to pack sensibly and sparely, but always start too late and take too much! These pictures are proof that planning and sticking to a carefully thought out capsule wardrobe pays off – you look very chic.

  22. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen
    May 16, 2012 / 11:03 am

    Looks like your planning paid off. I wish I was as organized as you.

    When we were in Provence several years ago, it was colder than I had planned on. I picked up several very nice scarves and have thoroughly enjoyed wearing them here at home and they kept me warm and chic while I was there. Didn’t take up much room in the suitcase either.

  23. May 16, 2012 / 7:19 pm

    I love to pack light! Excellent recap!

  24. Marie-Christine
    May 17, 2012 / 12:06 pm

    Don’t fret about the dresses, if the weather had been more seasonal you’d have gotten plenty of wear from them. In fact you’d have needed sandals too.
    It’s true that you can never have too many scarves in Paris, and they extend any vacation wardrobe. Fortunately, you can easily pick up a couple extras on location :-).
    Sorry you had such a cool time, you were only off a couple weeks from the first glorious spring. Sigh. One would never go anywhere if was necessary to wait for the ideal weather, exchange rate etc..

  25. May 25, 2012 / 6:20 pm

    Bravo Pseu! You look great in the photos and it sounds like you felt put together and prepared for the weather.

  26. August 15, 2012 / 3:36 pm

    I love your site, no fifty but heading there eventually (39)it’s very inspirational and i love the pics, they are great. You look elegant in each photo and the light packing looks to be a highly developed skill. I am taking note! One day i will visit there in the mean time you can be my guest here in Toronto- Canada

    Marisol D.

  27. August 27, 2012 / 1:30 am

    Love the blog. But I would really appreciate a shopping list as we look to be the same size. Where did you get your basic pieces?

    • August 27, 2012 / 2:08 am

      Hi Angela – the jeans were NYDJ and 7 For all Mankind. The black ponte knit pants, black and blue cardigans, and the tees and tunics were all Eileen Fisher. The dresses are from Karina Dresses ( ). The one sweater tunic was Helmut Lang. Boots from Naot and shoes were OLD Ecco’s. Hope that helps!

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