Traveling in Style: Boarding Pass - une femme d'un certain âge

Traveling in Style: Boarding Pass

Click to enlarge for detail. Exposure and contrast were tweaked to better show the black items.

So after obsessively checking the extended forecasts for Rome and Florence during the last 48 hours (Venice and Paris are too far in the future to glean anything meaningful) I made my final selections for the journey. Above is my entire wardrobe (almost) for two weeks.

Mes amis, I was ruthless (well, pour une femme, anyway). I first laid out everything I’d had on my preliminary list, and culled a few pieces that I decided were in the might-like-to-have-but-don’t-need category.

Here’s what’s going in the suitcase:

1 silk jersey tank, grey
1 silk jersey tank, tunic length, black
1 silk jersey cap sleeve tee, black
1 silk-cotton jersey 3/4 sleeve tee, grey
1 poly blend 3/4 sleeve v-neck shirt, black
1 poly blend 3/4 sleeve blouse, cream (can also be worn as a lightweight jacket)
1 crinkled cotton knit 3/4 sleeve v-neck tunic, black and taupe fine stripes (can also be worn as lightweight sweater)

1 silk-cotton knit 3/4 sleeve jacket, black
1 wool crepe knit longer peplum cardigan, black
1 packable raincoat, bronze/black reversible (not shown above)

1 pair bootcut jeans (lightweight, with a little stretch)
1 pair triacetate ankle palazzo pants (very lightweight)
1 pair poly pleated straight leg ankle pants (dressy enough worn with the cream blouse for just about anything we’ll be doing)

1 pair Mary Jane pump with 1″ heel, black (these are by Think!) Walkable, but can work for dressy.
1 pair walking sandals, black

1 extra pair glasses
1 lightweight silk cotton scarf, cream
1 faux pearl necklace

Also not shown: sleepwear, underwear, bras, socks, 1 pair earrings

Wearing on plane
1 silk jersey tank, black
1 silk jersey long-sleeve tee, black
1 cashmere v-neck sweater, navy (I know, might be overkill but I always get cold on planes)
1 pair stretchy straight leg jeans
1 pair walking shoes (Mary Janes bottom center of pic)
1 pair socks
1 watch
1 cashmere wrap, taupe

In anticipation of the “where’s the color?” comments, I know this seems rather severe. But many of the individual pieces have interesting textures, and by sticking with these dark neutrals, every piece goes with almost every other piece. Dark colors travel well, not showing dirt as quickly. And if I really get starved for color, I can always pick up a scarf or two.

No skirt either. Wasn’t sure I’d wear often enough to justify packing it. The pants I’m bringing are all lightweight enough to be comfortable in temperatures into the low 80’s F and the straight leg jeans can be rolled up.

The one pair of ECCO pointy-toe mary janes that I’d originally planned to bring and hadn’t worn much recently seem to have stretched out or else my feet have shrunk, but either way they now feel too big for serious walking as my feet slide around in them. So I went with the black Think! pumps instead.

About the purse…
I deliberated about wearing one larger nylon cross-body bag for flight/travel days, and packing a smaller leather cross-body bag for the rest of the time. But ultimately that seemed redundant and more trouble than it’s worth, so I’m leaving the larger bag home, and will just put the leather bag into my large Longchamp nylon zip-top tote on travel days. (I can also toss my TSA-liquids bag in there too, plus a few bags of almonds and my wrap and it’s still small enough to pass as my “personal item” which I’ll carry on in addition to my wheeled suitcase.) The leather bag I’m taking is from my new BFF (Marc by) Marc Jacobs, who heeded my mournful lamentations and brought forth a light and well-designed cross-body bag without the offensive eponymous lining or the metal logo plate. The soft black leather goes from day to evening. (The black Miu Miu cross-body bag I’d taken on previous trips was rather heavy for its size thanks to the hardware, and uncomfortable on the shoulder after a few hours on the feet.)

Next up, fitting all of this (and a few other non-wearable travel essentials) into a 20″ wheeled suitcase.


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  1. May 16, 2011 / 11:36 am

    Your wardrobe looks elegant, sophisticated and perfectly wearable. I hope that you have a wonderful trip and incredible experiences!:)

  2. May 16, 2011 / 12:06 pm

    Beautiful choices. Mostly Eileen F and your new Bebettes?

  3. May 16, 2011 / 1:35 pm

    Very disciplined and well thought out — you’ll be stylish and comfortable enough for anything. Bon voyage!

  4. May 16, 2011 / 2:04 pm

    i love the color scheme of your travel attire. 🙂
    great selections.
    have a wonderful trip!

  5. Katriona
    May 16, 2011 / 2:56 pm

    Excellent… and if you are starved for colour,the old Market in Florence has many, many lovely silk scarves, at good prices. Don’t forget to touch the Boar’s nose!

  6. May 16, 2011 / 2:57 pm

    Love the selections. No matter how hard I try to like color, I just love the neutrals so much more. So much cleaner and elegant. I am laid up with a severely broken ankle and can’t do ANYTHING for 6-8 weeks, so I will enjoy reading about your trip. Hope you have a fabulous time and I am eager to see how the Eileen Fisher pieces do for you!

  7. May 16, 2011 / 2:58 pm

    Brilliant! You’ve created the perfect travel wardrobe for city travel at this time of year. Can’t wait to see how this all fits in a carry-on. Bon Voyage!

  8. citizen spot
    May 16, 2011 / 3:02 pm

    Geez, didn’t mom teach you not to leave your clothes laying around on the floor? ; )

    Happy travels y’all. Have a blast and don’t forget to misbehave just a little.

  9. May 16, 2011 / 3:27 pm

    You pack like a professional traveller. You will look great and be appropriately dressed.
    Well done.

  10. May 16, 2011 / 3:38 pm

    OMG-your “Polyvore on the floor” is beautiful!! You will have no problem fitting it into your 20″ bag- I’ll be you even have room for the item you decided against.

    Have a great time!!

  11. May 16, 2011 / 3:42 pm

    Very impressive!
    I like all of your choices and I agree with the neutral palette…I would choose a very similar grouping.

    I think a spare pair of glasses is a great idea.
    You are ready to go…

    Have a fabulous holiday!

  12. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 / 4:09 pm

    I agree w/ Colleen: elegant and wearable; but also efficient. You should give lessons (well, this blog performs that function). But no matter what, you’ll have a wonderful time. My consciousness of my less than stellar wardrobe didn’t prevent our trip from being near perfect, the very best we’ve ever taken.
    Enjoy it to the full!

  13. Luna
    May 16, 2011 / 4:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, I will use it as reassurance when tempted to pack too much, as I tend to. I love your choice of dark neutrals — as much as I love color, a neutral always looks understated, elegant and appropriate. And what a great reason to go searching for beautiful new scarves…
    Have a wonderful time! — Luna

  14. May 16, 2011 / 4:41 pm

    This looks great. I think you have done a fabulous job. I especially like the crinkled knit three quarter sleeve black and taupe stripe top. Could you identify it for us?

  15. May 16, 2011 / 5:48 pm

    This looks like a fabulous selection. You will be comfortable and chic. Have a wonderful time.

  16. May 16, 2011 / 5:52 pm

    Have a splendid, memorable time! (And I certainly am not asking where is the colour!) It looks perfect to me.

  17. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 / 6:45 pm

    Boring, boring, boring. You could have included a print or colored top and everything would have still matched. And, I disagree, you will look like a tourist because only tourists wear a completely neutral palate. How do I know? I have traveled and lived in Europe. You learn these things after awhile.

  18. Anonymous
    May 16, 2011 / 6:57 pm

    Thank you for highlighting the Eileen Fisher pepulm cardigan – I just got one for myself and love it.

    NB, last week it was on sale on the EF website….

  19. LuxeBytes
    May 16, 2011 / 12:03 pm

    Bon voyage, lucky duck!

  20. May 16, 2011 / 7:07 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    Just to answer a few questions:

    Frugal Scholar – EF and Babette, yes, and also one Chico’s top.

    Julianne – oh dear, hope you heal quickly!

    Marguerite – actually the shoes I’m wearing on the plane are great walking shoes. I can’t wear ballet flats, not enough support.

    Anonymous – it’s always amusing to me how people never sign their names to negative comments. I’ve never stated that my goal was to “not look like a tourist.” In fact, in an earlier post, I was clear that looking like a tourist is a given. My goal was to put together a minimal wardrobe that will fit in a carry on and get me through two weeks. Other women would choose differently and that’s fine too.

  21. California Girl
    May 16, 2011 / 12:09 pm

    Bon voyage!

  22. metscan
    May 16, 2011 / 12:18 pm

    You have chosen wisely. You are not going to “pop” out as a tourist.
    Are you sure, that you will manage with two pairs of shoes? Or maybe you have plans on buying a pair or two, in which case all is well!

  23. May 16, 2011 / 7:19 pm

    My comment to Anonymous was directed at first Anon @ 11:45am.

    Anonymous@11:57am – so happy you found it on sale!

  24. Paula
    May 16, 2011 / 12:58 pm

    oh la la ! You made it! And I love it. I want to come with you. Happy travelling!

    In case your flight is flying to Vienna, instead of France/Italy, give me a signal! It makes me feel a bit sad, that you will be so close and yet so far away. :-*

  25. May 16, 2011 / 9:23 pm

    If you do really travel and/or do live in European cities, you will recognize that neutrals in any part of the world tend to be the normal. I have never been to Vienna, but London, Paris, Lyon, Rome, Trieste, yes, lots of neutrals on tourists and natives. The act of not behaving like a tourist-bore is the goal. There are always those lovely scarves and wraps to pop some color. I think your wardrobe is perfect. Only in very warm weather do I tend to lighter colored neutrals. Have a wonderful time, absorb all that you can so you can share with those of us unable to travel right now.

  26. barbara
    May 16, 2011 / 9:26 pm

    Delicate choice in color & style.
    Great work what you’ve done.
    Welcome to Europe, enjoy your trip.
    And, if you plan to go to the Maille Boutique, try the Mustard with Shallot – it’s absolutely delicious.

  27. May 16, 2011 / 9:52 pm

    You should’ve seen my luggage when I traveled to Italy! I would check luggage so as to leave room for goodies. I purchased so much leather handbags and scarves and such. Buon viaggio!

  28. May 16, 2011 / 10:35 pm

    You will look very chic, and should be very comfortable as well; perfect combination! Have a spectacular trip!

  29. Marie
    May 16, 2011 / 10:51 pm

    To Anon@11:45: it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Florence, but I was in Venice in both April 2010 and May 2010, and I noticed that the natives, both men and women, all wore neutrals. This was true both during the daytime and at night. They looked marvelous in their greys, blacks, whites, and beiges against the cool stones, the greenish canals, and the blue, blue sky. The tourists, in contrast, looked garish.

  30. Marguerite
    May 16, 2011 / 4:35 pm

    Dear Femme, Your choices look wonderfully wearable. Very similar to what I packed. I wonder if you should also include a pair of ballet flats for day walking. I found with my walking sandals my feet got so dirty after even half a day out and about. Perhaps pick up some after you arrive. Nevertheless, have a wonderful, safe trip!

  31. Kalee
    May 16, 2011 / 5:05 pm

    I am thoroughly impressed by your ability to choose such a chic wardrobe for your trip. You will have an amazing time and not stick out as a tourist in the least!

  32. Kady
    May 16, 2011 / 6:31 pm

    Have a fab trip. Please post some pictures of you looking oh-so-chic (and not at all like a tourist 🙂 )abroad.

  33. Anonymous
    May 17, 2011 / 1:34 am

    Thank you and have a wonderful trip!

  34. Tiffany
    May 16, 2011 / 10:59 pm

    I’m very impressed. Travelling light, looking chic – couldn’t really ask for more! Looking forward to pics of the trip.

  35. Marianne Tandon
    May 17, 2011 / 3:19 pm

    The wardrobe is consistent with what I will take on my French Atlantic cruise. I am planning on black, white, and jeans. I plan on being cold, in July. Hmm, I don’t have a light-weight raincoat.


  36. May 17, 2011 / 3:40 pm

    I could tell the negative anonymous that I have worked at conferences in several European countries; dark neutrals prevail.

    pseu, you REALLY aren’t a skirt girl! I’d have packed mostly skirts and one pair of trousers!

    Vi auguro un viaggio strepitoso!

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