Monday, 13 August 2012

All in a Very Small Bag

Paris Hilton's luggage
I'm almost sure most of you are all well versed in what to pack - and not pack- for a holiday or time away from home. A long time ago I travelled a lot for a job I had way back then - Mon-Fri in Europe and Sat-Sun in London (which was home then). I eventually trained myself to pack for the working week in 10 mins flat on a Sunday evening and never took anything I didn't wear. Lugging heavy suitcases and bags is not my thing, especially when travelling so often. I assume Ms Hilton has a bit of help. Packing well, even for a few days away, seems to be a skill that some people never master.

My parents have just left for a 10 day Mediterranean cruise and first have to catch a flight to Rome to meet the ship. There is a 20kg limit on the hold luggage. My mother couldn't get her case to close so we took everything out and edited her selection. Every colour under the sun was there and at least two pairs of black trousers! So I was ruthless and at long last, after a lot of debating, outfit matching and coordinating, what to wear and when - we managed to get the case to 19.5kg! It has wheels.

Here's my little tip for choosing what to pack.

Always select a colour and choose clothes around it - coordinating and contrasting. Once you have selected all you want - remove half! I mean it, exactly half!  I usually only take about 5 or 6 basic items plus a few accessories but can make at least 12 outfits from this. For the recent trip to Dublin I selected black and cream as my basic colourway. This is what my basics were:

1. Cream cotton jeans, made via Jeanius
2. Marcy Tilton tunic and tunic made as a cardigan
3. Black cropped not quite leggings RTW
4. Draped T-shirt in fabric left over from tunics
5. Cream chiffon RTW blouse
Also a plain black T-shirt and a white camisole

For colour, variation and if it's chilly I always put in some scarves and a few cardigans.

Green  (RTW)

Pink draped top
Black (RTW)

I have a small penchant for Hermes scarves - my little extravagance as I hardly ever buy clothes. They always lift any outfit to beyond ordinary and I always travel with a few. While I'm not suggesting you have to pack Hermes, colourful scarves, belts, shawls and pashminas add to any outfit (and cover any stains).

For dressing up I went all out for colour and put in two dresses - these coordinate with the cardigans so not really extra in my eyes.

On the left a new cotton dress orange & green - to be blogged soon.

On the right the 4 day dress - pink and green.

I also brought the summer Mac to match the 4 day dress.

Most of these clothes do not wrinkle much either so I could roll them up into little packages to stuff into a small(ish) weekend bag. The cotton dresses took up hardly any space and I just hung them in the steamy hotel bathroom on arrival to remove any packing folds. I wore everything.

You always want to leave some space in your bag or case so that you can pack the spoils of shopping on returning home. There is nothing worse than an overstuffed suitcase and loads of plastic carrier bags stacked around it.

Part of my itinerary on the trip to Dublin was to visit fabric shops with every intention of spending a lot of money. I made a very detailed shopping list but like all high expectations it didn't quite live up to what I anticipated. One shop had closed down after 130 years of trading; one was small and expensive; another had a great selection but didn't fit my specific shopping list and the other was out of town, which I never got to visit.

 I did buy a couple of metres of grey cotton jersey to match a patterned jersey for Marcy Tilton's French house dress V8813 and that was it for the fabric shopping. Are you disappointed?

Apart from the poor city centre choice of fabrics I actually spent my money on something else - which necessitated careful budgeting for the rest of the trip.
 We can eat beans until payday.


  1. Interesting post, and like you used to, I travel a lot for work and have also got the art of packing down to a fine art. People are always amazed at how small my luggage is, often, small and light enough to go into the hold.

    Hermes scarves eh .... I knew you too had a luxury streak in you (good girl).

    1. I only buy once every few years (also from ebay). The girl in the shop was most concerned because this scarf is S/S 2012 and it would be out of season in a few weeks!

  2. I want your scarves. So beautiful and such a lovely way to stretch a travel wardrobe.

    1. Yep, a few staples and some fireworks

  3. I love packing posts!! I'm not very good at it (I'm more like your mom), so I really appreciate tips from an expert!

  4. Well I get more tips from you!

  5. I am a very, very bad packer, who always crams in way too many 'just-in-case' items. It might be cold/hot/wet/sunny etc, and even then I still tell myself if I forget anything I can always pick it up on my trip!!! My motto is A Pair and a Spare (and then some)!!!!!

    1. I think you should take more holidays and then you could get more practice at packing- LOL