Friday, October 29, 2010 3:11 PM
I had never been to Italy, but I knew enough to know for certain that the women are beautiful and the men divine. How to possibly fit in and feel good when surrounded by such unparalleled gorgeousness from within the limited confines of a suitcase. Mission Impossible! Am I right?!
This story gets worse: three weeks of it are from the back of a motorcycle. Have you seen how small top boxes are? But I do like to tempt fate.
My mission, which I chose to accept, took me to Italy/England/Sweden/Aussie for 6 weeks. I stayed under weight with my luggage there and back (so proud) and I felt and looked great the whole time so I want to share my success with you in the knowledge that when you next have to pack a suitcase for a far off destination, you can feel smug and confident in your supreme/extreme packing abilities.
Plus the weight restrictions on some of the budget airlines these days are insanely low and tormentingly rigid, so I had to be fierce and cut-throat when choosing what made the travel wardrobe cut and what did not. I was so hard core I even used travel scales to weigh as I went.
Firstly, and most importantly, less is more when it comes to travel clothing. Because of this I packed mostly dresses (4 lightweight cotton day dresses), 2 pairs of leggings, only one pair of jeans, three fabulous cardigans, one warm jacket – a classic lightweight trench, a denim jacket, a pair of shorts and a pair of ¾ linen pants (from Max that were simply indispensable) and a smattering of simple comfy cotton tee shirts. This pared back, keep it simple suitcase philosophy meant I had room in my suitcase for a few key purchases while I was away.
Mostly I packed a large selection of accessories. These became my building blocks for the perfect travel wardrobe. They made each outfit look and feel different and stopped me from looking like a 'typical tourist'. Pieces like silk or linen scarves, a selection of belts, a couple of cheese cutter hats and a selection of different jewellery. This way all I had to do each time I had to wear that same dress AGAIN – I just popped a different cardi/scarf or belt with it and hey presto! Different look.
Dresses are great for traveling because they are literally one piece that you can throw on and not have to think about as it is a whole outfit in one so they save a ton of space. Leggings are small and roll up well, I also took two oversized tops/shifts that could go with the leggings.
On the plane (or train or in the automobile), because comfort was my number one priority I wore leggings, 2x merino layers for warmth, a tunic top over those and a big comfy merino wrap cardigan that could double as a blanket or a pillow. Then because I don't bother with shoe laces on a plane, (feet swell and laces cause pain) I wore slip-on flat canvas sneakers. This trip I bought myself flight socks to protect against deep vein thrombosis and they had the very happy side effect of reducing swollen ankles.
I chose a colour palette and stuck to it. This was important as it meant that everything was 'mix and matchable' – so in my holiday snaps it looks like I must have taken a huge wardrobe with me – I didn't, I just changed the combinations each time I wore something. I chose red, white and blue as my colour combo for this adventure and added a touch of leopard print for my x-factor in the form of a knit cardi (from Sussan) and a silk scarf (vintage).
The true miracle is that I only took three pairs of shoes. Two canvas flats and one pair of white jandals as I knew we'd be walking a lot so no heels! This was a true holiday.
Believe me, packing a suitcase is an art, it takes equal measure time, determination and ruthlessness not to overpack. Being happy joyous and having fun on holiday meant having a wardrobe that worked for me – not against me. I wish you happy travelling where ever your destination. May your travel wardrobe bring you joy every time you open it. Mine did!