Twenty sixteen is shaping up to be one of the most action packed years of my life. The past few months have certainly fit this theme. Living on almostenough sleep and getting by on almostenough energy has paid off. I have been to so many new places and experienced so many amazing things. Those stories, however, are for another time. Today, I am focusing on the wise advice; “less is more.”
As I am getting out on my own (cue parents popping champagne in background), I find myself less drawn to tactile memories. By this I mean, I value the mental memory of C and my’s first date more than the movie ticket I saved. Huge bags of clothing (that I once thought would hold irreplaceable sentimental value) are packed up for donation every couple of months, I throw away more than I keep when going through drawers and I have a more selective mindset when shopping. This year has taken me to many places where I made amazing memories and guess what– the clothing, pamphlets, scrapbook materials and souvenirs had nothing to do with it.
Today, I would like to write a little bit about what many call capsule packing. In March I ventured to D.C. with some amazing friends and members of my cohort, in June I travelled around Europe for a month with my sister and I will find myself in Nashville with my fiancé in the next few weeks.
As a former over packer, I know that it is tempting to pack a celebrity sized bag for your excursions. What if you need something?
What if you have to wear those suede booties during a cold front in the middle of June?
What if you wear that black dress twice and TMZ captures your epic faux pas? Not likely.
What if you are hauling a 60 pound backpack up 60 steps on your way up to a hotel room due to a broken lift and are so sweaty you have to miss your dinner reservations to bathe? More likely.
As I type, my mom is packing for a trip to Alaska and I am reflecting on what I chose to pack for a month in Europe. Enter capsule packing.
According to Wikipedia;“Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.”
The Pinterest world has been freaking about this idea for a while now. A few basics that can be dressed up or down and tweaked to fit in with current trends. I like it. I’m not great at it, but I like it. I knew I could do a travel version.
One thing I have going for me here is my unadulterated adoration of black. I used this obsession when creating my capsule wardrobe for Europe.
Seven countries with different climates and styles in one month. In one backpack.
What to bring? This isn’t a travel blog, so we are not going into microfiber cloths, packing cubes and moleskin.
Here is what I could not live with out:
- A black T-shirt dress from Old Navy
- My trusty high waisted Levis
- Denim shorts
- Denim button-down
- Two frothy scarves
- A crossbody- I used a Louis Vuitton monogram one (pretty universal)
- Dressy sandals- nude
- Nikes or Chucks- black, white or cream
- Walking sandals- nude
- One dressy dress- mine was ivory
- One romper- I got a white one from Zara when I arrived
- Three or four cute T-shirts or tops (the XXXL T-shirt craze in not happening across the pond)- I brought one black top with lace on the bottom, one striped sort sleeve shirt, one white one and a white linen blouse
- Two lounge outfits, I was usually sleeping in one
- Rain jacket/ windbreaker
- Costume jewelry- bronze, gold, silver, pearls. That’s it. Don’t be a rookie and lose your heirloom broach. Thanks.
- Undergarments- I ❤ spanx.
- Straightener, mascara, DO, Wen, toothbrush and paste, face wash, meds, chapstick
Thats it. If you can’t carry it, you can’t bring it. Walk around your house for a few days hauling your load, if you don’t feel like you can get up and tour a museum after- it’s too full for you, bro.
I should mention: any time you are going to a new country, leave some room to buy a few pieces of clothing there. Nothing is worse than not speaking the language fluently AND looking like a tourist. I bought quite a few things whilst in Europe, mostly cold weather clothing- June in Amsterdam is not June in Atlanta.
I brought a few things I regretted: a pair of wedges, extra T-shirt dresses, a travel pillow, too many bras, an extra pair of walking sandals…. just things that I could have bought over there if I couldn’t live with out them. I didn’t need them.
I’ll include some pictures of my trip- see if you can find my reused pieces!