|The daily outfits|
On the minus side - when i say i take about half my closet i'm not exaggerating. Now you know my motivation for a small wardrobe (ba-doom-ching). Seriously though, it's ridiculous. That much stuff takes up space, physically as well as mentally. I can't keep track of what i've got which ends up nagging at me and i end up having too many choices so it takes me longer to decide what to wear. All this detracts from the feeling of ease and freedom ideally generated through travel.
I've felt and thought this way for years now, with no discernable changes in my packing habits. But for some reason, Mr. E made a remark that stuck in my head a couple of days before i was to begin my recent housesitting jaunt. I remember him saying something along the lines of, "Why don't you take less clothes? Nobody's going to be paying attention, you can just wear the same stuff all week if you want."
|Variations on the daily outfits|
I gave it a whirl. I did take fewer clothes (20-25% less than usual), but beyond that i tried to dress out of a small subset of what i had. I also diligently photographed all my outfits, so i could track what i actually wore and analyze it later. It went so much more smoothly than i thought it would! I enjoyed the looks i wore, having fewer choices made dressing super simple, and less clothes meant less trouble with clutter, packing, organizing, finding things. I even came up with a formula for packing in future.
But most unexpectedly, i found i really enjoyed having a 'sartorial theme' for the trip. Wearing the same few pieces over that time gave my soujourn more of a cohesive, outside of the everyday feel. In other words - it felt more like a vacation. Who'da thunk it?
What did i learn? First, my formula: i can pack two (for 2-6 days) or three (for 7-14 days) complete outfits that will blend with each other and be done with it for most trips. This means: stand-alone top, jacket, bottom, shoes, hat, scarf, something warm (down vest, shrug). Taking along camis, leggings, long socks, etc. may be advised if it's predicted cold and or rainy. Just two outfits of jacket, top, bottom will yield eight different looks if they all blend together (four different looks including the jackets, four different looks without the jackets). Throw in variations with shrugs, hats, shoes, scarves and your numbers really jump.
Other lessons i learned from this experiment?
- That i actually really liked the stylistic consistency which emerges naturally from wearing the same clothing a lot. It way outbalanced any boredom (which i didn't feel). I strongly suspect that my happiness correlates closely with how well these pieces fit my personal style as well as my practical requirements.
- That it's useless to bring any clothing that bothers my leg at all on trips. I just won't wear it. In fact, i need to rethink adding any more 'borderline' pieces into my wardrobe at all - they need to stay below a certain number (I'm talking about the dark stretch jeans at top left of first collage).
- I need to bring at least one pair of low-heeled walking shoes in addition to any sneakers.
- Flexible accessories and items come in handy. My dusky pink velvet ribbon rose spruced up my hat and also added some 'oomph' to my swiss dot blouse when i though it looked a little blah. Scarves can be belts, fill in necklines, trim a hat, etc. These items don't take up space, either.
- I realized why i like denim and straw - they both dress things down, making what could look overly dressy and fussy a little rougher and less precious. Hats can easily look over the top in our everyday world - but straw reigns it in. The same with denim - and since i can only take so much of denim on my lower half, i'm plotting to acquire at least two more denim jackets. Ideally, one in a lighter wash, and one in white.
I'm still feeling a bit surprised that my experiment turned out so well and that i learned so much! Do any of you struggle with over-packing the way i have? Do any of you have successful packing strategies? Any packing epiphanies? Do you have to think thing through and plan thoroughly, or does it all just come together naturally? Any and all thoughts will be warmly welcomed - after all, i haven't test-driven my new formula yet!