|Saturday's look in downtown Nevada City|
I have a confession to make. While i thoroughly enjoy participating in Patti's Visible Monday group posts, i very rarely feel all that visible in the outfits i highlight. I suppose that as a 50 year old woman in our culture, just dressing with some individuality (and blogging about it) qualifies for visibility. But that's a theoretical concept, not the visceral experience of feeling exposed just because of what you're wearing.
However, one of this post's outfits did make me feel pretty easy to spot! Mr. E and i went up to Nevada City last Friday the 13th to attend Mariee Sioux's CD release party and concert. Due to horrendous traffic (all the radio traffic reporters were commenting about how unprecedentedly dreadful it was) we missed the first act. But we made it in time to see The Moore Brothers, then Mariee Sioux herself. We had a great time. Nevada City has an unusual vibe in the Gold Country as it's much more artsy and free-thinking than the rest of central California, with massage schools, indie concert venues, acupuncture offices, boutiques showcasing local eco-conscious designers, and so on. The crowd at the concert reflected this with a nice mix of ages and no 'uniform' look.
|Friday's Concert Look|
Most of the attendees dressed fairly casually; so in my skirt, heels, and hat i stood out from the crowd. But I felt visible mainly because so many ladies were sweet enough to compliment me on my outfit! I can't remember the last time i had so many compliments at one time, and i enjoyed it. The ladies of Nevada City lived up to the small town stereotype of welcoming hospitality in the best possible way. Not surprisingly, they all looked great as well. Many of them wore dresses with a casual flair not often seen but perfect for the occasion and the town.
|Friday Concert Look - from the back|
Mr. E and I stayed two nights in a chain motel in Auburn, a half hour drive from Nevada City. It was hot, in the nineties, and a big fire was burning only a few miles away. Fortunately the wind stayed in our favor on Saturday and the smoke didn't come our way. We spent most of the day strolling around Nevada City, checking out the Victorians, the shops, and a great garage sale. But Sunday morning our luck ran out and smoke lay over the area. So we headed back to the bay after a leisurely breakfast in Auburn.
Now, the travel capsule. Our trip lasted three days and two nights. We left Friday late afternoon (after Mr. E got off work) and returned midday Sunday. Last July i house sat for my dad and bonus mom quite a bit, packing my usual ton of stuff. At one point, as i glared at my suitcase, Mr. E said: "You could wear the same thing every day, no one's going to see you." While planning for this latest jaunt, Mr. E's words rang in my ears and emboldened me to be more sartorially daring in my packing this time. I packed light, and wore even lighter. I took two skirts, one frock coat, two tops, one black hoody (nicer quality), two hats, three pairs of shoes. I wore one top (washed after second night), one frock coat, two skirts, two hats, two pair of shoes.
|Trying on black coton ruffle tank - didn't buy|
The outfits: Friday (for the concert) i wore the ivory lace trimmed blouse, black tiered skirt, black and white striped frock coat, Fossil oxfords, black stripey over-the-knee socks and 'mushroom' hat. Saturday (sightseeing, walking, and shopping in Nevada City) i chose the same top, skirt, and hat with snakeskin sandals and no hose. Sunday (breakfast out, sightseeing, in the car) i wore the same top, snakeskin sandals again, oatmeal linen skirt, Tula bucket hat, and my new Extasia necklace (purchased Saturday).
I thought this travel capsule worked out great! I enjoyed having less clothing to keep track of, i was physically comfortable, my clothes were appropriate for the trip's activities, and i loved all the looks. Especially since Mr. E and i take a fair amount of weekend trips, i'm analyzing this trips capsule for future use. What made this capsule work? Well, it's really just one outfit (ivory lace trimmed blouse, frock coat, tiered skirt) that's changed up with accessories for different effects/temperatures and with a change of bottoms (skirt). The frock coat and tiered skirt make a great 'suit' and would have looked nice with the snakeskin sandals as well as with the heels and socks even though i didn't have occasion to wear this combination.
|detail of the blouse and a look at my new necklace|
Another approach to this 'one outfit' capsule would be to wear a variety of tops with the same third layer (jacket, vest, cardigan, etc.) and bottom. Tops are great for variety and they take up very little space. This ivory top worked well because it has a nice structure to it so you still have a nice look when you take off the frock coat. It is also very quick-drying. Although i took along another blouse (i forget which one! oh, my face is red) i decided to stick with the ivory blouse all weekend. I chose the oatmeal skirt for Sunday and it was quite comfy to wear on the ride home. The light color combined with the ivory top for a monotone look, which made a nice visual change from the dramatic black/white contrast of the previous two looks.
|from Extasia's Nevada City outlet store - my first and (i hope) far from last Extasia piece|
I think the key is to make sure that your 'base outfit' works for whatever you're going to be doing on your trip. I would always go with a 'three layer look' (top, bottom, jacket) personally. I'm most comfortable with a third layer physically and it is also a signature of my personal style. I would also choose a top that can 'carry' the look without the third layer. For colder weather i would pack leggings/tights, wool socks, a tank or two, scarves, a fleece or cashmere shrug in addition to my three layer outfit and another blouse or skirt. Adding wool tights, a slip, a cashmere shrug and scarf to my concert look could see me through most winter weather in Northern California, and stripping the outfit down to it's basic 'blouse and skirt' was perfect for very hot weather. That's flexibility!
It's a conundrum that i've loved the idea of a minimalist wardrobe for decades, and have been diligently working towards one for two years now - but whenever it's time to take a trip, i automatically stuff that suitcase to bursting! It was so fun and easy to take along just enough, not having to worry about all that 'stuff'. It felt footloose and fancy free....spontaneous and out of the ordinary routine. Lighter - metaphorically as well as literally!
I'm thrilled to have made some type of packing breakthrough - i fantasize about taking a rolling tote and dressing out of it for a week...but i'm not deluded enough to think i've got it all figured out. Any and all travel packing tips, tricks, and ideas are welcome!