Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A travel wardrobe...

Time away
27 days
Where to:  
Rome, Umbria, Cinque Terre, Lake Como and Milan in Italy: and finally Paris
Season: 
the later part of spring.  Going by current and previous years' weather forecasts in these parts of Europe we could (and did) experience daily temperatures of anything from wintery 19C and quite wet, right up to summery 31C days and quite humid.
Expected activities: 
light to heavy-duty rural hiking
sight-seeing in small rural villages as well as big bustling cities
one formal cocktail party.


What I packed: (each garment is linked to its original construction post)
(L to R, top to bottom)
Hand knitted Colinette raspberry chenille scarf
Burda 7786 (modified) beige cotton trench coat
Vogue 2894 raspberry hessian silk cropped jacket
self drafted coffee and white net cardigan
(L to R, top to bottom)
Vogue 1247 (lengthened and lined) cream skirt
(L to R, top to bottom)
Burda 7863 black stretch cotton corduroy jeans (incidentally; I originally made these as flares, and on a whim mere hours before this trip, unpicked the leg seams and bootlegged them)
Burdastyle 10/2010, 110 hiking pants, khaki ripstop cotton
(L to R, top to bottom)

(L to R, top to bottom)
(L to R, top to bottom)


The miscellaneous extras...
(L to R, top to bottom)
Hiking shoes, Merrell from Mountain Designs
Cruddy old raincoat (high up on my list of things to replace, grrr) KMart  
And incidentally, can anyone recommend a reliable source for raincoat-suitable fabric??  That is not just a rhetorical question and I would really like to know... in Perth waterproof fabrics like gore-tex are just about unknown, which is crazy; I know it doesn't rain here much, but it does rain!!  I have even considered buying a few shower curtains or a plastic tablecloth to chop up, but thought it might be a good idea to ask here before resorting to such drastic measures  :)  
Straw hat from Country Road
Suede, chocolate brown, high heeled pumps, Sandler
Flat black leather shoes; Enrico Antinori from Zomp shoes
Thongs, KMart

Oh yes, naturally I packed underwear too but did not take any pictures of those  :)


My entire set of holiday outfits can be viewed here


So, briefly; what was wonderful and what was not?
Spread out like that, it seems like a lot of clothes, doesn't it?  Trying to pack minimally for the length of time away, the varied activities and even more varied weather conditions we were expecting?  Was difficult.
I admit that early on in the trip I felt that I had packed far too much.  Whilst we were in the mild and warm Italian climate, all my winter-y pieces; my corduroy jeans, chocolate cardigan, the raspberry jacket and my trench coat; seemed superfluous, taking up valuable suitcase space, and I seriously wondered if I would have been wiser to have left them at home.... of course once we got to unseasonably cold Paris I was extremely glad of each of these pieces!!  In fact by the end of our trip I was wishing I had a few more things to choose from! like another winter-y top since in Paris I felt like I was wearing the same Tshirts layered over each other, over and over again; but that was probably more to do with the fact that I was fairly bored with all my clothes by this time...  
So I guess that means I managed to get the numbers just about right!  :)

Three pairs of shorts seemed like overkill, but all-day hiking is sweaty business and the truth is I was glad I had "splurged" by taking that extra pair.  
The hat surprisingly was not worn at all  :O  so I could have left that at home!  Even on the hottest days I found the sun to be very mild in Italy.

There are a few "nice" tops,  like my orange blouse and my grey blouse, that appear superfluous since they turned up only once each in my daily pictures...   but actually, on the evenings of our hiking days in Italy I would change from the sweaty hiking gear into a skirt, one of my smarter blouses and leather shoes for dinner, so the blouses did get worn more frequently than it appears.  So, I think I had exactly the right number of tops and skirts, and enough different styles of tops to keep my outfits varied and interesting.  
My raspberry red silk jacket was a last minute chuck-in and turned out to be a great and gorgeously colourful thing that cheeried up every outfit it graced.  So I did come to this important conclusion: whilst crushable "nice" clothes might seem impractical and extravagant to pack in the suitcase for a long trip, they are fantastic for the inevitable one or two days when one is tired and feeling a little low, and just randomly wishes to look feminine and pretty; just to boost the ol' morale.


So!
What item of clothing do you find to be invariably indispensable when travelling, and have you ever packed something that seemed essential at the time but that turned out to be a big white elephant in your suitcase and you wish you hadn't bothered??
Do tell!

45 comments:

  1. Very impressive! All those pretty clothes, so well thought out and all made by you too! You looked marvellous in each and every one of your holiday pictures.

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  2. Wow, great collection!
    I purchased technical fabric for a coat (http://pomme-et-asperge.blogspot.de/2011/11/rain-coat.html) at www.Shelby.fi. They´re in Finland, but they do ship internationally. Love your blog by the way!
    Marlise

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  3. I think your packing is quite impressive - it's a lovely travel wardrobe. Anyone who can only select from a limited few items for 27 days is bound to become a little weary of them by the end. Can't wait to see what your travels have inspired you to create :)

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  4. I can't live without my Metallicus, especially the light wool jackets and long coats. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

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  5. From my own recent travel experiences, I totally agree that if you have a pair of shorts you like, take multiples of them. I can also vouch for the practical appeal of the V1247 top (it makes a great cover up for protecting skin from sunshine) and I concur that you really need something to keep you feeling feminine. One nice dress or skirt to climb into. The one item I returned to again and again and again was a denim mini skirt because it was a) cool and b) denim goes with absolutely everything.

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  6. For raincoat fabric, there is a business in Oregon called TheRainShed that sells all kinds of outdoor fabric. I'm sure you'll find it if you google it. Your blog and sewing endeavors are such an inspiration!

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  7. There was some info on Sewaholic about waterproof outerwear (including choosing fabric) here: http://sewaholic.net/guest-post-caroline-on-sewing-waterproof-outerwear/

    Also, "wintery 19C" made me giggle. Around here, you know it's winter when there's snow :-) Usually. Very occasionally, there's snow and it isn't winter.

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  8. I am in the UK and have used Pennine Outdoor a few times. According to their web-site they ship overseas at cost.

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  9. Such a wonderful review/overview of your travel wardrobe. Traveling by air certainly does put limits on what you can take.

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  10. Oh, wonderful itinerary and wonderful wardrobe! I think Cinque Terre is probably if not the most, then among the handful of most beautiful, serene and just plain wonderful places on earth. Have a lovely trip!

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  11. Oh, and I agree with the previous commenter about the weather. Even though sometimes the weather does trip us up and brings up a day or two or weird weather in late spring I would say you can be pretty certain of reasonably warm conditions both in Italy and well, Paris in the springtime, no better time to go. :)

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  12. I was very impressed by your great color palette and how well all your clothes go with each other. Good Job!

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  13. You got a LOT of variety out of your wardrobe - great packing, I say.

    My one travel necessity piece, no matter where I'm going (although I'm always trying for at least a partially tropical/warm weather destination) is a shawl/pareu piece, that coordinates with as many pieces as possible. (I also tend to go as tri-chromatic as possible; everything 3 mix & match colors with little pops of something else...can get boring but I get a lot of bank for the luggage space).

    Back to the shawl - a light weight but tightly woven fabric, something that can be a shawl, a beach wrap, a skirt, even a dress knotted at the bust. So versatile!

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  14. I've never bought from them, but I've heard: http://www.therainshed.com/ has lots of good outdoor sorts of fabrics!

    Thanks for sharing about your clothes and trip.

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  15. Great choices so far. Personally I never travel without black jeans and black slacks that are very well cut. They take you from hiking to a fine restaurant.

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  16. Your wardrobe palette is lovely, and you made so many different outfits. Thank you for posting about it.
    I like to take a largish scarf/stole and also warm tights as easily removable/applicable layering pieces for travelling.
    I have bought gortex/faux gortex from Seattle Fabrics and from the Rainshed,both in the USA. The shipping is at cost and less than it appears in the web site generated invoice at Seattle Fabrics.

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  17. I found this place as well, which appears to have everything you need but haven't tried it.

    http://www.rockywoods.com/Fabrics-Kits/Waterproof-Breathable-Fabrics

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  18. I envy your packing skills. I´m packing for a month and a half holiday with the kids and I´m surrounded by "essentials" which is nearly everything. The weather over there is very unstable my red burda jacket is a must!

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  19. www.seattlefabrics.com has a great selection--all sorts of outdoor fabrics--and ships internationally.
    Elle

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  20. I too am in Perth, its been very wet here recently! I too have been investigating outdoor fabric. I emailed Pennine Outdoor www.pennineoutdoor.co.uk, and they do ship to Australia (under 2 kg)
    Good luck!

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  21. My most important item 'for on the go' - even within Australia: a fist sized ball of 'jacket in its own pocket' made of great rather lightweight water repellent poly sports material!
    You've done really well with your clothing combinations - told you already: huuuuge admiration!
    Otherwise -concerning 'white elephants' in the suitcase? Not really YET in younger years a few 'different coloured' ones next to me which I got rid off - usually right after holiday. ;-) :-D

    Love,
    Gerlinde
    (shaken but not yet NZ-style 'stirred' )

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  22. I'm really impressed you managed to pack to brilliantly! The raspberry pink jacket is great and I can imagine was really helpful for cheering you up when you feel tired or it's cold and wet. I daren't talk about my packing habits, I tend to have far too many white elephants in my suitcase!

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  23. Great palette. Packing is such a tricky task. You looked like you pulled it off with flair and style.

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  24. What a great holiday and suitcase full of clothes. I love your raspberry jacket.

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  25. I'm impressed with how little you took! I always end up with far too much, usually too many socks, oddly.

    Strangely, your chocolate cardi is showing up as a beautiful navy blue on my screen.. I was confused for a second there!

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  26. I think you did great packing minimally. Cardigans always seem to work well for me in winter. A long sleeved white shirt is great in summer - I like to cover my arms. Dressy shoes are always a bit iffy. Sometimes they are useful, sometimes not. Guess I'd rather have them and not use rather than wish for them. Our next trip will be in the motorhome, so packing isn't quite as difficult, though it means thinking about food, movies, books and needlework as well as clothing.

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  27. I'm really impressed-- I would have had a lot of trouble narrowing my wardrobe down for such a trip, and especially ending up with something so cohesive! I guess that's what I get for being a printaholic. :)

    Does Gorgeous Fabrics ship to Australia? That's where I got the waterproof taffeta for the raincoat I made back in the winter. But their stock changes so frequently that I'm not sure what they have for rain now.

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  28. I would say that you packed amazingly light for the length of this trip. I'm going to investigate the brand of hiking boots you mentioned. DH and I want to take a 40 day hike...

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  29. I'm very impressed with your packing choices - I couldn't have done that well! And so many of the garments hand made - including socks :o
    I bow down in awe.

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  30. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing xxxx

    http://rendersublime.blogspot.com.au/

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  31. How interesting to see your whole travel wardrobe, all handmade! And nice to hear it served you so well!

    My most essential travel garment is the red jersey dress I bought second hand in NZ a year and a half ago. It's the perfect dress because it doesn't get wrinkled, the jersey is sturdy but has a lovely drape, it has a great cut with a flowy skirt and the red colour with tiny white flower print works for almost every situation. Too bad that after wearing it almost constantly while travelling for three months (and quite a bit in the time since), it is developing little moth holes and the print is rubbing off at the shoulders. I'm still looking for the perfect weight jersey to make a copy or three...

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  32. Thanks for a peek at your complete travel wardrobe. Thanks for the fabric shop recommendations in Paris as well ! HOpefully there is so destination nearby that is on my family`s plans.
    So where/when is the next OS conference / holiday ?

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  33. Thank you for putting such a organized post on this topic! It is interesting to see how others pack for an extended vacation. You certainly did well with not over packing!

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  34. Thank you everybody, for your comments and your recommendations as to outdoor fabric stores. I am doing my homework and checking out each and every one of them... thank you!

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  35. Love seeing your travel wardrobe and how you wore them, even though you get sick of them after 3 weeks, they do become friends again :)

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  36. wow, what a terrific post and what a fabulous vacation!!! i need to do one of these to wrap up my 8 days in california. but to answer your question, the white elephants (yes, plural!) this trip were the 2 dresses (grey chambray shirt dress and the floral full-skirted number) and the pair of black flats and cognac wedge heels. it was much colder than i expected and i didn't feel like wearing either of those dresses with the black tights i brought!

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  37. Carolyn, a question for you here. I love your raspberry silk jacket and I have a piece of red silk matka in my stash that would make a great cropped jacket. How did you pre-treat your fabric? I plan on lining the jacket, even though the pattern is unlined, and will dry clean the jacket when necessary. But can I wash the silk prior to cutting or should I have it dry cleaned? Thanks in advance.

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  38. I so enjoyed seeing your outfit photos on location! You definitely inspire me to try to pack more pretty things when I travel. I used to travel a lot in younger days - experience definitely helps in knowing what to pack. But even then, it takes extra effort to avoid the unexciting coordinating shorts/t-shirt/jeans/sweatshirt assortment.

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