Thursday, March 26, 2015

Less Clothes More Accessories

By the time we fly to Amsterdam, cruise to Budapest, take the three day extension to Prague, and fly back home, we'll be gone for almost three weeks which will be the longest holiday I've ever taken as an adult. I tend toward shorter trips more often rather than longer trips. I've never been to Europe. I've never been on a cruise. I've never been on such a long holiday. I'm starting to stress out about what to wear. Typically when I'm away, I see it as an opportunity to really dress up and to have new outfits for every day. For this trip, that's not going to work.





The information Janice puts together at The Vivienne Files is beyond fabulous both for buying or sewing a wardrobe. The plan I originally picked for the cruise collection has thirty-one garments. That's too overwhelming. I'm feeling time crunched and like I'd be packing more than I need so I've decided to simplify and focus on less clothes more accessories. I went back to the site and found a new plan.

In Building By Fours, Janice lays out a plan based on two groups of four that include two tops, a pair of pants, and a skirt. Then she adds an expansion four, a mileage four, and an integration four (accessories) which ends up with sixteen garments plus accessories. That's more doable, less overwhelming.





The plan illustrated is built around nautical red and a neutral beige neither of which is my favourite color so even though I do know how to substitute color for color in my head, I went looking for another set I could relate to better and found...





... the lavender, jade, denim and grey combination. Translate that to fuchsia, turquoise, navy/black, and grey, and that's the direction I'm heading in. Yesterday, I started on a navy blue linen skirt in my favourite trumpet style and I went through my closet to see what already exists that can be incorporated into the groups of four. I have a good start and although I know I won't stick to the plan like glue - because that's just not me - things are feeling far more manageable.

I need to think differently about packing for this holiday and focus not on outfits but on mix and match and on amazing accessories that add enough punch and interest to distract from the fact that I'm wearing the same thing I was wearing the other day just mixed up a little differently. That part - the same thing over again only slightly different - is going to be hard for me which I think is hilarious because what do I wear at home - the same thing over again only slightly different... week to week. Hmm...

And... bonus... working with the 4 x 4 outline will help me to develop a core wardrobe of "cake" pieces that I can later add "frosting" pieces to. It's good learning. I'll be intrigued to see how it comes together since "frosting" is more my usual approach. I can be different. I can. I think - LOL.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - another clean space

If you hit every time, the target's too near - or too big. 
The second assault on the same problem should come from a totally different direction. 
Don't mind approaches that transform one problem into another, that's a new chance. 
- Tom Hirschfield

26 comments:

  1. There is something about a big trip that makes you want to wear all new clothes or take things you NEVER wear at home. Big ol' ballgown? Check. Weird plaid jacket? Check. Sequined mini skirt? Check. (Why these things are in our closet in the first place is another story.) So you cram it all in your suitcase and then NEVER wear it on your trip. Nutty. Your wardrobe plan looks very smart - you can have your "cake" and eat it too! ;-)

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    1. LOl - no ball gown, no weird plaid jacket, no sequined mini skirt in my closet. Thank God. I'm not in danger of packing them. Thanks for the encouragement. The plan feels right too.

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  2. My hubby and I are fortunate to travel quite a lot. Our last big trip was to Australia/new Zealand for 5 weeks and all my clothes were packed in a 23" rolling bag plus a hand carry bag for cosmetics, etc. Two weeks of this trip included a cruise so it was necessary to bring garments appropriate for formal dining. My secret is to pack mostly knits - all separates that are interchangeable. My base color is black and I use accent colors of teal and purple. I agree that accessories are key to keeping you from getting bored with a limited wardrobe. Pack light and I know you will have a fantastic time!

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    1. THANK YOU for the advice. I appreciate hearing from someone with experience. Sounds like we'd have a similar wardrobe. I'm using black/navy interchangeably in my head because they both go well with fuchsia and turquoise. We'll see what come together. Now that I'm thinking in this direction, garments already in my closet are jumping into the mix and that's a good thing. .

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  3. I love the wardrobe planning for a big trip. There are a few things - always take the things that are in the laundry while you are packing (they are usually the things you are most comfortable in while stressed, and travel can be stressful). As Xtine said, leave the sequined mini skirt at home (unless that is a comfort thing). Start packing a few days before-hand, so you can think about what's in there and add or subtract as needed. Toss in a shawl, because they don't take up much space and can be used for a zillion things. Also, Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn has taken a couple of long trips in the last few years and posted what she took, then posted what she would change. They're great. Fun, fun, fun.

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    1. Excellent advice. Thank you. I tend to do laundry and then pack and then wear what's left behind for the next few days for exactly that reason.

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  4. I have taken the exact trip you describe (Viking, by any chance?). You will love it. You will have very little room in those cabins for "stuff," so you are smart to have a plan. I used red, black, white, khaki and denim. Two (inexpensive) silk scarves from an import shop to dress up tees or wear around shoulders for evening events. I was expecting it to be cooler than it was (late April into early May). Hope this helps! Have fun.

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    1. YES. If you have time to chat privately, I have all sorts of questions about the trip. Let me know if you see me heading in the wrong direction clothing wise. I've heard it's upscale casual. We're going the end of June to the middle of July and when I talked to Marcy Tilton about it, she said the weather would be humid so I'm planning mostly sleeveless with layers.

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  5. Found Carolyn's Italy trip wardrobe post, for your edification...http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.com.au/search?updated-min=2011-12-31T08:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2012-06-22T18:02:00%2B08:00&max-results=50&start=101&by-date=false

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    1. Excellent. Thank you for taking the time to find it. I'll read through that and see what I can benefit from.

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  6. Don't you just love The Vivienne Files? Lots of good ideas there. Have fun planning!

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    1. LOVE the site. I'm in awe or Janice's ability to put it all together and make it understandable and doable. I'm particularly in love with this 4 X 4 approach. My mind is vibrating with possibilities. I think the groupings work really well.

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  7. I really love seeing what other people take on trips - so different from mine! But then camping for a month in a vintage VW Westie and hiking at 8,000 feet in 100+F temps doesn't usually require a formal dress. :0

    There's always a garment or two that never gets worn no matter how careful you pack. The weather or your needs can change. And there will always be something you wished you'd packed and didn't! Real life is an adventure, right?

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    1. LOL - now that's the kind of holiday I've done a lot of - camping, hiking, canoeing, and biking. Not so much recently with Howard's illness but definitely earlier. It's so peaceful. I hope to do more some time in the future.

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  8. Myrna, I have taken essentially the same cruise, but on a smaller ship. Think simplicity! One trick I learned after my first cruise is that no one is going to see your shoes, or for that matter, what you are wearing on your bottom half at dinner, so I reccommend fancy tops and jewelry with plain black pants/skirt, simple shoes. Save your shoe space for really good walking shoes. You will have a wonderful time!

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    1. Thanks. Simplicity is a great approach. I did exactly what you're suggesting - bought a pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals with the same heel height so I can interchange them depending on where we're going and the weather. I do plan to pack a nice with dresses pair too but the sandals would do if I can't. This lets me keep pant hemlines consistent as well so they're more versatile. This cruise is not fancy dress. It's upscale casual at best so that helps and I LOVE JEWELRY.

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  9. I know this is about wardrobe planning but if you are going to Prague please think about safety of your belongings - crossbody handbag always in the front. Be wary when getting crowded on public transport, never put handbag over the back of your chair. Prague is a safe place even at night but pickpockets are a real menace. Both Budapest and Prague involve a lot of walking and it can be very stuffy and hot with little shade. I would think long skirts and sleeveless tops. Shorts will identify yimmediately as an American whilst pedal pushers will blend in.

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    1. Thanks. We will be aware. How lucky that I already don't wear shorts or capris. YES YES

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  10. We did an Avalon River trip last year from Budapest- to Prague in June . We got there & it was cold to this AZ girl . I bought tights at H & M . 6 days later in Prague it was hot. I took mostly skirts as they are easy for me to dress up or down . Bought 2 in a nylon type material that I could just wash off. As someone stated the cabins are very small. Our suitcases ( med size) barely fit under the bed. No formal dinners on our cruise so dinners were casual .
    I agree with marauchan shorts & capris spell American . Good walking shoes are a must as you will walk a ton .

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    1. I like the idea of skirts and light pants. Nothing too fitted or fussy. We don't have formal dinners either which I'm glad about. I think a smaller suitcase is going to work in lots of ways and I'm already breaking in my shoes to make sure they are quite comfy.

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  11. You do know that you can get laundry done? It sounds like you need to weigh your suitcase before you head to the airport. Sounds like a great trip.

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    1. Yes. I know there is laundry. I'm more worried about being bored with my clothes. I'm picking lightweight fabrics and planning to use a medium sized suitcase and not pack it full because I'll need space for souvenirs. I'll weigh it but only because it's a good idea. I don't want to lug a lot of stuff around so I'm working really hard to put together a good mix.

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    2. I was teasing about the laundry, but it's expensive to go over the weight limit on overseas flights.

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    3. LOL - oh... I thought you were serious although I really don't want to do too much laundry on holiday. Ugh. Let me know what you think as the wardrobe develops but I think I'm doing pretty good at mix and match and lightweight. I'm aiming for reasonable and workable.

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  12. I've been on a Viking cruise. You don't need to stress about dress code! Depending on your cabin/suite, there really isn't much room - though more than when I went on Norwegian Hurtigruten ferry and most of my stuff was for really cold weather (Arctic/Northern Lights). I haven't been to Prague, so no advice other than comfy footwear if you're going to walk a lot.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.