packing, bringing, leaving

US Embassy
Arguably the most important thing about clothes is that they make the wearer feel confident, secure and prepared. And of course, not get arrested.

Example: Some years ago while waiting to cross the street at the US Embassy in Paris (a long wait), I observed two young women sitting on the steps. This alone told me they were not French. One was wearing a faded Madras wrap skirt and a polo, the other seersucker slacks and a short-sleeved oxford shirt. They seemed disappointed in their trip, because I overheard:
"I thought Paris was supposed to be a stylish city. Nobody here knows the least bit how to dress."
Now for the overly long list of the many too many things I am bringing. But I am not going halfway around the world to do laundry, nor to iron, nor do I intend to put any of my carefully stalked hunting trophies at the mercy of a dry cleaner whom I have not known for years. If this were a business trip, there would be a gray suit, a black suit, some shirts, and a v. high-necked dress, full stop. Mercifully it is not.

By activity (note absence of tracksuits!):
Evening, dressy:
       Dress, blue silk, 1 (picture here though not on me)
       Dress, black silk, 1 (this year's version from RL website, mine's black crinkled silk chiffon with slightly more ripply skirt)
       Jacket, aqua silk, 1, goes with blue dress. Hmm, will not go with black dress.
Evening, not so dressy, also dressier lunches:
        Rykiel sweater (pic included in post linked above), 1
        Missoni twin set, 1 (2?)
        Black silk slacks (assume no pic required; trust me, they're black, they're slacks), 2
Day, strolling, museum-ing, etc. Note potential to mix/re-assort pieces depending on weather.
         Jeans, black, 1
         Slacks, linen
                  black, 1
                  brown, 1
                  navy/white tweed, 1
          Jean jackets
                  dark denim, 1
                  white, 1
                 brown, black, "red", navy with silver squiggle
                   navy, brown, "brick," pale green, aqua (for silk jacket, just in case)
           Cotton cardigans
                   navy SS, brick ¾S, pale green SS
            Cotton skirts, pencil
                   red/orange paisley (picture here, with cardigan)
                   blue/brown ikat (2008 JC?)
            Raincoat, short, red, cute, Burberry trench (I added this when he added Brussels), 1
            Rainhat, ugly but impermeable, Lands' End (ditto comment), 1

 Handbag, most of the time. Tough one. I require a lot of a handbag. First, I have to be able to lift it. If I can't lift it when it's empty, it won't improve when I put things in it. Next, I have to be able to find things in it. Or at least have a fighting chance. Visible compartments are a plus. Depth and floppiness: minuses. And it must have enough room for my stuff, but not for the stuff other people ask if I have room for (guidebooks, maps, tickets, their hats, their lunch). Finally, I prefer to have both hands free, thus cross-body, because I also prefer to stand up straight. The best situation would be to have a Personal Assistant wheeling a cooler and a file cabinet beside me as I stride along, but failing that, I bought a DKNY cross-body in a neutral light tan that just might work. I'm hopeful.

Handbag, evenings. Probably a JC Invitation Clutch in one of the metallic leathers.

Other things I am thinking about: it looks like it will be too hot everywhere to bring a leather jacket. Drat. Also looks like there's only 1, at most 2, possible places I could possibly wear the Jeweled Jardin Jacket (why did I ever convince myself this would turn into a wardrobe basic? and how did I do it? could I use the same technique to convince self I am thin?) - and I think I wore the JJJ to one of those places in October...

Still to be organized: accessories, electrical equipment, cosmetics, etc. We will just have to find taxis to anywhere that the black silk dress goes.


  1. Southern Belle Ph.D.June 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM


    Please be sure to pay attention to the news reports out today regarding vegetables in Europe. There has been an e. coli outbreak with many sick and several deaths reported. They listed many countries to include the UK and Germany but I did not hear France mentioned.

    I wish you could pack for me! I am tagging along with my husband to South Beach for five days and I am taking more than you, I believe. I am terrible! DO take that JJJ. I so wanted that but waited for a price reduction and it was gone...or so they say.

    Have a great time on your trip and post if you have an opportunity to do so.

  2. Yes, friends stationed in Germany have been complaining about the absence of vegetables. Wondering if summer truffles boost immune system.

    Note that there's nothing in writing re: shoes. There's a reason for that!

  3. What a great post! I think packing for a European trip is a logistical nightmare, partially because the weather always surprises you. Also, the clothes I like to bring to Europe are not the ones I gravitate toward at home, so I am not used to mixing and accessorizing same (read as: that, long, crinkly black silk skirt, that flows and hides a lot and packs small). Also, I am on a budget and husband limits me to one wheelie bag (which when not overstuffed, can fit in the overhead bin). One wheelie for a 10 day trip, and any laundry is hand washing in those otherwise useless bidets!
    Did you nail down your shoes yet?

  4. um, I'm embarrassed to admit that my shoe list goes like this: "walking shoes, other walking shoes, spare walking shoes, walking shoes that can go to lunch, dressy walking shoes; high-heeled strappy sandals that require taxis." I actually got the Madewell Sidewalk Wedge in 2 different colors; fortunately they had 2 different promos! Great with pants, not so bad with skirts either.


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