May 14, 2013

Planning My Capsule Wardrobe, Part 1

I've already started purchasing necessities for our Europe trip in mid July.  I believe it's better to spend $500 spread out over 2 months rather than right before the trip when there's already a lot of money moving out of the bank account, i.e. I can more easily absorb the expense.

Since we're traveling solely with carry-on luggage, we'll be packing light.  Everything I've been reading says to pack for 5 days whether you're traveling 5 days or 5 months.  Anything over 5 days and you'll have to do laundry.  However, Laundromats in Europe are supposedly very expensive.  Plus, I'm not convinced we'll be able to easily find one when we need one.  To alleviate Laundromat worry, I'm now thinking it will just be easier to pack a bar of laundry soap and a large poly mailer and wash clothes myself in the hotel room, then hang to dry.

Ideally, this means all our clothing should be synthetic. Synthetic fibers dry very quickly and are great at wicking moisture away from the body.  Last time I was in Europe (June & July 1995) the heat nearly killed me.  I want to be prepared this time!

Big problem, though.  The kids and Mars wear only cotton clothing and 98% of my wardrobe is cotton.  I quickly realized it would not be possible to buy a synthetic travel wardrobe for all four of us.  We're going to make the best choices from what we already own (thin, lightweight cotton items) and buy a couple synthetic travel clothing pieces per person.

Synthetic socks & underwear are an absolute must, though.  You can't get away with re-wearing dirty socks or underwear!  Gross.

I've already purchased synthetic socks for both the kids and I.  I purchased 3-packs of athletic ankle socks by Champion from Target.  I'm wearing one pair today for the first time and I must say they're very comfortable and they're doing a great job of wicking moisture.  I am a synthetic convert!

I bought a couple pairs of synthetic Gillian & O'Malley undies for myself from Target.  I'm going to test out on pair.  If comfy, I'll buy more.  Otherwise, I'll say screw it and buy the expensive Ex Officio travel undies that get rave reviews ($22 each - ouch!).

I'm not sure what to do about synthetic underwear for the kids.  I can't seem to find any!  The search continues.  If you know where to find some, please leave a note in the comments section below.

I've been doing some thinking about my capsule wardrobe and think I may be getting off-track.  I was originally thinking I'd do bright tops and neutral bottoms and accessorize with scarfs & jewelry.  Rule of thumb for packing light is to be able to wear every single top with every single bottom to increase your outfit options.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, I want to pack my teal synthetic Athleta skirt.  It's lightweight, a gorgeous color, super cute and flattering, and, yes, synthetic.

Same color (gem blue) and very similar to this skirt:

Not much will go with this color, yes?  Certainly not a bright colored top.  Black, white, and gray are just about my only options here.  Is it worth it to pack this?

And I'm also struggling with shoes.  I want to bring no more than 3 pairs.  My favorite pair of shoes are a pair of purple Adrina flats by Crocs:
I love them but they're not easy to coordinate.  They're neon purple!  Actual name is "Ultraviolet".  Enough said.

The other shoes I was thinking of are a pair of olive green Lands' End adventure shoes that can go from hiking trails to submerged in water.  They look like a cross between a sneaker and a hiking shoe.  They aren't super comfy but they'll do if I don't want to buy another pair of sneakers.  They used to be comfy; maybe they're not comfy anymore because they're so old?  I'm pretty sure I bought them 6 years ago.

My third pair would probably be a pair of black ballet flats.  These aren't particularly comfortable but they're cute and will match just about everything.  I suppose I could always add foam inserts.....

Here's what I'm thinking for wardrobe:

  • Purple short-sleeve shirt
  • Charcoal short-sleeve t-shirt
  • Orange sleeveless shirt
  • Black (or white? Or light gray?) tank top
  • Black cardigan sweater

  • Lightweight jeans
  • White pants (can be buttoned up to capri length)
  • Tan shorts
  • Teal skirt
  • Bright purple flat sandals
  • Olive green sneakers
  • Black ballet flats

Will this capsule wardrobe work?  And will it work with the shoes?  Am I packing too much?  I'm second-guessing myself.

Note: I'll also be packing a black belt and colorful & fun scarves and jewelry.  Add in 2-3 pairs of undies, 2-3 pairs of socks, and 2 bras - 1 nude, 1 black.  Also necessary is a light jacket, bathing suit, bathing suit cover-up, and pajamas.

Photos coming soon.  Coming even sooner is my obsessing over finding the right luggage.  Stay tuned for that!

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