Hello all -
I've finally collected a few of my vacation outfit pictures and am ready to post them. I missed you all when I was away!
I tried to check into the forum when I could, and I read the blog…but could not post comments to the blog! I was blocked from doing so in China. :-( It made me appreciate our freedoms.
We had a rich and fascinating trip. I felt really good about my travel capsule, and it served me well through a wide variety of activities and weather conditions. I will post the full list of items brought in the replies section for those who might have a special interest, and get straight to business in this post.
Most Worn Items:
1. Fuchsia knit shrunken blazer.
2. Boxy striped Breton style sweater.
4. MaryK's multicoloured wonder scarf. (Thanks to MaryK, my Secret Santa last year!)
5. Grey Eileen Fisher draped cardigan (thanks to Nancylee, who gave it to me).
Seldom Worn items:
1. Button down long sleeved shirts.
Never Worn items:
1. Grey cowl jersey dress. (This was essentially an extra in case of very hot weather, which didn't materialize.)
2. White button down.
Takeaway lessons, some surprising.
1. I've heard it's wisest to limit ourselves to 2 pair of shoes per trip. But extra footwear can be worth its weight in gold. True, it takes up extra room in the suitcase. But I brought 5 pairs of shoes on this 4 week trip, and I was SO grateful for each and every pair and never regretted bringing them! Having several footwear options helped me feel comfortable, reasonably presentable, and equipped no matter what we were doing, from climbing the Great Wall of China to stepping out for an evening in sophisticated Shanghai. The right shoes seemed more important than just about anything else (besides rain gear). Next time I travel, I will consider bringing extra footwear (or buying it at my destination) once again.
2. A vibrant knit jacket is a brilliant travel companion. It doesn't wrinkle, it is easy to dress up and down, it adds a hint of structure, and it can add a much needed pop of colour to an otherwise fairly neutral palette. And guess what? My workhorse knit jacket was an impulse purchase. $20 at H&M when I was actually out looking for something else. (The CPW is already far less than $1 and I will soon be seeking a higher quality version of this item since I know it will serve me well.) Lesson 2A: Impulse purchases are not always mistakes.
3. Just because something isn't worn OFTEN doesn't mean it's not vital. I only wore my shorts once -- during an unseasonably hot day of travel between Shanghai and Hangzhou. But wow, was I ever glad to have them that day. A skirt would have been awkward while I was hauling my luggage and climbing stairs. Trousers would have been much too hot. The shorts took up next to no room in the suitcase and were there when I needed them.
4. A soft cardigan can double as a travel "robe" and packs easily. I wore my Eileen Fisher cardigan on the plane journeys and on one chilly wet evening in Beijing. Otherwise, it didn't see much outdoor action. BUT it still qualified as a key player for me, because I also wore it every single day as loungewear over my leggings and T (which served as my PJs).
5. When travelling, a person sometimes craves a higher level of comfort or ease. Except for my denim shirt (which I wore often) I wore my button downs less than I would wear them at home and less than I had expected. I think this is because they didn't feel cozy enough (in the cool places) or cool enough (in the warmer places). Also, they were a bit more difficult to layer.
For similar reasons, I found myself rejecting the black waxed denim moto while in China. The texture felt too "hard" and "crunchy," and either too warm for the climate, or not warm enough. The style felt a bit demanding somehow (too assertive, maybe, as if trying too hard to be cool?) and the black felt draining when I was jet-lagged and craved colour! Having said that, the moto came into its own when I got to Vancouver. Once there, I wore it numerous times.
6. Scarves are super travel accessories, helping to tie an outfit together and adding a jolt of colour or pattern. This is obvious, and I already knew it, but I couldn't have been more grateful for my wonder scarf on this trip - it just worked with everything else.
Here are a few of my outfits. You will see lots of repetition; I really did wear the same items again and again, often layered, and often in the same or similar combinations. And I'm certainly not claiming that these are high fashion. But they were comfortable, practical, and (I hope) attractive enough to pass muster wherever I went.
Thanks to YLF for helping me to create this capsule!