Tuesday 19th January 2021
You know who you are.
Follow Me
     

Taking requests

JP writes to say that she needs help figuring out what to pack for an upcoming trip to Italy. She’s got nothing fancy planned,  “…just touristy stuff. Eating, walking, wine,” she says, then adds, “I would love to see your tips on what you tend to pack on a minimal packing trip.”  Fun challenge, JP: I’m a chronic over-packer who used to be a brilliant under-packer, and who has been reminded—thanks to your request—how nice it can be to go light.

vacation-mosaic

Clockwise from top right:
•  Black tee
• Drapey white jersey top
• Pretty bright printed top
Tube skirt
• Chinos
• Skinny slouchy jeans
• Bucket hat
• Walkable platforms
Clogs
• Worishofer sandals (as comfortable as Birkenstocks for all-day walking)
• Bright, light scarf
• Cashmere cardigan
• Casual but interesting dress
• Striped tee
• Light tunic

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted on April 25th, 2014 70 Comments

70 Responses

  1. Beth says:

    Damn. You’re good. I would wear every single item and in fact just ordered those red sandals.




    0
  2. Laura says:

    This is helpful for me, since I’m headed to London next month. I expect it to be raining at least some of the time, however, so do you have any shoe suggestions for inclement weather?




    0
  3. Jozelle says:

    Everything looks great! I am chaperoning 80 8th graders in San Francisco next month. Thank you for doing my packing for me! 🙂




    0
    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      God help ya’! It’s like herding cats.




      0
    • Jen says:

      And for SF, I’d sub in some long-sleeve tops and a jacket, plus some closed-toe shoes instead of sandals. You don’t want to become one of the tourists wearing an SF sweatshirt they bought at Fisherman’s Wharf because they thought it would be warm 😉




      0
      • Heather says:

        Right? When I live in NorCal I had some friends visit me in late Feb. They asked if they should bring their bathing suits so we could go to the beach. It was 40 degrees and raining sideways!




        0
        • Jozelle says:

          I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. 😉




          0
  4. This is a great capsule wardrobe!




    0
  5. c.w. says:

    Depending on where I’m going I might add a fleece pull-over and a rain jacket. Fleece is a little on the unfashionable side, but great for layering, super light and can be squashed without wrinkling when packing.




    0
  6. deborah says:

    oh no — the black tee links to the jeans! where is that tee from? (this is all great, by the way.)




    0
  7. Cara says:

    I’ve been looking for a black tee like this one. But, the link leads to the jeans.




    0
  8. Nancy says:

    Those granny-chic Worishofer sandals are indeed comfy, but be forewarned: they have *very* thin soles with no traction. If you plan to walk more than a few blocks each day, or on cobblestones, you’re likely to burn right through the soles and possibly twist an ankle.

    P.S. Link for the tube skirt goes to “Zara combined sequinned top.”




    0
    • KimFrance says:

      I fear we disagree, Nancy: I have had pairs hold up through entire New York summers of shlepping just fine; they’ve got no traction, true, but neither do most sandals so that’s never bothered me.
      P.S. Link fixed!




      0
      • Nancy says:

        Granted, I am *brutal* on shoes. Glad your mileage varied!




        0
      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        Do you mean thin ‘leather’ soles? Or ‘rubber’? That makes a difference. I’m looking at buying a pair, too. I love the “gawky granny” look, and I am one, so what the heck!




        0
  9. Mieke says:

    Travel & white clothing are an impending slapstick disaster for me.




    0
    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I always carry a Tide stick for food and Schmutz disasters. I wear white on vacation, too!




      0
  10. tamara says:

    just put the zara tank into a shopping bag…for my upcoming trip to prague this summer, my packing plan looks like this alot…feeling quite smug!




    0
  11. christine says:

    Raincoat/trench?
    I want those red sandals but alas, cannot find them in my size. Anybody have sources?




    0
  12. Heather says:

    I’ve been looking for something similar to the white top, but in black or grey, and hopefully a bit more affordable. (Agree with above posted abt white and travel.)




    0
  13. Kate says:

    I had a pair of Worishofers for 2 years, and my friends mercilessly made fun of me. I didn’t think they were that ugly, but apparently some people do! They were SO comfortable and lasted 2 full NYC summers without repairs though, so worth their weight in gold from that perspective…




    0
  14. Laura says:

    bravo!




    0
  15. Viajera says:

    Looking good, Kim!

    If a shoe is otherwise that great, can’t a good shoe repair place fix the traction issue?

    I don’t know that I’d take clogs to a place with cobblestones. But I don’t have much clog experience.

    Sneakers. Sorry, but … sneakers. There is nothing per se wrong with being an American. (Repeat.) Plus I doubt we invented them anyway.




    0
    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Agreed. I’d pack Supergas or Converse instead of the clogs or platforms. I think I could get by with 2 prs of shoes.




      0
      • Dana D says:

        Clogs don’t seem right for travel where terrain might be unpredictable…but I can say that a pair of thong-style Birkenstocks have ALWAYS served me well, even while walking distance in developing countries.

        And I always pack a wrap-style skirt for cathedrals/churches/temples or other places where modesty is appreciated.

        The scarf is great for covering shoulders and adding color…




        0
    • Heather says:

      Agree about sneakers. I have a pair of innocuous black Pumas (almost like ballet flats) that I always bring traveling. They squash down pretty flat in my suitcase too. Since I’m an 8.5-9 shoes can take up considerable space.




      0
  16. Lesley says:

    I am a total clog girl (in fact, I think I have that very pair) and I love everything in this post, but I have to warn JP that clogs are not great in Italy. I lived there for a year or so and my clogs almost never got worn because of the cobblestone—ankle-twisters aplenty. Also no one wears them there except cooks and nurses, so they feel a little more dowdy somehow than they do here.




    0
    • JP says:

      Thank you for this! Just bought new clogs, wearing them lots, and wondered how they’d do on the trip.




      0
      • RebeccaNYC says:

        I am totally about the clog. Wear them all over France in the summer with no real problems on cobblestones. But I have been wearing clogs with wooden soles since 1976, so I can run in the things. The platforms, however, would be a recipe for disaster. I agree on a pair of Converse, they are going in my bag along with a pair of Berkinstocks and a pair of flip flops. No need for anything fancier for me, shoe wise. Other than that, this wardrobe is pretty much what I will be bringing for 2 months in Italy and France. Thanks for the timely post!!




        0
  17. samantha says:

    I was in Spain last month, and women of all ages, locals and tourists (not just Americans) were wearing sneakers, fashion-y Nikes & Converse in particular.




    0
    • Natalie says:

      Agreed – I spent three weeks in Italy last October and a pair of neon coral “fashion” Nike Frees got me through there and the UK. They’re light and really help if you’re doing a lot of walking and sight seeing each day.

      Also Toms are a great travel shoe.




      0
  18. Tamara says:

    I pretty much want all of this as my entire summer wardrobe.




    0
  19. christine says:

    I was in the Canary Islands and one of the stops (Lanzarote) is a volcanic island – all black gravel. We did a volcanic “moon” hike which was a pretty vigorous hike, caverns and narrow passes etc.. I didn’t have running shoes with me. So, I wore my Bass Weejun loafers. Perfect! I’ve been meaning to email them with this testimonial. LOL




    0
  20. snowkat says:

    unrepentant overpacker here: I would sub in a pair of loafers or ‘doesn’t look like a’ sneaker sneaker.. also sub in a pair of wide leg pants and cropped jacket. I’m tall so this is staple look for me. there are silky poly versions that won’t wrinkle up and can be washed out in the sink and dry overnight…otherwise — YEah! I’m ready to go




    0
  21. y.k. says:

    yes, i raise my american hand up for sneakers – converse all star – esp now that there are so many cool colors (i have light grey w/ neon orange laces. well, i think they’re cool), that website also has a Design your own pair feature that i’m tempted by).
    & yes, of course the dansko clogs.




    0
  22. Jamie says:

    I did a month-long trip out of one bag a couple of years ago – the two things that were indispensable for me were a black tank dress with a built-in bra (from I think Columbia, or some similar outdoorsy brand) and a pair of Ecco sandals (‘Yucatan’ or some such). I hate, hate anything resembling a “comfort” shoe but those things were the bomb. They needed no breaking in and were suitable for every terrain. Add a scarf and a light sweater and you’re good to go.




    0
  23. christine says:

    I would like to say “no” to running shoes/sneaker/trainers etc. There are alternatives that are just as rugged and comfortable and look way more put together and polished.




    0
    • Martina says:

      I don’t know…every where I go in Europe I see converses/pumas/Ecco with jeans, pants, long and short skirts. I think they look great, and they keep me upright (I trip like crazy in clogs). YMMV.




      0
    • joannawnyc says:

      You know all the French ladies en vacances in NYC are sporting their converse and pumas, right? I personally recommend a nifty pair of Nike Frees for travel.




      0
  24. Sarah says:

    Oh, I adore this kind of challenge. I always pack carryon–I have a bag that meets international carryon standards (20-inch vs. 22 inch) and I can pack in it even for a 2 week trip and even in the winter.

    First, shoes. I agree that sneakers are a must in summer (in winter, I might sub comfortable flat riding or ankle boots). As long as you don’t go for anything super flashy or bright, I think they’re fine in terms of style–most western Europeans, and Italians in particular, wear them quite a lot these days. I’d go for something low-key like Superga, which is an Italian sneaker, after all. Then, I’d choose one pair of sandals somewhere between the Worishofers and the high platforms–something you can walk in all day but which will also be the dressiest shoe you bring for dinners out. Maybe a cork-soled sandal of some sort, like Kork Ease. Wear the sandals on the plane, as they’re your bulkiest shoe. Those two pairs would probably be enough, but it would be easy to add a lightweight comfortable pair of ballet flats, which you can probably fit into the shoe compartment of your bag along with the sneakers.

    I’d pack one pair of jeans (super lightweight if it’s high summer) that can go with almost everything in my bag, and then EITHER one skirt or one other pair of pants like the khakis. I’m short-waisted and 5’3″, so I can’t do long drapey tops, which turn into longer tunics on me, so I’d pack several simple short-sleeved v-neck tees (like J Crew vintage ones) and at least one lightweight cashmere pullover to layer, then for a dressier top, maybe a silk blouse of some sort. My biggest recommendation is dresses and more dresses, as many as you can fit–I’d probably take three. I have a couple of super lightweight cotton ones and a Madewell silk dress that takes up no room in a bag, and jersey ones are great, too, since they don’t wrinkle. I find that with a few dresses in your bag and a nice pair of sandals, you’ll feel like you’re not wearing the same thing every day and you won’t generally feel underdressed. I agree with an oversized cashmere cardigan, which I’d wear on the plane; I’d wear one scarf on the plane and try to stuff another into my bag. For undergarments, two bras both in neutral colors so each can be worn under anything, and enough panties to get you through a week or so (wash your lingerie in your hotel room). And don’t forget something to sleep in.

    Remember to layer on the plane, both because the temps can be unpredictable and because you can wear a lot of items that then won’t have to fit in your bag.

    Oh, and if you pack carryon, you will be forced to be disciplined bringing just that one little clear bag of 3 oz. toiletries, so you’ll have more room for other stuff in your suitcase.




    0
    • Jozelle says:

      I completely agree with the dress recommendation. If its a warm weather destination, it’s almost all dresses in my carry-on. One daughter started following the dress rule and she swears by it too. So easy and comfortable!




      0
    • Heather says:

      Totally agree about washing things out. I make sure that all the tops and underthings I bring are easily sink-washable. I use the hotel sink and a bit of shampoo… good to go.

      Last summer, a dear friend of mine who had been in a very dependent, very unhappy marriage for many years, went traveling for the first time by herself (to celebrate her divorce!). I helped her pack, and was astounded by what she intended to bring on a weeklong trip – her bag weighed nearly 70 pounds, and all she was going to do was visit a few friends and sightsee!

      I reminded her that she needed to be able to lift and carry her own bag (her husband had always done this for her!). It had never occurred to her that she might do laundry or wear something more than one time, and if she really needed something, she could buy it. We got her down to about 40 pounds, and she had a wonderful trip. 🙂




      0
  25. Tammy says:

    What a terrific collection, Kim! Awesome. I would wear everything. Two suggestions, I’d like to add: I bought some Cole Hahn Nike Air Mary Jane style shoes, during entire trip to Europe, along with an ancient pair of Cole Hahn flexible loafers. Wore ALL the time.

    Also, it doesn’t hurt to pack a smaller cross body purse — one to hold a small wallet, lip balm and lip gloss, a bit of cash. I carry a larger purse, but find the cross body terrific to throw in my suitcase.




    0
    • Beth says:

      Yes! I always carry a cross body bag when I travel. Preferably just big enough for small notebook/ipad mini, iphone and wallet. I splurged and bought the Celine tri bag (or whatever it’s called) three years ago and I love it because I can unsnap the other two, or keep them, or carry just one as a dressier clutch.




      0
  26. Maria says:

    I immediately bought that scarf.




    0
  27. Nancy says:

    How many days are you backing for?




    0
  28. Nancy says:

    That would be, How many days are you packing for?




    0
  29. Ann says:

    You need a light rain proof jacket and sneakers….it is’nt always hot and sunny in Italy. A saong and bathing costume are also good for when it is.




    0
  30. Ann says:

    I meant sarong!




    0
  31. Tiziana says:

    hi there – my first time commenting. i am italian and i agree with sarah 100% on the sneakers. i think for italy you have 2 great choices, both very popular with the locals: supergas [which you can usually find discounted at 30% off, try shop bop for this] or, if you want to go really high end, hogans. i would pair the sneakers with the dress and the scarf – and you will be so chic when you sip your aperitvo [an aperol spritz] at the bar in the late afternoon.
    kim – i love your blog – you have a real voice understand what women actually want to wear in their real everyday lives. thank you for this. xxx t




    0
  32. Cara says:

    Unrepentant overpacker here: I’ve started rolling my clothes; not only does it give me more space in my suitcase but stuff is crease free. If you go with sneakers ( and Supergas are quite stylish), pack a few of those low socks that don’t show to prevent blisters. And scarves galore.




    0
  33. Viajera says:

    I hope this isn’t wrong to say. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Italy, and I loved it. [F.e. – friend had medical problem; their system is *great,* and I am embarrassed about how we treat visitors here, what with our long immigration lines and s*cky medical system…]

    So, this shouldn’t reflect on Italy itself. But I will say, I saw a lot of tragic denim there. I am hoping it was the tourists. (I don’t think I took any, but, I did take a dorky hat. Sorry.)

    This is a good post for me b/c you guys dress better traveling than I do every day. Need to go shopping. Ouch.




    0
    • Meg says:

      I live in Europe and travel around quite a bit, and agree that the whole continent is in a bad moment right now in re denim, reminding me a lot of Long Island circa 1985 or so. Also totally agree that clogs are out over here, both for sartorial and cobblestone reasons, and that just about every other female person seems to wear sneakers (or tennies :P). Also agree that this is an amazing collection of stuff to pack, and would just recommend plastic travel bags, like these, to compress stuff without the wrinkles that come with rolling: http://www.amazon.com/Travel-Compression-Packing-Travelon-Storage/dp/B00563M9Y6




      0
  34. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    I love posts like this since the formula really works for anywhere you intend to travel. I am new to the “packing light” movement, but I quickly learned to be a “roller.” Best advice ever!




    0
  35. Cola says:

    This is spot on. I’ve been thinking a lot about what to pack for Italy, though in my case it is for 10 months not 10 days. I know, lucky me. I know I need more than this, but still, I don’t want to bring a ton of stuff. This is a great start that will keep me honest. Thank you Kim!




    0
  36. Caroline says:

    Great post!
    Here’s a question, I was checking out the Worishofer’s on Zappos and saw the platform ones.. style 197.
    They look pretty swell to me!
    Anybody tried them or seen in person?




    0
  37. christine says:

    Re: the Worishofers: Zappos doesn’t deliver to Canada anymore. Amazon didn’t have my size. I found them on ebay!
    Italy .. the only place I’ve seen a straight man wearing flowered capris – and it kind of worked! LOL




    0
  38. emmah says:

    I love packing lists and this one is exceptional! I am looking forward to trying it out for a trip to London this summer.




    0
  39. Tamara says:

    I’ve been revisiting this post a lot…could you do a capsule wardrobe post like this every season/for winter travel? You are awesome!




    0
  40. Mary Alice says:

    I know I’m coming in late to the party but I LOVE packing lists and Im so excited that you are going to do more!!!




    0
  41. eve france says:

    perfect. just the right amount. my goal is always to take as little as possible and wear everything. I know I have packed well if I do this. Too much is just a pain and we never need as much as we think. Just impt to layer if weather changes




    0
  42. eve france says:

    only difference in your list and mine is that I would have to have at least 2 scarves, maybe 3 for a variety of looks. They don’t take up much room




    0
  43. Rachel says:

    Just to echo, this is a great list! Kim, this is SO much more chic than other packing lists out there.
    Also, I like to pack leggings on trips like this. They add warmth under dresses and skirts on chilly days, add a comfy tee shirt and they become pajamas, and if you decide to exercise just grab some sneakers and they become workout gear. And they take up hardly any space in your suite case!




    0
  44. Katie says:

    I just came back from 10 days in Italy – and you nailed it with the packing suggestions. The only thing I’d add is stylish sneakers … and buy them there! Everyone woman – young/old, fashionable and not so much – was wearing sneakers (I was in Turin for the most of the trip – a walking city for most working people). Some were high-heeled (the best were from Hogan or Converse. I mean high-heeled. Not platforms). It seemed a bit odd when I first got there, but I fell in love with the look by the time I left. Lots of the Nike air that US fashion editors wear now, or New Balance. So Italian chic.




    0