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Ten on Tuesday: The hour(s)

Thoughts on packing

I used to say that my mother had more style in her little finger than all of her children had combined -- and none of my siblings would disagree with me. She always looked great -- even at work! She was a surgical nurse and hated wearing the required headwear, but found fabrics she liked and made her own! She had a very distinct style and a clear understanding of what she liked and what worked for her.

Fashion and style were never all that important to me -- I was always more about comfort, though I drew the line at sweatpants (overheating being the biggest reason). I'd have my moments, and there were even some things that Mom & I could share -- we'd traded stuff since I was in high school, even though our "styles" were quite different. I've become a bit more interested in developing and figuring out My Style over the past couple of years, and it appears that my interest is growing now that my #1 style icon is no longer with us. Taking up the torch, perhaps; missing her; paying homage. Surprising myself, I've even added a few "over-50" style blogs to my list of blog reads, and created a couple of boards on Polyvore for this post! ha.

Also, I was quite pleased about successfully paring down my packing list for our recent vacation to Mexico! After struggling up a couple flights of stairs in Glasgow last spring while juggling/dragging a large bag and two suitcases full of crap I never used, I finally learned the lesson. (Not to mention lugging it all through airports, shuttles, the streets of Edinburgh, and various locations in the Highlands.) (Similar lesson during our first UK trip having completely bounced off my brain.)

This time, I gave a little more thought into what I was packing and how it all worked together and fit everything into two bags -- a single checked suitcase and a large carry-on bag. Granted, I still had at least one pair of space-hogging shoes too many in the suitcase, though thankfully it was mostly sandals and not boots! My large leather  carry-on held camera, lenses, tablet, phone, chargers, earbuds, all travel papers, sunglasses, chapstick, tissues, ibuprofen, and even a small knitting project. That's it! No extra carry-on and no purse to juggle!!

To the Beach


The leather bag is heavy even when empty, but it was so much easier to switch up when I wasn't juggling it in addition to another carry-on and/or a purse. The bag also has adjustable straps and it can be carried in many ways, including as a backpack. My recently finished Tasha bag was packed in my checked bag and I used that for day-to-day running around during vacation -- it was perfect!

I really don't mind checking a bag, so my goal was never to fit everything into a carry-on, but it's sure nice to be a little more efficient and, especially, to not lug around stuff that I use only once... or never.

For the record, and with an eye on possible improvement next time, here's what I packed  and how each item fared. I've used the roll-up method of packing for years to optimize space and minimize wrinkles. (Except for the Karina dress, the Eileen Fisher dress, the Fluevogs and the Keens -- all recent sale/reward acquisitions -- it's all stuff that I've owned, most of it for quite a while.)

  • Karina Dresses "Audrey" (shown below) - wore 2-3 times
  • J. Jill mid-length tie-die dress (shown above) - wore 2-3 times
  • Eileen Fisher long black dress - wore once
  • Eileen Fisher navy tunic - wore once
  • J. Jill black tunic - wore 3-4 times
  • Coldwater Creek long black sweater - wore on the plane
  • Merona black shrug (similar, shown below) - wore almost every evening
  • (2) Eileen Fisher tanks (taupe, gray) - one of these would have been fine
  • (2) J. Jill knit capris (black, gray) - one of thesewould have been fine
  • (2) Lysse Women's Cotton Capri Leggings (navy, white) (shown above) - wore white 2-3 times
  • (2) Black leggings - wore 3-4 times
  • (2) Bathing suits - wore one - didn't really need either of these
  • Undergarments, socks - wore a pair of socks when I wore the tennies
  • (3) Shawls, scarves - used only one
  • Brazilian Canga towel + a long dress made from a canga - used the canga a lot on the beach, and never wore the dress as a dress, but used it to drape around my neck/shoulders - they're very lightweight and easy to tote
  • Wolky sandals - wore a lot 
  • Taos sandals (shown above) - wore a lot
  • Keen closed-toe sling-backs - wore on the plane to Mexico
  • Fluevog sandals (shown below) - wore two evenings
  • Tennis shoes - wore on the boat
  • Sun hat (similar, shown above) - wore everyday
  • Tasha hand-knit bag (similar, shown above) - used everyday
Karina Dress & Fluevog Sandals


I'd leave a few pairs of leggings at home, for sure, as well as a few pairs of socks and at least one of those bathing suits. The longer black dress was in case I needed something slightly dressier for an evening, the navy tunic was the only piece other than a sweater that wasn't sleeveless. I've actually just ordered a couple more cangas because those things are wonderful and summer is coming! And shoes... well, at least sandals don't take up THAT much room!

What are your best packing tips?



I've learned a lot after 2 trips to Mexico and the biggest is that I never wear anything but flip flops and a pair of sneakers for shoes. The first year I brought heels and they sat in the closet the whole trip. I wear a bathing suit every day, though, and I like to have a couple of different cover ups since we spend so much time at the beach.

Kari W.

Always carry a change of clothes in your carry on in case your checked luggage doesn't arrive when you do. I've had this happen twice and having the change of clothes in the carry on saved my bacon.


I like your philosophy and your style. Next time I fly I'll give my wardrobe more thought.


That is a really cute dress! :)


I am working on trying to 'up my game' when it comes to my wardrobe. I've slacked off lately and dressed for comfort and not necessarily my job stature - meaning being in management. I too have been reading some 50+ blogs to my reading list. Please share some of your favorites.

Kim Dean

My closet is quite JJill-heavy. . .


A tight color palette is my friend since neutrals wash me out. My sister made fun of me on one visit and then she realized I had packed a week's worth of clothes in my golf travel bag and only had a small carryon. If it all goes together you need less stuff.


I quite enjoyed your thoughts on style and packing! When it comes to packing, I've finally learned that I really only need to take about half of what I originally put in my bag. I've never had style, and I guess I've thought that since I'm well past 50 that it's too late to develop any now, but I can see that may not be the case. That Audrey dress looks lovely (and comfortable)!


I like the idea of going over your list and checking how much you used everything, maybe this will help me reduce the size of my travel bags next time (I am well known for taking my wardrobe to see the world with me).


I've gotten better over the years and always limit myself to one bag and one carry-on for all of what you've listed. I love that Karina / Fluevog combo!


Good for you, Vicki! I have become an incredibly light packer! Even on my longer trips to Europe, I get by with one 21" carry-on! My tricks -- all black and only one pair of shoes!!!


Like Kym, I'm a huge fan of packing LIGHT (one carryon for Europe...and definitely for any trip I take with Marc; he doesn't "do" baggage). But I'm a believer in (still only) two pairs of shoes and alternating them religiously every day. plus running shoes if I'm going someplace with a gym. I also pack dry laundry detergent so I can rinse/wash stuff in the bathroom sink. Regardless - it's also great to have a few pieces you love that fit great...so you don't have to worry about it. And always at least a few knitted shawls or scarves. I think of them as my very personal accessories.

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