The one colour we all wear that lots of us really shouldn't
March 31, 2015
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March 3, 2016
How to pack for your holiday
July 29, 2015
I really don't like packing. I've been known to come home from holidays with half my clothes unworn. That, and photos of me wearing the same thing day in, day out ad nauseum. I'm not sure exactly why I find packing stressful. Is it a fear of forgetting something I can't live without when I arrive? Hardly. Maybe it's my determination to bring enough clothes so I don't have to do laundry while I'm there. Definitely. But however bad packing for myself is, add four kids and a husband into the mix (yes, I have to pack for him too, hats off to your husband if he does his own) and it's enough to make my head spin.
Let me paint my annual packing picture for you....
Dig out summer clothes unworn since last year, check. Discard half of same in shock and horror I ever wore them in the first place, check. Wash, iron and fold what remains, check. Seventy five trips to Penneys, Dunnes and H&M for this year's must-have holiday wear, check. Spend two hours trying on newly-bought items on kids and self, check. Seventy four trips to Penneys, Dunnes and H&M returning items that don't suit or fit, check. Scour the internet for items in sizes not available in store, check. Spend half of holiday budget on suncreams, check. Remember last minute to find UV swim tops for kids, check. Dust off suitcases from under the bed, check. Argue with kids that hurleys, dolls and hardback encyclopaedias won't fit in suitcases, check. Decide what to wear on journey aiming for Beckham family-inspired airport style, check. Finally get around to packing everything, check. Wait for hubby to get around to weighing suitcases three hours before we're due to leave, check. Revise decision on what to wear on journey so that heaviest jeans, hoodies and runners are worn instead, check. Feel grateful not to be famous and papped at airports looking like bag lady with family, check. Re-arrange and re-weigh suitcases while thinking unkind thoughts about Michael O'Leary, check. Go to bed after setting alarm for two hours time, check.
Now in many ways, this year's packing routine was no different from any other. (And no doubt you're wondering why on earth I feel I have any wisdom to impart about packing.) But there was one major difference this year, and it's this.
This year I used a plan to pack and for the first time ever... EVERYTHING I brought was worn!
So here's how it worked. Before I dug out my suitcase, I drew up a list. Something like the one below.
Across the top of the page, I made a column for each day of my trip. For each, I noted down what I was likely to be doing by day and by night. (I resisted the urge to write 'drinking wine' in every box). Then for each activity, I wrote down roughly what I was likely to wear. This quickly gave me an idea of what I needed and showed me the core pieces - like dresses and shorts, for example - I could wear at least twice. Meaning I could pack lighter than I thought.
1. The Basics:
First I picked out my basics and laid them out on the bed. By basics I mean the items I'd wear more than once. I started with a couple of dresses and shorts. Also, a maxi or two for combined comfort and style. When I'd made my initial selections I tried each of them on in front of a mirror and that helped me work out different outfit combinations and see which items would be the most versatile. This takes a bit of time but it's worth it because it helps you decide for example which shoes to bring - in my case my wedges, as they could be worn both day and night and my pink sandals as they worked with poolwear and shorts. The shoe decision resulted in one or two dresses that could only be worn with high heels being dropped in favour of those that looked better with the wedges etc. So my basics were narrowed down to:
2 dresses (ivory and blue)
1 maxi (blue)
1 skirt (taupe)
2 pairs of shorts (denim and white)
1 fringed kimono (ivory)
1 cardigan (taupe)
1 pashmina (icy pink)
1 pair of jeans (blue) - for the flights or a rainy day
1 maxi beachdress (multicoloured)
2 kaftans (blush pink and blue)
3 bikinis (blush pink, blue and stripy)
I ended up going for mostly neutral colours like ivory and taupe, with shades of blue and pink for my splashes of colour. Depending on your preferences, you might choose basics in all neutral colours or in a mix of neutrals and other colours. Just don't go for too-safe colours. Holidays are the perfect opportunity to wear bright colours as they look even more fabulous in sunnier weather. Don’t feel you have to be too ‘matchy, matchy’ either - clashing colours and patterns can look fabulous done right, even for instance wearing your stripy bikini with a boldly patterned kimono. If clashing is a little too much for your taste just bring strong colours in via your accessories - a great pair of wedges, bag or a chunky bangle will set off a neutral outfit beautifully. Of course, white is a super neutral for holidays because it looks so good against a tan - just check whether you're best suited to a bright bluish white or a softer creamy white or ivory.
2. The Other Bits:
To wear with my skirt and shorts, I brought a couple of colourful tops for daytime and two that were a little bit more 'special' that would work for day or night. A good rule of thumb here is to only pack things that go with at least three other items. i went for:
2 dressy tops (ivory and blue)
3 cotton camis (turquoise, charcoal & ivory)
2 t-shirts (multicoloured)
I packed a pair of sliders in an off-white that went with all my poolwear, a pair of wedges in ivory that went with all my dressy wear and a pair of thong sandals in a blush pink that worked well both for the pool or with shorts.
1 pair of wedges (ivory)
1 pair of sliders (ivory)
1 pair of sandals (blush pink)
To keep my accessories to a minimum, I opted for a clutch that went with everything and as few pieces of jewellery as possible. And my beach bag was perfect for the flight.
1 beach bag (navy)
1 clutch (I chose a versatile one that goes with both silver and gold)
1 bracelet (gold & ivory)
2 pairs of earrings (gold, blue)
2 necklaces (silver and gold)
Scroll down to see what I ended up packing....
I realise I'm still not an expert packer! But I gave it a lot more thought at the planning stage this year and that obviously did pay off. So I thought I'd share my experience for those of you who have yet to go on your holidays and hopefully help take a little bit of the stress out of your packing.