Friday, September 27, 2013

Dressing for Europe...................

What does one wear in Central Europe when Summer has gone, Autumn is hopefully somewhat warm and dry, and before the deep cold of Winter arrives? 

Some of you have enjoyed sharing my packing anxieties stories for other trips I've taken to some wild places. By now you are familiar with the collapsible clothes rack - one of my more sensible purchases ever - that appears in the guest room along with a suitcase or duffel as time to leave home gets close. This way I can see what I'm facing without digging through dim closets - and everything I'd like to fold neatly stuff into that travel bag is visible.
Of course I've been given marching orders by 'he who will be hauling the luggage' now that my arms are not so good. One suitcase only - and one back pack for my soon to be seventy poor old back - wish me luck please!
Needless to say, the current mass of clothing displayed on that rack has to be pared down, and soon.
So, if you're interested, this is my plan for my October pre-birthday trip to Europe with my dear husband.

  • I've already removed the Winter coat! It's a great coat but bulky to pack, too warm to travel in (airports are always too hot).
  • So, the jacket is my dark grey J.Jill on the left of the rack. Love this jacket, it's mid-thigh length, has a hood, so protects me from rain, looks OK for evenings with a big scarf wrapped around the shoulders, and thankfully it covers my butt! 
  • Taking only black pants! Go with everything so there's minimal decision-making required for that part of the day's outfit. One pair of nice I.N.C knit skinnies, two pairs of Vera Wang knit cord heavy leggings, both to wear with boots or shoes, and of course long tops! One pair of cropped I.N.C knit pants to wear if there's a really warm day, and a more dressy pair of lightweight M&S (from England) narrow ankle pants for evening/dinner to wear with the following........
  • Cashmere, fabulous cashmere. Dream fabric for cool/cold weather snuggleness, and lightweight to pack. Sweater and cardigan twinsets in grey and black to mix and match -  casual for day, gussied up with nice earrings and scarves for evening.
  • My one purchase for this trip - because it was a $69.00 steal at Nordstrom's Rack and I loved it - the color-blocked (light grey, dark grey and black) Philosophy loose cashmere sweater in the pic above. Can wear it alone for evening - has a scoop neck, perfect for a bold silver necklace - or over a thin CuddlDud tee shirt and layered under the jacket on a cool or damp day.
  • Throwing in a couple of basic black and grey tees - always useful under a sleeveless black fleece vest - and an Eileen Fisher light grey/black striped merino wool hooded sweater, loose and nice worn over a thin layer if chilly......a bargain found on last Spring's sale rack. 
  • The dress. I'm not really a dress person, but I do have a comfy J.Jill basic black lambswool dress, more like a knee-length sweater, which works well over leggings with tall boots or flats.......this might come in useful and it's easy to pack.
  • The hat. A boiled wool cloche purchased in England last Christmas, so comfy and doesn't give me a headache like some snug hats.
  • Assorted scarves - long ones to wind and tie to warm the neck, a large printed soft wool square to wear around my shoulders as a wrap.
  • Footwear - always difficult for me when traveling! I love nice shoes and boots, and could travel with an entire suitcase of shoes if 'you know who' would allow! With all the walking expected, much over uneven cobbles, I'm forsaking any strictly dressy shoes and taking three pairs of comfortable, already broken in, walking shoes. My Frye woven Oxfords, a pair of basic black flats, and a pair of black Coach lightweight fabric sport type walkers.......also a pair of leather classic low heeled tall boots.

So dear readers, if you're bored stiff by now, and sorry you asked what I'm planning to pack - besides P.J.'s, unmentionables, electronic things with cables, jewelry, and toiletries (the latter being a whole other packing story!) - this is what's going in the bag.
Will it all fit? Probably not.
Packing tips are always welcome, thank you very much.


  1. I pack in a similar way, mostly black and white with a bit of blue thrown in. I love those shoes !
    I find the things I pack too many of are Shoes and Handbags. I know, handbags, I always feel like I need more than one.
    A light as air down coat/jacket is the best when traveling, they wad up into a ball and then look fine when you wear them.
    Worth the price. I bought mine in Paris a few years ago and it is still my favorite and best winter travel coat. (Max Mara)
    After living in Argentina, I am enjoying wearing "good" jewelry again but when I travel, I wear silver and nothing sparkly. That is my only real travel tip.
    I totally agree about the toiletries but depending on where we go, I take less because I love to visit Boots in London or some fancy chemists and Paris is a Bonanza when shopping for Things That Smell Good :)
    Have fun darling, bon voyage !

    1. Taking an adjustable strap (handbag/shoulder bag/cross body length) Baggallini black nylon lightweight bag - with several zippered compartments to use day and evening. Have to leave the heavy, bulky ones at home - take up far too much space! Silver jewelry always for me too! Will hit Boots on the run at Heathrow - my favorite items are there!
      Thanks dear for the bon voyage wishes.
      Hugs - Mary

  2. I love reading about what people pack on vacation. I'd say you're going to nail it with the restrained palette and all that lovely light and warm cashmere.

  3. I love all of your choices, and need to head to J.Jill sometime soon. I am the worst packer ever, so advise from me.

  4. You will look fabulous. I love your sense of style. Not being a shoe person, I'd take only the boots and one other pair. Besides, that gives an excuse to buy a pair of something fabulous, should one come across them while in Europe!!

  5. Thank you dear Mary for so graciously baring your (soul) Autumn Euro wardrobe!
    I'm a grey/black girl too - I love everything on the rack and the bed - they would happily go in my case!
    I need a pair of those shoes (next year) and all of your luscious scarves and cashmere!!!

    On my last trip I took too many shoes (3 pairs I didn't wear). My case will be much lighter next year - I'm finally learning!
    You will look so very stylish!
    Only four more sleeps I hear... I'm so excited for you dear Mary!
    ENJOY and I wish you both all the fun in the world!
    Much love and farewell hugs
    Shane xox

  6. Don't forget to leave room for the clothes you buy there.

  7. Hello Mary, I like all of your choices. Only I take even less than you do. I do take my beautiful Pierrette black Cashmere coat. I love Cashmere for travel (or at home). I take greys and blacks but also a warm brown. I only take one black leather bag, smallish, it tucks under my arm and has a shoulder strap. We will be going in December, so I will take a pair of Tecnica boots (wear on the plane) and 2 pairs of Ferragamo, brown and black shoes. Everything fits into a legal size roller bag. I do take a medium sized soft bag that holds a few books, my Ipad, a little bag of cosmetics, electric travel curlers, my camera, A few other incidentals for myself and my husband. I wear a few pieces of good jewelry, pearls are always right.
    I am looking for a dressy pair of black wool trousers. I had a pair of Max Mara trousers which I loved but they show too much wear.
    Can you suggest a maker? I would so appreciate it. ox, Gina .

  8. Broken in shoes and the black/grey color theme - perfection.
    My eye immediately went to the new sweater. Love it and perfect.
    The coat too is just right and similar to the coat I take for such
    excursions. I will say I am a very light packer because it is me
    that carries my stuff, so one small rolling suitcase, one empty
    bag for shopping, and my camera bag which has room for a few extras.
    I do love your style.

  9. Mary, you will look stunning. I love your style! The cashmere sweaters look absolutely yummy. If I were going somewhere coolish, cashmere would be my choice for all the same reasons you mention. Don't think I'll be packing cashmere for the QCI Meeting in FL. ;-)
    Enjoy your trip. Happy Birthday!!!!! ~ Sarah

  10. I think you will look beautiful with all of those lovely clothes! And if you get it all to fit, then I will be surprised, LOL.

  11. You are a seasoned traveller, Mary, and I'm sure these things will do for your holiday. Interestingly, we were to Maine for the past 3 days and I took long sleeved tee shirts, 1 sweater, 1 scarf, a jean jacket and windbreaker. I tossed in my capri jeans and 2 short sleeve tee at the last minute and am so glad I did as it was a gorgeous weekend. It was sunny and 70 + F each day so I was glad I had the cooler clothes packed. You just never know!


I would enjoy reading your comment - thanks so much for stopping by.