Reader Gretchen asked me to elaborate on what I'm packing for Paris, since it will all fit into a large handbag and hopefully take me through ten days' activities without having to do laundry. I hoped to be able to photograph the contents of my carry-on and post it, but, alas! I've run out of time before I depart.
So here's the list, and the vendor, if it's new and I remember.
-- From J. Crew current season (I'm their poster child!), two pairs skinny leg corduroy jeans in light grey and dark, graphite grey; one pair I wear on the plane, the other I pack.
-- J. Crew: long, cardigan sweater, graphite grey, ruffle trim along v-front.
-- This season's J. Crew again, Tissue t, long-sleeved, deep v-necked, a kind of orchid/pink bright flower color.
-- Burgundy grosgrain trimmed scoop neck, long-sleeved J. Crew top.
-- Three racer-back tissue tank tops, to be worn under long graphite ruffled cardigan like a camisole or over jeans or with skirt: mauve (American Apparel), orchid (Urban Outfitters), hot pink (Urban Outfitters)
-- Black jersey pencil skirt, knee length with back vent, Boston Proper travel line
-- Black perforated (like eyelet) very sexy stretchy long-sleeved, button down shirt with French cuffs, Anne Fontaine 2008 season
-- Black racer-back tank top (American Apparel)
-- Black Hermès belt, narrow with silver hook buckle -- many seasons past
-- Silver Coach across-the-body smallish square silver metallic zip purse, this season
-- One striped, jersey, French Apache-dancer-looking mini dress by Make + Model from the lingerie section of Nordstrom, which I can wear to sleep in or as a robe, or as a dress with the leggings underneath or as a top over jeans: grey and navy stripes, lace-up bodice
-- Graphite Hue super opaque leggings, new this season
-- Black Repetto BB ballet flats
-- One pair herringbone crochet thigh-high black stockings purchased in Florence last winter
-- Nike trainers -- some kind of high-tech silver/grey mesh -- very comfortable; couple of pair socklets, which I'll wash out by hand.
-- One Missoni scarf in silver/grey/mauve/purple flamestitch (2006? season)
-- Silk flowers to pin on or wear in hair: purple, orchid, hot pink
-- One long string of pearls and earrings to match it
-- 3 pairs mesh panties to hand-wash; I'll wear a nude bra, pack a black one
-- Evening clutch, into which are packed the jewelery, my hairpins and elastics and my undies
-- Silver mesh travel umbrella
-- Driving gloves, tobacco colored (Madova, Florence)
-- Short, quilted black zip-front riding jacket, very trim-fitting although down-filled, purchased in Switzerland last season
On the plane I'll wear one pair of the cord jeans, one top, one of the belts, the Repetto ballet flats for ease of passing through security and wear or carry the jacket, and I'll wear my everyday silver jewelery: hoops, ring, bracelet and diamond solitaire necklace
How I'll put it together --
For high-end shopping, the opera, cocktails etc:
Black skirt+black tank+Hermès belt, low-slung = little black dress (jacket over it, Repettos and maybe textured black stockings)
For sight-seeing/museums/shopping: Black skirt+any colored top+long ruffled sweater+pearls/flowers, maybe belt on top of cardigan
For photographing: Cord jeans+any colored top+cardigan or riding jacket+scarf+trainers
If it gets cold: leggings under cords or with skirt, layer long-sleeve tops over racerbacks, or vice-versa
Other options: Black skirt+black Ann Fontaine blouse, or black skirt+colored tank+black Anne Fontaine blouse as a jacket instead of the cardigan.
If I were going to take one additional piece, it would have been black pants or dark wash jeans. But all this is enough. As it is, I'm unlikely to wear every single piece I'm bringing before I return. I find I start to get depressed if I bring only dark colors to Europe, and end up shopping for bright pieces at places like H&M that are redundant with things I have at home just to boost my spirits while I'm there. So we'll see if my more colorful strategy works this trip! If I throw one more thing in, it will be another big, long colorful scarf I'll wear to the airport. I'd prefer to pack the ballet flats and wear the trainers, but getting them off to pass through security is a bitch, so I just stuff them full of other stuff and pack them.