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The Careful Art of the Capsule Wardrobe

Despite all of my talk last week about all of the beautiful midi skirts and satchel bags and kitten heels that I would love to throw in my suitcase, I am a slightly fanatic follower of the capsule wardrobe system.

My favourite and equally, most despised part of preparing for my travels is definitely putting together my travel wardrobe. As in, a few carefully selected items of clothing that all mix-and-match together perfectly. And figuring out what stays and what goes is always much easier if I sit down and think about all of my available outfit options – if something doesn’t go with anything else, it stays behind, stored away in my Dad’s spare room. No, I’ll never be nomadic in the sense that I own nothing but the contents of my suitcase. I love books, and I love clothes, and ridiculous as it is to buy clothing and books only to leave them to gather dust while I’m off on my adventures, I can’t help myself. I try to be strict about clothes shopping though. At least, I try to limit myself to a general rule of timeless pieces that aren’t going to go out of fashion within a few months. I tell myself that that’s a reasonable solution, anyway. Books can be read at any time, and I will one day – a few always join me on my travels, and I churn through them at lightning speed when I return home. You should see the Olympic-speed page turning on Christmas day. It’s impressive, if I say so myself.

I always pack more tops than bottoms. I think everyone does, right? A pair of trousers – I rarely jeans because they’re so heavy and slow to dry – shorts, a skirt or two and a few dresses. Mostly light tops, a jumper, a light coat. For shoes, I take a pair for rainy weather – a pair of waterproof, quality-over-quantity brogues – something a bit dressier but also so easily casual – black ballet pumps – and sandals.

The result is endless possibilities… well, I say endless. At least 21. 40+ if on a chilly evening that requires a cardigan or jumper. I’ve met girls who’s backpacks are about as tall as they are, who are carrying about 50 dresses, 20 skirts, 20 pairs of jeans and tops… and then I walk around, slightly smug, in a different outfit a day for at least the first three weeks of my travels, with a tiny case that doesn’t need checking in, that I can lift into the overhead locker all by myself (not that I ever decline any kind offers of help… who says chivalry is dead?), I have room to shop, and most of all, I can skip around from country to country without snapping my spine under the weight when it’s time to move on.

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No doubt I could cut it down further – cut down on tops, limit myself to one skirt, but I find that if I’m travelling for more than a few weeks, I really don’t want to be too strict with myself, even if there is a very likely chance that I will find myself lured into clothes stores and markets abroad… I am pathetic enough that I find myself missing certain dresses or pairs of shoes, so now if it’s one of my favourites, I take it with me. Even if it is a bit cumbersome – like the pink skirt that is made from about 1000 layers of tulle, but it’s my favourite.

And yes, my suitcase also matches my wardrobe. Happy accident. Red suitcase, red handbag, neutral wardrobe. It just works. The red dress that has recently become a favourite is questionable though, I’ll admit. Red on red on red on red? Too much red… I think I’ll have to save that to days when my suitcase is tucked away in a hostel, warm enough that the red cardigan is not necessary…

There’s always that one item of clothing that doesn’t quite merge as perfectly as the rest.

A great site for minimalistic-but-fashionable packing tips here.

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Vanity Feed

March Wish List

march

1. Valentino Blue Scarf. £250. Available here.

I’m a sucker for scarves. They are such a good way to add something special to even a basic white top and jeans – I rarely leave the house without a scarf tied to my handbag (new and cheap scarves only – I learnt the hard way that my knot tying skills are rubbish and therefore I’ve lost a few gorgeous vintage scarves over the years).

2. Regal Rose Blue & Pink lace crown. £17, on sale here.

This is the fashion photographer in me thinking away when I look at this crown – it’s not something that I would have either the wish or the confidence to wear out and about. Just look at how pretty it is? With it’s on-trend ombre pink-blue dye and the laser cut detail… shall we plan some shoots, model friends mine?

3. Stitch a Journey Map. £17. Available here.

I’ve seen this in various little boutiques here and there, with maps of various countries and I just think it’s so cute as a gift for a wanderlust-prone free spirit… but also with a preference to plan their route rather than simply wander around as I tend to. Are they two contradictory types of traveller? I don’t know.

4. George at Asda Aristocats Pyjamas. £13. Available here.

I’ve needed some pyjamas for travelling for ages… that sounds like I sleep naked when I travel. No, I’ve just spent years wearing either fleece winter pyjamas, or, when I’m dealing with 44C heat, a pair of old sports shorts and any old tank top. I want some nice pyjamas… Disney pyjamas. Personally, I’m not a fan of the official Disney line of pyjamas, but then I saw what Asda have done with my favourite childhood movies – Bambi and Aristocats. I love them!  They’re cute without basically looking like oversized kid’s nightwear. I need a pair!

5. Alice & Olivia Dress. £515. Available here.

If only I could afford to wear a completely different outfit everyday – the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV show springs to mind. Hmm… I think I’d need Mary Poppins’ bag to replace my suitcase too. Ah well, I can dream.

6. Fresh Honey Face Mask. $130. Available here.

Honestly, I couldn’t justify the $130 price tag on a face mask when I make my own honey face mask on a weekly basis, but I saw this in Sephora and I must say, the amazing scent alone almost convinced me that this would be better than my own au naturel recipe. It smells delicious; honey, vanilla and a strange sort of blend that reminds me of freshly cut grass. It’s basically a pot of my favourite feel-good scents, which also (I’ve been told) works wonders for moisturising dry skin. I’ve heard nothing but excellent reviews.

7. Statement ring. £23.25. Available here.

Would I ever wear this? Probably not. The few rings I ever owned were soon thrown away because I simply never wore them, but still… it’s so pretty. Isn’t that the point of a wish list? Admiring things that I know I will never own? Maybe I’ve missed the point. I just think – and maybe it’s just me – but rings seem to have become so much more interesting recently… suddenly it’s all about statement rings, weirdly stacked and chained together rings, knuckle rings, and three-in-one rings.

8. Kora Cosmetics by Miranda Kerr. £157. Available here.

Is this just a Celebrity-related hype that everyone is interested in purely because of Miranda Kerr’s involvement, or is it a genuinely excellent product? I don’t know, but I’m curious, I admit. As someone with sensitive skin, the word ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ always pricks up my ears and makes me pay attention, and looking at the ingredients page of Kora Organics website, it looks trustworthy enough and unlikely to bring my skin out in any of its usual fits of protest. But again… £157 for pre-made products or do I just stick to DIY?

9. Anywhere Travel Guide. $12.99. Available here.

It took me a few moments to quite understand what these are when I first stumbled across them. It’s a cute idea that I would put in the same category as Wreck this Journal; silly entertainment, but with no real purpose. Basically, this is a pack of 75 suggestion cards that say things like ‘ask the next person you meet where his favourite street is, and then go there’. The idea behind it is to inspire you, to shake up your life and drag you out of that rut that is routine.

10. Ted Baker Jewellery Travel Roll. £23.99. Available here.

I love the fabric pattern used for this Ted Baker jewellery roll. I love the florals, the watercolour feel, the pale blue belt clasp… I think this is something that every girl should pack in her suitcase, wherever she is jetting off to, and for however long.

11. Miu Miu Shoes. £440. Available here.

I feel like I have included these shoes somewhere in this blog before? Or perhaps I was going to but didn’t… nevertheless, I still love them. And that is all I have to say about that.

12. Globe Trotters Vanity Case. £630. Available here.

Completely unnecessary, but completely gorgeous.

13. Frozen on DVD. Available as of 31st March in the UK.

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