Packing light; the clothes

Last time was all about the luggage for my 10 day NZ trip.

Now, for what goes in the bag!

This is still a work in progress. I’m letting you in on my planning process.


Some notes to begin with: Everything is quite lightweight and is easily washable and will dry just fine in summer weather. I will have easy access to laundry. If I do this right, everything will go with everything else.

It should be noted that taking photos of clothing is not one of my strengths. I took a few pictures to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, even though nothing looks very good right out of storage, all wrinkled!

< This list is a sticky that has lived in the corner of my desktop for the last few weeks. It’s not in any particular order – just a stream of consciousness list I started one afternoon after deciding that I was traveling minimalist. I have no idea why the sports bra as swim top is at the top of the list!

I actually started with a dress. I knew right away that I was going to bring my black, lightweight cotton, cross-front dress. A cheap little thing I picked up a few years ago from Target, which is breezy and casual and cute. It takes up very little space and will wash and dry easily. It works with a cardigan over the top and/or a tank top underneath for a little extra warmth. It works as an after swim cover-up or a nice little black dress for dinner out. I enjoyed wearing it on our last trip to Hawaii.

(The last few days I have been second-guessing the choice to only take one dress. But I think separates will serve me better and I don’t have another ideal summer dress. My other options are either a bit bulky, or see-through without a slip. I might give in and bring another dress, depending on how full my bag is and how my outfits pan out. But more likely I will just embrace this one great dress.)

I also knew from the beginning that I would bring my knee length denim skirt. I follow a nice Danish lady on instagram and I noticed that on her summer trip through the US she wore an A-line denim skirt almost every day, just with different tops, and she looked great. A denim skirt is durable and hard wearing like jeans, but cooler and cuter. I wear mine all the time. I found it at Goodwill last summer after my first big closet overhaul. $5, baby!

My original plan was to wear it on the plane, but I’m starting to wonder if I should choose something looser and softer… I have a black jersey knit skirt (not pictured) that would be a lot more comfortable. It is still a 15-ish hour flight, even if it’s being broken in half this time. I’m going to want to be comfortable. And I can wear it a lot in NZ, as long as it’s not too windy.

On the airplane (‘scuse my American spelling) I plan on wearing a grey fitted tank top, a striped long sleeved tshirt, and a hot pink half sleeved cardigan, along with Converse sneakers. Whichever skirt I choose will go perfectly with that outfit. I wore a similar outfit on the way to Hawaii last time – removing layers as we got to hotter climates. I’m actually stopping off in Honolulu (all too briefly) so I can enjoy a little bit of warmth and a break half way there. Honolulu airport is indoor/outdoor, depending on where your gate is, so layers will be welcome.

my travel ensemble

my probable travel ensemble

So, on to the tops. This is where I have a few options. I’m bringing at least one more fitted tank – an aqua one. They’re good for layering, for really hot days, and for sleeping in. I will also pack at least one or two sleeveless tops that are dressier. (I better remember that my cardigan is pink – the green top I have test-packed right now might not look very good with pink… although I do tend to treat hot pink as a neutral! I’ll have to test that out.) If I can find one, I would like to bring a lightweight, striped, cap sleeve tee. I am loving the stripe trend. I just wish more tees were made lightweight but not actually see through! It defeats the purpose if I have to add another top underneath. The pictures below are the tops I am choosing from right now. We’ll see what I end up taking.

I was looking at capsule wardrobes online and they all show tops for layering, but I think it’s going to be too hot most of the time to wear any kind of layers. I have my cardigan for over air-conditioned movie theaters and the long sleeved tee I wear on the plane will work if I need something warm to wear in the evening.

Shorts are a problem for me. I don’t look very good in shorts. I usually wear a skirt instead. I have a pair of little running shorts that I don’t feel very comfortable in outside the house (should I just get over that?! what do I care what strangers think of my pale white legs?) I have a pair of knee length stretchy cargo shorts that have great pockets. (But they’re kind of ugly. But pockets! But I’ll have a purse, so who needs pockets?) I have some sporty capri pants that are a bit on the tight side for both heat-comfort and flattering-comfort. I planned on bringing a pair of lightweight cotton capri pj pants for sleeping and lounging in the house, but ideally I would love to combine all these pairs of shorts/capris into one perfect pair of capris that I could lounge in and wear out and about. I haven’t quite worked that “problem” through. Maybe I will find a perfect pair. I might just bring the little running shorts if I wear my black knit skirt and therefore need to pack my denim skirt.

most of what I'm taking

Most of what I’m taking. The colors are a little off and everything is wrinkled, just out of storage.

Besides my Converse sneakers that I’ll be wearing on the plane, I’m bringing a pair of my favorite flip flops. They’re super-comfortable, even to walk long distances in. They don’t flop around because they have double straps and I think they look pretty nice. They also give you really cool tan lines on your feet (as much as I sunscreen, and as little as I tan, I can still see the lines by the end of summer).

And a swimsuit. In a perfect minimalist world this would be a little string bikini that takes up no space at all in my bag, but I am not built for that kind of thing. I need some coverage. I am considering bringing a sports bra that can double as a swim top (if I decide I want to bring a sports bra). I’ll be wearing it under a long sleeved rash guard tshirt, which saves me from needing to use so much sunscreen to protect my pale white skin from the harsh NZ sun. In the past I’ve just swum in a regular bra and a rash guard. That works too. I have a polka dot tankini top too, but it’s a bit too small, so I don’t love it. If I swam more often I would track down a perfect swimsuit. On this trip I plan on going swimming as often as possible. Usually when I go home with hubby we end up doing other things instead, and I always come home wishing I had made more time for swimming. The beach is not that far away – just a bit of a walk, but uphill.

(Speaking of the sun, I have decided to go to NZ in my natural paleness. I am not going to fake tan. I love the look of warm brown skin, but that’s not what I have. And I decided that buying a bottle of skin tanning liquid is as wrong as a dark skinned person trying to bleach their skin to “fit in,” so I’m not going to do it. We all could benefit from accepting ourselves as we are, and NZ still seems to glorify tan skin even while trying to combat their ridiculously rates of skin cancer – the sun is brutal down there! So going pale and natural is my little way of making that point. I’m going to use a lot of my family’s sunscreen.)


What it all looks like folded and rolled up. I’ll probably use packing cubes for the smaller stuff.

That’s about it for clothing. About a dozen pieces, plus shoes and swimwear. Everything else is going to take up quite a bit of space though… personal items like underwear, basic toiletries, very basic makeup, a sun hat (I may borrow or buy one there, depending on how my luggage fills up), sunglasses and glasses cases, small camera, charging cords, a small power/usb charging strip, plus all the other day to day stuff that I can’t remember until the last minute.

I’m bringing my Bibliomatic (yes, I finally named my kindle) and my parents have heaps of books for me to read while I’m there. I haven’t decided whether I’ll bring my regular diary/planner, or some kind of journal, or if I’ll just use my laptop to keep track of things. As I wrote that sentence I made the decision – I’ll just use my laptop. I can journal and work on my Project Life in Photoshop Elements while I’m there. And besides, I never know what day to write on in my planner because of the date line –  you skip a day on the way to NZ and live another day twice on the way back! It makes for a very confused diary – I usually cross out the dates and write in the date I’m actually living in, but it’s still messy and odd.

This week I’m going to spend some time trying on the outfits that I’m taking. I might list out the outfits I can make and see if I have the right balance, knowing that I might change clothes once or twice a day depending on what I’m doing. I’ll test pack my bag and see what’s going to fit. I’ll try to remember what my goals are. I’ll try to find a cute t-shirt and a pair of knit capris, both of which will be useful additions to my P333 wardrobe for spring and summer.

Do you think I’m on the right track? Am I forgetting anything important?

Thanks for coming by!


This entry was posted in less, Project 333, stuff, wanderings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Packing light; the clothes

  1. Anki says:

    I so can relate on the ” pale part”. Many years I tried to tan eventhough my skin never was and never will be made for intense sunbathing. Then I just came to the conclusion that pale is beautiful. It contrasts well with different colors, doesn’t it? Hope you’ll have a pleasant journey! Greetings from cold Sweden

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