A citybreak suitcase

Thursday, 25 April 2013


As a little law commonly known as 'Sod' would have it, I am one of those people who tend to stand in front of their wardrobe wailing that I have nothing to wear. A great exaggeration, even by my standards! I do have things to wear - it just so happens that I don't seem have too many things that really -click- and go together. I may have made it known to a few people (or possibly the whole world, who can say?) that I feel like I'm forever on the quest to create my perfect capsule wardrobe: as in, a hustle of items that all fall together without so much as a fleeting doubt. For I am a massive doubt-head! I could throw an outfit together without a second thought, but it's that last dash past a mirror that sometimes gets me umming & ahhing - sometimes enough to make me turn around and change back into something truly in my comfort zone. Definitely an instance where less does truly equal more! And that's a massive reason why I love suitcase living.

Some people see packing a suitcase for your holidays as a chore but I love the challenge of it. I'm a total budget-airline-hand-luggage-only babe at heart which makes light packing absolutely vital. Not only do I have to lift it up into an overhead locker, but first it has to fit into the airline's size regulations - which is often the hard part! And you need to remember so much more than just your attire: your toiletries, books, electronic gadgety items (& inevitable chargers), towels and countless other little bits and bobs that you just cannot survive without. Don't forget pants! All in all, it leaves you with precious little space for all-important things to wear and this is where all-important stealth suitcase packing comes into play.

The trick is to figure out what goes together in your existing wardrobe. You definitely don't want to be creating huge problems by buying lots of last minute things in a rush just to fill up gaps (bad preparation) or make you feel good (worst) unless it's that vital perfect jean jacket you've been waiting for for years (been there, done that). Consider the kind of break that you're actually going on too: is it warm weather or breezy? Beach holiday or city break? Long-haul or quick weekend getaway? Then the rule I always go by is The Rule Of 10 Or Thereabouts (As In, 9 Or 11 Is Also Acceptable)™. That is the amount of core items that you should take away. Think tops, skirts, cardigans, dresses and shoes and don't count your jacket, socks and tights, key accessories and pants (obviously). Ten, in my mind, is a more than acceptable amount to be able to create lots of different outfit combinations. And if I can do it, then anybody can.

Since I knew that it would be a pleasant-weather kind of citybreak, I seized the opportunity to take only skirts - and it sure paid off! I alternated two skirts on different days and threw on different top, cardigan and shoe combos with them. I decided to take the same amount of shoes as I did skirts, which made for some nice swappage. Then I added a cardigan, two trusty t-shirts and two vest tops. They're not pictured, but on both air journeys I wore a pair of jean shorts. Are you keeping count, calculator ninjas? I do believe that's 10 items! And look at the combinations I got out of them.

There aren't an awful lot more tips I can dish out really, only common sense. Try and select things that naturally go together in colours that compliment each other. Go for more muted shades rather than lots of loud ones with no harmony at all. Don't go crazy for ALL THE PATTERNS; instead stick to just one or two, and try to make the rest of your pieces pattern-free. Do pick key accessories that go with absolutely everything such as a belt, a plain-coloured tote bag, a pair of sunnies, a scarf, watch, necklace, plain tights, a brooch that you can swap from your jacket to cardigans and back again, and neutral shoes. And if you've got a little extra room in your suitcase then don't be tempted to fill it up straight from your wardrobe, leave it be. I guarantee you will probably find yourself 'accidentally' shopping at some point. Hey, it happened to me! I only stumbled into H&M for a pair of sunglasses and the next thing I knew, I had bought a t-shirt and a cardigan from Pull & Bear. For some reason, stuff that you'd usually be on the verge of buying back at home is suddenly totally acceptable to snap up when you're on holiday. Probably a combination of both holiday I-don't-give-a-f___ and holiday money (which never seems to count, am I right?). Just be certain that it goes with everything pre-existing in your suitcase. Believe me, that's the last place stood infront of that you want to be wailing, "I have nothing to wear!"

And just in case you're at all interested, these were my items worn in the photos above. Jacket: H&M / Mint Green Cardigan: Primark / Blue Skirt: Glamourous / Floral Skirt: New Look / Grey T-shirt: H&M / Blue T-shirt: Urban Outfitters [donkeys years ago] / Red Vest: New Look / White Vest: Primark / Tan Brogues: Clarks / Blue Vans: Soletrader / Belt: vintage / Tote Bag: The Bronx band merchandise / Birdie brooch: Sunday Girl [donkeys years ago] / Sunglasses: H&M in Budapest.

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