Paris: Four Days in a Carry On

Tomorrow… I go to Paris.

One of the things that gets me in trouble is the idea that I need to bring everything ‘just in case’…

Packing is not my expertise. I’ve been known to have a whole separate piece of luggage just for shoes and other miscellaneous things, only to buy a pair of flip flops at the airport and wear them the whole time.  But with a little planning I can do better. Schlepping around luggage isn’t fun for anyone.

One of the things that gets me in trouble is the idea that I need to bring everything ‘just in case’ or that maybe I should try to dress up, or fit in, especially when going to a more fashionable city… like Paris. Today, I just don’t have the energy for fitting in, and even when I’m in my hometown… I don’t fit in. So why bother?

This is my new packing strategy…

  • Pick out outfits ahead of time (no ‘just in case items’ allowed)
  • Try to go with a color scheme so ‘just in case’ I decide to wear something different. Here, you may not be able to tell, but there is a  neutral color scheme going on, with soft colors.
  • Seriously… only one extra pair of shoes… make sure one of my pairs are flats (I’ve gone on trips with no flats, horrible)

Here’s what I have on deck… a chunky knit sweater with wooden buttons, with a vintage 80′s flapper dress made from a pattern from the 1920s. The sleeves are reaaaaallly long, as the asymmetrical hemline goes just to mid-calf. My grey blazer with chunky scarf and a silk seashell dress. My weekend outfit, worn a million times without posting… denim vest with flannel (for my white trash days). I have fourth outfit, but I gotta keep you guessing, even a little!

jennineParis: Four Days in a Carry On

Comments 40

  1. alixrose

    As a frequent traveler I have fallen into the “I NEED TO HAVE EVERYTHING WITH ME JUST IN CASE” category a billion times. I am learning. I agree that planning ahead is the best.. and def keep the same color scheme so you can switch things around if you want.. makes you still feel like you have choices.

    Have fun in Paris!

  2. Retro Chick

    I’m terrible for not resisting the “just in case” factor, I’ve been known to go away overnight with a suitcase that should do me for a week.

    I love the dress and blazer combination, it loks very chic, but interesting.

  3. Post

    oh man, i’ve done the same thing! i had this one piece of luggage called ‘the tank’ it was so big. i used that for a 3 day trip.

  4. Freya

    Planning ahead is the only way to avoid the “just in case” I’m convinced.

    Just got here and love your blog by the by :)

  5. Katharine

    I just went home from NY to California for winter break and packed waaaay to much. I was there for two weeks but seriously packed as though I would be there for two months. Choosing outfits ahead of time, I’m convinced, is the way to go.

    I’ve posted before, but just wanted to let you know that since finding your blog I consult it daily :)

  6. meg

    i stink at packing im a chronic over packer! Im freaked that I will forget that one important item at home ruining everything else I’ve packed. Your method is really excellent I applaud you! I will be applying your methods the next time I pack to go somewhere

  7. Amanda Nicole

    I’m moving to Paris this fall, and I am already getting panicky about what to pack! We’ll be in a furnished apartment, so all I need to bring is myself and one large suitcase of clothes - easier said than done. I’m nervous because Paris is such a fashionable city, whereas here in Vancouver the style is very laid back. I like your tip on arranging outfits to help put some method into the madness, thanks!

    And have a fabulous time!

  8. Stylish Thought

    I’m the worse with packing, “Just in Case” turns into “I need everything”. Having a color scheme or a theme is a good way to limit yourself. Have fun in Paris!

  9. Terra

    I too covet your blog; always great for relevant and practical subject matter. I always take a minute to see what’s new for the day. Thanks!

  10. Tami

    Having moved to Asia 2x, then backpacked tons, I’ve learned to pack everything into my North Face pack. Bring lots of ‘flat’ fabrics that won’t wrinkle much. You can buy toiletries there!

  11. Birdie

    Dearest, I feel you on packing dilemmas. I’ve been thinking about my Weekend-Getup all week, trying to perfect exactly what I want to bring in exactly which colors so I will be the most comfortable and still stylish (read: Vegas Packing Inspiration post). I’ve taken to diagramming them out (kinda like you did - in my post I used Polyvore as an example) and then mixing and matching to make sure all my pieces will go together in whichever order I want to wear them. I still probably bring one or two too many items…. hehe!


  12. eyeliah

    Great work!! So much easier to plan outfits ahead I realized, can’t wait to see the 4th, but glad you are keeping us in suspence!!

  13. Beka

    Fabulous job, Jennine! I’m so impressed. I am a terrible packer myself, one of those “just in case” packers. Then I get to my destination, and realize that in my frenzy to pack “just in case” items, I don’t have one sustainable outfit!

  14. Kayla

    Have fun! Four of my roommates are there right now…maybe you’ll see one another!

    P.S. I have tagged you on my blog for a little quiz if you get a chance!

  15. Style Spy

    Yes, the pre-pack is absolutely essential. Make your items as mix & matchable as you can, so you don’t get bored with them, and since you’re going to Paris, remember that it’s all about the scarves!

  16. Vanessa

    first, I love those shoes.

    second, I love the idea of planning outfits ahead of time, Ive never thought of that!!

  17. Post

    oh my god you guys are awesome. i’m so glad i’m not the onlyone with packing issues.

    fenke… i’ve seen your travel bag, and it’s impressive…. can you please do a tutorial for us?

  18. Sonja

    I have such a problem with packing, too. Every time I visit my family, my mother says “Why did you bring so much stuff?” I’m trying to do what you’re doing, planning better and not throwing in all the “just in cases.” Have lots of fun!

  19. * Fashion Dreamer *

    Oh I’m such an overpacker you wouldn’t believe! But you seem to have got it bang on. Love that waist belt

  20. violetville

    oh my gosh i have *exactly* the same packing strategy! i’m terrible at planning in advance though. in the end, most things just have to be the same general color scheme. and i’m exactly the same about one extra pair of shoes. it’s like, one pair i’m going to wear all the time, and one pair of heels for going out. i am *terrible* about the “just in case” syndrome!!

    i am also packing! we are taking violetville on the road for a month!! gotta get out of the cold :)

  21. Fair shopping fairy

    Have a good time in Paris! I thought you were coming to Berlin because you were writing about the Fashion Week in your post about your new mini laptop. Anyway, when you do come to Berlin in March let me know and I will give you a special guided tour :) I just found out about a great French organic fair-trade brand called Ekyog. Maybe you want to check it out while you’re in Paris. For more information just click on my name.

  22. academichic

    I love this! It always helps me to see how other people pack well-planned outfits that can still be mixed up “just in case.” - e.

  23. Prêt-à-Porter P

    picking outfits ahead of time and picking interchangeable pieces are essential. and at least 2 pairs of shoes, (1 of which are flat). and a roomy handbag helps too.

  24. pretty face

    Oh you lucky, lucky thing! I am beyond jealous!

    I know this sounds weird, but I sometimes get the feeling that my blog is in synch with yours… I was going to post about wanting to go to Paris today, and wrote a draft post about my horribly dry lips about a week ago! Great minds? ;)

    Have lots of fun in Pareeeeeee xx

  25. Katarina (bjooti.net)

    Hi Jennine,

    It was lovely meeting you yesterday. Hope your continued stay in Paris has been great!

  26. anthea

    Looks great. What are you going for? Try to bring things that don’t wrinkle easily and that you can mix and match with. Don’t forget a great belt and some tights for cooler evenings :)

  27. Rhiannon

    I’m excited to hear about your Paris trip! Oh, and I’m in love with that first outfit especially . . . the cream cardigan and white dress combo! You’ll be lovely.

  28. ambika

    I’m terrible at this but in the reverse, I think. I’ll pack a few favorite items, then figure if they don’t work, I’ll buy whatever I need-not taking into consideration how picky I am & that I probably won’t want to buy something I won’t wear after the trip. Sigh.

  29. Market Publique

    oh god, i hate that they are charging for checked baggage now, they have decreased the weight limit, and now that I’m married, so I have person nagging me not to check luggage.

    Honestly, compared with all the luggage ladies carry around in movies, I think I’m pretty good…

    I mean, did you see ‘Australia’?

  30. Trisch

    Cute outfitss - I always plan out outfits before packing so that I don’t end up exceding weight limits.

  31. Pingback: 2/5/09 Links a la Mode: Weekly Roundup |

  32. Nina

    I travel a lot, and so I sort of fall into this, particularly for weekend trips: I pack one pair of jeans. Usually dark, so it can double at night and during the day. Then, I pack a couple t-shirts: a simple tank or two for the day, and a fancier top for night (or a dress that can double duty). T-shirts take up surprisingly little space. Then, I try not to pack more than one pair of shoes, but if I must must must, never more than two. I may pack two sweaters, but I never take more than one coat, because coats take up so much room. I like to give myself flexibility by picking a good base and packing a whole bunch of stuff that I can mix and match, and that sort of avoids the “just in case” problem. I also pack all in the same family of colors (black)…

  33. lisa

    I know I’ll shop when I travel so my motto is “pack light, bring money.” When I went to Europe for 2 weeks I went for a strict regimen of jeans and cardigans, knowing full well that I would buy nice tops and pretty dresses along the way. The thing I suck at most is bringing way too many pairs of shoes, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *