Friday, 2 January 2009

How To Pack Light

acarelesslife, originally uploaded by yyellowbird.

Considering that my wardrobe takes up half of my apartment, that I can never bear to part with any of my clothes (although that is starting to change, now), considering that I have so many pieces of clothing I can arrange them according to colour and shade – you’d think I’d be terrible at packing. You know, one of those girls who struggles with two huge suitcases, three handbags and a shopping bag just to go away for the weekend.

And while I tend to accumulate things while I’m travelling – which usually means I buy another bag – when I’m going anywhere I have a knack for packing lightly. I once went to Europe for three months with ten kilograms of clothing. If you’re generally a practical, stylistically unfussy person, then this may seem like an easy feat. But if, like me, your collection of scarves alone could cover 30 square feet, then this is a teeny tiny miracle.

So, my tips for achieving this miracle are:

Make sure everything matches.
The easiest way to do this is to pack mostly black. The only downside to packing black clothing is that you might get bored easily. But pack a lot of one neutral colour – grey, for instance (I hate brown with a fiery passion, so I won’t suggest it!), and a few colours that might complement it, say carmine, royal blue or pastel pink.

Take trousers that are close to leggings if you’re going somewhere cold.
Black skinny jeans are best – they can pass for leggings underneath other clothes for warmth, don’t take up much space and are extremely versatile. If you’re still cold, wearing a couple of pairs of woolen stockings underneath is a good idea.

Take clothes that you can give away/put in a charity box at the end of your trip.
In Vietnam, I wore clothes that were very, very un-me. By un-me I mean light trousers, t-shirts, and long flowy blouses. Things I would never ordinarily wear. So, at the end of the trip, I discarded them in order to take my new goodies home.

Roll up your clothes.
Some people may disagree with me, but I find this is the most space-efficient method of packing, besides buying all of those space-saving plastic bags.

Natural fibres!
Cotton t-shirts, silk dresses, cotton jeans – these fabrics will breathe better. Therefore they will smell better. Therefore you will get more wear out of them. Therefore you won’t need to pack quite so many clothes, because natural fibres will stand up better to everyday wear.

The shoe rules:
Comfortable flat boots, preferably in black. A colourful, beautiful pair of flats that will make strangers gasp (and make "strong men cry in train stations"!). And a pair of comfortable favourites. I used to wear converse to travel in, but as I don’t really wear anything resembling sneakers these days, I would opt for black ballet flats with insoles. That said, my Cons took a lot of battering, so if you’re going cross-country on a motorbike in South East Asia, or crossing rivers on foot, they will definitely be your friends.

As it is, I am not going anywhere exciting right now – I am going about two hours north for a few days to model for a Life Drawing Summer school. I hope it’s lovely – I do, as a rule, love my job.

And I’ll be back on Wednesday!


Vixel said...

Fantastic post! I will definitely be looking back at it next time I have to go away somewhere!

Pony said...

thanks! i hope it helps!