packing for 21 days in 1 suitcase





i slept 12 blissful hours last night - the best sleep i've had in a month.
this post is probably not complete but i feel i have to post it b/c when i got home i had over 80 emails and most of them wanted to know about my packing b/c they had big trips planned.
so this post is long and if it is incomplete i apologize.  

so here is the lowdown on my packing situation.
21 days and 1 small suitcase that needed to cover a 10 day garden tour in england,
5 days in paris 3 days in provence and 3 days in nice.

that's a lot to ask from a small suitcase but it truly had to stay small b/c after london i would be on trains, planes and automobiles and no one was going to carry my luggage for me.
on days we traveled i'm really glad i had kept it light b/c it is exhausting hauling that suitcase up and down stairs and across cobblestones.

i used every single thing i packed...even the bathing suit.
which was kind of a joke while in london.  europe has been experiencing the coldest spring in 35 years so of course i packed a bathing suit.  but i'm happy to report that i wore it on the last day in antibes.

anyway as you will see in the following pictures this green fatigue jacket from j.crew was worn almost every single day.  i have a love hate relationship with it now.
i loved that it did the job but i was so sick to death of wearing it.
it appears to be sold out now but it was there yesterday so i'd check back if you are interested in it.
if at all possible, if you can find the room - bring 2 coats.
no one ever sees your clothes, just the coat, so why not have 2?

also, thankfully i brought two scarves.  i wish i'd have brought more.
my room mate faux fuchsia did and i was jealous and mad at myself b/c they hardly take up any room.


my boots...omg, my boots.  to think that i almost didn't bring them.
i wore them every single day while in england and a few days in paris too.
they saved my life,  i'd have been really miserable without them.

really glad i didn't bring heels.  they would never have been worn.
i didn't bring the white jeans either and i missed them but there just wasn't any room.

oh and my clutch was so perfect.  it was there if i needed it for nights out but more importantly it fit into my handbag and held all my vital information and money.  it was so easy for me to access and keep tickets that i'd be using that day, so easy to get to.  no fumbling through my handbag.
plus it is so darn cute.

also i should have brought one of my striped long sleeve t shirts, why i didn't still confounds me.





this photo was taken at kiftsgate garden on one of the rare sunny days we had.





at hidcote wearing a borrowed belt from romy b/c i had forgotten to pack mine!




i wore my sunglasses every single day - even if it wasn't sunny.





2 favorite accessories - this stick shift peugot that i drove all through provence and nice and the head scarf that faux fuchsia gave me as a gift.







these tretorn's that i got from j. crew (sold out at the moment) were perfect when i needed to hike up ruins throughout france.




as an afterthought i threw in a pair of knit gloves and i'm so glad i did.
this is romy isn't she gorgeous?

she is from tasmania but living in the south of france with her husband and 4 children please go read her blog here.  she has impeccable taste in everything!





this is me at designers guild flagship store wearing the fatigue jacket...again.




on the top of vita's tower at sissinghurt.  the most perfect weather we had on the whole tour.





here is am at rosemary verey's garden at barnsley house.
fatigue jacket yet again.









ahhh, dinner somewhere in provence.
that white shirt was perfect in provence b/c the weather was nice and i could wear it tucked in with jeans or out with leggings - so glad i brought it.




the bathing suit.  it was hot and sunny for about 3 hours on my last day in the french riviera so i got to swim in the mediteranean.  then the heavens opened and it poured for about 3 hours.

so that is that.

  the bottom line is that i was super jealous of people who packed lots of gorgeous outfits but in the end i was glad i had packed light enough to fit into such a small and easy to tote suitcase.
it's kind of a catch 22 situation.
and even the experienced travelers i met said they had gotten certain aspects of their packing wrong.  so i didn't feel so bad.
hope this helps.
i can answer specific questions in the comments.

happy saturday everyone.

xo





62 comments

  1. Wonderful, wonderful pics Janet. And I tip my hat to you for driving on your first trip to Europe - fearless!

    Oh and that's how I feel about my parka every April, after 8/9 months in it I want to burn it.

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  2. I can never seem to pack light. Thanks for the advice. Glad you had a great trip !

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  3. Terrific pictures! It looks like a fabulous trip. Love that head scarf on you:-)

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  4. Great photos Janet! Those gardens are on my bucket list perhaps I will get across the pond when I retire.
    I love the image of you in that sandy beach. Bravo for you driving that cute car in France. Just curious about the woman in blue. Is she a friend or relative? Thought I might have noticed a family resemblance.
    Sounds like you have recovered from your jet lag which is great.

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  5. You may be fed up of the fatigue jacket but you look fab in it in all the photos.
    Sorry our weather was not too good for your visit, but Sissinghurst and Barnsley House skies look as tho' there was enough blue to make a sailor suit, as the saying goes.
    Swimming in the Med...just so chi-chi!
    Z xx

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  6. I tend to over pack and you showed me here how to do it right - and it looks like you "packed" in a whole lot of happy adventures too! Welcome home -

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  7. Good morning, thanks for all the tips. Question--did you have to iron your white shirt a lot, or was it no-iron? xoxxo, Allegra

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    Replies
    1. allegra it was a no iron shirt. i borrowed the hotels iron once and ironed it.

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  8. Janet - you look beautiful in all the pictures! I think Vita showed you the love and rewarded you!!! Good to know about the cool in late may/early June - I have only been to Europe in high summer and never had those issues!

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  9. First of all, you look fantastic! And I think it sounds like you had just the right things with you. It can't be easy when traveling that long. But I think you did a great job and it looks like an awesome trip...so happy for you :) xo

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  11. Great tips and you looked fabulous in every picture! Thank you for sharing. :)

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  12. Looks like you had a wonderful time, Janet. Lucky you for being able to wear your swimsuit and swim in the Mediterranean - a memorable experience, no doubt!

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  13. You look wonderful!!! I am glad you enjoyed yourself. You look happy and healthy.

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  14. Janet, Loved your photos and hearing all about the trip. Really smart not packing much. I still think you looked very chic! I'm heading that way in a week, so will think about the 2 jacket thing!

    Your photo at the beach is darling!

    xxKim

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  15. Hi Janet - You could be wearing a paper bag and you'd still be beautiful with that smile.

    Thanks for the packing feedback. Good to know.
    Deborah

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  16. You look smashing in whatever, wherever . . . even green fatigue . . . Loved seeing the photos of you. Great packing advice I hope I listen to for my next trip!

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  17. Oh my goodness, what a tour of the great English gardens, you have been to more of them than me. Isn't that view at Kiftsgate amazing - and the calm garden with the bronze lily sculptures, love that place! I feel like I have to apologise for England's weather, I always feel that way when visitors come in the supposedly clement months! Hope you had a magical time nonetheless. You look perfectly clad. xx

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    1. kiftsgate gave me chills it was so beautiful.

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  18. You seem to have done quite well with your wardrobe. Congratulations! I'm always sick to death of the clothes I brought by the end of a trip, but am grateful when the wardrobe has worked well. You look fabulous in all of your pictures.

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  19. Hello! I love how you wore the scarf on your head and that is a fabulous photo of you at the beach!

    I am happy with my wardrobe and I agree the real stars of it were the coat, the scarves and the bots. I regret packing the heels because I never wore them, not once!

    I hated all my clothes before I left HK!!! ut then I started re-liking them again!

    That Designers Guild Shop day was one of my favourites, we laughed so much! xxx

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    Replies
    1. we did do some laughing didn't we? love the scarf!

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  20. Your enjoyment of this vacation shows all over your face. Fantastic pictures and I am SO JEALOUS you swam in the Mediterranean! But glad for you too, of course. Great beach picture too, love it.

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  21. Love the pictures, you look fabulous! And how cool is that pic of you in the headscarf. You did great with the packing, it is hard when you have to wear rhe coat, you do get sick of it but you wore it well. Great tip about two coats and more scarves.

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  22. You look gorgeous and perfectly at home in Europe! That fabric....I want I want I want. Didn't happen to jot down pattern name/number on that did you?

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    1. i did indeed jot it down. the pattern name is cassandra and it is the moss colorway.

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  23. Laughing re hating your coat by the end. I went to Denmark and Sweden a couple of years ago and wore my favourite grey trenchcoat everyday. Was so glad I had it but put it in the back of the wardrobe when I got home and couldn't face it for months!

    Love the photo of you with the scarf on your head. Gorgeous.

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  24. Your packing was inspired....mine was dismal as I lugged that big bag & hardly any of it's contents went on a jaunt out of the suitcase! So impressed you managed a swim....truly, in London did you really believe that it would ever be warm enough?! Can't wait to hear about more of your travel stories! Rx

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    1. romy your wardrobe was far from dismal and was one i was super jealous of.

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  25. It looks like you had a fantastic time - and it was so lovely to meet you in London, in your fatigue jacket! Haven't written about it yet, just need to figure out how to work the vegan menu into a blog post.

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    Replies
    1. haha, that was funny. it was such a pleasure meeting you too!

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  26. some of the best sleep i ever had is the first real good one you get after suffering from jet lag
    you look fab as ever - that headscarf is very cool - and i love that hat! is that a packable sun hat? i told you, you would have to bring a 'mariniere' when travelling to France ;-)
    looking forward to hear more about your adventures

    Mireille

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  27. I think you look great in every photo. You did very well.
    My problem is, I can pack lightly, but how do you go about washing and getting clothes dry when you are on the move and you have limited clothes...

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    1. yes washing the clothes is an issue. i was able to hand wash underwear overnight and when i got to provence the hotel we stayed at had laundry facilities...thank goodness!

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  28. Hi Janet,

    Glad to hear you got a restful nights sleep.

    Thanks for sharing all what worked and what you wish you had brought. Funny about your jacket. When we went to San Francisco recently I packed 3 pairs of jeans.(skinny, boot cut and a dressier pair for dinners out) I ended up wearing flats all but one day since we walked all over so I wore my skinny jeans to death. They were sooo stretched out by the end of the trip! The smartest thing I packed for that trip was my trench coat.

    Linda
    xo

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  29. You look great, Janet! Sounds like you packing was nearly perfect. Looking forward to more photos and posts about your trip. In England, it sounds like you were with folks, but when you went to France, were you on your own? If so, hats off to you! I don't think I could do that solo.
    Claudia

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    1. i was with a fabulous tour in london and met friends in paris.

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  30. A reversable coat would be just the ticket for a trip. Two looks, but only one coat. Now I'd like to know if you managed to eat well.

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    1. Yes, I'm curious to hear how easy (or difficult) it was to follow a vegan diet while traveling in Europe. When I was in France 5 years ago, I found it challenging to find dishes at restaurants without meat (except fish, which we do eat; that made it easier).
      Claudia

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  31. Welcome back Janet! I thought of you during the French Open coverage. You really did have quite a bit of rain...but as always, you looked gorgeous!
    xo
    annie

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  32. and it feels so good to be back home. :-)

    I would love to read how vegan the trip was, if you were able to order vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner. France is a meat-loving, butter and milk-adoring nation. :-)

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  33. It looks like so much fun! I love the fatigue jacket, but having lived in Chicago for 3 winters I know coat fatigue.

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  34. Janet you look so ADORABLE in all these photographs ..... Good advice about two coats as well. And glad you wore "my favourite" your gorgeous sunnies so much... S x

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  35. You look so happy in those great photos! I was never so grateful to just have one small piece of luggage too, I think my jeans could have stood by themselves by the time I got home.
    xo

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  36. Lovely:
    What size is your fatigue coat? How does it wash-up? Shrinkage? Thanks

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    1. mine is a size small and it washes well. i've washed it twice and line dried it and there was minimal to no shrinkage.

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  37. hi janet, what museum is that in the first picture?
    looking forward to the rest of the story, which you will tell so well.
    and, did larry go with you?
    nice to be home, eh? kathleen

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    1. that is the victoria and albert museum. no larry didn't go. i went by myself to meet the tour and then met friends in paris for the remainder of the trip. and yes...there is no place like home.:)

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  38. Self-absorbed much?

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    Replies
    1. Janet is not self-absorbed; she is introspective and soulful.

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  39. Great post!!!..also that white flowers and bouquets are amazing!!!...

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  40. Hi Janet,
    Welcome home. seeing your photos of gardens and museums gets me excited. Matt left last night. I'm worried about the weather bringing me down--but based on your photos there is so much beauty to see through the rain. I'm looking forward to more posts about your trip. I'll be taking notes :)

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  41. Janet -
    LOVED the photos...you looked GREAT in all of them.
    The head scarf was perfect...so YOU!
    I am heading your way tomorrow (San Francisco and Napa Valley) from
    Birmingham...trying to pack light but I always over-do.
    Love your blog.
    Mary
    Birmingham, AL

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  42. Glad your packing went well and your trip was so good - always interesting to see how various Americans view our corner of the world!!

    For anyone else taking tips from Janet's excellent packing (and yes, sure, more scarves LOL!) - I think you can leave the boots (and woolly gloves!) at home, now ;). Summer appears to have arrived so it's much more what you would expect for May/June, even though we're already heading straight to July, now! I guess we should just all use the options available and try to find out the weather ahead of time - there are so many sites out there that give at least a rough idea of temperature and humidity in advance!! Europe varies perhaps more than Americans bargain for - some areas are cooler or hotter all year, or rainier or whatever; it's not always logical.

    In fact, it's over 30°C out there in alpine Switzerland right now, so my shutters are closed and I have retreated to the coolth....

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  43. Oh, I enjoyed this post. It sounds like you had such a great time and I think you always looked your usual fantastic. Two observations, 1) you DROVE in Europe, you adventurous gal you!!!! and, 2) you have one great haircut.

    The last photo of you in Antibes on the sand with the hat is priceless. I bet you just love that picture! Antibes is a place I don't want to miss on my much-longed-for second trip to France.

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  44. I don't think you should diss that jacket. I think it's a great jacket, attractive and versatile. I consider jackets and other objects like that to be practically old friends. Although I'm glad when I can finally put the down "sleeping bag" coat aside in the summer, I am always grateful to have such a warm and substantial companion in the winter.
    I'm also a fan of the hydrangea fabric.

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  45. Janet, I just had a grand time reading all about your fabulous trip. You look chic in every photo so I think you light packing was a great success. I am glad you enjoyed all the gardens and even some cheese:) and thank you for sharing the trip with us!!!

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  46. You are so superficial!

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kindness is never out of style.

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