If you read this blog at all regularly, you’ll know that Hubby and I are off soon for a fall trip. Four weeks in the Balkans, and we’re excited. We did all the researching, reading, discussing, asking for advice, choosing and planning an itinerary, and booking everything way back in the spring. And in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing the fun stuff. Planning and organizing my fall travel wardrobe.
I always start planning a travel wardrobe by reviewing what I packed for similar trips in the past. Trying to remember what worked and what didn’t. Taking notes as I go. Last year we spent three weeks in Italy at almost the same time. Late September to mid-late October. So I started with my Italy packing list from last year, looked at photos taken during the trip, and took notes. Then I made a preliminary packing list. I organized everything around a few key pieces. My black Lafayette 148 zippered sweater, my burgundy down vest, jeans, and my Rag and Bone cropped pants. Then I added tops and shoes. Scarves. Trying to make sure that every piece can do triple duty.
One thing I learned from last year’s trip is not to get bent out of shape about dinner outfits. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to realize that the “dinner/evening outfits” I bring often do not get worn. I pack a pair of pants, or a jacket, and not very comfortable shoes just for wearing in the evening, and then end up in my jeans and sneakers anyway. Why do I do this?
In 2015 I took white cropped pants and black patent Stuart Weitzman loafers to France. I intended to wear them with a black silk tank and my black Helmut Lang blazer. I wore that outfit once the whole trip. Our friends from Saskatoon who were in Paris for one night were joining us for dinner. They were tired from their flight, and jetlagged, so we decided to meet for drinks at the flat Hubby and I were renting, and then stroll around the Marais, looking for a casual place to eat. Everyone else was in jeans. I felt like a dork in my white pants. And my feet hurt. What had I been thinking?
My patent loafers are comfortable for standing at parties, getting in and out of the car and walking a short distance to a restaurant, but strolling for blocks and blocks on a warm night… not so much. So what did I pack last year for Italy? My black loafers and my white jeans. And how many times did I wear them? Once. But I have finally learned my lesson, people. If I won’t wear it during the day, I’m not packing it. No more special pieces for evening. We never ever eat in the kind of restaurants that would require anything but smart street wear; and never ever attend “functions” that require us to dress up. We just don’t do that kind of trip.
So, for four weeks in the Balkans, what am I packing? That’s my final list above. Ironically my Balkan travel wardrobe consists of several fewer pieces than I packed for three weeks in Italy. After I made my preliminary list, I tried on all the outfits I thought I might wear. Monday was “trying on day.” As usual, I’m not worried about being fashion forward. I just want to look pulled together and be comfortable.
I liked a lot of the combinations from my preliminary list. Especially the new burgundy long-sleeve tee with my burgundy ultra-light down vest from Uniqlo. I substituted my Frame high-rise boot-cut jeans for one of the pairs of skinny jeans. I like the boot-cut jeans with my burgundy Paul Green loafers, and my down vest. These loafers have been put through the schlepping-all-over-Ottawa-shopping test, so they won’t be saved just for going to dinner. I jettisoned my faithful ALC black and white striped, long-sleeve tee. I am sick to death of it. Ditto my white jeans.
If I wouldn’t wear white jeans here at this time of year, what makes me think I’d wear them in Zagreb or Ljubljana? It’s nothing to do with the white after Labour Day rule. Just that all of a sudden when fall weather hits, some things seem too… well… summery. I decided to take the advice proffered by a reader last year, to dress in fall colours, but light weight fabrics. As Liz said when I chatted with her at Nordstrom the other day, “dress for the season.” Even if the weather is warm, it’s still fall. So I’m packing my fall colours, blacks and burgundies, with some pops of colour. And several short sleeve tees if the weather is warm. So fall-ish without the heavy turtlenecks or chunky knits.
I’m packing my light Artizia hoodie that I wore all over Italy last year. And my black quilted Lafayette 148 zippered sweater which also did yeoman service in Italy. I’m packing both my checked navy and white, and my black Rag and Bone Simone pants. They are comfortable, easy to pull on, don’t bag at the knees, and look good with loafers, sneakers, or sandals. I’m packing both my Vince tees (white and black) and a long-sleeve black and white tee from Nouijca in Montreal.
To my amazement, I’m packing three new tees from Talbots. I say amazement because I never shop at Talbots. Not usually. But a couple of weeks ago when I scoured the Rideau Centre looking for long-sleeve tees or light sweaters to wear under jackets and for travel, Talbots was the only place that had anything to satisfy my needs. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Vince tees. But these heavier tees were a find.
So I bought the long-sleeve, crew neck burgundy one, above, and this week went back and purchased two more. A soft, almost periwinkle blue and a navy, both 3/4 sleeve with a boat neck. Talbots’ tees are well made, a good weight, and are NOT skin tight. I’m wearing a medium, which surprised me. I’ve been wearing a large, and even an extra large in some brands, for years. What do women our age do who want to wear decent tee shirts, that fit them? Well, go to Talbots, I guess.
Now a word about the trip hair cut. If you’ve been reading this blog… or know me at all… you’ll know I am hair obsessed. My trip hair cut with Carmen, scheduled for a few days before we are to leave, was booked months ago. Then Carmen e-mailed me on Monday morning that she’d been in a cycling accident and wouldn’t be able to do hair for a week at least. She has a broken hand, a possible concussion, and all kinds of soft tissue damage (I’m thinking of road rash as I write this… ouch.) She’s having trouble even walking, let alone being able to stand and wield a pair of scissors. I’m proud to say that my first thought was, “Oh my god. Poor Carmen.”
But, of course, my second thought was, “Oh, s**t. What will I do about my hair?” I know! How shallow is that? Anyway. It all worked out. I booked in with the girl who cuts Carmen’s hair. And… and… I snagged her last available appointment before we leave. Phew.
I really love the colour Angie gave me. And I like the cut too. But… the proportions are quite a bit different from my usual cut. It’s shorter on the sides, and longer on top. It will take a few days for me to get used to styling it so it doesn’t look like a toupée. Seriously. In one of my pictures my hair looks very much like that of a former male colleague of mine who wore a curly hair piece. I still remember the incredulity of some of my students when they deigned to inform me that Mr. So-And-So wore a rug. I mean, how was I to know? I just thought he had an unusual hairline. Ha.
So four weeks in the Balkans. Our plan is to spend some of that time in Slovenia. Then head south into Croatia, down the coast, spending a few days at each of several spots. We plan a day trip into Montenegro, before we head into Bosnia-Herzegovina for a couple of days. Then it’s back to Croatia, turning north and inland, eventually ending up in Zagreb for a few days. I’m excited that, when we get to Zagreb, we will be meeting up with Dottoressa who many of you know from her comments on this blog.
Yep. We are ready. Our plans are all finalized: tickets, cars, accommodation all booked. My travel wardrobe has been washed, pressed, folded, rolled, and is ready to pack. Half-filled suitcases and carry-on bags cover our living room floor.
We are pumped, people. Boy, are we pumped. Hubby in particular. He gets so excited. In the lead up to one trip when we weren’t scheduled to leave for the airport until late afternoon, Hubby called and asked our drive to take us to the airport three hours early just to put us out of our misery. Well, to put him out of his misery, actually. I’m lucky that I was ready early that day. Ha.
Two more sleeps to go. But seriously, who can sleep?
I hope you won’t mind that my posting schedule for the next month will be erratic. In fact it’s been pretty erratic since we left for Quebec in August. I apologize for that. But as Hemingway said: “In order to write about life, first you must live it.” And sometimes living gets in the way of blogging. But, you know you can count on me to update you when I get the chance, don’t you? In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram here. I’ll be posting daily. Not all the good stuff, though.
I’ll save the best bits for the blog. When we can settle down with a cup tea and have a good old natter. 🙂