Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Packing Mentality

Hi peoples!  Happy 4th of July!  Sorry that I don't have a red, white, and blue outfit for you today (though I do have one here.)  Instead, I have a post completely irrelevant to the 4th of July, on packing!  Haha.  Some of you said you'd be interested in seeing what I packed on my recent trip to Madison, so here it is.

Since I travel so much, you'd think I'd have this packing thing down to a science, but I don't.  Sometimes I love what I've packed and other times I'm regretful.  It just so happens that on my trip to Madison in June I loved what I packed, so I'm trying to study my good packing experiences in hopes to get them down pat.

I'm not sure how helpful this packing post will be because it was only for 5 days and I didn't have special occasions to dress for like nice dinners or the beach, etc.  Almost everything for my trip to Madison was super casual and involved lots of time in a hotel meeting room in band rehearsals.  Also, summertime requires less layers and excess things, so packing light is much easier.

At the very least, you will get to see a bunch of outfits!  :)

For links to similar items, scroll to bottom of post...

I don't know about you, but the reason that I over-pack is simply because I want options.  I don't like being stuck in an unfamiliar place unprepared!  But I also don't like over-packing.  Thankfully, building a mix-and-match wardrobe has helped me to pack fewer items with more possibilities.

Choosing Items

Started With Bottoms
I started by choosing bottoms first, and I chose one for different potential occasions.
  • Two pairs of jeans - even though it's warm in Madison, I knew I'd spend most of my time in an air-conditioned room.  Slouchy jeans instead of jeggings to let my legs breathe a little in warmer weather and mint jeans for some fun!
  • A skirt - in case it got hot.  Also, we were leading worship at a church and weren't told the dress code, so I brought a skirt in case the church required it.  I thought it could do double-duty and be dressed up nice enough for church or be worn casually.
  • Shorts in case it got really hot and in case I needed to do things I couldn't do in a skirt.  Though I never wore shorts on the trip, they took up little space and put my what-if-I'm-unprepared thoughts at ease.  Small cost for a versatile and useful option. 

I chose tops that could be paired with any of the bottoms I picked.  I limited myself to 3 (scary!), choosing one with a print, one in a solid color, and one in a neutral color with a subtle pattern.  I chose similar types of tops in my 8 Pieces, 15 Outfits post, so I think that might be something I stick to. 

I did originally have a different colored skirt in the mix, like white or navy--can't remember, but after seeing the tops in my pile, I went with the rust colored skirt instead since it worked nicely with all three of my tops.  

Even though I'm always cold, I only brought one cardigan in a neutral color that went with everything, and it worked out well.  Having checked Madison's weather before I left, I knew that it wouldn't get too cold at night and that a cardigan would be sufficient, so I went sans jacket (also scary!).  I did, however, bring a fleece for "JUST-IN-CASE" but I felt okay about that because it could do double-duty and be worn to sleep if needed.  Even though a fleece is not the most stylish of outerwear, since it was for "just-in-case" I talked myself into being willing to potentially "sacrificing" style for one night.  (First-world problems, I know.)  I ended up not needing the fleece at all.

Shoes & Accessories
Believe it or not, I packed ONE pair of shoes besides athletic shoes to work out in.  And they were the sandals you see below.  I didn't have to go to fancy dinners or anything like that, so I forced myself to pack light and disciplined myself that one pair of shoes would be enough.  Neutral to go with everything, comfy enough to walk in and stand in for long periods of time, and still keep an outfit cute.

Since I learned that accessories can change up an outfit, I brought just a few so that people would notice less when I repeated my tops.  Teehee.  :)

Accessories list:
  • Leopard scarf - helpful for changing an outfit and for staying warm on the plane.
  • Two different colored necklaces
  • Two belts - so that I could either belt at my hips or belt a shirt if I wanted to.
  • Some earrings which aren't pictured 

Besides workout clothes, the fleece, and undergarments, those were all the clothes I packed!  I had 12 outfit options here, but I only needed 5, so even this felt like overpacking!  Especially compared to my minimalist husband.  But like I said, the reason I overpack is because I just need to feel like I have options.  I'm glad to say that this time around I think I gave myself options while still packing pretty lightly.  

The Outfits
Here are the outfits I wore.  Maybe you'll think I'm gross for repeating tops, but I don't sweat much and I was in an air-conditioned room most of the time.  It's okay, you can still judge me, cuz what's done is done!  :)

I only pictured the five outfits I actually wore and not all 12 possibilities.  I didn't have time to take 12 outfit pictures!  Plus, I want to save them for future outfit posts.  :D

Wore this on the plane.  Loose and comfortable, and needed the cardigan because I'm often cold on planes.  I don't like to travel in sweats, especially on trips like this when I have a 6:30a flight and arrive at 2pm only to go straight into a meeting.  To avoid feeling sluggish, I try to feel put-together while traveling.

Wore this to lead worship at the church.  It fit the bill perfectly, so good thing I packed that skirt!

Another mint & navy look.

Similar to this outfit.  I wouldn't normally travel with mint jeans, but I knew I'd be seeing my friend who was also excited about mint jeans (my firey Puerto Rican friend who is in the post I just linked to).  In fact, she was on the hunt for them so I bought her a pair from Target here in San Diego and brought them to Madison for her!

Traveled home in this.  Again, comfy jeans and a loose top.  I added the scarf for warmth on the plane and to hide the fact that I'd worn this top already, hehe.

Other possibile outfits:
  • Printed top + coral shorts - similar to here
  • Printed top + blue jeans + yellow necklace
  • Peach top + coral shorts - I LOVE peach and coral!
  • Peach top + rust skirt - I'd tuck it and belt it or knot the tee over the skirt and maybe add a necklace
  • Tank + mint jeans - similar to here
  • Tank + coral shorts + either necklace
  • Tank + rust skirt
So many possibilities!  And the cardigan could have worked with any of those options.  




How do you pack?  Are you typically an over-packer?


  1. I am an overpacker.  I will definitely follow your guidelines for the next trip I take!
    Penniless Socialite

  2. That's a great assortment to pack! I am terrible at packing... I always over-pack (yet still forget essentials like my toothbrush) and end up with too many bottoms or shoes and not enough tops. It's frustrating! You can create so many looks with just these few items. 

    Happy 4th! :) 

  3. I'm an awful packer, mainly because I wear a lot of dresses, so I just pack 2-3 extra dresses and mix and match when I get there!

  4. I'm just like Megan- I look like I am moving, and still feel like I have NOTHING to wear. I am pinning this, and hoping that I will get the opportunity to try it out- very soon!! :)

  5. Great post! I'm packing as we speak. I'm a terrible packer. I always over do it, but I'm learning to edit and remix while out of town. (Which is crazy because I remix all the time!)

  6. Thank you for doing this post! I always overpack (like 10+ too many items) in fear of I what like the option I packed. You made this look so easy...thanks Audrey!

    Lindsay @LindsayJEveryday.blogspot.com

  7. This is an absolutely perfect post! I ALWAYS over-pack and it annoys my family so much! Thanks for the inspiration. 

  8. This is soooo helpful! I'm going abroad in the fall and I've been worrying about overpacking, but this definitely gives me new ideas.


  9. I love this packing list! So helpful! I always over pack. lol

    P.S. I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award :)


  10. This is awesome!! I also love your scarf - where is it from?

  11. I just found your blog today and I've spent countless hours (no seriously, hours) looking back over your past posts. 

    For someone who has difficulty putting together an outfit, your blog is a breath of fresh air!    Your are definitely an inspiration to me!   

  12. This post was so helpful and detailed.  LOVE IT!!!  Keep up the good work.

  13. Great post!
    I've gone both ways - packing by outfits and packing mix and match. I generally prefer to pack by outfits it is just easier for me. :) I usually pack one extra outfit and an extra pair of jeans or pants. Usually just about perfect for me. 

  14. I am SUCH an over packer! I just want options & it's scary leaving clothes behind hahaha. I just packed for a weekend trip that I'm leaving for tomorrow. So stressful!


  15. So, I used to spend a lot of time in a hotel in Madison in June and July. I'm just curious if you were there with something related to InterVarsity.

    Loved this post by the way!

  16. That's pretty much how I roll too...I always start with bottoms, then add a few mix and match-able tops, then throw in versatile accessories.  It makes packing a cinch and keeps me at just the right amount and variety of outfits.

    <3 Cambriajupefashion.blogspot.com

  17. love the advice, finds, and recommendations! thanks so much for sharing!!! :D Hugs from California! xx,

    The Golden Girls

  18. I just found your blog and LOVE it! Thank you for a really helpful post!

  19. Aw, thanks, Michelle!  I'm so glad the blog has been helpful for you!  Thanks for reading :)

  20. Welcome to the blog!  Thanks for saying hello.  :)

  21. Right??  I wish someone would have told me that earlier.  However, "earlier," I also didn't have any different types of bottoms--it was all just jeans, so yeah.  haha

  22. Great post! Love all of the tips and outfit ideas. 

  23. you are SUCH a great remixer! i used to travel a ton and had to remix but now that i don't travel anymore i just get lazy and just buy new clothes.. instead of working with what is already in my closet! i know.. shame on me haha!

  24. I hope you had a great time in Madison - I love this city. Hope the heat wasn't too awful :)  I think the first outfit is my favorite...I've worn a really similar look haha :)

  25. Love seeing these packing posts! And I'm impressed with how light you packed (and with such great outfits out of it!). I'm getting a lot better at not overpacking, but you're right that it does make it harder if you also have to plan for dinners, dressier meetings, etc. like I did on my recent work trip. It meant filling a whole suitcase, but still only a carry-on for a week! It does take some discipline to tell myself I don't NEED all those extra shirts in my suitcase though - what is it about wanting tons of options when I travel, when I wear pretty much the same 3 things at home every day?!

  26. Thank you for sharing this!  I over pack too so it's nice to know I'm not the only one :-)  I liked your outfit choices too!


  27. Newest follower, right here. :) I'm guessing you've probably already heard that your style is ADORABLE, so I'll try not to repeat. 

    I desperately need to apply your wisdom to my own closet! I seem to have, as you said once, bought a series of "one-hit wonders...." Arrrrrrrrgh. 

  28. Welcome to the blog, Shea!  I hate the one-hit-wonder feeling.  It's like my eyes have been opened and I can't go back to that.  Thanks for reading and for taking the time to say hello.  :)

  29. RIGHT?  I totally wear the same things at home everyday!  I think for me it's that feeling of not wanting to be unprepared, and on trips I don't know what I'm going to encounter.  When I'm at home, even if I do wear the same 3 things all the time, I can change if I NEED to, you know?  

  30. I love it too.  :)  And I left before the heat came.  It wasn't even that humid when I was there either, which it usually is when I go.  It was essentially PERFECT weather.  I preferred it to San Diego!  (Don't tell people I said that...)

  31. Erin @ Sweetness ItselfSaturday, July 07, 2012

    So many awesome ideas here, girl! Love your style so much. Just stumbled upon your blog & love it, your style is inspiring!



  32. I love this post. It's helpful for remixing whether you're packing or staying in town. And no judgment here! There is no shame in re-wearing items on a trip, although you packed the perfect accessories to disguise that fact!

  33. Aw man!  Too bad this wasn't posted before I took my own 5 day trip.  I'll bookmark it for next time!  Great post!

  34. This post was so helpful to me!! I've never thought about planning this way, but it makes so much sense and seems so easy! I love your mint jeans... I'll have to check out my local target! Thanks for the post! :)

  35. Such a helpful post! I'm heading to NYC for the first time *ever* this weekend to shoot my husband's cousin's wedding. I'm flying alone - yikes - and do not want to check a bag. SO, with having my giant camera backpack and then only being allowed a small carry-on for clothes, I'm looking to simplify things with less stuff. I'm usually an over-packer - like you I want options, especially since I am going somewhere I never have been and hanging out with said cousin (did I mention she's a model? and all her model friends, no pressure, right??) So, thinking I need to run to Target for some belts at this point! ;) Thanks so much!! 

  36. Just stumbled across your blog and I am just in awe. First you're so beautiful. Second, you have such good taste in clothing and coordinating them with other pieces. Lastly, you write such detailed and fun posts that I actually want to read them and see what you have to say. Something I don't do often on blogs. I have to get off my computer now but I will be back to gawk at more. Keep up the work and thanks for your time, energy and dedication to this blog and helping us, who you don't know.

  37. I am ALWAYS an overpacker and this post was really helpful and gave me great tips for next time I travel.

  38. I am leaving on a trip to chile to acompany my hubbie ona buisness trip. Any advise?

  39. Love this blog, thanks for sharing your tips!

  40. Where do you find your favorite "slouchy" jeans? Would love a pair that look "right" and not "too big"

  41. Mine are Lucky Brand from Nordstrom
    Rack. They're not actually slouchy, they're just straight legged in a light-medium wash and I roll them up to get the "slouchy" boyfriend jean look. Maybe look for "boyfriend jean" cut?


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