I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for me, overpacking primarily comes from that felt need to have options. Maybe it’s just me and maybe I just need to get over it, but without options I feel trapped!
Two years ago I remember packing for a week-long trip during Thanksgiving and hating what I packed. I packed in outfits, but I happened to choose items that I couldn’t mix and match. That means I was stuck to the outfits I chose, whether I liked them or not. Blech.
Last year for Thanksgiving I vowed to not have that happen again and created a packing list that I totally loved, turning 12 pieces into 10+ outfits. This year I aimed for the same mixing and matching ability and chose 10 pieces that make 14+ outfits!
After doing this two times I think I’m now able to boil it down to somewhat of a formula that anyone can use, regardless of whether your style is similar to mine or not.
Even though I didn’t count shoes or accessories, I still tried to limit the things that take up space in the suitcase like shoes and scarves. It doesn’t help to limit your clothes and still need lots of room for 5 pairs of shoes!
In both this year’s and last year’s lists I chose these types of items:
- 3 bottoms – At least one neutral and one colored. Third can be either. These can be pants or skirts, but I happened to choose all pants.
- 3 completer pieces – At least one neutral and one colored. Each of your bottoms should go with at least two completer pieces. I also chose one blazer instead of a third cardigan. This is partially because I needed to make a presentation at church and wanted to look nicer, but also to differentiate some of the looks from each other a bit more.
- 4 tops – 1-2 solids and simultaneously 2-3 in neutral-ish colors. I only chose one solid this time and really went back and forth about it. In the end it worked out, but having another solid would have made it easier. Your tops should each also go with at least 2 out of your 3 bottoms. This year each of my tops go with each of my bottoms whereas last year it was only 2 out of 3. That’s why I was able to make more outfits this year with less pieces.
- 2 pairs of shoes – Neutrals of course!
- 2 scarves – 1 solid, 1 patterned. This is where it makes it easier if you have two solid colored tops–your patterned scarf will work with both of them and allow you to change up your looks more. Unless, of course, you can pattern mix the scarf you chose.
(Of course you can include dresses and figure out how you wanna mix and match them, but I don’t like having to also pack tights in the fall that I may only wear once.)
Below are the outfits I made. I realized I could have made a few more because I’ve already been wearing outfits from these pieces that aren’t shown here. Pretty awesome feeling!
It always blows my mind much accessories can make a difference. Like, outfits 3 and 6 are the same base (olive pants, striped tee, boots), but #3 adds a yellow cardigan and changes the necklace for a scarf. At first I couldn’t even tell that the base was exactly the same!
While I don’t actually have a favorite from this bunch, I will say that I was delightfully surprised by at least 8 of them–that’s over half! I love that this pushed me to try some combinations that I definitely wouldn’t have tried otherwise. I found some great hidden gems that I can’t wait to wear! (3, 6, 10, 12, 13, 14 in particular :D)
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