10 Pieces, 14 Outfits – Fall Packing 2013

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.
  • Necklaces

(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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  • Reply
    Vicki Wilde
    November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I really should pack like this, it would make my suitcase so much smaller!

    <3 Vicki

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Where can I find that striped scarf?!


  • Reply
    Audrey @ Putting Me Together
    November 26, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I got it from Eliza & Ro on Etsy, though I just checked and I don't think she sells them anymore. Try Ooh Baby Infinity: http://www.etsy.com/shop/OohBabyInfinity?section_id=7509253&page=3

  • Reply
    KateAdam Florken
    November 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    The J. Crew link for the cap toe flats is directing elsewhere… I'd love to add these to my new collection though. They seem incredibly versatile.


  • Reply
    Audrey @ Putting Me Together
    November 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Oops! Fixed. (http://bit.ly/17hcyav) Thanks for the heads up!

  • Reply
    Marissa @ The Modern Austen
    November 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    This is AMAZING! I always struggle with packing for the reasons you listed above. I will have to try this out soon. Thanks for the inspiration as always 🙂

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    This post couldn't be more timely for me – yesterday I bought a pair of olive pants and burgundy skinnies and have been staring at them thinking "What the #$&% do I wear with these?!" Now I have a handy crib sheet!

  • Reply
    Autumn Rosenbaum
    November 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Amazing! I love #13.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Brilliant as usual, Audrey!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for the packing formula! I have taken two month long trips in the last year and tried, somewhat successfully, to do this. Both time I ended up taking a few too many things because I wanted "options". Your formula will make this easier to get the options without the excess! Love your style! Love your blog.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    This is such valuable information! I always pack way more than I need. My husband will thank you for this. I've been looking at olive pants for a while and now I'm definitely feeling the need to pull the trigger and get some. I'm also loving that dotted top. It keeps telling me that my life would be complete if I owned it. Ha! I read you every day and have been using your tips on building a mixable wardrobe. Love your blog. You rule!

  • Reply
    Adrienne Schenck
    November 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Ooh, I love it! I did something very similar for our trip last month to Wisconsin (brr!) except a maxi skirt was my other bottom, and it was super handy, especially for the flight. I just wore leggings under it and flat boots! 😉

  • Reply
    Christina Smart
    November 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    This is great Audrey! Thanks so much. I'm about to travel from Australian summer to Canadian winter, this is just what I needed! Now I just have to work out a crazy weather version 😉

  • Reply
    Alison Burtt
    November 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    A little intention goes a long way toward packing satisfying outfits! Last winter I went on a cruise and used the packing posts from the Outfit Posts blog. OMG. She is a packing genius.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 1:33 am

    So helpful! Thank you for posting this.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 4:52 am

    What a great post! Thanks for putting this together 🙂

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Wow, those pieces in your closet are working! Very helpful post!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Great formula! Will try it next time I go away for a longer period than a few nights.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I am going to print this out!! It is the perfect formula for vacation packing any time of the year! Thanks Audrey! Susan

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    November 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    This is seriously so helpful. Thanks so much for putting it together! You're a genius 🙂

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    This is awesome!


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