Friday, October 12, 2012

Packing Panic!

Have Tumi, will travel.

Ed. Note: My great pal, superb writer and one time traveler, D.A. Wolf, of Daily Plate of Crazy, may or may not be attending a conference. Either way, she's already started to worry about how to pack for the possibility. She tells all below. . .

          I’m thinking of attending a conference. Just thinking, mind you, as I plod through the logistical and financial details – finding the financial workable, and the logistical, well… daunting.

Oh, I can get to the conference easily enough, but I’m out of practice when it comes to socializing. You know. Icebreakers and things. But worse? I’m dreadfully out of practice when it comes to packing!

Where-oh-where is the toll-free emergency hotline, straight to my fashion travel guru, The Vivienne Files?

Just the other evening, I set about planning what I might bring for two days of sessions and two nights of “social interaction.”

The method to my madness? Whatever fits, and work my way from there…

I rummaged in my closet (dangerous territory, if truth be told). I tried on countless separates – jackets and skirts – and was able to narrow down to something other than my usual black on black, and for a little day-to-night glam, pearls.

But now what? I’m at an impasse. It’s a transitional season. I know little of the venue. I know nothing of the attendees, so aren’t I better off with some variation of business casual?

·         Skinny pants and an assortment of tops?
·         One skirt, maybe two, if it’s more upscale than I anticipate?
·         And the evening events? Cocktails? Inside? Outside?

Naturally, there must be shoes. Boots and tights? Peep-toe pumps?
As I scrounged in my closet I grinned when I came upon my feather boas. Yes, boas. One in red, and one in black. Isn’t this part of every woman’s wardrobe?

I nix the boas and return to the shoes. Teal, red, purple, black. I eliminate the purple. I opt for black boots over pumps. One purse? Okay. Belts? Accessories? Umbrella in case it rains? Sneakers for the theoretical walking path?


 (That’s the voice in my head, in case you were wondering.)

I’m spinning and I know it. Funny, considering I’ve been trying to de-stress and simplify. You know - disconnect more often, take a deep breath, focus on essentials.

But seriously - what will I feel like wearing when I get there? What if everyone is casual and I’m too dressy? What if everyone is dressy and I’m too casual? What do you do when you really don’t know what attire is appropriate? When appearances are important, isn’t too much choice a better choice than finding yourself with insufficient options? (Somewhere is Rachel Zoe smiling at my use of the term “options,” or is she shaking her head and muttering Ba-Na-Nas?)

I fiddle more with the clothes. I try them on again. I wind up with:

·         one black fitted sleeveless cami – excellent for layering
·         one little lightweight black jacket
·         two black fitted tops (they go with everything)
·         one crisp blue button down blouse
·         one recently purchased much adored pumpkin-colored skirt
·         one deep purple fitted skirt
·         one ruby red fitted skirt
·         black jeans
·         turquoise jeans
·         two neutral scarves
·         two t-shirts, one for sleeping

But it’s too much! I’m in packing panic! That’s enough for a week and it’s going to take me a week to narrow it down. Maybe I should simply return to my usual black on black, with a touch of grey or camel. It's so versatile - and painless!

Decisions, decisions – and I don’t even know if I’m attending the conference.

Naturally, if I do attend – there’s makeup, shampoo, moisturizer, hair dryer, perfume, nail polish, and a few little medications. There’s my heating pad (just in case), a power strip (just in case), and of course – laptop, cell phone and charger, business cards, agenda – all neatly tucked into a casual briefcase.

How did I manage to do this so gracefully in the 80s and 90s? I could pack for overseas travel in a flash – and know I was covered. As a woman of a certain age, shouldn’t I be skilled at this – especially after all those years?


Vicki Lee Johnston said...

Well after a few of those panic moments I have now learnt to pack a week or two before.
Then I just live out of my packed suitcase and see how it works ... Usually I eliminate more than add - and I am getting better at packing each time I travel. Am already thinking about the big trip next year :)

BigLittleWolf said...

Oh... That's very smart, Vicki Lee!

But I added more since that picture!! Now what?

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Ok, the boa is so funny!! I think you should relax and look at the whole opporunity as fun. What outfits do you have that make you feel control. Just pack those pieces and don't worry about anything else. You want to look and feel at the top of your game.

Kathy Leeds said...

Hilarious post. I'm a good packer I think. I err on the side of casual, which I'm more comfortable in. I tend to bring fewer clothes, and more shoes as those can change up the look of something simple so easily.

Kristien62 said...

Oh how I can relate! I considered my packing options for Ireland for months before the trip. My sister-in-law thought it was hysterical. Following the advice of Janice from the Vivienne Files, I finally got it down to a manageable size, but I agonized over the possibility of overpacking. As it turned out, I did just fine-only packed two things that I didn't wear.

BigLittleWolf said...

Pam! I like the way you're thinking! (Can I really bring the boas, too?)

I just added a pair of silver gray platform peep-toes. (I have a shoe problem. I know this...)

Kathy, You are now my packing idol. Fewer clothes? Wow.

Kristien62 - I think packing for overseas is easier, actually. (Isn't Vivienne Files great??)

Pam said...

Well, Janice doesn't usually show a boa with her capsule wardrobes, but they do squish down small for packing, lol!

Anonymous said...

For conferences, comfortable shoes are key.
The clothes to choose also depends on the location of the conference and the professional group meeting. Hope the cami is silk for layering - hotel meeting rooms can be overly air conditioned, and unseasonably cool.
Good advice to take what you feel good in- so you can relax and let your personality shine.

LadyLightTravel said...

Oh my! I'd say that the black is good if you are comfortable in it. Focus on that and one other color. Just add colorful accessories. I also think you have way too many skirts. People care more about the top part than the bottom.

The Vivienne files is a wonderful place for ideas. I'm sure she has capsules for black and name-of-color.

You're doing a great job of planning for the trip now. It will prevent a slap-together look later.

Karena said...

I say go with clothes you feel very comfortable and confident in! Do not take any brand new shoes!

I tend to over-pack and am now using more of Janice's techniques!!

Art by Karena

BigLittleWolf said...

So much good advice! That is an great deal of color, yes. (My friends would be stunned. I'm rarely out of black, neutrals, and maybe red.)

Excellent points about the temperatures in conference rooms, not to mention being comfortable. (But while I've now eliminated the purple and orange skirt, I added in a khaki!

Feather boas squish down nicely in luggage?


(You guys are fun!)

Duchesse said...

You are *still* skilled but (I would venture, with respect) you have too much stuff, so are overwhelmed by choice. Also, if you are packing routinely, you develop a travel wardrobe", so it comes together quickly.

Black jersey pants or pencil skirt and cashmere in neutrals work for me. I'd never pack peep toes: a toe through the stocking and you're trying to find a shop open late.

kabayoz said...

Give the feather boa its own little traveling case, a sturdy hat box or round bag so it will arrive fluffy and not squished.

Uhhhuhhh...let's see how manly the airport security guy looks when he tries to frisk a feather boa for hidden weapons.

Great choice with khaki, dress up or down and comfortable.

BigLittleWolf said...

Duchesse, So true. A bit too much choice.

Kabayoz! A hat box for my feather boa! Oh, lovely lovely lovely. I wonder if I can scrounge one up... A hat box, that is. (Frisking a feather boa... Excellent!)

Maryl said...

I have a problem packing also...deciding what to take and packing too much...even if I'm just going to my beach house for the weekend. I'm leaving NY for a Caribbean cruise next weekend. Oh boy, I should have started packing last month! Help.

playingwithscarves said...

You cant go wrong with black (and pastel maybe for a touch of soft color?) but I definitely think a scarf is an easier option than a boa - unless your conference is at the Moulin Rouge... LOL.
You'll do great. Trust your instinct!

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