Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Capsule wardrobes (or not)

Back home after a quick whizz down the motorway to Wiltshire, where for once the sun was shining (every now and then, anyway) and the woods were hazy with bluebells. 

West Woods, near West Overton

Now at the half unpacked stage, which I hate.  I don’t know why I don’t just open my case and put everything away as soon as I get back, but instead I leave it, trip over the case at least six times a day and scrabble frantically around in search of that last clean pair of knickers for days afterwards, all the while getting crosser and crosser at the mess of it all. 

This time it’s even worse as it hardly seems worth unpacking when in less than a week I’ll be packing again, and will be going through the same hair-clutching agony about what to take.  No matter how many times I go away, I never seem to take the right clothes with me.  I’ve always longed to be one of those cool women who can jump on a plane with just a clutch bag, but I guess you need your own private jet, not to mention an unlimited luggage allowance, to get away with that. 

Still, a capsule wardrobe shouldn’t be beyond the bounds of possibility. A few key pieces, comfortable, uncrushable and yet effortlessly elegant, in colours that go together and, in my case at least, that don’t show all the stains from stuff you’ve dropped down your front.  Oh, and layered, so that you’ve always got something to put on if it’s cold or take off if you’re having a hot flush.  Now, how hard can that be?  And yet, getting just the right clothes to take every time remains ever elusive.  Life would be so much easier if only I had the kind of lean, rangy figure that meant I could just take a pair of jeans and a couple of T shirts (how cool would that be?) but sadly I’m more of a baggy top, elasticated-waist kind of gal, which combined with a preternaturally sensitive internal thermostat and a princess-and-the-pea approach to anything remotely scratchy makes the whole clothes issue a fraught one. 

Next week’s packing is doubly complicated, involving as it does one case for 10 days walking along the Dingle Way (list begins: whisky, waterproofs, ibuprofen, blister kit …) and another for the Jubilee weekend split between London (watching Thames flotilla from smart balcony in Chelsea Harbour) and Wiltshire (village ceilidh).  I don’t fancy my chances of getting all of that in a capsule wardrobe. 

Oh, well.  Less fretting about my packing and more working is required in the week I have left.  I read through the proofs of Time’s Echo in Wiltshire, so that was a good (and exciting!) job done. I had to keep pinching myself to realise that I’d actually written it myself. Now to get back to my Amazing Plotting Plan ... still a lot of scenes to go. I keep discovering more that need to be slotted in.  Originally I planned on  30, but it's looking more like 45 now and who knows how many more good ideas I'll have before I get to the end??


  1. I always take my whole wardrobe and end up in jeans and a fleece no matter where or what time of year I go. My hair products alone tip me over the luggage allowance - and then the frizz is so bad it ends up tied back anyway. I too would love to be effortlessly chic. I hope I grow into it! Have a lovely time away, very envious of all your travels recently.

  2. Ah yes, whatever did we do before fleeces? Am so with you on the hair products thing too. Along with the capsule wardrobe and rangy figure, I'd really like thick hair that you just have to run your fingers through in order to look fabulous every morning. Come to think of it, naturally dark, lustrous lashes would be good as well ...

  3. Oh I hear you about the lashes. Being blonde is great, but I envy my darker friends who have naturally visible eyelashes and brows. I must have been the only teenager who was regularly told to go back to her room and put ON some make-up!

  4. That's a great story, Tora. Sounds as if your mum was a kindred spirit!

  5. I'm a serial over-packer, but the dh is worse. He couldn't possibly go anywhere without a suit, jacket, a dozen shirts and five pairs of trousers. And it's totally my responsibility to make sure that when he arrives he hasn't forgotten his cufflinks or a tie. Last time we went away he forgot his glasses and had to buy an emergency pair in Boots. I like to have travelled. Travelling you can keep!

  6. I'm getting better at taking what I need, rather than every possible outfit for every possible occasion, including a zombie apocalypse. On the other hand, I think my husband has taken things a little too far. I routinely have to remind him to pack a change of trousers...