Capsule Wardrobe: Travel Edition

Hey everyone! It’s been forever since I’ve written—so long that WordPress looks completely different, yikes. My job as a writer at Bob’s Red Mill has been fantastic, but writing all day means I’m less inclined to write at night. However, I always love talking about capsule wardrobes, so when I made a packing list for our annual trip to Ipswich, Massachussetts, I couldn’t resist posting it!

I have to say that since I’ve returned to work full time, my wardrobe has exploded a little in my efforts to look professional. The “unofficial” dress code is jeans only on Fridays, so the first thing I did was order some non-jeans pants and look through the hand-me-downs my lovely mother has gifted me with through the years. But that meant I needed to change my mindset for this vacation: less workwear, more casual stuff!

I’m a big fan of the 10-Item Wardrobe concept from Jennifer L. Scott’s Daily Connoisseur and the capsule wardrobes created by Leanne Blackmon at Classy Yet Trendy, so I went into this with a clear goal: I wanted to pack a minimal number of pieces that would (mostly) go together and could be either casual or slightly dressy. I ended up with 14 pieces, including shoes and outerwear:

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J. Crew Factory Studio Tee in Heather Graphite. This is a sturdy yet lightweight layer that goes with pretty much anything!

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J. Crew Factory Artist T-Shirt in White. This shirt is a little thin, but I layer a nude camisole underneath.

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J. Crew Slim Perfect Long-Sleeve Tee in Navy and Ivory. If you’ve ever read my previous “fashion” posts, you know I love my striped shirts. This is a new favorite—really flattering and pretty.

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Gibson Cozy Twist Front Pullover in Heather Grey. Everyone and their mom (and my Mom!) has this shirt, and I love it. It feels like pajamas yet the twist gives it some oomph.

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J. Crew Factory 8″ Anywhere Skinny Jean in Astoria Wash. These jeans are great—not too spendy, and all-purpose.

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Paige Transcend – Hoxton High Waist Ankle Ultra Skinny Jeans in Hartmann. A birthday gift from my Mom, these are a little dressier and more forgiving with the stretch! Almost jeggings.

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I brought some great stretch black pants that are styled like trousers from Cabi (a hand-me-down from my Mom), but they’re discontinued! These Halogen Ponte Skinny Pants are similar!

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I admit, I love my basics, but I’ve felt like my wardrobe has gotten a little too blah lately! Enter this cute Lilah dress from Reformation. I really enjoy the comic book panels (anyone know where they’re from?). I was expecting this to be a stretch dress, but it’s actually a vicose/rayon crepe which drapes nicely.

 

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My husband bought me this J. Crew Factory Denim Jacket for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago. Mine is a slightly lighter, more beat-up finish, but this one is similar!

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This Leith Ribbed Shawl Cocoon Sweater is my very favorite layering cardigan, light and so soft, and it’s available at Nordstrom Rack for a very reasonable price!

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Um, did I mention my job at Bob’s Red Mill is totally rad? One perk: every member of the marketing department gets an Original Westerley sweater from Pendleton! Look familiar? That’s right, it’s the Dude’s sweater from The Big Lebowski. It’s a wonderful, thick wool sweater that is incredibly warm, which is perfect for Massachusetts (it’s topping out around 40 degrees here).

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Another present from my very fashionable mother are these ‘Valli’ Waterproof Booties from Blondo in Sand Suede. I’ve had them for over a year and they’re still in great shape—plus, they’re waterproof! I did also seal them with two layers of suede protector.

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I tend to wear a lot of basics in neutral colors, so I love to add something like these Calf-Hair Penny Loafers in Leopard from J. Crew Factory. They’re comfy and stylish!

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And finally . . . just one more thing! I realized it’s been years since I’ve purchased a new coat, so I realized a longtime dream and got this classic trench coat: the Midi Trench Coat from 1901 (a Nordstrom store brand I really like). It’s water resistant and—big plus!—makes me feel like Columbo. It’s fairly lightweight, but with the Pendleton sweater underneath it’s great for cold weather.

I’m midway through our vacation right now and I couldn’t be happier with this capsule wardrobe—it’s warm, flexible, and I feel quite stylish and put-together. I’m saving the dress for Scott and my annual date night, downtown Ipswich is quite the happening place, ha.

So what do you think? What are your must-have travel pieces? Post below!

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Zero Waste Travel

Zero Waste Travel: On the Road

Zero Waste Travel

Pack your zero waste travel kit before you hit the road!

Okay, so first things first: calling a road trip “zero waste” is a misnomer, since we drove a car and used up a lot of fuel. But when my husband and I went on a weekend trip (by ourselves!!!) for our anniversary, I knew I wanted to at least generate as little trash as possible. And we did pretty good! Here are the essentials I gathered:

  • Backpack. I picked this one up for $14 on Craigslist because one, I’m cheap, and two, there was zero packaging. I was really resistant to getting a backpack for a long time (so dorky!) but I realized that if I’m going to bring gear, I need something to hold it while keeping my hands free. This Black River Camping Company model (some Amazon special from years ago) is great: lightweight, with two insulated side pockets for food and drink, and mesh pouches for water bottles, keys, etc. I’ve also been using this for our day trips to the zoo and the fair!
  • Water bottle. This is a no-brainer, and yet it’s usually something I forget, filled with water and ice, on the coffee table as I drive away. Not this time!
  • Travel coffee mugs. I love my Aladdin stainless steel travel mug (it’s no longer available, but here are some similar ones). The handle is convenient, it fits into my car’s cup holders, and it’s perfect for hot and cold drinks. My guilty pleasure in the summer is getting Starbucks frappuccinos, and this cup keeps them so cold. I found the National Geographic cup (classy!) for my husband–never used, it still had the washing instructions inside–at our local Goodwill.
  • Extra shopping bag. This is essential in case you do any shopping (see more on that, below) or want to bag your dirty laundry. This was a gift–one of those parachute silk bags that actually tucks inside itself to be a teeny tiny bag. Sweet!
  • Snacks. I brought along some La Croix and a container of chocolate almonds I picked up from the bulk aisles of our local WinCo. I could have gone healthier, but I have no illusions about myself and I didn’t want to be tempted by candy at the gas station.
  • Rubbermaid containers. This was in case we had any leftovers to bring back to our room (we didn’t). I used Rubbermaid because one, I had them already, and two, I am not coordinated enough to bring breakable glass with me.

Things I could have used and will pick up before our next trip:

  • Metal straws. Although my cup is great for those frappuccinos, you still need a straw to drink one. Glass scares me.
  • Bandannas/handkerchiefs. To use as napkins, etc.
  • First aid/medical kit. I usually have a small container ready to go with ibuprofen, Band-Aids, Pepto, etc. I did not have one for this trip, and I regretted it.
Zero Waste Travel Snacks

Snacky goodness from the bulk bins!

Other food-related things you can do to cut down on trash on the road are eat at sit-down restaurants with real plates and silverware (bring bandannas!) or pack your own food. But what about the other great pleasure of travel–shopping?

Once you get into the “I-don’t-need-more-stuff” mindset, shopping while on vacation can be a bummer. I’ve accepted that I don’t need most knick-knacks–and neither do my friends. I get my books from the library. So why would I enter the local boutiques and bookstores and waste their time? Fortunately, I found a couple of strategies to amuse myself.

  • Go on a treasure hunt. You see, there are a few weird things I would absolutely buy on sight, if I came across them. For example, a coffee cup that looks like a terra cotta pot. I bought one for my Mom for Mother’s Day decades ago, and when we used to visit the Fish House Inn in Dayville every year, I was delighted to see they had one! I used it for my coffee every morning. The last time we went there it was gone–broken? Stolen? So while I will likely never see one ever again, the search is always fun (do not buy me one).
  • Shop thrift stores. I used to do this all the time when I was young and broke. Thrift stores can be souvenir gold mines, especially in touristy locations, where people are dying to get rid of things they bought after one too many frozen margaritas. Years ago, my best friend found me an old Martha’s Vineyard sweatshirt at the Dumptique–for free. It was much cooler than the brand-new, overly rubbery options at the local tourist traps. Plus: no packaging!
  • Shop local. At the very least, shop the locally owned bookstores, gift shops, and pharmacies where you travel. Use your own bags, refuse a receipt, and support the local economy!

While absolute zero waste travel is impossible, with a little preparation, you can avoid most trash and save yourself some money–and even generate a little extra fun! Who has more tips for me? Post them below!