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Monday, June 17, 2013

How To Pack For A 2 Week Vacation Using Only a Carryon and Still Look Cute

I have always been envious of those who had the ability to pack just 5 items of clothing and look cute 800 different ways. My stylish friend Reachel enlightened me with the following formula:

Pack just one item of clothing for each day that you are gone.

WHAT! This was so counterintuitive to what I have done in the past. I was an “outfit for everyday of the trip” type of gal.

The secret is to devise a wardrobe that can be mixed and matched.

You can do this one of two ways.

The first is to use a color wheel to find which colors compliment each other.

Now this can be a bit complicated for some, so instead you can select a favorite print (floral, stripes, whatever you prefer) and then draw upon the colors that are used in the print. You can see Reachel’s helpful tutorial using this formula HERE.

Since I am planning a trip to a beachy area I settled on a somewhat French Seashore theme comprising of the colors navy, white, coral, butter yellow and kelly green.

bon voyage 065

In my carry on I will pack a lightweight blue sweater purchased last year at Forever 21 because airplanes, restaurants and seaside evenings can get cool. A similar sweater is shown HERE and other versions can also be found at such stores as Target and Marshalls.

A second sweater in green was also included. I found mine earlier this year at a Banana Republic outlet on major markdown but a similar sweater is sold HERE.

I selected one dressy top, two t shirts and two tank tops in various shades of my selected palette. The green top and the blue and white striped top came from a Banana Republic outlet earlier this year on clearance. I see similar tops at discount stores quite often.

The yellow t shirt was found at Forever 21. A similar t shirt can be found HERE.

The coral t shirt was found at J C Penney.

jcp™ Short-Sleeve Crew-Neck Tee

The white eyelet dot tank was a recent major score at the J. Crew outlet due to a small split seam that I was able to easily repair. The full price version can be found HERE.

Eyelet dot tank

The coral cropped pants were found at T. J. Maxx and the denim capri’s at Marshalls. I have recently seen similar styles at other discount stores.

The white and navy cotton ankle pants were found at end of summer clearance last year at Banana Republic. A similar version is shown HERE but again you can find white and navy ankle pants at almost any clothing store.

Sateen slim ankle pant

The polka dotted skirt is my favorite and a bit of a splurge for me at $42.99 but others might think it’s a steal! If you go HERE I’ve listed the link and there is a $15 coupon.

Skirts - See You Round Skirt

While Reachel packs 2 pairs of shoes and wears a third pair I plan on packing only one other pair because I don’t wear heels. The blue and white striped flats I purchased on deep discount at the Gap outlet will be dressy enough to see me through. I’ve seen similar flats and espadrilles at Target and other discount stores.

bon voyage 013

My darling daughter knows how much I adore toe ring sandals. She found my second pair of vacation shoes at Anthro. Since she works for the company they were almost half off, but you can find them HERE.

For those who noticed, “Why yes, I did paint my toenails a coral shade to coordinate with my clothing.”  :)

bon voyage 001

The the final touch is accessories. You may have the overall impression that my clothing is always purchased on sale or from inexpensive discount stores. That is correct. But the secret to never looking cheap is great accessories.

For this trip I will wear my really good (valuable/sentimental) jewelry on the plane. They include Grandma Mary’s pearls, my wedding and mother’s ring and some nice gold hoops. I think they lend well to the French Seashore theme as I can’t help but think of oysters and gold hoop wearing pirates. :)

bon voyage 037

But I am also packing 3 pieces of cute on trend fashion jewelry. The flower statement necklace and the daisy earrings were found at Forever 21 last year. 98% of my fashion costume jewelry is purchased there. The coral bracelet was recently found on clearance at my local J.C. Penney.

bon voyage 042

One area that I don’t hesitate to spend money on is handbags. As a young adult I worked in the handbag department at Macy’s and yes, there is a difference. I will pack a small over the shoulder purse and take a large “Eze” basket tote as my “purse” on the plane. It is large enough to hold my wallet, plane tickets, small makeup bag, snacks, 2 magazines, 1 book and my bulky 35 mm camera. It will work great at the beach too!


I plan on taking you along on vacation with me so you’ll get to see how the outfits evolve based on the fun activities planned. So stay tuned.

Bon Voyage!



Jane said...

Have a wonderful vacation, Laura!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

What great tips!! Have fun!!!

raraavis said...

What a great post - I love your sense of style. I went to France & Spain on my honeymoon for a month, and packed everything in a carry-on. It is so relaxing to travel with only one bag.


Patti said...

Thanks for posting about this. We leave on Saturday for an 8 day beach vacation. I had an idea about what to pack, and I just need to tweak my color combo. Instead of a skirt I will bring a maxi dress, but I could see how a cute skirt can work with the tops. I will fill that in when I come back. My only problem is we are flying and 3 oz of sunscreen does not last long and sun screen bought at a resort can be quite pricey. I wish us both a great vacation!

raraavis said...


Have you thought about buying sunscreen at home & posting it to yourself at the resort? Sometimes mailing things ahead can be much less expensive than purchasing them on-site. Just a thought ...


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Great wardrobe, I can't wait to see where you are going. Have a super trip. Hugs, Marty

April Dunlap said...

You will look wonderful! Such pretty colors and accessories! Enjoy your trip! :)

French said...

Love the French seaside theme, and glad you are toting a basket along!

Karen Albert said...

Laura, I love your colors for the trip! Bright and fresh. The Eze bag from French Basketeer is perfect for a carry on!
Most of all have a great time!

Art by Karena

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

Have a great time!

Vel Criste said...

Great tips Laura, too bad it's 1 week too late for me! hahaha! Just got back from vacay, and packed 2 checked-in luggage worth of outfits! yup, I'm a pack rat! I'll keep this in mind though next time arouund!

Auntie Em said...

Very clever! And while everyone else is standing around the suitcase carousel waiting for their over packed luggage you will be already enjoying your vacation!
Have fun and can't wait to see the beautiful pics. :)

Jen said...

Great tips Laura, not to mention much needed right now! I'm packing today also for a little getaway. Summer vacations are the best!

Have a wonderful time!!

Lorrie said...

Great tips, Laura. Less is more when it comes to vacation packing. When we go to Europe, I pack everything I need for 3 weeks into a carryon. Makes traveling so much easier.
Have a wonderful, sunny vacation.

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Sounds like a good wardrobe! So do you have stuff laundered at the hotel or does it work out to enough clean clothes for the whole trip?

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I always pack way too much! The old saying- Take half the clothes you think you need, and twice the money- is true. Have fun on your trip!

Mary Ellen said...

Goodness friend I need to get you to help me pack when I go on trips!! I take half my closet and still forget things!
Have an immensely enjoyable time!

bee blessed

Liz Hockamier said...

I usually do pretty good. My motivation is that I hate checking baggage so I keep it all in one carry on. I will lay it all out and make sure that I have a different outfit every day and then add the accessories. But I never thought to allow only one piece of clothing per day... Now that is a challenge! :)