One of the more difficult aspects of this trip has been the question of what to take with me. I want to pack as lightly as possible, for ease of travel on the plane as well as the ground, plus I want room to take souvenirs back with me. Yet, I’m going to be gone for 10 weeks, so I’ll need enough clothes to see me through (and I don’t want to be unfashionable in Italy so I can’t just take anything). I’ve been searching through a number of travel blogs trying to figure out what I’ll need to take. What I took away from all that reading was:
- Dress modestly — in particular, getting into the churches is difficult if you are wearing anything either too casual (shorts and flip flops) or revealing (shoulders and arms exposed, too short of a skirt).
- Jeans, flip flops, and shorts are not nearly as ubiquitous as in the U.S.
- Don’t bother trying to dress as well as the Italians — it simply can’t be done.
- La bella figura “the beautiful figure” is the Italian philosophy for presentation of oneself.
- Skirts, dresses, and slacks are preferable to jeans (in general, looking “feminine” seemed to be key).
- Heels are more fashionable but not at all practical if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.
So what did I pack? I present to you now:
Evolution of a Suitcase
(1) Totally Empty.
(2) Layer 1: 2 towels, 1 swimsuit, 5 dresses, 3 skirts, 1 slip.
(3) Layer 2: well, actually, this layer had to be taken out and redone
(after discarding half of the clothes to save space) but it’s a pretty cute picture nonetheless.
(4) Layer 2: 1 pair gauchos, 1 pair jeans, 6 jackets/coverups, 1 hoodie, 11 camisoles/undershirts, 1 pair leggings, 2 scarves, 5 pairs socks, 1 set pajamas.
(5) Layer 3: 9 shirts, 2 belts, 1 pair sweatpants, 2 bras, 17 pairs underwear, 2 pairs pantyhose, 1 pair sandals, 1 pair flats, 1 pair undershorts (essential for skirt/dress wearing because they prevent thigh chafing).
(6) Layer 4: toiletries, 1 pair tennis shoes, 1 pair flat boots, 1 comfy but fashionable sweater.
(7) Did it all fit? It did. And it only weighed in at 36.2 lbs.!
(8) And here is my outfit for travel. I decided against jeans (not nearly as comfortable as slacks). I’ll also be sporting my Jason Wu trench coat and my carry-on (I’ll be packing that tomorrow).