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My Way Alpine Ladies Packing Report

Hi Ladies!
We just returned from this tour and I was very happy with what I brought. I learned a lot from the ladies on this forum while trying to pack for our 2015 My Way Europe tour and used those tips plus a few new things I've learned on my own. I knew the weather would be cooler on this tour in general, but having spent several years in my early 20s living in Breckenridge, CO I also knew that it could be unpredictable. I took a 20 inch carry on and this is what I packed:

Two pair of black J. Jill leggings - I like the Pure Jill tall version
Two identical Eileen Fischer elbow length sleeve mid thigh length tunics
Eileen Fischer black crepe pants
Black jeans
Black Lysse short military style knit blazer
Black and army green striped long sleeve Free People knit tee with peplum
Long (almost to the knee) plaid flannel shirtdress in blackwatch plaid - burgundy, black and cream
Large black cashmere wrap & three scarves- black with sequins, army green, and black, burgundy, cream and turquoise print.
One black tank
One white tank
Two belts - one black studded and one silver wrap-a-round
Seven pair undies - Jockey supersoft
Three bras
Five pair very light Smartwool socks
One short knit nightie
One raincoat - FootJoy
Black knit cap, gloves and umbrella
Teva de la Vina knee length black waterproof boots
Black Aravon walking shoes and, as an afterthought:
Black gauze summer weight Cottonseed Casual beach pants
Black silk overlay tie front topper to wear over a tank if very warm with said beach pants
Black Aravon sandals that had seen better days and didn't come home with us

To some this will sound like a lot, to others it will sound like not much. The monochromatic basics of the tunics, leggings, belt and tall boots served as a springboard - I wore the plaid flannel shirt dress open over this on the plane and bus days - it was like wearing pajamas, but still looked nice. I wore the black blazer most nights for dinner, swapping the leggings for the crepe pants and changing scarves and belts. I wore the black jeans, peplum top and army green scarf when I got tired of the other things, and at times the tanks with the jeans and blazer - it was enough of a rotation to prevent outfit burnout. I wore everything I brought but I did miss having one thing - a light silk shirt to wear with the jeans over a tank when it was too warm for the blazer - something you could comfortably wear to a restaurant - the little black silk topper I threw in at the last minute didn't qualify. One of our tour members approached me in Salzburg and said "How can you possibly look so nice with that little tiny carry on? Do you roll?" I thanked her and told her that yes, I rolled but really, if she looked closely, it was all the same crap, just rearranged and with a different scarf. The most important thing I've learned from packing for these tours is to wear what YOU feel good in - pick a few pieces that you love, are comfortable in and build around them - you're going to be spending a lot of time in them. Scarves work wonders and provide a pop of color, which can change that same old outfit in an instant. I do want to give a shout out to the Teva de la Vina line of boots which I learned about here on the forum. I planned on taking my Aravon walking shoes for hiking (they worked just fine - no hiking boots required,) but being from Minnesota I'm used to wearing boots 8 months of the year and I wanted some suitable for miles and miles of city walking - waterproof and nice looking. These boots fit the bill and more - I gave myself 5 weeks to break them in while wearing moleskin strips on the areas of my feet most vulnerable to blistering - they broke in beautifully, they are so comfortable that I am now the proud owner of 4 pair. I know, I know, but it has been my experience that if you really love something (boots, jeans, lipstick) they will be discontinued soon for some mysterious reason. Cheers, ladies!

Posted by
158 posts

Thanks for posting!

Do you know how much the bag weighed?

I have this great black and white patterned dress that doesn't wrinkle but the fabric is very heavy, so I think I need to find something else to pack for travel...

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you lizthemadhatter for this report on packing! I have a lot to learn about packing light and packing the right clothes, accessories to wear. Very helpful! I just ordered the Teva de la Vina boots as I noticed many ladies are raving about these boots!

Posted by
154 posts

Sarah, my bag weighed just a hair over 20 lbs - I know because the first time I weighed it it was 21 1/2 so I took something out - I don't remember what it was so it couldn't have been that important. I had no trouble rolling my bag or lifting it into the overhead compartments on the plane and trains, although hubs always insists on helping me, bless his heart. I weighed the shirt dress and the Eileen Fischer tunic and they each weigh 1/2 lb. Regarding your black and white dress, I guess it depends on your destination, the time of year and how warm you like to be. I'd say if you really love it, take it and leave something else out! Make it the centerpiece of your travel wardrobe - wear it on the plane, change it up with leggings, boots and scarves along the way. I'm a warm blooded person, but I do get cold on planes - that black cashmere wrap came in mighty handy then and many other times on the trip.

Kadams84, you are very welcome! I flailed around so much trying to pack for our 2015 tour (my first attempt at packing light) that I turned to the ladies on this forum for some help. They were very encouraging, full of practical advice and convinced me to leave behind the new dressy hooded black sweatshirt and trench coat I had purchased, thinking they'd be good for Paris, Normandy and Switzerland. When they asked me how I'd feel dragging those two things around Italy, I knew they were right and concentrated my efforts on building a basic travel wardrobe with light layers. I think this is key. I could substitute several light weight tops, tunics and scarves for what that sweatshirt weighed! I will admit that I am a somewhat of a clothes horse and like to look nice, but I really felt a sense of accomplishment when I found that I was satisfied with what I brought, nobody looked at me and said "Oh, she's wearing that same black tunic again," and it really hit home when we watched so many women who couldn't lift their bags on and off of trains and water taxis without help. We saw the same thing on this trip - not with our tour mates, but on our pre and post adventures. I thought to myself "You are a long way from home. You must learn to depend on yourself. What on earth do you have in there?" But it takes time, effort and the advice of others to learn these things. I'm so glad you ordered the Teva de la Vina boots - I really appreciate a well made product and I hope you love them as much as I do!

Posted by
57 posts

Thank you for the detailed packing list. As I try to perfect my minimalist packing, it's great to see what works for other women. I, too, am a great fan of Eileen Fisher for packing light. In particular, I love her stretch silk long sleeve shirts. They wear and wash great. Dry in just a few hours after a sink handwash. I wear with jeans and dress pants/skirts. Pricey but worth it! The Eileen Fisher crepe ankle pants and crepe fold over skirt are also great for travel.

Posted by
154 posts

CindyP you are welcome! I love Eileen Fischer - you are correct in that her pieces are pricey, but I've had my crepe pants for 10 years and they still look new - plus the waistband doesn't twist and look peculiar after a few washings. I also do sink washing while on tour. I always appreciate a heated towel rack but her things dry quickly enough without one. I love her tunics. I am in my fifties and I like to look contemporary without looking ridiculous - not an easy task sometimes, since I also like to be comfortable. I've found what works for me and I'm happy to pass it on.

Posted by
2559 posts

Liz, I am right there with you on the "in my 50s but try to look contemporary without looking ridiculous" part. I tend more towards jeans and bring 2 pair for 2 weeks--wear 3 or 4 days, wash and alternate--but may need to consider leggings, too. With tops I have a set group that layer and accessorize with scarves nicely. I'm always on the lookout for comfy boots so will be checking out the Teva de la Vina as I've seen them mentioned quite a bit on these forums.

Posted by
293 posts

Liz - wow, what a varied assortment of clothes you took! And you described them well, also, so I could visualize how they would mix and match. I have a hard time finding tunics, so I neglect the leggings, although I would love to wear this look in EU. I think, actually, I need to have a weekend at a large mall (I'm from a small town with few clothing stores) because I can see the advantage of "silk" items and "gauze" items which you can't find in my town. I appreciate your naming the brands, and now I can look them up.


Posted by
154 posts

Christa, I was glad to have a pair of jeans with me on this tour, considering the (mostly) cooler weather of the destinations - the only reason I haven't traveled with jeans before is that I simply couldn't find any that both fit me right and were comfortable. I found the black Charter Club Lexington Straight Leg jeans at Macy's several weeks before we left and was so pleased - they actually sit at the natural waist (no dreaded muffin top) and the inseam is an inch longer (32) than most standard jeans - at almost 5'8" I need that extra inch, plus they fit in boots without making me look like a reject from Star Trek. I was so pleased I bought several other colors when I returned home (imagine that.) I think you will find that if you give leggings a chance you may be pleasantly surprised - it really depends on what you pair them with. Would I pair them with a tee and a short jacket? Um, no, I'll leave that to the kids. But if you pair them with a long (at least mid thigh, just above the knee, or knee length,) top and boots it can create a long, lean look - it's a look I really like and feel comfortable in. Throw on a scarf and go! And yes, about the Teva de la Vina boots - I see a new pair in your near future!

Shelley, I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. It was a very big deal to venture 20 miles into the big city of Minneapolis (where I now live) to buy new school clothes at Dayton's department store with my late Mom and then have lunch at the Sky Room every Autumn. I love small towns, drive-ins, natural rural parks and lakes (we have 10,000 of them,) and our beloved North Shore. I've lived in the city for a long time now, but I think my small town upbringing makes me much more appreciative of having opportunities to travel and see the world. I do understand your frustration with not having a lot of clothing stores to choose from in your small town. Give the J.Jill Pure Jill leggings a try! They are so soft and comfy - but note, if you stand over 5'6" order the tall. The CottonseedUSA gauze pants are easily found online - look for the Key Largo pants - there is a button on the outside of your knee so you can shorten them to capri length and they are light and look great - it's a very clever and fashionable alternative for those of us who don't wear shorts anymore. My Blackwatch shirt dress was from Allison Joy via Evereve, a local company that has a terrific online presence but I had to hunt for it. Shirt dresses seem to be everywhere now, so find one and make it your own! Good luck to you - I can pretty much guarantee that you'll have a LOT of fun looking up these things online.! Cheers!

Posted by
25 posts

Hi Ladies,
I thought I would add my two cents on leggings. For those that are not really comfortable wearing them, I learned from a travel blogger that she wears Ponte Skinny Pants instead. They are a bit dressier and of thicker material. I recently bought a pair at White House Black Market. They come in different leg styles (skinny, boot cut, straight, etc) but I like the skinny style so I can tuck them into my boots just like leggings. I love that the material is thicker than leggings and gives more support to my shape. Just thought I'd share.

Posted by
154 posts

kadams84 thank you for posting this! I love ponte knit and these look wonderful - and they offer velvet too! It's cold here in the winter and these would be awesome, as they look a bit warmer. I imagine the velvet would be great for the holidays. I'll give them a try. I love hearing about what works for other women!