“When traveling, lay out all of your clothes and all of your money. Then take half your clothes and twice the money.” — Susan Heller
I try, I really do, to pack simply. I won’t pack a different going-out-to-dinner get-up for every night. I don’t need to have just the right shoes for every outfit. I certainly don’t need coordinated purses, either. For even a nice restaurant, a sweater, a scarf, and black pants will do the job.
Yet, packing light is sometimes overrated. People who claim they’ve traveled around Europe with a pair of pants, two tee shirts, and a sweatshirt make my nose twitch. Really? Have they done their own sniff tests of those easy-breezy tee shirts? I’ve stood in crowded galleries, been scrunched into a vaporetto, and endured cheek-to-jowl lines in the hot sun, and I’ve encountered these light packers. How I’ve wished they’d considered the rest of humankind and decided that carrying a fresh shirt wasn’t such a terrible burden.
A balance between too much and too little is especially tricky for a four weeks stay. Last year, when we went to Italy, our ten day forecast didn’t dip below ninety degrees. I didn’t even bring a sweater. But September in Paris can seesaw from eighty to fifty during the day. My list has been in development for weeks. Which tee shirts? Which pants? Which sweaters? Which jackets? Each item is considered for its versatility, comfort and coordination factor. No matter how much I love that hot pink sweater or flowery skirt, no rogue items are allowed. If a top doesn’t go with a skirt and a pair of pants, it won’t get to strut its stuff down the Rive Gauche.
Another consideration is an item’s Parisability. My friend MJ once coined the term GOIF … good only in Florida. A pink flaming necklace might look cute at a beachside tiki hut, for example, but would look ridiculous in the Midwest. Following the GOIF rule and considering my surroundings, I’m leaving the lime green sweater and the coral shirt at home. I’ll look like a tourist no matter what I wear, but at least my clothes won’t create an eye-roll outbreak among the Parisians.
I’m still tweaking the list, and when Sunday rolls around and I’m actually putting stuff in the suitcase, I’ll be making adjustments. Obsessive? Yeah, a little. But if I forget someone, I’ve heard that they have stores over there.