A couple of weeks ago, when I started to think about what to take to the cottage for Thanksgiving weekend I did what I always do. I check the weather. And sometimes we know that weather reports are less than reliable. Something else I know only all too well is that when you are on a lake, a large one at that, a weather forecast can be as reliable as a lighting a match in a rain storm.

Since we had been experiencing warm weather I sort of had a premonition that that would not continue. Thank goodness I heeded that insight.

Regardless of where I’m traveling, I always start out pulling out the basics and putting them onto my rolling rack. That way I can easily see what I have and I can move them around creating outfits without wrestling with the rest of my closet dwellers.

Here is what I started out with on the rack – pants: three pairs of them; a range of tops from underpinnings to outer layers. Next I added a tunic that could double as a dress if I needed it for Thanksgiving dinner. If I didn’t, it was a great top to wear over the leggings I had packed.I took 3 pair of shoes: one very comfortable flat shoe, A pair of flip-flops for easy going in and out of the cottage, the other a comfortable neutral coloured bootie that would work with all of my bottoms and the tunic dress. Last but not least was my little Stella and Dot straight pouch full of just the right jewellery to finish my outfits in a modest kind of polished casual way.

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Here’s what was left behind. And extra purse, 2 scarves, and a couple of tops.

 

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I think it’s important to show you the formula that I use when packing so hopefully will find it helpful.

I start out with the bottoms so in this case I had a pair of blue jeans, a pair of black jeans and a pair of good old trusty black leggings.

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For my tops: Just as when I build wardrobes or pack my clients to go on trips I want to make sure I have at least three tops, different categories of tops, for every bottom. In that way you can change the look of your bottom very easily because your tops all say something different. You can see here that I have five which I would call casual tops – two of them pull over tunics/ graphic T-shirts, I have a denim button up shirt, and two plaid blouses. All of these items are very relaxed in nature yet the collared shirts are the most dressy of the bunch, with the denim shirt leading the pack.

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The next three are all pullover sweaters, of various weights, great for layering over every single top mentioned above. I just could not forget the traditional off-white fisherman style sweater of decades gone past.

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Next are the layers that go on top of all the above mentioned tops. Specifically a denim jacket, a cozy off white zip up hoodie and a long cotton cardigan. Regardless of the temperatures I have ensured that I will be comfortable in terms of both warmth and appropriateness.

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And there’s my little black tunic which is dress length for me. Of course I had to add an organic piece of jewellery to make it complete. If I were wearing this in a casual way I would layer it over my black jeans rolled them up a little at the ankle and put on my neutral flat or my peep toe booties. If people were dressing for dinner then I would swap out my jeans for a pair of black textured leotards, had several more bracelets including some sparkly ones to my wrist. Easy changes like this can take you from a weekend casual look to a little more dressy polished casual feel.

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You can see my three bottoms: jeans, jeans and leggings. Comfort, comfort and comfort.

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Last of all was my oversized buffalo plaid scarf that came in handy so many times. I never travel without scarves regardless of how I’m travelling be it on the train, on a plane or in the car.

 

What I love is that when I return,  I can open up my suitcase, right in front of my rack, take out items immediately and place them back on the hangers that are waiting. If things need to be laundered, I head for the hamper. Empty hangers let me know what’s needing to go back.

All in all an easy process that is efficient and fast.

I hope I can convince you to consider a rolling rack. Or at least thinking about the different levels of dress of the tops you choose when traveling with one bottom yet needing several looks.

Love your feedback of course. It’s always smart to ask. Why? Because you will get an answer and then you will know.

Because confidence is always in style.