This is the fifth time in twelve months that I’m travelling to the Netherlands to see my 85-year old Dad. I’ve got the packing and commuting thing down across four seasons and in all sorts of weather. The trips have become a way of life and are part of our quarterly routine.
I’ll be heading out tomorrow morning while Greg and Sam hold the fort at the Cox Castle. Including travel, it’s an eight-day trip, and this is what I’ve packed.
A few things upfront before I delve into the details:
- I’ll be visiting family, seeing dear friend Inge, doing errands, eating out, and going to a few appointments. I’ll be hanging out with my Dad in his home town of Velp, with daily trips to nearby Arnhem (a 15 minute bus ride). These very quaint towns are on the east side of the Netherlands and close to the German border. They are about an hour and a half away from Amsterdam.
- I keep my outfits casual, although my outfits are on the dressier side of casual.
- Autumn in the Netherlands is very similar to Seattle. Chilly, grey, dark, quite windy, and somewhat wet. Hopefully we’ll have some sunny intervals. Daytime high temperatures of about 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit) will be the norm, but colder in the morning and at night. Hopefully temperatures will stay just above freezing. I do a LOT of walking and take public transport when I visit my Dad, which means wearing the right footwear, cosy socks, woolly scarves, and an assortment of toppers so that I stay warm, comfortable and dry.
- I’ll be putting a suitcase in the hold because I like to have more dressing options than a carry-on can accommodate. I’ll also be bringing presents for family, and doing some Christmas shopping which requires extra space.
- I will not be doing laundry on the trip.
- I can magically keep white and cream wardrobe items clean, and have been travelling with them for years. It’s a complete non-issue.
- The capsule also includes the outfit that I will wear on both non-stop ten-hour flights. It’s the same outfit, and I’ve shown the components at the end of this post.
Burgundy, tomato red, ink blue and blue denim with a touch of cream and a smattering of pearl grey. No black! Tomato red adds life to the burgundy. The cream brightens and lightens the look. The dark blues ground the palette. My Dad likes bright colours so I like to incorporate them for him too.
To create a satisfying mix that is true to my style, I created a capsule that combines classics with trendy items, wardrobe essentials with statement pieces, solids with patterns, knits with wovens, neutrals with colours, and old items with newbies. Plenty of variety but with a good amount of discipline. The silhouettes are generally quite simple. It’s the colour of the item, the bold combination of the colours, the accessories, and the mix of patterns that give the outfits their kick. I can create tonal looks with burgundy and tomato red. Wear a column of colour with burgundy and navy. Throw in high contrast with cream, and pattern mix with ease because the patterns are in the same colour spectrum.
Here’s more detail on each part of the capsule. Note that wardrobe basics like undies, camisoles, sleepwear, loungewear and knee-highs are not represented here. For the rest, these are the exact wardrobe items that I packed and will be wearing en route.
I build a travel capsule around my shoes because it’s extremely important to have happy feet when you’re walking around a city and using public transport. Once I knew which shoes I was taking, I planned the rest of the outfits to work with them. (NEVER take new shoes on a trip. Take tried-and-tested styles that you know go the distance).
I chose booties because those are right for the weather and extremely comfortable. They have been weatherproofed with spray, and the grey booties are weatherproof already. I almost brought my tall riding boots but booties are easier to pack. I would have been fine bringing two pairs of booties, but packed a third in case my feet need a change, or I feel like a change. All three pairs work with all four bottoms. I suspect I’ll wear the burgundy and grey most of the time, and leave the dressier cream pair for appointments.
I chose four bottoms, but actually it’s only three bottoms because I’ll wear the blue boyfriend jeans on the flights ONLY. That means I’ll wear the full-length dark wash denim straights, cropped straights and burgundy velveteen crops twice. I’ll wear them with navy knee-highs or socks. That’s plenty of variety so I don’t feel bored.
I’ve packed five tops, but actually it’s only four because the oversized ink pullover is for plane travel only. I’ve stuck to fine gauge woolly knitwear because that’s dead right for the weather. Fits are fluid and tailored with varying necklines. I went with two neutrals (one light and one dark), and two non-neutrals to create variety. That way I can remix looks depending on my mood – like high contrast, tonal, or a column of colour. All tops work with all bottoms so I can mix and match as I please.
I’d get bored wearing one topper for eight days, which is why I chose to bring two with different vibes. One long, dressy, classic, solid and very warm. The other short, trendy, patterned, casual and not quite as warm. I can wear either topper with any top or bottom.
I packed many accessories because they change up my look, and don’t take up space. I chose two scarves that work perfectly with the palette. The burgundy scarf creates an effective complement with the burgundy bag, boots, belt and specs. The red scarf is a good match with the red coat and pullover, creating a tonal twinset effect. It also pattern mixes well wth the plaid jacket. The burgundy scarf looks as fab over the red coat. The orange pom-pom hooks onto my bag and makes me smile. I chose a crossbody because it’s easy for travel, and a dressy Furla because casual bags are not my thing. Cream beret and gloves are essential for walking in the cold morning and night. I’ll wear the pile of pearls over my cream and red pullovers. And the patterned socks are fun to make a casual statement with the palette when I feel like it.
I will also be travelling with an umbrella and a cashmere wrap. I’ve left the wrap out of the capsule because it will NOT be styled into these outfits. It’s loungewear and a cosy blanket for plane travel only.
This is the exact outfit that I will wear tomorrow on the flight out to Amsterdam, and the flight back to Seattle eight days later. It follows my strategy for what to wear on long flights. Layers, fabrics with stretch, fluid fits, and soft fabrics are cosy, comfortable and insulating for plane travel. A jacket, scarf and dressy bag also make my casual outfit look pulled together and polished. Comfortable shoes are essential for comfort when traipsing through airports and catching public transport with luggage. I’ll pack my jacket into my hand luggage during the flight and while I’m at the airport, but will need it on the other side when when I take organized transport through to my Dad’s apartment.
I tried on lots of outfit combinations using the items to make sure I liked them BEFORE I made my final decision on what to pack. You can visit the collection page to see my travel capsule in its entirety. The picture below shows the items just before I started packing.