DH and I recently spent a week in Naples Florida visiting my mom, a widowed, recently retired, very energetic 79 year old. In advance, I asked her to identify the activities we might need to be prepared for besides going to the beach. Her list included: 1. Accompanying her when she took some friends out to a nice dinner. 2. Attending religious services. 3. Going to some local nature preserves so she could take pictures of birds, alligators and whatever else.... (basically a swamp walk) 4. Shopping in the quaint downtown area. 5. Walking through Botanical gardens to see a sculpture exhibit. 7. Kayaking and Stand up paddle boarding. 8. A day trip to Sanibel Island.

I chose a wardrobe capsule based on two neutrals, Navy and Grey. I picked turquoise as my main accent color and pink as a secondary accent color. My goal was to bring as little as possible, keep everything functional, and to maintain my focus on my 2019 word and color, Wellness and Turquoise.

Here’s what I packed for a seven day trip:
1. 4 tees - 1 grey J Crew cotton crewneck Tee
1 grey Caslon cotton crewneck tee with a vertical seam in the front facing r visual interest and a rounded bottom hem
1 navy blue James purse ribbed linen cotton mix Henley tee with a rounded bottom hem
1 navy amour vert cotton crew neck tee

2. 1 turquoise long sleeve rash guard top

3. Exercise clothing -1 full length pair of Navy Athleta exercise leggings that could work under a dress if it is cold; 3/4 length grey Zella exercise leggings and an Athleta shortsleeve speedlight top, One exercise bra

4. One pair of JCrew high rise denim shorts
5. One pair of J Brand High rise wide leg crop pants
6. One pair of charcoal grey James Perse cotton linen mix drawsrtring cargo pants
7. One heavy silk navy and white print Vince dress
8. Two long light weight cardigans. One Navy James Perse cotton linen blend. The second a turquoise Halogen cotton poly blend.
9. A lightweight sea green Helly Hansen rain jacket.
10. Four pairs of shoes: My Aasics gel Nimbus sneakers; Donald Pliner navy dress flats to wear with the dress; Keen waterproof water sandals; Ecco Navy Soft 7 leather sneakers
11. Handbags: Rebecca Minkoff leather belt bag, MZ Wallace Large tote for my computer and water bottle for use on the plane and for short shopping trips, medium MZ Wallace for times when belt bag wouldn’t be large enough (ie. when I need to carry both my work and personal cell phones ——I have two and it’s a nuisance).
12. Two swim suits- a Boden navy and white polka dot bikini Angie suggested last year; and a simple navy one piece Speedo racing suit
13. Two pair of lightweight cotton pj’s.
14. A couple pairs of socks to wear with my sneakers. Undies, and two bras.
15. My light North Face down coat plus a quilted Athleta longsleeve top kept me warm enough between the car park and airport at home where it was 27 F and snowing. I peeled off layers as needed down to a tee shirt when we reached Naples. It was easy to stuff each layer into my carryon MZ Wallace tote bag once I peeled them off because they were so light and easy to compact.
16. One pair of high waisted skinny J Brand Carolina jeans for the flights too and fro.
17. One pair small turquoise stud earrings
18. One simple gold chain with three small round gold beads
19. 3 slim gold bangles
20. Fit bit, but not my watch.
21. Insect spray
22. SPF 30 and 50 sunscreen
23. Large Sunglasses
24. My favorite herbal tea
25. I packed two hats, a floppy pink Wallaroo, and a pink Adidas baseball style cap.

What worked:
The most outstanding pieces were the Keen waterproof shoes, the Adidas hat and the Rebecca Minkoff belt bag.

1. Keens: I was surprised at how comfy my feet were in the Keen shoes. They felt supportive of my fairly high arches. My feet, which frequently get stabbing pains in flimsy shoes, remained pain free. I also didn’t develop any blisters despite logging a minimum of 10-12 miles walking daily. I ended up wearing them almost exclusively. They worked on the beech, on swampy hikes, on boardwalks, dirt paths, grass, and sidewalks. Even though they are not pretty, I felt comfortable out and about town wearing them. I put them on with my wide leg crops when shopping. They dry quickly if they get wet and even when wet my feet didn’t feel soggy. I was particularly happy to have them on the beech because there were jelly fish, sometimes slightly buried under sand and hard to see, along the shoreline, and I felt well protected.

2. I cannot say enough good things about the Rebecca Minkoff belt bag. Wow! I love it for travel! It holds exactly the right items for my useage....sunglasses, cell phone, a few credit cards, license, health card, chap stick, tiny container of extra sunscreen, tissues, and in my case a small container of migraine rescue meds, etc. It has great organizing pockets which I tried to photograph. In addition wearing it around the waist either through belt loops or not, it can work like a cross body bag. The belt is a smidgen long for me, so I plan to fix it by punching another hole. There is a second mobile belt loop on the belt to hold down any slack on the belt once it’s buckled; or if there is enough slack once buckled, you can knot it if you like that look. For a leather/suede bag, it’s surprisingly lightweight. I did not treat the bag and it held up well against salt water during my beach walks. It did not stain that I can see?? The grey color worked well with my Keen shoes and my pink Adidas hat, and of course coordinated with my hair. The best part is the wellness factor. I have spinal arthritis, and I like having my hands free when I am walking long distances. I believe it helps my posture by keeping my spine lined up without causing my muscles to tighten or work unevenly, so it prevents painful muscle knots, etc. I hate anything that throws off my balance even a little when I have to walk for more than a mile.......so fanny packs and this updated belt bag, are fairly small and place the extra bit of weight they contain right where it would be naturally. I don’t think they throw off your spinal alignment in the same manner as hand bags, or cross body bags, etc. The features of this particular belt bag are cleverly designed. One additional feature I like is the hook. It looks like it is holding something closed, but it is not. It can be used to hold keys and make even more space inside the bag if needed!

3. My Adidas hat. What can I say? I thought the floppy Wallaroo hat would work better, but most of the women on the beach were wearing baseball caps so I joined them. My Wallaroo was somehow smashed in the suit case despite its particular design billed as being crushable—- it was not. The Wallaroo ended up looking sloppy and too wrinkled for my style. The original purpose of the Adidas cap was for morning runs, but it ended up being the everyday all day go everywhere with everything hat. It fit well, didn’t fall off my head when the wind was blowing, provided sun protection and the color made me happy. Oddly, this particular shade of pink did not attract pesky insects, whereas the pink shade of the Wallaroo hat seems to be an insect magnet. With good sunscreen and my large sunglasses, I did not get any noticeable color so it was effective. The Wallaroo is going into the giveaway bin.....

Maybe I should add my sunnies to the list of workhorses. I have two pairs but I wore my mirrored Aviators the most, mostly because I liked them with my chosen wardrobe color scheme.

Things that worked out well:

1. Two pairs of pajamas? I am not sure why I decided to throw in a second pair, but it was a last minute add on because I had lots of space in my suitcase. It was a good thing because my mom lost her laundry card the day we wanted to do laundry and the office was closed and she couldn’t get a replacement. I was happy to have a fresh pair half way through the week.

2. All my tees worked well as did the rash guards, Everything coordinated Color wise and also each top worked with each bottom so I could grab a top and a bottom and not worry about how it would look proportion wise. It took some preplanning to choose the correct tees and bottoms, but it was worth trying everything on in advance.

3. The color scheme. I was a bit unsure about using navy when I knew in advance it would be close to 90 F. It turns out that it was fine. I did not get too warm. I was perfectly comfortable. Somehow these neutrals look very neat and pulled together when paired with each other, regardless of the very casual nature of the individual pieces. I only used very small amounts of color, but it was enough. With bright sunlight, the color stood out enough to make the colorful items statement pieces.

4. Shorts, 3/4 length exercise leggings, and wide length crops were the bottoms I favored. I wore the long charcoal cargo pants out to dinner because they worked as a more dressy outfit paired with a turquoise cardigan and the grey diagonal seam shirt, but I still wore them with the Keens. If I were at home in summer, they would go with the Ecco’s or another pair of sandals.

1. Long exercise pants! Silly idea! It was between 80 and 90 degrees F the entire time, and sunny. They were too heavy. I didn’t mind wearing long pants if they were loose, but not tight and elastic.....yuck! I need to find a pair of loose long navy pants if I go next year. The 3/4 length also worked with everything and were a good enough choice. They are really warm enough too, I would wear them down to about 50 F exercising outside here, so what was I thinking? Next time I will only bring 3/4’s.

2. I never wore the dress or dress shoes, which isn’t a true failure as much as these items were not as functional as I had hoped. I was entirely not surprised. My mom often tells me to bring a dress and then I don’t need it, but she believes in being prepared for anything and everything. In fact, the one time I traveled to see her without a dress, I ended up needing something for a funeral, so now I always travel with either a dress or a skirt. Next time I will probably pack a tube skirt and wear it with a tee if something truly dressy is needed. I’m not sure why I didn’t do it this time? I had the dress shoes mostly because my mom doesn’t like me to wear sneakers with a dress, but, I think I will ignore that next time as well. I think the Ecco Soft 7s are nice enough to work with a dress or skirt in a pinch. By the way, my mom rarely puts on dressy clothing for anything anymore. I am admitting here that she had us dress for a swamp walk the morning we went to religious services, so we could head to the swamp right away afterwards.... (If you saw us, you know now who we are, and what we did!). So, the one time I should have used the dress, I wore my swamp gear instead! Seriously! That’s life with my mother, and I have learned to roll with it.....she’s going strong so I am not going to question her.......
3. Cardigans. I only need one cardigan not two. I only need to wear my cardigan when I go out for dinner because of the cold a/c. The same is true inside my mothers condo because she blasts the air conditioning when she uses the oven or the stove. Most of the time we are outside. I only used the turquoise cardigan this trip.
4. Floppy Wallaroo hat. The pink color of mine is nice but it attracts Pesky insects and it’s floppy rim blows around providing little to no sun protection. It became very wrinkled when packed. It did not hold up well.
This was by far the biggest failure.

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