Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Packing Light: The Weekend's in the Bag

I've always thought of myself as a pretty low-maintenance girlfriend. It's true, I do love shopping and getting dressed up, and I don't like being cold and I am MISERABLE to be around if I'm really really hungry --- but in spite of all this, I think I fall below the curve when it comes to female maintenance level. I rarely blow dry my hair, I often leave the house without makeup (or with only tinted moisturizer or foundation faker), I don't demand fancy dinners, and I didn't bat an eye when BF decided to go to Brazil for Carnivale during Valentine's Day last year.

I mean, come on. I'll take those props at any time now.

Still, I fear I've lost some of my low-maintenance points as of late. The last few times I've stayed with the BF in DC, I've brought along a huge suitcase. Ginormous. This bag falls in the "might-be-carrying-a-coarsely-chopped-up-corpse" genre of big and heavy. In fairness to me, I was packing for a stay of an unknown duration and featuring unknown events and activities, but still. A huge suitcase is the opposite of "low maintenance."

This weekend, I intended to atone. I was bussing down to DC to be a poker dealer for a charity poker tournament BF organized through his poker company.


In all, I needed to pack an outfit to wear for:
  • an externship Friday afternoon (and subsequent bus travel Friday night);
  • the charity poker tournament - the dealer uniform is supposed to be a white tuxedo shirt, black pants, and a bow tie;
  • whatever we end up doing on Saturday night, which could be anything; and
  • the bus trip back to NYC on Sunday.
After some extensive thought, I managed to whittle down my necessities until they fit into one over-the-shoulder tote bag. In an unprecedented move, I even left my jewelry box at home.

Weekend in a Bag
I attempted to make you a Polyvore set resembling my suitcase, but it was a disaster since I couldn't find some of the items I packed on the database (and also because I suck a bit at graphic design). It does help give you the basic sketch of my plan, though: a few core items with minor changes revolving around them like planets around the sun.

The plan: utilize the same basic bottom and just change tops every day. I picked the most versatile pants I own: my AG Stevie Cords. I have these in dark blue, purple, and khaki; I opted for purple on this trip since they are a formal enough color to work in a dressy situation if Saturday night turns fancy, but they are also close enough to black to possibly pass for an appropriate dealer uniform.

I accessorized with low-heeled teal Mary Janes for a pop of color and ease in walking (although Heaven forbid there was a snow storm) and a belt from Jcrew that looks like a tie and can fit around my waist or around my hips. I limited my jewelry to three pieces: my trusty goes-with-everything Anthro frog earrings, Anthro's Feeling Dapper Necklace, and the nicest watch I own, my Omega Seamaster deep sea diving watch (a graduation gift from my dad, this is actually a man's watch. It's huge compared to the size of my wrist but I love it, and the only place it ever gets the attention it deserves is from men around the poker table.).

Here are the outfits. My tripod didn't make the packing cut, so please excuse the odd picture angles:

Friday

The needs: business casual for an internship seminar, comfort for a 4.5 hour bus ride

The result: A crisp button-down shirt and soft merino wool cardigan show off my conservative, Banana Republican side. The Feeling Dapper Necklace and J.Crew Belt/Tie seemed like a less formal homage to traditional business wear (although I did feel a bit like the man-repeller). The cords are dark enough to work for a more casual office feel, although I wouldn't wear them to work on a non-Friday. The flexibility of the belt meant I wasn't uncomfortable while sitting during the bus ride.
(Check out this outfit as an example of a "Taboo Color Combination" in Amy K.'s fabulous blog feature this week, "Breaking the Rules")


Shirt: Tattersall Ruffle Shirt (Banana Republic, $30 here) (S)
Cardigan: Grosgrain Shirred Placket Cardigan (Banana Republic, $60 here in tall sizes only) (M)
Pants: AG Steve Cords in Wine (28)
Shoes: Xhilaration for Target (9)
Necklace: Feeling Dapper (Anthro)
Belt: Jcrew
Earrings: (Anthro)
Watch: (Omega)


Saturday, Part 1

The needs: Something resembling the uniform all dealers are supposed to wear, which is a white tuxedo shirt, bow tie, black pants, and black shoes.


The result: Well, the black shoes definitely were not happening. Some might say that the purple pants were kind of cheating, too, but in low lighting they look almost black. I couldn't really get around the tuxedo top, and I'm pretty sure there's no way to make this bulky thing look cute. I did my best. Maybe a vest next time?

Shirt: (JCrew Factory Outlet) (S)
Undertank: (Zara Basics)
Pants: AG Steve Cords in Wine (28)
Shoes: Xhilaration for Target (9)
Necklace: Feeling Dapper (Anthro)
Belt: Jcrew
Earrings: (Anthro)
Watch: (Omega)

I think I still looked pretty professional, despite my departures from the uniform:



Saturday, Part 2

The needs: An up-for-anything Saturday night outfit.


The result: We ended up at a friend's house drinking wine, eating popcorn, and watching Dark Knight in HD. It was a great way to wind down after a busy day. I think this outfit would have performed equally admirably in a bar or at a restaurant.

Shirt: (Elie Tahari) (S)
Undertank: (Zara Basics)
Pants: AG Steve Cords in Wine (28)
Shoes: Xhilaration for Target (9)
Necklace: Feeling Dapper (Anthro)
Belt: Jcrew
Earrings: (Anthro)
Watch: (Omega)


Sunday

The needs: A comfortable outfit for brunch and the 4.5 hour bus ride home.


The result: I was comfortable, although I found myself longing for a chunky sweater to keep warm on the bus. Since the air temperature in NYC is reminiscent of "The Day After Tomorrow," I promptly added one when I got home (see it on Thirteen here; mine is a less exciting navy blue color).

Shirt: (Gap) (M)
Undertank: (Zara Basics)
Pants: AG Steve Cords in Wine (28)
Shoes: Xhilaration for Target (9)
Necklace: Feeling Dapper (Anthro)
Belt: Jcrew
Earrings: (Anthro) (my ears are so red from the cold!)
Headband: (Anthro) (I discovered this at the bottom of my purse)
Hairtie: Gone to 'Frisco Ponytail Holder (Anthro)
Watch: (Omega)

Overall, I'd say my mission was accomplished! So much so that I'll probably repeat the formula with my dark blue AG Stevies when I go back to DC for another charity poker tournament this weekend! I was especially amazed that my Stevies still look completely clean and unworn, even after wearing them nonstop for three days. Impressive, Adriano Goldschmied! Impressive indeed.

Edit: for another stylish take on packing beautifully, check out this video from the Girls with Glasses, via KateSpade-aholic.

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