Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Packing and Posing

Some people hate packing for a trip. I kind of love it. It involves organization. There are steps. And lists.

I have a Word document, very cleverly entitled "Packing List", with all the stuff I usually have to pack for every trip, regardless of destination: toiletries, iPod, hairbrush, blah blah - it's that blah blah that gets really heavy. And then I have an Excel document that is very embarrassingly titled "Daily Outfit Planner". (No you don't!) Yes, I do.

I used to haphazardly go through my closet and think "Yeah, I like that. I'll wear that" and then pack a whole mess of things I just really liked. However, with the luggage allowance shrinkage, I have to be far more meticulous in my planning. I literally have to say "On Day 1 I'm going to wear such and such dress with such and such shoes, and carry such and such bag."

The 'such and such' brand is highly coveted in all the fashion capitals.

This kind of anal-retentive forethought might seem ridiculous to some (many), but it actually makes the trip itself much easier. Once in the hotel, with all the delirium of the vacation swirling around you, the last thing you want to have to do is put an outfit together. You're looking at the purple sweater and the cranberry velvet pants and the olive green suede boots, all of which you love individually, but an outfit they do not make.

The Daily Outfit Planner has basic clothing categories (tops, bottoms, outerwear) and also includes undergarments and hairstyles - it's that detailed (um...because I modified it to be that detailed, but that's neither here nor there).

When I was nine or ten years old, I received the Darci doll for Christmas. Darci was Barbie-sized (albeit with slightly more realistic proportions), and came with a posing stand, and multiple outfits. Mine was brunette. That same year, I also received a Kodak instant camera. If you guessed "photo shoot" for what came next, you'd be right. I carefully dressed Darci in each of her very sassy, very 70s, outfits, posed her on the posing stand and snapped away. (I also did this with my sister on one of our vacations to New York to visit relatives, but she didn't come with a posing stand.)

I was obsessed with Darci and her outfits. She had around four different ensembles, and I just remember thinking "she should have more!" I am now similarly obsessed with my own ensembles. The Daily Outfit Planner helps tame the obsession a bit, and forces me to focus. I try to stick with a base neutral color (black, brown, gray) and build around that.

Once I have completed the Daily Outfit Planner chart I can just grab those things out of the closet, roll them up and tuck them into the suitcase. Things pack better when you roll them - fewer wrinkles and you can fit more into the bag.

Helpful hints: pack small, smooshy items inside shoes and boots; wrap plastic baggies around anything that might leak; and if you happen to have purchased fancy shoes on your trip, and are determined to bring the box home with you (because the box is the fancy shoes' home!), pack other items inside the box - there's always room after you remove all that tissue paper.

The more I think about all of this, the more I kind of want a posing stand. It will need to be collapsible...