Paris in a Handbag
My daughter Regan James and her husband Lou Pine just returned from their Parisian honeymoon, and I’m delighted to have her guest-blogging today!
A couple years ago, my boyfriend and I were about to go on a family trip in the south of France, and we were planning to veer off to Paris for a couple days at the end of it. I’m usually a pretty practical traveler, but since this was my first trip to France I decided to be Marlene Dietrich and bring all of my worldly possessions. I even went on Craigslist and bought a brand new (ahem, used) suitcase that I could fit my whole person into (I have a video of me doing this). It was massive, purple, and came up to my boobs. (I’m short, but still.)
The monster suitcase was doing me just fine until we made our way from Provence to our Parisian, 6th floor walkup Airbnb.
Apparently, trains in France were made for regular people, not Marlene Dietrich, and apartment buildings in Paris almost never have elevators. To top it off, the looks of horror I got as I wielded this giant purple monster through the metro was enough to make Marlene take a Shanghai Express right on outta there.
Fast forward a couple years later. Me and said boyfriend are now engaged and have decided to go to Paris on our honeymoon!
Remembering the suitcase debacle (and after a glass of wine), I blurted out to my fiancé, “I’m only going to bring three outfits!!”
He, of course, asked me to repeat myself once he got his voice memo app up so he could record the statement for future damning evidence.
Wanting to backpedal like crazy, I remembered that the last time we went to France I pretty much wound up wearing the same few pieces every day. And isn’t that true for most of us, even when we’re not on vacation? I’ve heard that women only wear about 20% of their entire wardrobe, and for me, I think that’s pretty accurate.
So, here’s what I did: I borrowed a small carry-on suitcase and made a plan. 9 days. 10 nights. 3 outfits.
My wardrobe consisted of:
- 3 pairs of jeans: flared, boot cut, and black matchstick
- 1 white button down shirt
- 1 white linen tee
- 1 black cashmere tee
- 2 sweaters: one black cashmere and one orange knit sweater
- trench coat
- denim jacket
- 2 pairs of shoes: white Converse and black derbies
Voilà! Technically, it’s 3 outfits: 3 jeans and 3 shirts, a couple of sweaters, a couple of scarves, and a couple of outerwear options.
Not only did I follow through on my half-inebriated plan, all the pieces I brought were basics so I could mix and match and never really worry whether or not something “went” with something else.
What I’ve learned with this little experiment is that traveling this way leaves my mind free to enjoy and plan the adventures, not what I’ll look like doing them.
How easy my life would be if I could just narrow down my entire wardrobe at home to 3 outfits… Hahahahahaha just kidding!
Bonjour! Je suis Kelley
Hi, I’m Kelley – thrower of parties, drinker of wine, and lover of all things French. I hope you enjoy my Lessons in Becoming French!