Packing for Italy

Ah, Italy.  What does a girl traveling on her own take with her when she’ll be running all over the country for two whole weeks?

Well, the first thing is a QUALITATIVE suitcase.  My last trip in Europe cost me two suitcases, and I retired a third one after my trek across Ottawa in the snow, salt and mud.  I’m down to two suitcases now.  A Polo Ralph Lauren carry-on and a bigger American Tourister suitcase that I picked up from my grandfather’s house after he died (to lug back all of the memorabilia, photos, etc. I wanted from his home). 

For me, having a suitcase that can pack the punch all over a European country is ideal…and very difficult to secure because cobblestones will ruin every single suitcase you can muster to find.  So I’m just praying that my grandfather’s suitcase will survive this trek across Italy.

The key items I’m carrying is my great big Just Cavalli tote bag (biggest bag I own) and my new Rebecca Minkoff bag.

This Minkoff bag is one of the key pieces I’ll be toting around.  The mission is to structure my wardrobe around this key piece.  Sounds crazy, right? 

Well, blame The Glamourai for inspiring what I’ll be wearing on this trip.  I saw their photos from their trip to Marrakech and I couldn’t help thinking “What a great idea!”  BE THE FASHIONISTA while traveling. 

I probably do the fashionista look while I’m traveling most of the time, but the other ‘most of the time’ I’m basically in jersey pants and a tunic.  While the Moroccan men have informed me that I’m stylish and my clothes are 100% acceptable…the only time they raised a fit was when I wore a pair of jeans.  My driver tried to turn me right back around to go and change until I remarked, “But I’m riding a camel today.” 

He stopped and said, “I forgot. You can stay in jeans today then, but don’t wear them again after today.”  He referenced the Saharan heat as the reason why I should not wear jeans.  So taking his advice…you’ve probably heard how HOT Italy can get in the summer…not to mention the humidity.  Keeping that in mind, I’m structuring my wardrobe around being fashionable, in cool fabrics (no jeans), and comfortable.

I decided to take the lead from two fashion icons from their time in Italy.

What better way to get into the spirit of the Italian holiday than to be inspired by America’s favorite sweetheart, Audrey Hepburn, from the movie “Roman Holiday.”

Even America’s favorite first lady, Mrs. Jackie Kennedy Onassis, is even a worthwhile candidate to be inspired by.

The key components here are 2 MUST HAVES: 1) ballet flats and 2) amazing shades.

Jackie always has her classic Gucci hobo on her arm.  The most important part of her look all lies in her accessories.  From her necklaces to belts to scarves, she dresses up even the basic of garments. 

Did you also notice that everything pictured here are basic colors, with only the dress for a special night out with the print?  Even her skirt could be mixed and matched with the other colors she wore during her different visits to Italy.

Both Audrey and Jackie remind us to keep it classic and to keep it simple.  Both can go a very long way.

Most importantly, Jackie definitely shows how we can wear relaxing outfits, and still look absolutely amazing. 

So the key to packing for this trip?  I’m packing fewer things, but better things.  [Remember that theme?]

To keep cool, the maxi dresses and maxi skirts will be the number one item in my suitcase.  Jersey pants, tanks, tees and a cardigan will keep me comfortable.  Plus, I always make sure to bring a travel sized bottle of Tocca’s Delicate Wash to wash my clothes to hang and dry overnight or while I’m out and about. 

The most important way to pack is to make sure that you have a color scheme that compliments each other in about 100+ways.  In other words, you could pack 10 key pieces and interchange them with each other into over 100+ outfits.  That is probably the most important way to pack.

Most women usually choose how they pack based on one outfit at a time.  That then equates to 10x too many clothes and a suitcase that will barely close.

Take for instance this montage from The Stylish Geek:

These 11 items can pack a punch.  She was able to come up with 10 different outfits with these pieces.  I’m sure she could have come up with way more (but that would have been a very long post)…but the key here is in the accessories.  She could come up with a lot of outfits thanks to all of her different accessories.

When it comes to accessories, I’m really big on scarves.  Lately, Valentino scarves.  Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to come up with a zillion different ways to wear a Valentino scarf…especially as a shirt.  Bag Snob showed us a few of the different ways you can turn a scarf into a shirt:

Looks fabulous, right?  What’s really great about the scarf as a shirt?  Packing a scarf is so hassle-free.  It’s so lightweight, it takes up no space at all. 

For those who don’t like the thought of showing their belly…I always wear a tank or a tee under the ‘scarf’ as a shirt’ look…just in case anything were to fall out or the scarf came undone.

As for accessories…I’ll be packing a lot of statement jewelry from Bauble Bar, and a few different belts.  Shoes?  Besides my tennis shoes, Speedo sandals and ballet flats…that’s all that’s coming along.  Shoes can take up a lot of space.  If I’m going with one suitcase, a tote bag (for shopping) and my new Minkoff bag…trust me, I’m not bringing a lot because I want to bring some bulky stuff back with me.

My sun hat arrived from Little Black Bag.  It’s nice, foldable (a neutral color) and easy to maneuver into whatever shape I want.  It’ll be a lot of fun to wear with the many outfits I’ll construct.  But most of all…it matches with my Minkoff bag!

Will I wear something hockey related?  Well, that Jagr shirt is just itching to be worn, but I’m itching to remove all Flyers notations in the shirt…even if I have to cut a hole in the middle of the shirt to remove that logo (don’t think I won’t do it).  It would provide some serious ventilation in the back. 🙂

But we’ll see if it even makes the suitcase, because my goal is to keep it 10 clothing items (not counting shoes) to get me through the two weeks all over Italy. 

As you can probably figure out by now…the color schemes will all compliment the Minkoff bag…but I can’t start putting together the Italy wardrobe until it arrives.  So excited! 

More to come…

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth is the voice behind