Saturday, January 12, 2013

visual packing list: to china, february 2013! episode 1

I'm taking a major winter trip this February -- another 3 weeks in rural China to visit the in-laws, and also some travel time with Mr. Bun and friends! Snowy mountain hikes and hot springs, here we come!

*No panda statues were harmed in the making of this photo.

I've already got possible packing combinations and coordinate strategies dancing in my head. I've been lucky to have traveled to many different places with my love, but I still haven't worked out a good strategy for packing smart, especially for multiple week cross-country or international trips -- I always end up packing weird clothing and accessories that I don't even want to wear as compromise and then it takes a huge toll on my mood. This time will be different. No more messing around, no more lugging around a bajillion items only for them to sit, unworn, at the bottom of my suitcase. I got this! I'm going to use my previously-documented TaoBao items to their fullest, so watch for that! w I'm also including a batch of gifts from Mr. Bun, which have not arrived yet, so the list is subject to change.

Travel Fashion Girl has been a great starting point for inspiration! It has suggested packing lists, sample clothing items, and the like. The guides are helpful when it comes to getting organized, but most of the clothing featured are not things that I would wear, and the destination packing lists, while they offer great suggestions, are not quite relevant to my own journey. 

 At the very least, I'm going to try and stick with this:  
  • One Color Story – mostly solid colors, minimal patterns
    • For me, it's 'neapolitan ice cream,' think sweet! (pink, white, cream, brown, neutrals like tan or gray. Black is OK too as an accent, i.e. for legwear.)
  • Durability 
    • Easy to wash or doesn't have to be washed often, easy to pack, easy to wear. 
  • Good Fit
    • Nothing ill-fitting or too tight. Make sure the item's cut works with other items.
  • Appropriate in various settings 
    • Prints and cuts that can be dressed up or down for hiking, hostel downtime, plane rides, dinners with the family, etc. This time I've chosen a lot of comfier, relaxed fits and soft materials, but with 'dressy' details like floral patterns or lace trims.
    Official Arshley Bun instituted guidelines:
    •  No pants. 
      • So... no, I don't wear them. No trousers for this girl! This is my own little idiosyncracy at play here.  Venturing out into the deepest, coldest northern Chinese winters without pants? Insanity! Someone exclaimed. My no-pants winter travel has been tested at the edge of the Himalayas in December at Jiuzhaighou National Park, where I was just fine climbing glaciers with shorts, skirts, and layered leggings. Stranger yet was climbing the treacherous trails of Mt. Hua immediately after finishing study abroad in Japan in 2009, where all my accumulated clothing was Harajuku's Takeshita-doori fashion street "all fashion, no function," oops. While luggage minus heavy stuff like jeans means more room for my other things, I have to fill that with short pants, skirts, culottes, and any number of layerable leg wear items -- socks, leggings, tights.
    • Easily mix & match-able separates 
      • This also ties in with the similar color story rule, but I chose items that I could visualize mixing and matching to create as many coordinate combos as possible. Pull some things out of each category, and tadaa! Cute outfit!
    • Travel undies
      • Instead of bringing all the underwear I own this time, I'm bringing some travel underwear with me, and just a few regular backups just in case. I didn't know these even existed til recently, and they are on the expensive side, but you only need a few pairs! They are sweat wicking, anti odor, and hang dry easily in 3-4 hours if you wash them in the sink at night. Washing instructions: 1. Wash in the sink with soap. 2. Wring out excess water. 3. bundle up in a towel burrito and stomp on it to squeeze out the rest. 4. Hang dry.  I was squicked out by the thought at first, but I've tried them since and they are pretty magical. 3 weeks of underwear is like a full luggage pocket of free space.
    • No one-time use items
      • A chronic issue I have in packing for any trips, even to visit my mom who lives a few hours away, is bringing items that only have one application, i.e. a belt that only works with one outfit I've brought with me. Last time I was in China in the winter of 2011, I brought a bunch of summery usamimi ('rabbit-ear' wire headbands) with me that I didn't end up wearing even once. I opted to wear my fluffy warm knit hat instead, because we were in places like Mùgécuò Lake in the off season and my ears would turn to icicles and fall off otherwise...
        S-So... cold...


    OUTER (2 items, winter coat always worn, so not included)

    1. Cream Axes Femme sweater. Cozy and versatile with some cute details, ribbon tie and faux fur collar.
    2. Pink Axes Femme zip hoodie. A bit more casual with feminine trimmings.

     TOPS (5 items)
    1. Pink, brown, white plaid long sleeve. Flannel and cozy.
    2. Black, white striped PLAY long sleeve. Can function as a shirt or tunic.
    3. White Chloe La Tour Eiffel long sleeve. Comfy jersey knit, cute lace collar.
    4. Cream music note long sleeve. A lightweight sweater that can be worn by itself or layered.
    5. White Women's ColdGear® Fitted Longsleeve Crew Top by Under Armour. SECRET WEAPON for layering!!

    BOTTOMS (4 items)
    1. Brown Axes Femme shorts. Looks more like a skirt when worn. Thin material, though.
    2. Lt. Brown hi-waist skirt.Goes with so many things! And easy to wash.
    3. Gray cuffed shorts. Definitely on the warmer side.
    4. Khaki lace trim shorts

    ONE PIECE (4 items)
    1. Cream, pink flowery t-shirt dress
    2. Pink, brown fleece-lined 77cm length shirt/dress (2)
    3. Gray lace trim tunic

    INNER (21 legwear + 3 travel undies + 1 bra = 25 items)
    1. Leggings - (footless)
      1. Brown, fleece-lined
      2. Tan, fleece-lined
      3. White, nylon
      4. Black, white snowflake
    2. Tights - (footed)
      1. Black, nylon (2)
      2. Cream, bamboo
      3. Pink, nylon compression (2)
      4. Black, floral pattern
      5. Gray , nylon
      6. Cream, floral pattern
    3. Socks
      1. Tan, brown bunnies angora wool ankle length (2)
      2. Pink, cream bears  angora wool ankle length (2)
      3. Black, pink, white woolen frill ankle length (3)
      4. Brown, OTK length knit (2)

    ACCESSORIES (3 items)
    1. White warm knit hat
    2. Brown gloves
    3. Scarf TBD

    PAJAMAS (2 items)
    1. Pink fuzzy bun cute PJ's from mr. bun's mom, cushy and warm for even hostels with broken heaters!
    2. Black tank for when cushiness is not required

    SHOES (2 items, perhaps 1 pair of dressy flats to be purchased upon arrival or thereafter?)
    1. Brown POU DOU DOU short boot for everyday occasions
    2. Brown Bos & Co tall waterproof winter boot for long walks and hikes, great traction, warm

    WILDCARD (2 items so far)
    Bathing suit. I haven't bought one of these yet, but I'm looking for a cute one piece for hot springs adventures! 

    Fair isle leggings. These don't fit my color theme either, but they might be really useful in a pinch, so I'm really tempted to pack them anyway, effectively defying myself, sigh. They're also fleece-lined and WAY cozy for central Pennsylvania winters, even.

    D: I still feel I have a long way to go... a lot of these things probably have to go. We'll see how far I can whittle this down.

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