Friday, 8 June 2012

A Packing List for Italy

That, dear Style File followers, is my packing list for Italy.

France, Switzerland and Italy, to be more precise.

Tomorrow, Monsieur and I head off for a two week driving holiday down to Tuscany and back, making a few choice stops along the way. This complicates packing considerably when compared to a single destination trip.  Packing for a driving holiday requires careful planning.  And no linen.

The no linen rule is simple: By the time you reach your second destination you'll look like crap.  And I don't want to look like crap at our second destination because it's a place I've been dreaming about for years; Portofino and the legendary Hotel Splendido.  Our fourth destination, which we'll reach on day 12, is the equally glamorous Villa d'Este on Lake Como.  Any linen to last that long in a suitcase would come out looking like an Issey Miyake accident. Cool for some, but not really 'me'.

Easy dresses, on the other hand, are 'me' and that's exactly what I've packed - in abundance, as you can tell from my packing list.  There were 17 initially, but I removed 3 to appear less greedy.  (I made up for them with a pair of black Joseph stretch pants and couple of cool tops.) 

If you're trying to decipher the code in my sketch, it works like this:

Each dress has been annotated with an N (night) D (day) P (pool) or F (fancy, reserved for night, but not just any night).  Some dresses are multi-purpose; others are definitely not.  I then allocated a number to each frock (1 thru 17, although 14, 16 and 17 were nixed in a fit of Princess guilt) and I matched the numbers to a probable occasion, thereby ensuring that I had enough frocks to cover all possibilities.

If my packing list looks a little complicated on paper, let me simplify things for you:

I'd be really impressed by anyone who can match the dresses to my sketches; more so by anyone who can spot the missing frock. 

I also added 3 bikinis:

And a small stack of knits:

Some gym and hiking gear have also made their way into the suitcase I share with Monsieur.  Yes, you read that right - a single shared suitcase for a 15 day driving holiday and 14 dresses.  I wouldn't imagine it myself if I didn't have these:

Muji suitcase organisers. Lightweight day dresses packed flat in one, night and 'fancy' in another, knits in a third and my swim, gym and hiking gear in the last.  Mix those in with Monsieur's shorts, shirts and ts and badda bing, badda bang - Italy here we come! 

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. It's not an OCD.  I swear.
2. The missing frock is number 7, a black strapless cotton Club Monaco number that was bought in the days when Club Monaco was a cheap'n'cheerful Canadian staple and not Harvey Nichols' newest label.
3. I'm just messin' with you.  You don't seriously think we can do all that in just one suitcase, do you?  Puhlease!  Shoes and accessories are in a separate case, of course.  (And Monsieur's cycling gear is in its own special bag.  Did I mention that he's bringing his bike?  It hardly seems fair that he can bring a whole bike + bike stuff and I have to jettison 3 dresses, but hey ho - he's taking me to Hotel Splendido so my bitter resentment is just between you an me, okay?)
4. OMG we're going to Italy!  But first we're spending the weekend in Burgundy. Get ready for dress 6!


  1. Have you come across the line of dresses "le petite robe di chiara boni? They are beautiful, flattering, comfortable, and touted as great, wrinkle free travel items. I believe they originate in Italy .

    1. Hello! Thank you for your comment. I actually saw some of the Chiara Boni line while I was in a little shop in Bellagio, on Lake Como. It looked lovely. Thank you for pointing it out. Ciao! Pepita

  2. I am guessing you do not get many men posting to this site, but I thought it was worth a try! I am trying to surprise my wife with a trip for her 40th birthday. Night in New York on the actual day, followed by 7 nights in Tuscany...villa in the country as well as couple nights in Florence. Call me crazy, but I am trying to keep it a complete suprise right up until the point we leave for the airport. This would mean I need to pack for her(thus how I came upon your packing list)! Would love any help you can offer in terms of best places to purchase some of the things on your list or how to pull this off generally!

  3. Planning a may honeymoon to tuscany and florence. ..stumbled across your blog and love it. You are so cute and funny! Anyway. ..your packing list is amazing...but what I'm stressed about is shoes! Heels? Wedges? Hiking sandals? Hiking boots? Flats? Oxfords? Trying to pack light so really need to narrow it down. It IS a honeymoon so want to be cute. ..also def want to blend in with the literally well-heeled Italians, and of course need to be comfy walking everywhere. Insight? Suggestions?