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Packing for a two-day, winter trip

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The best way to test drive a capsule wardrobe (read more on what, exactly, a capsule wardrobe is here) is to go on a trip and challenge yourself to pack light. I used to be a fan of the bring-as-many-items-as-you-can-fit-into-your-bag-even-if-you-won't-wear-half-of-it approach to packing, but experience, the cost of checking luggage, and my interest in shrinking my wardrobe has taught me otherwise. Find inspiration and a step-by-step guide on how to freshen up your wardrobe for spring with my sustainable fashion, blogger babe friend Jess of Rose & Fig. 

The two-day trip
I often go on one and two-day trips for work, and I thought it was time I do a packing post for winter to share with you what I wore and report back whether I had too much, just enough, or not enough.

Winter packing
Winter packing for a carry-on, when winter actually means snow and below zero Celsius temperatures, can be a challenge. A parka alone is enough to fill some carry ons, but here's how I managed to travel to Quebec City, in January, when it was below 20 Celsius, and not bring more than a carry-on. Yup, two pairs of shoes included.

Step 1: Plan out your trip
This was a quick one:

  • Evening flight (one outfit);
  • Quick dinner in the hotel (same as flight outfit);
  • Bed;
  • Day event (one outfit);
  • Straight to the airport (same as day outfit).

No need for a touring outfit, workout gear or a second work outfit. Simple!

Step 2: Plan out your outfits
The easiest way to pack as few pieces as possible while having exactly what you need for your outfits, is to take your time and consider your options. I had two different outfits in mind to wear during the day-time work event. I tried both on, and settled on the one that was the most comfortable (I'd have to be in it for 12 hours after all), required the least maintenance in terms of cleaning and ironing, was made up of pieces that I could wear for dinner and on the flight back, all the while still looking professional.

I settled on jeans and a sweater for the flights and a day outfit of black dress pants, worn with a black, turtleneck shirt and a taupe vest over top, accessorized with a colourful scarf. I could wear the turtleneck at dinner when I landed, I wouldn't have to wear a bra with it because of the vest overtop (bonus points), and all black guaranteed I'd look sharp.

  • Flight outfit: jeans; green sweater; brown, leather booties;
  • Evening outfit: jeans; black turtleneck shirt; brown, leather booties;
  • PJs;
  • Day of event outfit: black dress pants; black turtleneck shirt; taupe vest; suede boots;
  • Flight back outfit: same as above;
  • Four pairs of underwear so that I can wear one on the flight, change pairs for dinner, have one for the day of event and then a fresh pair for the flight;
  • One bra;
  • Three pairs of socks;
  • A scarf for day outfit;
  • Coat;
  • Wool scarf;
  • Hat;
  • Gloves;
  • Laptop bag;
  • Carry-on bag;
  • Toiletries.

Step 2: Try things on
It's best to try your outfits on before packing them away. This way, you'll avoid arriving at your destination and realizing that your outfit doesn't work well.

Step 3: Pack your carry on

  • I use the KonMari method of packing. Put your shoes in a bag and place them flat on the bottom of your bag or in a side pocket, if you have one.
  • Put your bulky pieces at either end of your bag
  • Fold all of your items neatly and stack them vertically, side by side (not one on top of the other) in between the bulky ends.
  • If you can't fit a sweater, wear it on the flight there and back to make sure you have room for your toiletry bag.

Step 4: Pack your purse
I bring my Matt & Nat laptop bag and pack the following items in it: 

  • Passport;
  • Wallet;
  • Phone and charger;
  • Laptop and charger;
  • Agenda;
  • Pen;
  • Business cards;
  • Ticket and hotel information;
  • Lip balm;
  • Hand cream.

So how did I do?

Splendid! My only complaint is that my brown, leather booties hurt my feet after a while. I should've taken my Blundstones for the flight and dinner that evening, and then just my suede boots for the second day.

My flight outfit was comfortable and I didn't have any metal that set off the detectors. I spruced it up for dinner with my black turtleneck, and the next day outfit was great. I was comfortable, which in turn made me feel confident and able to focus on the task at hand. Success.

How about you, what have been your winning one-day trip packing lists?