After nine months of travel, and living out of a suitcase at times, I developed a very solid idea of what worked and what didn’t with the clothes I had packed, along with a better idea what I liked and what I didn’t like.
I still like mostly everything I started out with but a pair of shoes wore out, some pieces were awkward to wear and pack, or turned out to be unnecessary, some were difficult to maintain, and other pieces of clothing made me feel frumpy and uncomfortable. It didn’t help either that I gained some weight over the nine months we were on the road (I blame the gelato). Except for one pair of pants everything I took still fits but some items became a little tighter and less comfortable than they were when we started out.
I thought carefully the past couple of months about what I didn’t want to carry along any more, and about replacing those items with ones that I think (hope) will be more practical, fashionable, comfortable and easier to maintain when we’re on the road and afterwards.
These are all the tops and sweaters that will be remaining behind. The denim tunic, the white cotton tunic and the black & white print shirt were difficult to maintain and required ironing after coming out of the suitcase or being washed, so ended up getting worn very little or not at all. The navy & cream striped sweater was just too bulky and heavy and took up too much room in the suitcase for something I didn’t wear very often. The black v-neck printed t-shirt is cute but a bit too low-cut – the first time I wore it in Japan my grandson asked me about my cleavage! I like the idea of the navy & cream striped shirt, but found too often that I had to make myself wear it. The black item in front is a long lightweight cardigan. It looks nice and fits well but was impractical for travel (and another item that took too much maintenance).
The navy blue and gray pairs of the L.L. Bean Perfect Fit pants are going into storage, not because they don’t fit but primarily because I always felt so frumpy whenever I wore them. I think I must have something against traditional navy blue, although I love indigo and denim blues, and I have an unhappy history with gray pants or skirts (high school uniform) and always found myself feeling uncomfortable every time I had them on, which was usually with a black top, a combination Brett was not fond of and found depressing.
I love the denim knit jacket but probably wore it less than five times, and it’s another item that just takes up too much room in the suitcase. The vest and black jacket pack down to nothing, but I rarely wore them; in fact, I don’t think I wore the black jacket even once.
I never wore the skirt or the black t-shirt; the cotton pants are way too tight now; I love the lightweight gray shirt but it’s another high-maintenance item; and I have no idea why I took along my pareo as I didn’t even pack a bathing suit.
I am not going to throw away anything, and the above items will go into storage for the time being. I did get rid of the black pair of Skechers I started out with – the memory foam soles had no more memory, the inside fabric was ripped and worn out, and the shoes had stretched out to the point my feet were sliding around in them making them extremely uncomfortable to wear. They went into the trash before we left Japan, but the blue pair is hanging in there, although they’re not very comfortable anymore for any kind of distance walking. The two pairs of sandals I pack got/get lots of wear, but I think I wore the pair of clogs I took along all of three times, so they will be staying behind as well.
I did a bit of online shopping in Japan and after we got to Portland, and bought some new items (all on sale, some with deep discounts) that I like and am excited about wearing. I am very pleased with everything I purchased, and as hoped for they are more practical, fashionable, comfortable and easy to maintain. I’ll post about those items next week.