Spring Travel Capsule: Italian Edition

I was very taken with Steph's recent link to The Vivienne Files' post on packing for uncertain weather - so much so that I couldn't wait to try out the exercise with the items currently waiting in my suitcase. The forecast for Italy in Spring is changing daily so, each day, I figure I need to have options for 70-degree sun to 40-something-degree rain).

Here's how it all seemed to work out: I have 9 "looks," which could get me through as little as three days, depending on the weather and how much it fluctuates between morning and evening. The long sleeve tees are my version of lightweight cardigans, since I don't really own any of those. I also have a puffer coat and three more colors of thermal (not pictured, as they are already folded and packed up, borrowed from fab MaryK), some fleece-lined tights, and a super-fun, citron Totes umbrella (Angie-recommended and scored for $8 at TJ Maxx!). I think it's pretty decent for a single carryon suitcase and a 9-day trip.

The one thing that still niggles at me is whether or not I need to carry all the cold-weather items with me throughout the day. We won't be coming back to the hotel for pit stops, so it could be pretty cold at times. However, the sweater-thermal-scarf-hat bundle is a little more than I'd like to carry for ten-odd hours at a time. I hope we will be able to get on the internet and at least determine the expected lows and chances of rain!

Am I missing anything? Am I bringing too much? Do I need a bigger day bag to haul my warmies about?

One-Dollar Wonders
Gray layering tee
Jade green l/s tee
Gray striped F21 sweater dress
Navy F21 turtleneck sweater dress ($0.50)
Citron l/s tee ($0.50)

Honorable Mention
Destroyed Hudson Jeans - ~$2.50 via Goodwill Clearance Center
Teal scarf - free with purchase via Foreign Exchange
Red fishtail anorak - via ON clearance

Scottvest paprika trench
Dr. Martens Marcie boots - via Shoebuy
Apepazza boots - via Amazon
Guess daredevil jeans - via Guess 10 million years ago
Red scarf (gift)

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Meredith1953 replied 7 years ago

    Looks fun and very stylish! I think you are prepared!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    OOoh! I love this, Rae!! I was very taken with that link, too. She is so amazing, the way she thinks through every contingency. And now you, too!

    I don't think you should have to carry everything with you during the day. Most likely you'll get an internet connection or be able to find out the weather. If you DO have to carry it all, puffers and the other stuff are amazingly light. Do you have a sort of foldable shopping tote you could bring? I have some in fun colours that expand to huge but then go into a teeny pouch that fits into my purse. One I have is from Eddie Bauer, but they aren't pictured now on the web site. I carry it all the time. Something like that could be a godsend. If it got warm you could stuff your layers in there. Or you could carry them for later in the day, without added weight from the bag itself.

    I hope you have a wonderful trip. And I hope we get to see pics!

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    Are you going to do something which requires to dress up a bit like fine dining or show? Dress code in Italy is on the dressy side as I remember...
    I think that day forecast should be pretty accurate so you can dress appropriately. \The problem is that it may be a big different between temperatures in the morning and during the day though....oh, I face the same dilemma!!!
    Are you taking a puffer? I was in Northern Italy in the beginning of January and did not need any puffer at all: there were flowers blooming. I had a winter coat but it was a bit too warm sometimes so I wore it undone. I am not taking anything heavier than a trench to Paris, I would rather layer a couple of extra layers if it will be that cold.

  • Makrame replied 7 years ago

    Hi Rae, How many days do you think this capsule will cover? I see 3 tees, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 dresses. How many days does that cover? Are you planning on wearing tees more than once?

    As far a carrying things, I did carry a foldable raincoat around most days but it wasn't a big deal. I like Suz's idea of a foldable bag.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Hm, Suz, I have a duffel that I folded down incase I have goodies to bring back on the plane... maybe that would do? I don't have to pack it full. Would that look silly?

    Sveta, no, we are very casual, aiming for the budget spots. No dressy stuff needed, though I could do a dress with fleece tights and boots if I absolutely had to. I don't anticipate needing the puffer, but it is light and folds down, so I accepted Mary's offer. I think the trench will see me through.

    Makrame, I anticipate wearing everything more than once, since we're there 9 days. I'm taking tops I can wash in the sink if need be, so I don't think it's a problem. If it is really hot and I sweat a bunch, I'm sure I can pick up some cheap tees.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Sure, a duffel would do if it is lightweight. That's the key...you don't want to add any extra weight if you are lugging stuff around. A light nylon backpack would be another option, of course. Perhaps not fashion forward, but practical. Carrying stuff on the back doesn't feel as taxing.

  • HelenInCanada replied 7 years ago

    Ciao bella! By George, you are going to LOVE Italy! SO coveting. I need to remind myself that jealousy is one of the deadly sins. :O

    You are set - though I firmly believe your trench will see you through (a puffer is excessive, but if you have room just in case...) The trench and your fishtail jacket are versatile and will work in any environment. I wore a light nylon jacket throughout March/April in Italy - Rome and Florence - and it was perfect. You can layer with a sweater/cardi if it gets chilly.


  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Ah, the duffel ought to do, then. My backpack is Hello Kitty...

    Helen, thank you for sharing your experience! I was able to waterproof the anorak as well, so at least the rain is taken care of. Your nylon jacket sounds very comparable to what I have.

  • Scarlet replied 7 years ago

    These look like super capsules. I am so impressed by your packing organization. The only thing is my impression was that Italians tend to be on the dressy side, and this looks very casual. However, one must not always do as the Romans. It's up to you.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Hm, you make a good point, Scarlet. I don't have any *dressy* clothes that are comfortable enough for full days of walking, but if my dark wash jeans come in before I leave, maybe I will switch out for those. I'm hoping to leave my trench on most of the time, too.

  • ManidipaM replied 7 years ago

    Rae, that is SO impressive! And so colourful! I have a hard time making my travel capsules (when I manage to encapsulate, that is!) go beyond three or four colours. And usually one of those is a scarf.

    I think you actually might be fine if you just carry the anorak, and hat, scarf and gloves, plus a thermal, and maybe leave the sweater out. I'd be tempted to leave the anorak unless it rained when I was starting out or looked like rain --- but it is certainly the one thing that will get you really uncomfortable fast: being caught in a sudden shower!

    Have fun in Italy! And may the weather gods be kind and considerate. :-D

  • Sona replied 7 years ago

    Rae: I would take one dress along. so what if you are going to low key, budget places? A dress or skirt always perks ones mood up and nothing like garnering *extra* looks from the Italian men to keep your hubby on his toes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago

    Love travelling capsules from tthis week, yours(as Suz's, too) is also fab!!! Have a nice time in Italy!

  • Zapotee replied 7 years ago

    You should team up with Suz and teach a seminar. Everything looks great! My favorite is the cat tee :)

  • Velma replied 7 years ago

    I don't think you'll need the puffer this time of year in Italy, Rae. Just bring the trench and a scarf and layer! Maybe also throw in a pair of leather gloves, if you run cold. I would also suggest bringing one mid-length dress or skirt--very useful for everything from museums, to touring churches, to dinners out.

  • modgrl replied 7 years ago

    Great capsules! I love the idea of dressing for any possible weather. I was also going to suggest some dressier looks but I see some others have beat me to it. They do dress more formally in Italy and they'll peg you as a tourista immediately if you are dressed too casually.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Your capsule looks great, Rae!

    I have two questions:

    - do you really need to bring a puffer coat?

    - can you walk in those shoes for hours on end on cobbled streets?

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    This is a great travel capsule! I love it! Agree you may want flat shoes.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the ideas, everyone! I will think about throwing in one jersey LBD dress, though I don't want to look too much more dressed than Hubs, who will be in shorts and tech pants ( I know, I know... dead tourist giveaway. He doesn't care about these things at ALL).

    Believe it or not, these *are* my most comfortable shoes - especially the Apepazzas, which amazingly do have rubber soles. I cannot walk in flat shoes more than a couple hours before my arches and ankles start to hurt.

    The puffer... ah, it is something I don't think I'll need but am scared to leave at home. It doesn't take up that much room, so it should be okay. I'll only bust it out if it gets really bad.

    I forgot about our gloves and will pack those tonight!

  • replied 7 years ago

    This looks great Rae! And if you have to wear your warmest weather options, you can add a scarf to your T-shirt to add some dimension to the outfit and look a bit more dressy.

    Do you know where your seats are on the plane? I have decided that the window seats are almost always the most freezing spot. Or maybe it's just always wintertime on the airplane, lol!

  • Zapotee replied 7 years ago

    Rae - I just re-read your post. Is this your 9 day capsule?

    If that is the case, I would add your two BB shirts and a couple of your nicer sweaters. You can layer the BB blouses + sweater for a dressier look. Also, I would pair of black skinny jeans to tuck into the black boots. What about the AT black blazer or your suede rust jacket? ... You got some nice things that should be in this capsule...

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Zap, yes, this would be for all 9 days. Can you believe I don't own black skinnies? Hm, while the BB shirts are too dressy (I don't want to make Hubs uncomfortable on our honeymoon!), my collared mechanic's shirts (red and gray, red pictured below)might be okay.

    What about adding:
    - 2 collared shirts (gray not pictured)
    - indigo skinnies
    - knit LBD

  • Makrame replied 7 years ago

    I am with Zapotee - this is what I was driving at, if this was my 9-day capsule, it would have more shirts or next-to-the body layers. This might be a personal quirk but I always find that when traveling, I cannot reuse t-shirts and such because inevitably I end up sweaty (maybe just waiting in line inside a museum to buy tickets or climbing stairs to get to a bell tower). So I would have more shirts and/or t-shirts in the capsule, and the shirts could also provide the dressier look.

    I think your red and grey shirts and indigo skinnies would be perfect. I wore dark wash skinnies most of the time in Italy and felt like I was blending in pretty well. A knit dress (with a bright scarf, perhaps) sounds great, too.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Thanks, Makrame! I guess I didn't understand before... I was thinking that my thermal undershirts (packed 4) would always be next to my skin, but that isn't the case if it gets hot - the tees would be next to my skin. OK, I'm going to add some lightweight tees as well.

    It is kind of a tightrope walk dressing for the environment (dressy) and for the DH (very casual, not 100% fond of skinnies). Hm, he does like my white skinnies, but that is probably a bad idea in the rain...

  • Mo replied 7 years ago

    I will chime in with the 'add a dress' crowd :) Otherwise, I think it looks great. Boy, you sure do pack light compared to me - good job!

  • replied 7 years ago

    Rae, you capsule is interesting to look at . You are SO organized!
    But, as a south-eastern european I tell you the weather's gonna be fine. I went to work in shoes today. and last week. It's getting warm. It won't drop under 10C in Italy, I'm confident. Even rainy spring, Italy has a beautiful climate, it's not cold and damp, it's rather warm and sunny . I say you have more than enough warm clothes, and you'll be able to gauge the weather just by looking on the window. If it's rainy, umbrella and trench, if it's sunny, tee and perhaps a sweater for "maybe it might get chilly".
    I will take advice from you in September on honeymoon capsules, so I look up to your trip:)

  • Kyle replied 7 years ago

    Rae, I'm in Italy now. So far, a lined trench has been perfect for everything. When it is very sunny I tie it around my waist or carry it, but the cold can come on quickly so I would not want to be without it. I left the long underwear at home and have no gloves or hats and have not needed them. I wear a T shirt under a sweater or long sleeve top and the trench with or without a scarf...I'd never make it in heels. The cobblestones are uneven and streets are very narrow and tricky to walk.i brought a hoodie as an extra layer just in case, and everything fits in a small carry on. Enjoy!

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Anya and Kyle, thank you so much for the "live and on-location" reports. It sounds like the weather is going to be just about ideal - super exciting after all my reading on the dreaded, unpredictable, spring weather. If I can wear the trench and carry a light layer in my bag, I will be one happy gal.

    Anya, are you honeymooning in September? How wonderful!:)

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    I love the way you figured this out! Looks like you have a good mix of neutral and colors.

    The last time I went to Italy I bought along denim and black. Fortunately it was light wash denim so there was a little color in the mix. It was very easy to create outfits. I also bought along a pair of tall boots which I wore all the time.

  • Zapotee replied 7 years ago

    I like the three additions!

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