What to wear?

I’ve read the forums. I’ve searched the web. I’ve scouted out photos on Flicker and SmugMug.

Now I’ve figured out what clothes to pack. Hooray!

But it all started off like this:

  • “Don’t wear jeans. Nobody in Europe wears jeans.”
  • “Don’t wear white athletic shoes. Nobody in Europe wears white athletic shoes.
  • “Don’t wear bright colors and prints. Nobody in Europe wears bright colors and prints.”
  • “Don’t wear a hip pack. Nobody in Europe wears a hip pack.”

Sigh. I was beginning to think that, if I wanted to follow the comments, I’d be attired in a black t-shirt, black skirt (“No one in Europe wears shorts”) and a black pair of leather flats. Throw in a pair of black earrings and maybe a scarf in black and grey and I’d have it nailed.

Then there are the forum posts about what to wear (dinners seem to be an especial issue) on the Viking ships. Entire online lives seem taken up by tossing out “gotta do this” grenades from the fashionista police.

Okay, I get it: I don’t like to sit down for dinner next to some guy in a tight-fitting white ribbed tank top and jean shorts that sag to his knees (and well below his belt line on the other end). But I don’t need the same tablemate to be in a dinner jacket either.

So I planned my wardrobe to be:

  1. Comfortable
  2. Tasteful/respectful
  3. Stylish (hopefully!)
  4. Easy to pack as well as mix and match.

In case it helps you, here’s what I’m packing in the clothes department (devices/personal items are another post entirely!). And, if you’re a woman “of a certain age” (you know what that means, a grandma these days but nowhere close to being a great-grandma) and have some different ideas, please let me know! Keep in mind we’ll be river cruising in August.

Wearing on (long) flight:

  • Black straight-leg, ankle-length pants with nice stretch (I love the Style & Co. line from Macy’s)
  • Short-sleeve white top with embroidered swirls
  • Pashmina in rich blues/blacks (draped loosely around neck at first, later to cover up with)
  • Black flats (my roomiest; I’ll put on some dark knee socks just before boarding to keep my ankles warm while in flight)
  • PacSafe Metro Gii 100 Hip/Shoulder Bag (yes, it’s a “fanny pack” if worn around the hips, but I love this bag. I’ve used it for six years on trips all over. It holds everything I need for the day and I don’t have to carry anything over my shoulders. So fie on you, fashion police!)
  • ScottEVest Sterling Jacket, black. Sleeves zip on and off–this doubles as my jacket for the rest of the trip but I think I’ll likely be using it most in the “vest” configuration. This is my first trip with this vest/jacket; I’m looking forward to seeing if it “carries” small items well, leaving my hands free. So far, the home trial looks pretty good—it just looks like a black vest and not like I’m loaded down with gear (even though I was!).

Trip wardrobe:

  • Light mocha-colored straight-leg, ankle-length pants, same as black ones above.
  • Black cropped straight leg pants, same Macy’s line as above.
  • Black, just-at-the-knees swirly skirt
  • Black, lightweight cardigan. Modern fit, gathers in back. Mom has the khaki version of same sweater; we’ll be switching off!
  • White and black dressy tanks for under sweater.
  • Black/white-striped s/sleeve top
  • White sleeveless ruffled top
  • Two multi-colored sleeveless tops
  • Two scarves
  • Bathing suit (for the baths in Budapest)
  • Lightweight rain jacket (this is very lightweight, from my backpacking gear, and packs into its own pocket; it has a hood, should it be needed)
  • Jammies
  • Three pairs of quick-dry undies (I love you, ExOfficio)
  • Two more pairs of black flats (I have feet “issues” and would rather be able to switch ’em out frequently)

I know I could pack fewer tops/pants but I’ve put everything in my suitcase (all gear entirely, including the carry-on satchel stuffed inside the outer pocket) and I’m only at 24 pounds, including the suitcase. With my nifty Eagle packing cubes, I still have plenty of room left, too. So I figure I’d like a little variety in wardrobe.

So, what do you think?

Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “What to wear?

  1. Kathleen

    You are a brave girl….I pack Chico’s for traveling! They have great light weight ankle & crop pants for traveling…. Keep the posts coming!


  2. Pingback: Things to take to make life better: Part 2, flight comfort | Pack Those Bags for a River Cruise!

  3. Becki

    I am curious about the ‘flats’ you are wearing, in light of your comment that you have foot issues. The walking surfaces on your tours will frequently be uneven and / or rough. I, too have foot issues and always include a good pair of walking or hiking shoes/boots/ sandals in my packing list.


    • I need a really wide toe box, narrow heel and high arch, Becki, or my toes suffer (my backpacking boots are Italian-made leather and I love ’em–worth every penny they cost–yet I *still* have to use silicone toe spacers and little silicone toe caps to avoid between-toe blisters/skin breakdown. TMI, huh?). On top of that, one leg is slightly shorter than the other so I sometimes put in a heel lift.

      Despite all that I want something at least somewhat cute!

      I buy my shoes online because I live in a semi-rural area where what I need is simply not available. I typically research the shoes heavily then order multiple pairs (sizes/widths) and just count on sending back 90% of ’em (“free return shipping” is my friend).

      That said, I’ve got these three pairs lined up for this trip; all have been well broken in since March and tested in real-world walking/trekking on multiple surface types. YMMV, of course:

      Really cute Jambu “Blossom.” They’re loose and comfy with good support. Adjustable strap means they work well for long days. If find Keens don’t fit me well, but these do! Jambu Blossom.

      Cobb Hill “Paige.” Cobb Hill is a division of New Balance, with very good quality. Leather, “fisherman-type sandals” with a closed toe (I tend to bump my toes on things so I wanted to keep ’em covered). Again, I get compliments on these. Cobb Hill Paige.

      Naturalizer BZees “Boardwalk.” Not quite as cute on my foot, but the upper is exceedingly stretchy and the sole very absorbing. It’s my “in flight” shoe ’cause it can adjust nicely for wear with socks (I hate cold toes!). Naturalizer Boardwalk.


      • Becki

        Seems like everyone loves Keens, but they don’work for me either. I’m familiar with Cob Hill, as we have a great New Balance store here, and they introduced me to Aravon shoes. I was looking for a flat that my orthotic could fit in, that I could walk in for distances and still wear with “nicer” clothes. I found a Mary Jane that realky fit the bill. Then, at another store, where I buy most of my shoes, I got an Ecco sandal, with adjustable straps. I also have a very high arch that needs continuous support if I don’t wear my orthotic. Haven’t seen the Jambu Blossom, but sounds like something my sister coud use. She also needs a wide toe box, and it is often hard to find.


  4. I found your blog on Cruise Critic, and I think you may have inspired me to start blogging when I start packing, not when I start traveling! I’ll subscribe and follow your journey. My husband and I are doing Vienna to Nuremburg/Prague on Uniworld in September, adding an extra 5 days in Prague after the Uniworld trip ends. My parents are coming with us, and mom is having a hard time imagining what she’ll pack … I’ll send her your blog too 🙂


  5. Sure, why wait to share until you’re on board? Start now, Liz! And tell mom something for me: Choose colors that she loves for the wardrobe–’cause I’m guessing I’m going to be doing lots of “repeat” or “change it up with a scarf versions” of the same outfits over the next 21 days!


  6. Alexia

    24 pounds…I am beyond impressed.


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