My Maximalist Packing Experiment + A Road Trip Outfit

suitcase with clothing

August has been a light posting month, but it’s been good to take a little time away and just enjoy my summer. We just got home from a blissful week in Rhode Island where we basically did nothing but eat, lay on the beach, and hide from the world (sorry friends and fam if you didn’t see us this trip – we’ll be back up soon!). I am proud to say that we returned home about six hours ago, and I’ve already finished most of the vacation laundry. Here’s hoping that this entrepreneurial spirit lasts through tomorrow morning when I have to sit down and face my inbox.

This trip to Rhode Island is one that we take every year, so you’d think that by now I’d have the packing list dialed in. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. As a serial minimalist, I always attempt to pack the least number of things possible, painstakingly curating the most stylish, versatile selection of my favorite summer clothes. Last summer, that perfectly curated suitcase lasted me about three days before I had to admit defeat and find a local laundromat.

Summer vacation, I’ve learned, is the enemy of the capsule wardrobe. Between the sweat, salt water, and sunscreen, most outfits last less than a day, never mind a full week.

So this summer, I decided to do something different. Instead of designing my perfect little travel capsule a week in advance, I just brought everything. Seriously. Everything in my closet that wasn’t a blazer or a work dress got Kondo-folded to within an inch of its life and stuffed in the suitcase. We were driving down, so we didn’t have any space or weight restrictions. I figured, why not, right?

The results of my experiment are as follows:

+ I only wore about 30% of the clothing I brought with me, and I repeated items pretty often. My most worn items were my bikini (obvi), track shorts, walking sandals, blue jeans, and my VETTA Boyfriend shirt. I brought too many dresses, too much lounge clothing, and way too many shirts.

+ I was glad for the options, even if I didn’t wear them all. The weather in Rhode Island in August can be a little unpredictable. Sometimes we need coats in the evening or it rains all day and barely breaks 70 degrees. Sometimes it’s hot and humid and I can’t even fathom the idea of having to wear pants. Having a lot of stuff with me, even if I didn’t end up needing it all, left me feeling confident that I wouldn’t have to run to the nearest Target to buy an emergency outfit because of poor planning (an actual thing that happened to me in Seattle – more on that in a future post).

+ Getting dressed was not as much fun as it usually is. Having fewer options available to me always makes me feel more creative and more excited to get dressed. A capsule inspires me to come up with new combinations I wouldn’t have considered before. Having a big giant suitcase full of clothes left me pretty lazy, and I didn’t expend much energy on choosing my outfits. Maybe getting the chance to be lazy on vacation isn’t the worst thing in the world, and I probably could use a break from my constant clothing fixation anyway, but hey, sue me. I enjoy a challenge!

I don’t know that I’d do the maximalist thing again next year. For one, I could not lift my suitcase by myself, and for another, packing is usually something that I have a lot of fun with. I missed doing that this year. So, last year I underpacked, this year I overpacked. Maybe 2020 will finally be my Goldilocks vacation.

Switching gears, I thought I’d show you the outfit that I wore on our 7-hour road trip from RI to DC this morning. I really want to talk about these jeans, which Everlane sent me to try out a couple of weeks ago and have quickly become a closet staple.

everlane button fly jeans

For today’s car ride, I chose my Tradlands Les Femmes tee (25% off right now!), my new pair of button-fly jeans from Everlane, and classic Keds Champion sneakers. While I normally don’t travel in jeans, and truthfully I was skeptical of these stretch jeans in the first place, I fell in love with these once I put them on, and I wear them at pretty much every opportunity.

The original Everlane jeans are great, don’t get me wrong. I love the sturdy, non-stretch denim, and for a while, I eschewed all other jeans. But then I gained some weight, and those jeans became increasingly tight and uncomfortable. The features that I once thought of as providing support suddenly seemed like they were strangling me. When Everlane asked if I wanted to try anything from the August arrivals, I thought, hey, I can’t wear the jeans I have, so I might as well try something new.

I’m glad I did. I sized up (to a 27 from a 26) and between the super high rise, the secure button fly, and the stretchy material, these are the most wearable pair of pants in my closet right now. I don’t know if this weight is my “new normal” or if it will go back down to the number I’m used to in the regular ebb and flow of body weight fluctuation, but I know I’m not going to waste time trying to shrink myself to fit into clothes from slimmer days. I’m choosing pieces that work for the body I have at the moment I have it. Does that mean I am buying a second pair of these jeans in black? Probably.

p.s. Everlane is running a promotion today for free 2-day shipping on all orders. If you’ve ordered from Everlane before, you probably know that the standard shipping takes forever, and the 2-day shipping is expensive AF. Got something on your list? I’d recommend getting it before 9pm Pacific time tonight when the promotion ends.




5 thoughts on “My Maximalist Packing Experiment + A Road Trip Outfit

    1. Ha! Thank you! Once I started doing the Marie Kondo packing method (where items are folded into little rectangular “tents” that stand up on their own) I couldn’t go back. I like being able to see everything at the same time, and it really does save a ton of space!


  1. Packing is an art I have yet to master. There always end up being at least a couple of unworn pieces in my suit case and it feels like such a waste of space. It sounds like you had a great trip! It’s nice that you got to enjoy some summer fun.


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