Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Deciding what to wear on holiday


I’m trying to put together a travel wardrobe as I’m off on holiday in the next couple of days. I’m off to Italy and according to the forecast the weather is similar there to in the UK at the moment, with highs around 15 degrees when it’s sunny and dropping to near zero at night. That’s quite a temperature difference, so my strategy is going to be layering. I’m going to include light-weight long-sleeved tops and cardigans with jeans. I’ll also take a warm jumper just in case it gets really cold in the evenings.

After many years of travelling for work, I feel I’m quite a pro at packing; aiming to pack for all scenarios, but also pack light. After all, you never know when you’ll have to carry all your luggage further than you intended. (I learnt that the hard way after arriving in a strange city from the airport to find I had no accommodation). I usually make a list a couple of days in advance (just in case something needs to go in the wash) and then pack the evening before I go. The actual packing probably only takes 20 minutes.


Packing list for 6 day holiday

Bicycle shirt (long-sleeved)

Brushed cotton checked shirt

Long-sleeved t-shirt

Muse cardigan

Thicker  sweater / jacket

2 pairs of jeans

There will be underwear, shoes (1 pair only) outerwear too, but I haven’t bothered with a photo of that.

I’m always shocked though when I find out just how much time other people devote to packing and selecting outfits. My mother-in-law lays all her outfits on the bed in the spare room and starts packing at least a week before a holiday! But then having seen this packing in progress, she does tend to take a huge amount with her!

Perhaps though my mother-in-law isn’t the only person who takes, what I feel, is an extraordinary amount of time packing. I stumbled across this article, which is based on a survey of 2,491 Matalan customers. Apparently, deciding on what clothes to take on holiday uses up to 52 minutes each time. Even on a weekday morning, an average of 16 minutes was spent by the survey group deciding what to wear. In contrast, I think I must have spent all of about 5 minutes actually getting dressed this morning. To be fair I’m wearing the same skirt as yesterday so that was already “pre-selected”. However, I probably spent longer than necessary trying to find my blue cardigan. I didn’t find it and elected to wear a black one instead, even though it doesn’t match with the rest of my outfit so well. Perhaps this is the crux of the whole matter. Perhaps I don’t spend so much time on selecting an outfit as I’m quite willing to compromise. Who really cares if I would have preferred to wear the blue cardigan today instead? I don’t really recall spending any more time on selecting my outfit during Me-Made-May and there was the added inducement to select something that looked good for the photos and the blog!

Where do you fit on the scale? Do you spend a long time carefully deliberating the day’s outfit? Or do you fling on the clothes that are on your bedroom chair/ bedroom floor / first thing out of the wardrobe? How about your packing strategy?



Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

6 thoughts on “Deciding what to wear on holiday

  1. I am a planner for sure and for me it’s part of the fun. It’s not because I can’t get dressed quickly or that I lack confidence to decide what to wear, I just genuinely enjoy thinking about my wardrobe and planning things to wear.

    • Enjoy away! I wish I planned a little more. Gets even worse this time of year as I’m generally up before everyone else and in the interests of not disturbing my other half, I generally try to find clothes in the dark…..I really should lay things out the night before!

  2. I’m no great fan of packing, so I have to ease myself into it by starting with the simple things: nightwear and undies. A while back, I was a chronic over-packer, trying to anticipate every possible change in the weather and circumstances, but that’s thankfully in the past! I like to lay out a couple of basic outfits and then add in other items that will go with the main pieces of clothing in the first couple of outfits.

    Enjoy your trip to Italy!

    • Thank you! That’s a great idea – I think that planning a couple of basic outfits an adding others to the collection works well. Now that I can plan additions to my wardrobe I’m finding that is an easier task as I now mark things that co-ordinate – both in colour and style.

  3. Interesting!
    I’m a very fast packer as a rule and I travel very light. I’m pretty good at first thing in the morning too – I lay my clothes out the night before. I’m not so good at what to wear when life is less “everyday”. Takes me ages to decide but then maybe that’s part of the pleasure of having a choice of clothes?

    • I know what you mean. My sewing plans these days tend to just concentrate on the everyday and I often find “I have nothing” for a special occasion – but sadly as they are few and far between, I try not to let that worry me!

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