A Disposable Travel Wardrobe

My trip is still 5 months away but one night, it suddenly feels critical to decide on what clothes to take.

Online Rick Steves tells me to take only a carry on sized bag, (I would probably still have to check it in, I think, otherwise the toiletries would all get confiscated at customs?). Some sites suggest all dark clothes, others, packing as though you will be sipping vino on Capri in summer, (read white linen caftans and silk scarfs, not hauling a bag on and off buses and trains, through Sicily and Naples in Autumn). A few even get highly technical where the finer theory of capsule wardrobe planning is explained including core pieces, extender pieces and accent colours no less.

I am won over by the simpler suggestions, 4 bottoms, 4 tops, 1 dress, everything goes with everything else, something for hot temperatures, something for cold.

Several hours later, (and several glasses of wine), I have clothes all over the bed. I now have an idea of what is missing and I’ve had a brainwave. I could have a disposable wardrobe!


The idea goes like this: I get my wardrobe at the thrift shop, I take it and I wear it on my travels, wash and wear again, until either I am sick of the items or have bought nice Italian replacement items, then donate them to thrift shops in Italy as I go, (I am assuming their are thrift shops in Italy,…hmmm how amazing could they be, stylie designer Italian thrift shops).


So the following Saturday, in my local hospice charity shop I find some black pants, a grey wool skirt, a red cardi, 2 merino jerseys, 2 t-shirts, 1 black and white striped and one black. After a thorough washing and line dry, and then being left on the line for a couple of days, in they come smelling fresh and sunny and I’m away again, everything out on the bed. There’s lots of trying on and mixing and matching and I decide I’m very clever. Some things look great. I add in a few bits of my own and over the next week or so find the last remaining bits I was missing like scarfs and a warm jacket.


All up I have a 12 piece wardrobe with a ton of variations for $108! Some of it I love so much I am wearing already. (I hope it is all still good to go come October).

A good exercise would be to have a dry run trying to fit everything into a carry on size bag but that’s another wine session.



7 thoughts on “A Disposable Travel Wardrobe

  1. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I travel, packing remains in my top 3 stressers. It gets exponentially worse with the increase of activities and climate changes. My Hong Kong – Chiang Mai – beach trip was a nightmare. AND I tried the ol’ only carry-on thing. Never again. I try to pack like that but check the bag. The toiletries mess you up but by the time we got on the plane to HK, there was no room in overhead! So they threatened to check it in anyway. If I wasn’t with my flight attendant cousin they would have.
    Great idea about the disposable wardrobe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We converted to carry-on only years ago after a terrible luggage delay forced me to wear the same outfit for three days at a business meeting, and that was just domestic travel in the U.S! The cosmetics problem (3-1-1- bag) is solved by using travel-sized things and buying replacements in Italy. Get little moisturizer samples at the cosmetics counter, or decant your own into travel bottles. I adopted mineral makeup instead of liquid, and even found dry laundry sheets called Purex so I don’t have to bring liquid soap. 4 tops, 4 bottoms, a dress, a sweater and a rain jacket = good to go! Oh, and wear one pair of shoes, pack another. Only two pair allowed! 🙂 On the other hand, you can check it on the way home when arrival is not so critical!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can travel anywhere with 3 bottoms, 3 tops, something to sleep in, a coat, scarf and 2 pairs of shoes. I use Mela Purdie clothes, all black, with colourful scarves. Depending on how long you are staying, toiletries can be put into smaller bottles.
    Carry on is a geat way to travel, but you have to consider that you will probably buy things along the way. I haven’t seen too many thrift shops on my travels in Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

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