Monday, November 5, 2012

Wardrobe design

I'm not entirely sure who reads this blog. Probably about 50% of my hits come from family or friends. But for those who don't know me in real life, I'm going to be spending the Spring semester abroad, in Germany. BUT! I'll be going on the German semester, which means I'll be gone from February to July. And, due to the fact that I am flying on a cheap student ticket, I get to check one bag.

This means I need a very focused wardrobe. It also needs to be very varied, because this is the Freiburg temperature map:
(Image source:

In other words, I need to be prepared to dress for temperatures in between 29 and 78, with the possibility of it getting cooler or warmer. Yikes. I don't like extreme temperatures, and both of those ranges sound unpleasant to wimpy me!

So, here are my thoughts, in no particular order.

1. Skirts are more versatile than pants, because they can be worn with tights in cold weather and without in warm weather.
2. Skirts and tops are more versatile than dresses, because with two dresses you have two outfits and with two shirts and two skirts you have four outfits.
3. I should have at least one pair of shoes that I can do *lots* of walking in.
4. I should have a pair of warm boots, which I can do *lots* of walking in. So I guess really I need two pairs of shoes I can walk in, since I won't be wearing winter boots in the summer.
5. I probably need at least a week's worth of outfits, but do I need more? If I do laundry every Saturday, I could theoretically repeat the same clothes every week for six months. Theoretically. That would be pretty boring!
6. I should probably limit my clothes in terms of colors, so pick one neutral color to be my neutral colors for the semester. Then I won't have to bring as many shoes, for example.

Has anyone else done anything like this? Does anyone have any advice? I don't want to be too spartan, but I also am starting to worry about packing, and if I decide to sew a bunch of things I want to know sooner rather than later!


Sarah McClelland said...

It should be fun!
I'd start by looking at SWAP style things, or 30 for 30 concepts. Links:,17592.0/topicseen.html

And tips...
Take a pair of Chacos or similar for the summer walking shoes...(4 years ago and I still wear the same pair!) I wore mine for 6 weeks straight in Istanbul. And a pair of ballet flats will dress up and down for mild winter and spring/summer.
LAYERS for tops! Especially if you get cold! Lots of things to make them... a pashmina will be your friend on the plane.
I'd do 3 skirts you can wear year round, and a dress or two, because they'll give you an extra layer and dress up for church and such. Take leggings too, and one pair of jeans for stupid-cold days.
Roll your clothes, don't fold them. Put things in the toes of boots. And remember, you have a carry-on too.

Whew! long post.
Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Shannon Ells said...

Hey Sophie! So I thought I would lend you a few comments since I know your style and the weather you will be dealing with.

1) Don't bring any shoes you haven't broken in before leaving. You will hate yourself. Yes one pair of black boots should do. I went with brown boots and I want to kick myself since my primary color for my wardrobe was black....don't ask. I'm an idiot.

2) Layers. Don't bring shirts that are only for summer or only for winter like bulky sweaters. Only bring one or two because Germany is cold. T shirts can be layered under a sweater or long sleeve t shirts can go under a cardigan to keep you warm but versatile.

3)As to your comment about doing laundry every week, I would bring at least a week and a half and at most two weeks worth of clothes. That's what I did and it makes your life easier if you don't always have time to do laundry and it gives that extra amount of clothes to make new outfit creation just a bit easier.

4) Shoes are more important than your clothes in a study abroad situation. Without the right pairs of shoes any outfit will look and feel worse. I also suggest your boots and a nice pair of ballet flats or two for church and other outings as well as for the summer months. I would bring one pair of sandals if you like to wear them, but know that your feet will get very dusty very quickly.

5) Staying warm in the winter outweighs staying cool in the summer in most cases. Bring the two sweaters and wear one on the plane as well as your winter jacket and boots to save room. T shirts will keep you cool enough and they are appropriate to wear under warmer clothes in winter and to wear in the summer. I also like your skirt theory. I didn't bring enough of them. Too many dresses and not enough skirts really does equal less outfits.

6) Bring one pair of pants for hiking and other outdoor adventures. Maybe those black ones you wear occasionally. I suggest you stay neutral with your shoes and pant/skirt options and be more colorful with your shirt/accessories options.

7) On that note, bring accessories like scarves, necklaces, or belts because even a small change to an already worn outfit makes it look new and creative. And they keep you from losing your mind with boredom.

Those were the most helpful tips I could think of based on my time in Rome. Hope some of them help!

Sophie Miriam said...

Thanks! Those were both SUPER helpful!