Mighty Life List
Sep 9 2010

Packing Light: Dublin


This is every item of clothing I packed for seven days in Dublin. I’m doing a campaign for L.L.Bean’s Signature Collection and they sent me a giant box of clothes, so I’m wearing a few of those items below. That means you can actually obtain some of these pieces, instead of cursing me when I tell you that everything you love was purchased at a vintage shop in 2001.

L.L.Bean Signature Silk Habutai Dress Polka Dot

For example, this perfectly faded brown dress with polka dots? It’s L.L.Bean’s Silk Habutai Dress, and it’s so Little Orphan Annie. Except it’s made of heavy silk, but who says orphans can’t have nice things? Jerks, that’s who.

Anyway, as I mentioned recently, belts are a challenge for me. I’ve been trying to up my game on that front, so I bought a few from H&M and this is my first attempt. I felt so pulled together, ya’ll. The cardigan I’m belting here is also H&M, but it’s from the men’s section, which is where they keep all the good stuff.

The grey tights are Target, and the magic travel boots are from Argentina. They’ve gotten me through more trips than I can count.

Let’s get a closer look at those blue polka dots:

Hello, little buddies.

This is my travel outfit, hence the action pose. It’s a knit dress I got at a thrift store, worn with an H&M elastic belt and the aforementioned tights and boots. I also wore a grey sweater wrap that I didn’t get a photo of, but you can see it in my New York post from a couple years ago. It doubles as an airplane blanket.

I’m wearing the dress on the way back home too, so I’ll be washing it in the bathtub while I’m here. Airplane germs gross me out. Another reason to do a quick rinse:

This is the dress worn as a top. I’ve cleverly safety pinned the sides to the outside layer of my Express Ultra Skinny Stella jean pockets. You can also use extra large safety pins to do a gathering effect on the sides of your dress, which is slightly more labor intensive, but arguably more effective. There are those boots again. I love you, boots.

The necklace is also H&M, it makes everything a little more current. Unlike these killer sleeves. What’s up 1983? We miss your economy.

I borrowed this sweater from Bryan who got it at Macy’s a few years back. He never wears it, and it’s super soft. His loss. That’s an L.L.Bean Tweed Skirt and army green tights from Target.

The circle scarf is H&M, and I love how easy it is to mess with proportions when you’re wearing it. Also, coziness.

These are my Rudolf Dassler PUMAs, which I adore, so of course they rub away the skin over my Achilles tendon. I’ve been trying to decide whether I strictly need that skin, so I’ve taken to tying them lower. This frees up a lot of extra lace, hence the creative lace tying. I like the way it looks, so I’ve been doing that with all my sneakers now.

This is a packing minimization outfit. We’re revisiting the cardigan, boots, and jeans.

I forget where the shirt came from, but I bought it because I liked the gathering around the neck and cuffs. You have to iron it like crazy though, and I only seem to have time for that when I’m on vacation.

The hat is hand knit, I got it at a thrift store where I get almost all of my hand-knit items. For the record, if someone hand knits you something and you send it to a thrift store? I’m pretty sure you need to go to confession, or sacrifice a goat or something. Or at least learn how to knit things that other people can then throw away — full circle.

I try to pack PJs I can wear as clothes in a pinch, so this is a tank top and cropped sweats from who knows where. I wear the tank under stuff for an extra layer if it’s cold. The comfy pants are nice if I get sick and want to be cozy, or if my flight is delayed and everything I’m wearing is coated in airport goo.

Chic librarian is my preferred look, so this is my favorite outfit for the trip.

These are L.L.Bean’s Cuffed Cropped Pant. They are fantastic. I’d normally wear them with a chunky heel, but we’re walking on cobblestones in the rain here, so these are cheap, destroyable flats from Target.

The cashmere cardigan is from the Alameda Flea Market, the Peter Pan collar top was 99 cents on eBay, and the modernized cat-eye glasses are Dolce and Gabbana. The hair scarf is actually a belt from a polyester ’70s dress I got at a thrift store when I was in high school. Yeah. It’s time to clean out my closet.

Thanks to the team at L.L.Bean Signature Collection for sponsoring this post.
Next time I have a clambake, you are so invited.

41 Responses to “Packing Light: Dublin”

  • Maureen Says:

    The photo of you in the knit touque (sorry, HAT) is lovely! You look like you’ve just seen something that moved you.

  • Miss B Says:

    Ummm…wouldn’t safety-pinning your shirt to your jeans make it pretty impossible to do necessary things like, say, pee? Or am I somehow missing something very obvious here…?

  • Alison Says:

    I’m a knitter. I didn’t think it was possible to love you more, but now I do.

  • Maggie Mason Says:

    Miss B? Yes. Yes it does. Which is why gathering it on the sides with giant safety pins makes more sense. I forgot to pack the giant safety pins.

    -M

  • melissa Says:

    Your style astounds me. Obviously I need to wear more tights and skirts.

  • Anne (in Reno) Says:

    Can I tell you how perfect this is? I am going to Manchester next month and all I could think about was how cold and gray it was going to be and how I was going to DIE if I had to check a freaking bag and then this happy post pops up! So thank you!

  • Lara K-W Says:

    I am a packing dum dum. And you, Maggie Mason, are my hero.

  • amy turn sharp Says:

    you look great in the rainy Dublin day/ I try and pack like you- it’s so hard for me and I used to travel quite a lot and live abroad- it’s going to be a new resolution for me… I am going to try and pack just a small bag for the conference I am speaking at next week…I am gonna try. Did you bring back chocolate?

  • Beth Says:

    Could we get a Special Episode of Packing Light: Hank? I regularly haul my kids from NYC to London to visit family and I always feel like we take more stuff than we leave at home.

  • Abi Says:

    You are awesome. As always. :)

    Now here’s the doozey… Is it possible to pack light for CHILDREN? I have 2. We fill up the station wagon when we have to travel.

  • Annie Says:

    Love your style.

  • Sassafras Mama Says:

    My sister calls the Chic Librarian look the Hot for Teacher look…..either way, I like it. And totally envy the glasses.

  • K8 Says:

    I got the Signature catalog the other day, and I just love some of the things in it. Alas, they 1) don’t really do larger sizes to begin with and 2) their sizing looks like it’s smaller than the regular LL Bean line’s.

    That fantastic brown polka dotted dress will be available in an 18 in a month, but I am not sure how it’s going to fit. Altogether it means chic ladies of size are sized out of this line.

    I guess I am fine with companies only making clothes to a 14/16 if that’s their chosen demographic. But, I am sort of irritated that a company that makes Practical Khakis in Large Sizes Also How About A Nice Elastic Waist doesn’t think their Signature line would appeal to a crossover customer.

    Grrrrrr. Because some of these things, they are really lovely and would be really flattering.

    You, Maggie, make those clothes shine, and it’s really nice seeing how a Real Person puts them together in the world.

  • kate Says:

    I love this post! Thank you for helping those of us who find packing for a trip so daunting!

    I couldn’t agree more about sending hand-knit items to a thrift store! Even worse? My friend hand-knit a darling little red sweater for her new nephew, with a label inside saying “hand-knit with love by Aunt Nichole” and when he outgrew it? The mom SENT IT BACK, saying “thought you might want to give this to someone else since N. can’t wear it anymore”!! Can you imagine?

    Now…off to LLBean to poke around…

  • Stacey Says:

    I LOVE the outfit with Brian’s sweater. Why do men always abandon the best sweaters?

  • kristen Says:

    Can I share how jealous I am that L.L. Bean Signature Collection is sponsoring you? I want to buy everything in that catalog.

  • Amanda Blog and Kiss Says:

    I have that H&M necklace and get loads of compliments on it all the time! Its great. But the little bits always fall off, I leave a trail of them everywhere I go.

  • Amanda Blog and Kiss Says:

    PS while there did you (are you going to) see the mummified men who were pulled out of the bog? Awesome. Mummified awesomeness.

  • AbraCat Says:

    Oh, hey LL Bean… how’s it going? So, uh… when did you start selling such cute clothes?

  • auntjone Says:

    You look 13 years old in that closeup of you in the knitted hat. I am not even kidding. You’re welcome. Unless you don’t want to WANT to look/be 13 again… Just insert the age of your choice in my sentence.

    I am amazed (appalled?) that those damn 80′s puffy sleeves with ridiculously long cuffs are back. I took my 14 y/o niece shopping last weekend and I swore I was in a time warp- all the shirts looked like they came out of my middle school wardrobe.

  • Roxanna Says:

    Good work on the belt-wearing!

    Tights are my challenge, one I’m determined to master — living in New England and loving dresses kind of demands it, I think.

    Re: LL Bean Signature stuff…did they happen to send you their black wool dress? I’m curious about how it looks/feels/etc… I saw that it’s machine washable, and I have a thing for machine washable dresses.

  • steph Says:

    Maggie, you just keep it up. You are just about to break through to me. I am SO CLOSE to getting back in style. I love it. I do not always love each piece that you wear (for me – some are a bit over the top for ME), but I love how playful you are with it, and how easy you make it look. I am trying desperately to move on from bluejeans+shirt style and on to what you are doing there. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Maybe you can give me an idea where to start? Give me a wardrobe rehab hint… should I start with a cool pair of shoes? A skirt? Wrap? What? Limited funds, here, too (so no matter how much I love that dress, $179 is not happenin’)…

  • Bonnie Says:

    The L.L. Bean catalog I perused in last weekend’s some-else’s-beach-house was full of classic canvas totes and unflattering jeans. Turns out there’s a secret catalog full of outfits I would buy and wear head to toe? I just clicked and want everything…

  • steph Says:

    OH! I forgot to mention that I think it is very cute that your umbrella looks like it has feet! :) Cute li’l guy you’ve got there. :)

  • Dottie Says:

    Where oh where to begin with that boatload of fabulousness? All brilliant combos. And thanks for hipping me to the “pack pjs that can act as clothes tip. Genius. Nay-super genius.

    I owe you a drink for that one. And for the one I spilled on you many many moons ago and was so horribly embarrassed by.

    But anyhoo–next stop http://www.llbean.com!

  • Jessica Says:

    I see this and want to be braver with my wardrobe.

  • Megan Says:

    Is it possible to love you any more than I do, as a complete stranger? I think not.
    You are WONDERFUL.

  • Megan Says:

    Also: Please tell me that they included their new silk Habutai dress in that box. Its TOTALLY chic librarian and I want to buy it SO BADLY.

  • Megan Says:

    Oh wait. First photo. Wow, sorry.
    Looks gorgeous.

  • Kimberly Says:

    I adore you and appreciate your style to the nth degree, but even you cannot save L&L Bean from itself.

  • suzanne Says:

    where did hank’s long john’s come from?

  • suzanne Says:

    ps. I’d also love to see you do a kids-packing-light– i need waaay more help packing for my 3 year old than for myself!

  • suzanne Says:

    pps Sorry- last comment, I swear! I’ve been wondering what you make of the Target boycott, and this post with its links to Target seems like an appropriate opportunity to ask…

  • Lauren Says:

    I think that since you have a long-ish torso, a wider belt may suit you better. A good skinny belt has its place, but maybe something like this would nip your waist in better.

    http://tiny.cc/0s8si

  • Amanda Says:

    How you manage to completely rock these looks floors me. You mention Chic Librarian, but the round scarf shot is so sparkly, irresistible elfin princess, the tweed skirt is all “this is my friend that always breaks the rules and never gets caught” and then the umbrella and wink shots are like those unforgettable magazine images you clipped to try and recreate in real life…mine was an Elle cover circa 1987. The model was biting her lower lip, I thought it looked casually sexy, on me it just looked unsure and lame.

  • Maren Says:

    @steph: Try switching to skirts. Like, exclusively. I had a hard time breaking away from wearing fitted t-shirts and blue jeans until I moved somewhere with super-hot summers and had to build a wardrobe of skirts (38 and counting!), which need something better than a printed babydoll tee to go with them, and different shoes too. TIghts or leggings under them in the winter, and you’re good to go. Plus you can get such a variety of skirt shapes that flattering your figure is easy.

    And on that note, Maggie, thanks for inspiring my northern European vacation wardrobe last month! My husband just looked over my shoulder and figured it out, haha. I wear leggings instead of tights because they fit me better, but otherwise I was all about cute skirts, dresses, cardigans, belts, and boots. (And TOMS shoes.) Almost everything was jersey-knit and folded up fine, and wore in great combinations.

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    “…who says orphans can’t have nice things? Jerks, that’s who.” made me, as the kids on the internet say “LOL”. Also, must get me one of those circle scarves. Yummy.

  • Janice Says:

    Your chic librarian look is awesome. While you’re in Dublin you should check out the Library Bar which is upstairs at the Central Hotel on Exchequer St. I highly recommend it. They even have an open fireplace to cosy up next to on rainy days. LOVE your site. Stumbled upon it tonight and already am enthralled. Happy travelling and enjoy my adopted hometown!

  • Heidi Ferrer Says:

    I love this post and the pics!!! You are adorable. I don’t mean that in a weird way.

  • Kara Says:

    What a magical life you lead! This looks like such a wonderful time. . .hope it was as good in reality as it looks in pictures.

    (She says, gulping down a sob, as her husband can’t find a job having been laid off for the second time in a year and having no money to spend on wonderful family experiences. Gulp.)

  • Mandy Ford Says:

    Hello! I found your blog through my friend Erin’s lovely blog (DFM) and I just wanted to tell you that I just laughed out loud at your statement about taking a handknit item to the thrift store. As a knitter myself (loom-knitting, I don’t do needles) I would definitely be just a bit heartbroken if I found one of my lovingly made scarves on the Goodwill shelf.

    Happy Friday!
    Mandy @ This Girl’s Life