Packing Light: Greece Edition

If you’ve been reading long, you already know the drill from my packing posts about New York and Puerto Rico. I don’t like to check luggage if I can help it, so I try to fit everything in a carry-on and my laptop bag. This is what I packed for two weeks in Greece. It’s eight outfits total, and my plan was to wear everything twice, but on different islands.


This is my favorite vintage dress. It’s cotton and it has pockets, purrrr. Great for visiting churches when I’m traveling, because it covers the shoulders and knees, but it’s cool and easy to move in. I can also plop down on the ground without worrying I’m flashing everyone, so it’s good for traveling with the toddler too. The shoes are my navy saltwater sandals.


Because it’s cotton, this dress wrinkles in the suitcase, so Bryan taught me a trick from his acting days. Head into your hotel bathroom with the dress on a hanger, turn the shower on hot, wet a washcloth, wring it slightly, and then pat the dress down. The little wrinkles will fall out with the steam, and the wet washcloth takes care of the big ones. I just put the dress on damp and let it dry on me, but you can also let it dry overnight.

The glasses are a drugstore purchase from years ago, the headband is an elastic 99-center from H&M. So useful, that I actually gave Melissa one when we were in Puerto Rico, because she lamented having lost the ones she picked up in San Francisco. You need one too. More on that later.


This is a simple black, drop-waist dress that I got for $7 at a thrift store when I was in college. On the plane, I wore this with a pair of black leggings, my trusty slip-off gold flats (see Puerto Rico post if you’re curious about those), a pale blue cardigan, and my swimsuit wrap worn as a scarf (the wrap also doubled as a blanket). Again, I’ve failed you in photographing my travel outfit. Don’t think I can’t hear you cursing me from here.


I think the dress is rayon, but it reacts to water like crepe — either way, it doesn’t really wrinkle. I bought the hat for 10 Euros in Santorini, because I didn’t pack a sunhat. Which was dumb. Be ye not so dumb, my traveling friends.

The purse is from Buenos Aires, the necklace is my favorite, a gift from Bryan purchased at Rare Device. I can’t believe I’m blanking on the artist’s name. One of you knows, I’ll bet. Let me know in comments, and I’ll update.


These are the same shorts I took to Puerto Rico, they’re Rocawear. The shirt is a men’s undershirt, Hanes I think.


The brooch is a long vintage silk scarf that I made into a flower shape and pinned to my shirt with safety pins. Because I am crafty.


Oh man this dress is so good. Also vintage, and unfortunately polyester — the yucky kind. I got past it though, and it’s great for traveling.


Bryan brought back the bracelet from a work trip to China. All my cool jewelry is from Bryan.


The gladiator sandals were my main shoes for this trip. They’re surprisingly comfy, though buckled a little loose in this photo. They’re from Delia’s, which is a teen catalog that’s great for accessories and trendy stuff that you only need to last for a year or so.


Speaking of trendy stuff that doesn’t need to last, here’s a $15 romper I bought for the trip from Urban Outfitters (Be careful, that site now has music! Ugh).


I told you a while ago that I like to pack jammies that can double as outfits, and these were supposed to be my jammies. I ended up wearing them almost more than anything else, the knit was crazy comfortable. Action wear!


The giant earrings are from a shop in Kentucky. They’re lightweight.


Back to that headband. I keep it in my purse when I travel because my hair invariably starts to look scraggly with wind and swimming, or I get too hot to wear it down. With this, I can pull it into a ponytail and use the band to clean up the stray frizz caused by humidity. It’s easy to do without a mirror, and the result is casual, but a little more polished.


This dress is by 25singles. The sleeves are constructed so I can push them to the front and back and wear a cardigan without any added bulk on my shoulders. Great for the city.


Greece is all about jumping for me, apparently. Anyway, you can see here how the sleeves only attach at the top, so you can arrange the folds for more tummy or bum coverage, as you desire. Genius.


The necklace is actually two necklaces from H&M, which I knotted together.


Here are those shorts again. The tank is by H&M, and is much fuller than it appears in this photo. I actually decided it was a little unflattering on this trip, and probably won’t be wearing it again. Such are the perils of seeing yourself in photos.

The shoes were a blog rec by Elizabeth from Browner Brown. They’re $17 Saniya Pointed Toe Flats from Target, and they’re rubber soled. They didn’t give me problems on this trip, but have since given me pinky toe blisters. Great with tights though, and I love the color.


The scarf is the same one I used as a brooch above. This time I looped it twice around my head, tied it on top, and tucked the loose ends under for an updated Rosie the Riveter vibe.


This is another vintage find. That green band has crazy giraffes and other jungle animals in play, which is spectacular. Super comfy.


The fish-scale belt is elasticized, I got it at a thrift store. The waist on this dress is a little high for me, so I like to define it a bit.


Sunglasses were on loan from Laura, as an Englishman had accidentally absconded with mine the night before, thinking they were his girlfriend’s.


This is my swim wrap, which I bought in Bali on my honeymoon. It’s essentially a large rectangle of linen with a random button and a random tie. I have to figure out how to wear the damn thing every time I put it on, but it’s great to travel with because I can also use it as a scarf or a blanket on the plane. It’s by Oka Diputra.


The back gives you a little insight into how it’s fashioned. Button at the neck, tie at the waist. Supposedly you can wear it like fifteen different ways, but I have no idea how.


Here’s my new La Blanca suit! I’m excited because I almost never buy new swimsuits. I may just be turning over a new leaf on that though. (Sorry this is a little blown out, my camera was on the wrong setting.) I got it on sale at I like that it’s a sexy one piece, but I don’t feel like my boobs are hanging out. Also? Red! Which is the very best color for a swimsuit.

And that’s it! Here’s a shot of my suitcase.


I had so much extra room, that I decided to throw in my rollers, which was ludicrous. I used them twice and they made my bag heavy, which is a Packing Light fail.

You can also sort of see that I packed two things that didn’t get much play, a yellow turban purchased in Puerto Rico, and a white men’s button down to wear as a coverup (I wore it for sleeping instead). The red and white striped thing is an adorable $10 beach bag from Walmart, which I used a couple times as a shopping bag, and to carry home Hank’s gifts without crushing them. I also had a pair of black flip-flops, which got a ton of use.

Regrets? Well, the stupid curlers. Come on, Maggie. Also, I should have worn a sunhat on the plane. It took a while to find a reasonable one, and I don’t totally love it. Also, in retrospect, I would have thrown in three or four more evening dresses. We tended to wear casual clothes during the day, and dress things up at night. It would have been good to have a few more in the vein of my 25singles dress.

Also, I would have stuffed my busy husband and my cranky toddler in, because as fun as it is to travel with girlfriends, I missed those guys.

I was in Greece because Intel is sponsoring my Mighty Life List. Next week, I’m going skin diving in the Arctic Circle! Stay tuned.

48 thoughts on “Packing Light: Greece Edition

  1. Darn you and your cute vintage thrift-store finds, Maggie! You’re making me think I need to spend more time in thrift stores. I love these what-to-pack posts.

    Also, I thought you might like to know, I just bought your book as a gift for a friend who just started blogging. 🙂


  2. I absolutely love your posts. Though I’m seething in jealousy that you’re going to do ANYTHING in the Arctic, but that aside – I love all things related to travel and packing, and you have inspired me to shop more creatively so that I can travel lighter and dress better than my standard shorts and t-shirt combo.

    Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work! (And if you run out of ideas for future posts, I’d love any advice about how to fulfill one’s Mighty Life list on a tiny budget, especially if it involves international travel, like yours.)


  3. I have never been more impressed by someone’s style. I wish I had an OUNCE of the style that you have. Your outfits were amazing and the snapshots were adorable! I know I’m not the only one but these posts are awesome!


  4. I am putting off packing. Right this very instant. My suitcase is not nearly as fashionable and twice as full. Bah. I am going to go rethink some choices.
    Wish I was going to Greece…


  5. Where did you find the 25singles dress?

    Trying to search for 25singles brings up many interesting, but not useful results. Well, just not useful for dress buying…


  6. Another great fashion post, Maggie! I would love a tutorial on how you use your curlers. I have naturally curly, long hair that is not unlike yours and I’d love to know what the curlers do for you (is it a volume thing?) and how long you have to wear them (would I need to wear a kerchief to the grocery store? Cause I think I’d like that.)


  7. Hmm random idea for the tank you don’t like, what if you got rid of the straps and tossed your gold belt over it, maybe wore leggings with it. Might be able to save the purchase!


  8. What toiletries do you pack? I’m going away for a long weekend next month and I just don’t know if I can pack few enough liquids to get away with not checking my bag.

    I love the scarf brooch/headwrap and the swimsuit!


  9. I love how you traveled with dresses and skirts. How wonderful! Had it been me, I would have worn pants every single day because I would have convinced myself that it would be easier and make my outfits more versatile.

    I need to wear more dresses and skirts. It’s a must. You look great!


  10. Here’s my question and something that often plagues me when packing (for the record I only have a carry-on and my laptop bag) where do you put your Canon? Unless you only travel with a point and shoot. I’ll have my DSLR but because of it’s shape there’s no comfy place to put it so I guess my question is what kind of laptop bag do you bring?


  11. Love the scarf wrapped around the head, looks super cute and vintage. You do have a keen sense of style, but I have one dig with you younger women. Pulling your hair back into that elastic headband thing, and all the unbrushed ponytail wearing that goes on nowadays, it does not look “polished!” Otherwise, go get it hot mama!


  12. You are WAY beyond talented with packing light for a trip. What amazes me is that you’ve found pieces that are not boring and are so unique. I’ve definitely got to rethink how I purchase my stuff.


  13. These posts could be your next book Maggie! When reading these fashion, travel and packing posts, I go into a dream trance. They make me feel calm and all accessory and vintage-hungry.

    I’m a little shaken, too, ’cause I’m feeling a conversion coming on. I’m a BIG suitcase girl–but…like, I’m thinkin’ “forget that crap.” Dee-lish! Enjoying it all!


  14. Hi, I love your travel tips. Do you bring make up or do you need special shampoo? How do you get that on the plane with the security rules? I have an insane fear of losing everything in my make up bag, lets face it, expensive stuff, to the screener.


  15. Brilliant, Maggie – thank you! This gives me lots of very good ideas… Thing #1 is I need to wear more dresses – they take up less room than pants/jeans! Also, my rollers always (!) travel with me, but I have a much smaller set because I have much less hair.


  16. Bravo, Maggie … brilliant job of packing! I go to Greece often, take a big suitcase and find that I usually wear the same things over and over. Better to fill the suitcase with things I can’t find there for my apartment! Pre-thinking is a good thing! My must-have for fall/winter/spring: a good sized pashmina. Wrap, blanket, headpiece for religious sites.


  17. As a packing minimalist and lover of all things efficient and organized, I am absolutely delighted by these posts.

    Also, they’re great inspiration for those of us who are only now starting to develop our personal style. (What can I say, I was a mega-tomboy for years.)


  18. Maggie! Bravo! I must say, I love reading your blog and I love your style. I’m a single working mom who strives to be a little more fashionable, but with a personal touch. I often find myself just spending too much money on clothes…. I am really inspired by your Mighty Closet commentary. Please keep it up! And good luck on your next adventure! I noticed “watching the salmon runs in Alaska. I just so happen to live in Anchorage, (another challenge in the fashion catgeory) so let me know when you want to cross that one off your list!


  19. Well, Miss Mighty, you have duly impressed me with your clever traveling suitcase magic! You make it all seem so very doable, and beautiful.

    In fact I’ve fallen head over heels for your entire swoonworthy blog. Thanks for the great reading!


    – Leslie


  20. Really great post Maggie! I always look forward to your packing light posts, as I’m learning to pack light after a trip to Europe lugging a 3, 50lb suit cases. Well, my husband did.
    I’d be very interested in what you take along in your little red dop kit there. Did you really fit in everything a girl needs? Did you buy somethings once you got to your destination? My packing light education won’t be complete until I know. : )


  21. The jewelry artist you’re blanking on, I believe, is IRK Ronni Kappos. I have a similar necklace (vintage glass beads) and she designed mine.

    Also, would love to see a guide to vintage shopping up on your site, since you seem to find such fabulous things!


  22. So inspiring! I always overpack and then end up using the same few items over and over, making for a very heavy and mostly useless suitcase. I’m going to try the mighty girl way next time. Thanks for the ideas!


  23. I am a serious student of packing light. On every trip, I find a sweet-spot outfit of layers that I end up wearing almost the whole time. Eventually I would like to be able to predict what that will be and bring only that.

    When I got to the suitcase shot I cracked up at the rollers. But I am laughing with you. I have Bernadette Peters/ Felicity curly hair (hot rollers are great for quickly defining a few front bunches into larger, more flattering curls) and have dragged a stupid blowdryer more places than I care to admit to. Like tropical places with insane humidity. Because I reeaaaallllyy wanted glamorous, blown out hair.

    I am in a pro-curl phase now.


  24. Can you please teach my husband the art of packing lightly? We went to Miami for 5 days and he had a stuffed suitcase and items on coat hangers. My two year old and I shared a suitcase!!

    He needs intervention


  25. I don’t know how you do it. Even when I think I’m packing light, it’s always SO MUCH! Maybe it’s because you wear a lot of dresses and I lean more toward jeans/short/capris – I don’t know, maybe those don’t scrunch down as small?

    I have those blue flats from Target, and even though they’re adorable, I get terrible pinky toe blisters too. Ugh.


  26. First of all, your legs look fantastic in the 11th photo down. Well done. I should try jumping in photos more.

    Second of all I’ve been on this same mission. Just went to Prague for a long weekend and packed lighter than I ever have, but still came home with about 5 things that I didn’t wear. FIVE full things for a FOUR day weekend. It’s the “what if” factor. What if I need to change? What if its colder than I thought? etc.

    I’m a work in progress on this one.

    And finally, I dreamt last night that I had died and had to pack for my trip to Hell. That one was a doozie for sure!


  27. I just adore your first dress…I can see why it is your favorite. Now, could you tell me what red lip color you’re wearing in the pictures? I’m freckly like you — similar skin tone/hair, etc. — and have never found one that has suited me. Point me in the right direction?

    I’ve so enjoyed seeing you getting to do this Mighty Life list stuff. Can’t wait for the next installment.


  28. Maggie, I loooove your vintage black and red dress! I’m currently packing for a trip to Paris and wanted to know did you take your SLR or point n shoot camera? I want the awesomeness of my SLR but dont want to carry it around.


  29. You are the kind of beautiful that when your son is old and his friends come across a picture of you in your youth they’ll comment that WHOA, YOUR MOM WAS SO YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL AND VIBRANT!

    Not that you *won’t* be these things when he’s old, but that headband headshot about halfway down is gorgeous and full of character.

    And hey, I have a whole lotta hair myself and I think I’ll take you up on your headband suggestion. My solution up until now has been to control the frizz and ponytail escapees with sunglasses except that this is less functional when the sun is in my eyes and then I’m that lady who’s squinting but with sunglasses on her head. And that’s just stupid.


  30. I ADMIRE you for being able to pack so light & so cute. I may be just the opposite… cute but obnoxiously heavy packer. I love the ideas in this post & will use them on my next trip! thanks!!!


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