Packing Light: ALT Summit

I try to travel without checking luggage, and Packing Light is a series about what I pack to get that done.

I haven’t done a lot of winter suitcases, so I thought I’d do a post about what I packed to speak at ALT Summit. The jeans are from The Limited, and I need to imagine a gospel choir singing and Jesus rays breaking through the clouds as I type this next part: They were the first pair I tried on. I’m a size 8 to 10 in jeans, and the ones at The Limited have a perfect waist to bum ratio for my figure, so the waistline doesn’t gap. The boots are my magic Buenos Aires boots from the trip we took when Hank was a baby.

The undershirt is an acid yellow top I got at Old Navy in a frenzied stock up on layering pieces when they had the $5 sale before Christmas. I like to buy unusual colors so I can combine them with neutrals and have it look all artsy, which is what I’m going for with this grey Dolman sleeve sweater, also from a sale at The Limited (twenty bucks, baby!).

Laura took this lovely photo of me in my outfit for the “Old Hollywood” party. I took that to mean retro-Oscars, but most other ladies wore chic little cocktail dresses, which means I was grievously overdressed. Upside, I arrived after dinner and drinks, so I was mostly too illuminated to care much.

This is a cheap feather hair clip I often use to spruce up dress straps. It can add va-voom to the most mundane spaghetti strap number.

Update: I got the clip at a cheesy costume shop on the Haight, the one with all the wigs and spandex zebra print outfits. I looked for a similar one online but couldn’t find it. If you do, let me know and I’ll post a link in a later post. Also, this can get crushed in a suitcase, so I pack it in a hard-sided cardboard box that’s maybe three inches high.

My hair is getting too long for ponytails, it just tends to look scraggly, so this is my version of the quick updo. I twist back the front sections, then do a loose chignon in the back.

The shoes are a hand-me-down from my sister. I like the surprise lattice work in back.

I like to wear color when I’m onstage, so this is what I wore to speak. I got the Esprit velvet mini at a thrift store in college. Grey tights are from Target.

I got the shirt and belt on sale at JCrew and I wear them both constantly. The cashmere sweater is a vintage Pringle from the Alameda Flea Market (twenty bucks!). The brooch is by Elefante, e a Vida, and I adore it. Miriam’s work is my go-to gift for beloved girlfriends, all of whom I’m pinning one by one.

I got this fake fur jacket years ago at a thrift store in Sacramento. It brings back amazing memories of having breakfast at a sidewalk cafe on sunny winter mornings. My roomie at the time had a giant giraffe-print coat, and we’d wrap up so we could sit outside without waiting for a table. I swear I can smell mint tea every time I put it on, and it’s crazy warm.

Update: I wore the jacket and boots on the plane, so I didn’t have to fit those in the suitcase. Next time I’ll remember to include a shot of the case packed. I also roll my clothing to save space, though the long dress I just folded over and stored in a top panel of the case.

Leggings by H&M, as is the zip-front sweater.

These leg warmers are also H&M, and they are divine. They make it more feasible to wear leggings as pants, and you can really wear them with anything when you want to throw in a little trendy kick.

(Someone asked in comments what I’m wearing on my lips in this photo. I think it’s just Burt’s Bees peppermint chapstick.)

And finally, you must own one of these American Apparel circle scarves. I never take mine off, and there’s so many ways to wear it, I give a full-on infomercial to anyone who will listen. Sorry about that, Karen and Erin. But you love the scarf don’t you? I thought so.

37 thoughts on “Packing Light: ALT Summit

  1. i love every single bit of this outfit. excepting the fact that we have no H&M in Omaha. my friends and i are starting a petition to remedy that, but in the meantime, i will try to find similar pieces at our local American Apparel this weekend.



  2. In support of your fab idea of doing 3 things on your life list this month (which will really help blaze a trail through the dreary March) my first will be to find three key wardrobe pieces: a circle scarf, leg warmers and boots. Because those 3 items appear to be wardrobe staples which I am sadly lacking. I am stymied by the lack of an H&M, but WE SHALL OVERCOME.


  3. You look fabulous!

    Also, what are you wearing on your lips in the very last picture? They look so lovely! (Is that weird to say to someone I don’t know…?)


  4. This is masterful. How do you fit a giant fur swing coat and a voluminous feather thingie in a carry-on without being a voodoo lady?


  5. I’m wearing my American Apparel circle scarf *right now*. Love it. I’d meant to slice it up and have it look stylishly stringy, but couldn’t bear to give up the warmth and function of it.

    Love your outfits as usual. 🙂


  6. Love this edition of Packing Light. I live in Minnesota and have been living in my tall boots and leggings all winter. Loving the layered looks. I wear and own a lot of neutrals and want to try to add more color – you’ve offered a great guide!


  7. I love this post. Also, I got a so-called infinity scarf from Nordstrom as a gift (I assume it’s like your circle scarf?) and it’s pure genius. No more raggedy scarf ends flapping around.


  8. Love this edition of Packing Light. Could we see a photo of the packed bag next time? Just wondering how you get everything to fit into one carry-on-able bag. Is it a special suitcase or the way you pack it?


  9. I absolutely love that American Apparel scarf as well! I have the same one in the same color :o) I think I’m going to wear it most days through the spring, summer, fall, and back to winter.

    Also I love the legwarmers over leggings idea! I gotta try this asap.


  10. I have a very small circle scarf that I knitted and I love it. I’ll have to look into the American Apparel one for when it gets warm again and I can’t wear my alpaca one anymore. 🙂


  11. Oooh, I was waiting for this edition, silently.

    And no worries re: the full-on infomercial. I’m pretty sure Karen and I didn’t mind. Fair trade for the immense amount of knowledge you dispersed on said couch.


  12. Pingback: Mummy Costume
  13. You really do have a keen sense of style and I appreciate your frugality – so smart! Do you ever check out The Sartorialist for inspiration? You actually seem fashion savvy enough on your own not to need a daily inspiration.


  14. I second the request for a photo of the packed bag. While I appreciate the convenience of carrying everything on the plane, I think that there should be a special place in hell for those people who carry on three bags, forcing 2/3rds of the place to have their gate bags checked. I know that is totally possible to have enough clothes for a weeks holiday in a carry on, but I think that more people need to know how to do it.


  15. *Love* your use of color with neutrals. I tend ot think the same way and have too many camisoles to number in insane colors and prints.

    I always feel like shoes are the hardest part of winter packing for me. Even with wearing a pair of boots on the plane, I feel like I just don’t get the versatility I want out of only 2 or 3 pairs. Sigh.


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