12 Dec 2015

The Top 3 Travel Pieces

anna kneightly stars in anna karenina, vickiarcher.com

3 travel pieces were outright winners on my last trip, and on every trip.

I wore the top 3 every day over and over; I accessorised them with the other items in my suitcase but as it eventuated I wore the same three pieces everyday with slight variation. I changed shoes, I alternated jackets at night and I swapped earrings and scarves. Those 3 pieces turned out to be super practical. I longed to switch the look up, click my fingers and reach deep into my wardrobe (not my dishevelled bag) but as the choices were limited I made do.

What I realised in one light bulb moment was my outfit may have had a sameness to it but it made getting up in the morning and out the door easy. Travelling is busy, unless the destination is a tropical island, time is precious and more often than not the people we meet are different each day. Hopefully they never compare notes and the change of lipstick did everything I hoped for.

3 pieces work anywhere if they are die-hard favourites.

The top 3 needs to be flexible, classic and easy to wear. My three were black; they are usually black. The reasons vary but generally it’s to do with practicality and flattery; especially now I have given in to the silver hair.

Black simply works.

I know there are those of you who are a little tired of black and I do understand but in autumn and winter black really is an easy pack. When we are at home clothing choices are so much more varied and I do shop my closet for non-black looks on a regular basis; when I travel I don’t want to ruminate on “what to wear”.

I want to follow my packing rules so I am not dependent on someone to carry my bags. I can’t quite manage a long trip with cabin baggage only but I must be able to move my suitcases single-handed.


The Top 3 Travel Pieces

1. The Black Pants

I think I alternated the suede panel Pixies with the crop style Martie every other day.

These J.Crew pants just work for me with everything. I wore them with sneakers, with boots and heels. They suited each jacket and coat and took me everywhere I needed to go. I am expecting great things from them over the holidays.

2. The Slim Black Top

By slim I mean not too bulky.

I wore a mix of Tee style black tops and turtlenecks; they worked every day in every way; the turtleneck with the velvet blazer or the silk long sleeved tee underneath the parka (or vice versa) combined together easily.

3. The Parka

The good old khaki parka saved the day in many ways.

For one thing, it wasn’t black. After two weeks, as practical as black is, it was a relief to lighten up the outer layer. The parka topped everything and looked great over a blazer if need be or on it’s own over the LBD or the pants and top ensemble.

I am leaving for Provence early next week; I am so excited to make our home festive and bright for the holidays.

The top 3 will be coming with me, xv.

The Top 3 Travel Pieces

j.crew pixie  //  j.crew martie   ||   eileen fisher silk tee  //  vince turtleneck   ||   dkny khaki anorak  //  dkny utility parka


the SHOP pages are updated with beautiful holiday images if you would like to take a peak

image from the film Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley

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They all sound very chic and I’m sure you could get away with wearing basically the same three pieces in New York.
But that doesn’t work everywhere. One holiday we stayed in the apartment belonging to a friend of a friend in very small Tuscan hilltop town (not a normal tourist destination, though historic and beautiful). The owner told us that everybody knew everyone in the town – and noticed everything.

We were disappointed to find the apartment washing machine was out of order as there was quite a pile of washing to be done. So the day after we arrived I decided to wear the same clothes I’d worn the previous day – they were pretty clean, after all, and quite respectable.
We walked around the little centre of town stopping at different shops to buy food, drinks, the Post Office etc. Everywhere we went the people looked hard at us, in a friendly way, and then stepped closer to me and said “Washing machine broken. Go to Etrusco” (a small mall type shopping centre with a laundry some kilometres away). Everyone we passed by stopped me to say this. Even crossing the little piazza. My husband said to me “You see, I told you it wasn’t a good idea to wear the same clothes today!”
That night someone rang our doorbell. As we didn’t know anyone in the town this was rather alarming. A strange man stood there. He just said “Washing machine broken. Go to Etrusco” and left. We went the next day and I never wore the same outfit two days in a row again. Best wishes, Pamela


This is wonderful Pamela.. I am smiling as I imagine you wandering around the small Tuscan town..

Maybe they look at me in St Remy! I often wear the same outfit.. I better keep my eyes open and notice more… ;)


With Ines de la Fressange as an example of local practice, I’m sure you’d be absolutely fine and would always look great in St Remy. Btw there used to be a wonderful older woman with a brocante stall in St Remy market and also ISLS that Ines used to buy from – she had an old battered exercise book with details of what she’d sold famous people/good customers and photos stuck in of them with her and whatever they’d bought. But haven’t seen her the last two years – I think all the packing up of the stall was getting to her – she told me she thought she was getting a bit old for it – shame! Do you ever see Jean Reno? – believe he lives near St Remy. Would love to see him in the market in an old Souleiado shirt!
With hindsight, the Italians are totally about the bella figura so I’m sure I committed a cardinal sin by wearing the same clothes two days in a row. The disgrace! Best wishes, Pamela


Jean Reno had a home very close to St Remy in the Alpilles area … I am not sure if he has it still. I saw him once in Maussane some years ago … looking fabulous.. all cream linen and slouched panama, .. very handsome and striking. The Big Blue is still one of my all time hits.. :)


Yes I’d read Jean Reno had a place there. Loved that movie too. The cream linen and panama sound gorgeous! How wonderful to see him in person! He’s one of my raves.
I’ve sometimes run into women icons (Catherine Deneuve – was actually introduced to her by a mutual French friend), Sophia Loren and Sofia Ford Coppola but haven’t yet been lucky enough to come across any of the fabulous men stars.

Except years ago met Peter Allen on a Brisbane street – though not quite the same. Oh, and Michael Caine, on a plane – he was sitting across the aisle on a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. Both very nice. Ran into Michael Caine again at Sydney airport – we were both clearing our bags through Customs before boarding domestic flights in different directions. He was going to Cairns or Townsville, I was returning home. Best wishes, Pamela


You are more observant than me Pamela!
I always miss celebrity sightings… which was made very obvious to me at The Greenwich Hotel recently when everyone was noticing and I missed out.. ;)
I need to pay more attention.. :)

Mimi Gregor

Maybe you can clarify this, Vicki, but I’ve heard that French women have a limited wardrobe and often wear the same pieces over and over. Last night I watched Amelie, and noticed that she wore the same red lace tulip skirt over and over, with just a few changes in tops, or sometimes a dotted black dress. In American cinema, an actress would go through a slew of costume changes, even if she was playing someone poor.


It would seem the French women, especially the Parisian or woman who lives in the city, does have quite a simple wardrobe. I think they buy good pieces and wear them over. From my observation it appears that way.

I often see Ines de la Fressange shopping in the brocante in Provence and she wears similar pieces winter through summer but accessorised in a different same way..
French women sometimes do appear to work their wardrobes like a “uniform” and as I realised on my travels… it does make life simple.

I hope you enjoyed Amelie.. it’s such an adorable watch… :)


Vicki, I am still getting a kick out of Pamela’s remarks!
I like this idea a lot though because I always overpack!!

The Arts by Karena
More Books for the Holidays!

Linda Hanselman

I always over pack. I try and try not to. Our last trip to France I succeeded and did not over pack with clothes. It’s my chemicals (as my husband calls them) that I have a hard time with. You know all the hair stuff, makeup, serums, lotions, etc. How do you handle those. As to the all black. I’m in!!!


actually you don’t need too much clothes if you know how to combine and jazz it up (hope I used the
right diction) with .good accessories …but you know …women can never have enough shoes etc….anyway
when I travel I try (and I put the emphasis on “try”) to keep my luggage as small as possible.

Anita Rivera

Oh Vicki, I have to tell you….a while back, someone made a comment (at work) about how I dress. I was told I wear too much black and that I may have a disorder (afraid of colors) HAHAHAHHAHA! Can you imagine? Par contre, I love color but I know when to use it. Black for me is a staple and I’m with you. It never goes out of fashion. I wear EVEN MORE black to blind this particular person’s point of view! HAHAHA! Long live the fashion sensibilities that each of us follow for the sake of our own personal preference!


We may have the MWB syndrome… “mostly wear black”.. Anita ;) Actually we call our house MDB for short… maybe I will change the name to “must do black”.. ;) ;) ;)

Love it and yes we all have our own preferences thankfully… :)

The Enchanted Home

Check check and check. I practically live in black pants and own several of the same slacks (Theory) God forbid they stop making them:) YES to the power of black tops….quite forgiving which is especially great around the holidays:)


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