25 Jan 2018

What’s In Her Bag? The Winter Pack

What's In Her Bag? The Winter Pack on vickiarcher.com

The winter pack is difficult and easy at the same time.

It is difficult because the clothes and footwear are bulky and the weather all a bit unpredictable. Easy in the sense that my suitcase holds mostly sweaters, pants, a couple of blouses and the appropriate warm coat. For me, dresses are few and far between in the winter scenario unless there is a definite occasion planned and I know what I need. Jackets generally take a back seat in favour of overcoats because the inside heating renders them impractical. Wraps come into their own on a winter trip.

This year I am trying to pack better and pack lighter.

I’m going to try and create a checklist and stick with it. I’ve never been one for lists preferring to keep everything in my head and figure it out as I go along; winter packing might work better if I adopt a more sensible approach.

Packing is one of those things we can get better at. I don’t believe it is necessarily about the right suitcase or the little compartments that fit within – that never helps me and I only find they hinder. A simple suitcase with room and an ability to expand as the trip progresses is what I work with. For skincare, make-up and toiletries I use three protective bags and stay with those. Sample sizes work fine for the plane on a long haul.

All we need for a good pack is a strong suitcase or carry-on bag, knowledge of our destination and its requirements and the right mentality. Mental state is everything when it comes to packing and travelling.

What's In Her Bag? The Winter Pack on vickiarcher.com


Yes. Knowing what we like and don’t like makes it much easier to pack. I never pack an outfit that I am unsure of or uncomfortable in and wearing a piece on multiple occasions is to be embraced and applauded. This is the big one.

Often we forget we can wear the same piece over and over in a variety of ways or add an accessory to change up the look. We travel to multiple destinations and the next never knows what the last was wearing. Losing the anxiety over wearing something time and time again is very liberating and it cuts the packing right down. Is there really any need for 3 of the same style sweaters? One would probably do and two is surely enough – experience has taught me I really am as happy wearing the same one if I love it and it looks good. This is where the lipstick colours come in or the extra bracelets. Small changes make you feel well dressed and don’t take up too much space.

What's In Her Bag? The Winter Pack on vickiarcher.com

Checklist: What’s In Her Bag?

Let’s start with the pants.

2 x pairs of pants –  1 classic and one leather leggings style or jeans.

Then the tops.

1 x oversized cashmere sweater.

2 x fine cashmere sweaters, including a turtleneck.

2 x silk blouses for the evening.

1 x fitted tee for layering.

For the outer layers.

Depending on the venue, either a parka style or more formal overcoat.

On the feet.

I’m still going with the 3 Shoe Rule – sneakers, comfortable but smart boots and mules or loafer to dress up.

What else?

Can I really keep the pack this lean? I hope so I am going to try very hard but if I cave I might add an extra sweater or blouse or fall into the “dress” trap, the sweater dress to be precise. I have lost count of the times I have packed a dress for a winter break and never worn it. Maybe the sweater dress will prove irreplaceable this time.

A wrap to wear over all of the above is definitely first in line as is a selection of jewellery to brighten up the neutrals. Neutrals, black and grey are my go-to colours when on the move in winter because they are practical and work everywhere.

Have I forgotten a million things? Most probably but you know what? I am guessing I won’t miss them at all. xv

The Winter Pack

equipment  cashmere sweater  ||  raey roll kneck fine cashmere  ||  raey round neck fine cashmere  ||  theory black pants

stretch leather leggings  ||  virgie sweater dress ||  eileen fisher silk blouse  ||  equipment silk blouse

halogen wrap  ||  cole haan parka  ||  stuart weitzman booties  ||  converse sneakers  ||  embellished mules

images, australian vogue 2016 photographer will davidson

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Vicki, my choices would also have a cashmere scarf in a beautiful colour that matches my navy, grey theme.
I would always opt for two pairs of ankle boots – one flat comfy pair which are essential for walking and a kitten heel for a more tailored trouser. I’m not a sneaker kind of woman as work in a school and all I see are teenagers with these on!!!

Lisa DeNunzio

Always interested in how to pack lighter and better for our frequent trips to Italy. Alitalia now has a fare called ‘Light Fare’ where you pay less if you only travel with a carry on bag. Not sure if I can achieve this, but it is something to aspire to.


Could never travel carryon unless it was just a long weekend trip (husband and I are appalling – we tend to travel heavy! – not just one checked suitcase but several). But Alitalia used to be notorious for losing/misplacing checked baggage so carry-on with this airline is probably a good idea. Though having said that I’ve flown from Milan to Tokyo (codeshare JAL) and from Bucharest to Rome on Alitalia and the checked bags came through OK. Best wishes, Pamela

Taste of France

Interesting! I think the trick is to have clothes that are like a matryoshka doll, so you can wear one thing at a time or pile them on if it’s surprisingly cold.
Tomorrow I am going to lay out my strategies for not letting inclement weather ruin travel plans.


Oooh, your photographs are just so enticing!! Beautiful costumes!! Good luck with that packing….the last minute…I lose my mind and am throwing this AND that….just in case…franki


when I throw in the last minute items.. they never ever get worn!
Thinking it through will hopefully pay off…:)

Mimi Gregor

Yes! Go with a physical list. If you “keep it in your head”, it’s too easy to cheat. A sweater dress is a great choice, as you can dress it up or down. So is a knit skirt and a sweater in the same color. Worn together, they pass for a dress, but can be worn separately for more options. Really, none of us need frequent costume changes. We’re not Madonna on tour forgodssake!


I always hear your Three Shoe Rule whispering in my ear when I’m tempted to toss in just one more and your recent reminder of the black lace dress has me rethinking one languishing in the back of my closet. Alas, packing always seems to be the best reminder to stick to the classics and refresh with small accessory additions which carry big impact ! JudithXo


I’m pretty good with the clothes and shoe packing. It’s the hair stuff and skin care and makeup I have issues with.


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