Travel capsule for Berlin

I'm heading to Germany for a week, leaving tomorrow. The first few days are a conference in Heidelberg (at which I am giving a talk) and the second half is tourism in Berlin. I think I can manage with a single carry-on. I collected everything I might bring into a pinterest board:

shoes: flats, ankle boots, tall boots (comfortable for walking, good for rain)
bottoms: 3-4 pairs of jeans, knit skirt, leather shorts
dresses: shirtdress, t-shirt dress?, drapey knit dress
tops: assorted
warmth: lightweight wool cardigan
jackets: denim, leather?

wandering the city: jeans with tall boots, basic top
low-key nightclubs: leather shorts, silk blouse or wool top, ankle boots
giving my talk: white button-down tunic, black straight jeans, flats
hanging out with scientists: assorted
restaurants: assorted

I love everything in my list right now, but I worry that I'm overlooking something. E.g., will I be too cold? (Probably not. I run hot.) Will my ripped boyfriend jeans be inappropriate? (Again, probably not - Berlin is full of young hipster types.) Will I fit into my jeans? (A good question but I am ignoring that problem.) Am I bringing too much? (Probably.) Will I be underdressed for clubs?

If anyone has favorite edgy boutiques, etc, in Berlin, let me know! I'm looking forward to visiting COS in person, and I also noticed that Zara prices are much lower there than here. But those are both chains I can get here...


Does basic get too basic?

Yesterday, I went to an open studios event at Everlane. They're an online clothing line that designs basic clothes and works directly with factories to make high-quality items for less money (by keeping their line very focused and cutting out the middle layers of wholesale->retail).

They're based down the street from me, and they had an open house to let people try on their not-yet-released fall things and also the items they have available for 1-hour delivery in SF. It was nice to get a sense of the sizing on different items. Though it was one of our hottest days, so trying on chunky merino was painful!

Anyway, here's the thing. My wardrobe - tops, especially - is becoming full of basics, often repeated. I have 5 or 6 black Uniqlo drapey cotton tees that are perfect with everything. I could happily wear black sleeveless silk shirts three or four times a week. I have a new one from Everlane that is amazing thick silk, as good as Equipment, so I might duplicate it - or triplicate. I was tempted to get a few of their black silk tank tops, also, and another long-sleeve silk blouse to go along with my two Uniqlo Ines de la Fressange silk blouses (another duplicate...).

But, with my current obsession with Uniqlo (for cheap basics), Everlane (for minimalist staples like silk tops), and COS (still haven't bought anything) - am I going to become too boring? I'm trying to give myself permission to stock up on the silk tops but I worry that I'm going to get stuck in a rut.

I guess I rely on all-black for impact, and I think that's ok. I have high-quality shoes and a selection of crazy pants and skirts. Maybe I should just recognize that tops are not where I want to be crazy. I get enough drama from basic silhouettes. I also recognize that this is fitting a trend shift towards luxe basics. It feels hipster (in a good way) and French (also in a good way).

Some of the tops in question:


Time to hem these jeans - how long?

These straight-leg jeans are not the most stylish thing in my closet, but I really like them. They're old paper-denim-cloth brand jeans, 100% cotton. I never hemmed them - they're really long. In this photo I have them cuffed to wear with my combat boots. (That's actually 4 layers in the cuff - I make one big cuff, then fold it up again. Less bulky than rolling.)

How long should these be for PPL? I wear them with flat boots, Converse, or my chunky sandals with a thick classic Dr Martens sole. I think they look good cuffed, but there's too much fabric now, so I should shorten them at least a bit. Should I go for floor-length in boots, then have the option of cuffing them shorter? Or leave them longer than that and always cuff them?

Bonus photo: the sandals, which I listed as one of my best new things of 2013, shown on me here with omg-so-90s scrunched wool socks and pegged jeans! Fashion tragedy or comedy?


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Losing clothing

Have you ever lost a piece of clothing you loved? This seems to happen to me a lot recently, and it's very upsetting. For most of last year, I was driving from Santa Cruz (where I lived) to San Francisco for social events, and I often stayed for the weekend. I was in the habit of putting my weekend's worth of clothes in a plastic bag and throwing it in my car. And since I was coming up for social events, I brought my favorite clothes.

Well, the result is that I lost my absolute favorite skirt, one I'd thrifted by Maria Cornejo that would be impossible to replace. And I lost a second thrifted Maria Cornejo dress a few months after that (no idea how it was the same totally out of my price range designer both times). One may have ended up at my friends' apartment but the other is a total mystery - I remember having it later that weekend on my drive home, then never saw it again. It's been almost a year and it still bothers me all the time.

One lesson is that I no longer transport clothing (or anything else) in plastic bags, even though those drawstring Gap bags are so convenient. Too easy to think it's a trash bag, maybe?

I don't think of myself as prone to losing things, but life was so chaotic last year that I suppose I'm not surprised. I'm glad life has settled down a bit!

(This post was inspired by Suz's lost luggage situation. I really hope you get your bag back quickly!)