Packing Light Tips

Since my Dad is feeling stronger and all my chores were completed, I decided to take the day off and drive to the mountains of North Carolina. Shopping in Banner Elk and a lovely drive through the mountains seemed like a relaxing, fun day. My outfit examples might be helpful as you pack for your next trip. A small wardrobe can still provide numerous looks.

This was my look for shopping in Dande Lion and Creative Interiors, a few doors away.

The look above includes a linen big shirt (here) worn as a jacket over a linen-blend tank (here) with straight-leg white jeans (here). The nude slide sandals (here) have a low block heel. I put the small clutch (here) inside the large tote with sunglasses, the camera, my phone, socks, and sneakers.

Cocktail napkins, two books, and a magnifying glass were my purchases from Creative Interiors.
I purchased this delicate pearl, silver, and gold cuff bracelet from the Dande Lion.

I wore the linen tank and white jeans for a walk in the afternoon heat in the Village of Banner Elk. My tote is old, but this one is similar. The sunglasses are here.

Notice how untucking the tank makes my legs look shorter. Tucking in and wearing a belt wasn’t a good idea at 90 degrees.


Sleeves rolled up make legs look longer.

The cardigan is here, and sneakers are here.

On the way home, I planned to drive to Carver’s Gap near the top of Roan Mountain. After a lifetime of visiting the Roan, I know that the temperature can drop by twenty degrees when you reach the top. I took sneakers, a hat, and a sweater to walk around the park. The angry gathering clouds below explain why I cut that part of the trip from my agenda. Cloud cover means zero visibility and much colder temperatures.

Traffic was heavy because of road construction and utility work ahead.

I hope my tips help you get the most from what you already have in your closet. Shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission without costing you anything.

48 Comments
  1. Good to see you out and about. I always appreciate your styling guidance. Even though I’ve followed you for many years here, I seem to still struggle with packing for short trips. Would love to see you share some updates on mix and match for less packing. I know I’ve got many of the items but seem to still overpack!

    1. Try the three-three-three method. Pack three tops, three pants, and three accessories that all go together and mix and match. (For example, one white tank, one black tank, a denim jacket, white pants, black pants, and a black skirt.) Accessories could be a cardigan, scarf, tote bag, hat, etc. Three pairs of shoes in different styles may serve all your needs.

  2. “Gift From the Sea” is my favorite book of all time! A boss gave it to me years ago and I’ve read it many times since. Each phase of my life it’s meant something different. It’s also my favorite gift to give.

  3. I have the same problem as Alice stated in her response. I always pack too much. We just got back from a trip and I wore half of what I brought. I always think maybe I’ll need that one piece I don’t have.
    You did put together some very nice outfits. What a nice day out. Sometimes we just need some time to do what we want to do, alone.
    I always look forward to your posts. I get outfit ideas but also see the beautiful area where you live.

  4. Your tips always help! By the way, the book “Gifts from the Sea” is one I have and read from time to time. It calms me 🙂

  5. Carla and Susan….I agree.
    That book has so many life messages. I give it as a gift as well. I read Gift from the Sea over and over and in fact used some of the passages at my wedding 22 years ago.
    Argonauta is my favorite chapter
    “A good relationship has a pattern like a dance”
    Definitely recommend reading.

  6. Ah! Susan! You are a blessing and a gift. Thanks for the inspiration today!

    Safe adventures!

    Georgia

  7. So happy to hear your dad is on the mend.

    You inspire us all with your creative choices when putting together your outfits. Always a treat to see your blog in my inbox. Thank you.

  8. My link shows the Gap linen big shirt in smoked paprika brown. Is that the color you are wearing? And is it a size medium? Thank you.

  9. thanks for the alert about Banana Republic sale. I ordered a white tank and a tee, also. I envy where you live—so MUCH beautiful scenery. I hope to visit that part of the country some day.

  10. I love this outfit and the maroon top. My brother lives in Roan Mountain and that part of the country is gorgeous. I’ve visited 5 or 6 times. Planning a fall trip when it cools off. Love your blog.

  11. Ooh! I love your outfits and your purchases. I have the same copy of Anne Morrow Lindberg’s Gift From the Sea: 50 Year Anniversary Edition. It is so special to me. I must tell you a story about it when we talk next. It’s so great to get away on one’s own, even for a day. You always look so fabulous!!

  12. You look beautiful! Looks like you have a tan. Do you use bronzing lotion? I buy Gift from the Sea a while back. LOVED it! Such a beautiful cover. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for sharing! So appreciated!

    1. I sit by the neighborhood pool for a few minutes whenever the sun shines. I’ve purchased the book many times. I give them to friends and then buy myself another copy.

  13. Hi Susan , I have been off the radar for a while following an illness which I spent a week in hospital. The staff were lovely as I was quite poorly.
    I am much better and am so pleased that your Dad is better too..
    I remember many years back yo said you wouldn’t show your arms but my goodness I just love the plain white sleeveless top and white jeans full marks Susan your arm are fabulous , sometimes less is more.
    Thing is after my Radiotherapy treatment I was told not to expose the right side of my upper chest and shoulder,
    to the sun. Well you look beautifully tanned and very healthy . Glad you had a lovely trip .
    Pamela UK

    1. I am so glad you are feeling better, Pamela. I’m not thrilled with my crepey skin but when the weather is steamy, my fashion rules often get broken. I never stay out in the sun for more than thirty minutes, so I guess I tan easily. My goal is to absorb vitamin D and to feel the sun’s warmth.

  14. You look great as usual. I’m glad to hear your father is doing better. I had to order the shirt. Love the color!

  15. Love the looks for a day out. I’m taking a short weekend trip to Indiana to visit my sister–I’m going to use some of your ideas such as buying the sweater. Love stripes in the summer.

  16. I like seeing you wear some color. Color gives you a splash of pizazz and a healthy tone. Adds vibrancy to your complexion and I see the joy in your life. You choose the correct colors for your skin tone so you always look lively and ready to take on the day.

  17. Ýou are gorgeous as ever Susan! I so love your shirt the color is so different from your usual palette but suits you perfectly. I envy your road trips here in South Africa it has become dangerous to do road trips. However we have wonderful bird life that visit our garden daily and are in awe of all the different sounds they make. What wonderful news that your Dad is doing better. You and Mr Mickey keep well.
    God Bless.
    Elizabeth SA

  18. I always look forward to your posts. You make my day. Beautiful outfit & love your hair. We all deserve to run away sometimes and enjoy just being. Judyb

  19. Another great post Susan. What I love about your blog are your explanations; why something makes your legs look longer or shorter. Such a help and a real step up from other bloggers. Keep up the good work, you really are an inspiration.

  20. I am England and love your chosen clothes. Unfortunately not all are available in UK but can research similar looks and outfits. Thank you for your research and advice.

  21. The big linen shirt site listed does not show/offer the burgundy color at all. Was your shirt from a different site & the suggested site shirt wad just an example? Thank you.

  22. I have learned so much from you! You always look lovely. I notice you have moved from boocuts and flares to straight leg pants and jeans. Is this a seasonal preference or does it have something to do with the other garments and shoes you are wearing? Thanks!

    1. The flare and wide-leg jeans are still favorites. When I dress up a little, I wear them with higher-heels and platforms. Straight-leg jeans with sandals are fun for casual hot-weather looks.

  23. Susan,
    Your day out and about sounds wonderful! You look glowing with the light tan. The striped cardigan and white pants are so summery and smart looking I may try it.

    Glad to hear your father is stronger.

  24. I love the look you showed us today with the white pants and tank top. And the tip on rolling up the sleeves is one I will definitely use! Thank you again for your helpful, inspirational ideas!

  25. So happy that your father is feeling better.
    I love your postings – you always have such good ideas. Your arms look fine – wear what is comfortable and cool.
    I am much older (85) than you and I always have those horrible purple bruises on my arms but I refuse to wear long sleeves in this heat.
    Anyway I doubt if anyone notices my arms or anything else about me.
    I still get dressed every day, wear jewelry and make-up. Fix healthy meals for my husband and me and we both exercise every day.
    The heat is on here in north Texas so I stay busy inside my house most of the time.
    You and Mr. Mickey are such a delightful couple — I enjoy all your adventures. Hope both of you are well.

  26. Such good news to hear that your dad is doing much better after his procedure. Your road trip sounds so rejuvenating and I especially love the bracelet. Was there more than one at the store “Dande Lion?” It’s just what I was looking for.

  27. Your lovely bracelet reminded me of a piece of wisdom my grandmother shared as I was growing up. “Always buy your own pearl jewelry. If a man other than your Daddy offers pearls, politely decline. Pearls from a gentleman your heart cares for means tears will follow”. She shared an example from her story and I have one as well. I especially like silver and gold pieces since I wear small diamond studs in my ears all the time and add small gold or silver hoops often. Glad your Dad is improving and thanks for sharing delightful fashion ideas.

  28. Your styling tips with photos are so helpful!! I learn more from your blog than I do from the other ones I look at. Thank you and please keep helping us.

  29. Hi, Susan, I’ve been following you for years – even when you did Fifty not Frumpy, I always enjoy your tips and advice. My sister-in-law and I will be taking a trip in November to see the Biltmore. We will fly into Charlotte, and we have been told there is more to do in Charlotte – than in Asheville. I’m 83, and she is 79. We are not into hiking. What are your suggestions for some activities? We will probably get a two-day ticket for the Biltmore so that we can see it at night and also, of course, we plan to see the Chihuly exhibit. Thank you for any of your suggestions. Sincerely, Angelina Rice

  30. Hi Susan great tips as always. I purchased the big shirt in blue and the cardigan at your recommendation. The markdown was great and they were typical of things I like and wear.

    Appreciate your help navigating fashion in my mid- 60’s.

  31. Hi Susan I appreciate all you do for us. I am about your size but a bit heavier. I bought the tan linen big shirt and the cardigan at your recommendation and I could not be more pleased. Thank you for all the bits of information and inspiration you share!

  32. Hi Susan, thank you for your continued tips, etc. In the video on the side, you mentioned your 709 black pants. Can you supply a ink or more information about them. I love the vent at the bottom and they look great! Thank you in advance for your help.

  33. Wow Susan you have come a long way from a few years back when you had mentioned you avoid baring your arms above elbows, rarely wearing a dress nor black near your face, as well horizontal stripes. Look what you have been missing out on… you look so lovely! I always look forward to reading your blog and adventures. Thank you for sharing.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.