Thursday, November 28, 2019

Paris Packing Prep -- What I'm Wearing, These Days. . .

 First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers -- although as far I can gather from Social Media, few of you have time to be reading blogs during the mad prep of your day. The travel, the baking, the roasting, the stirring, the greeting of guests, the settling into guestrooms, the hugging and the chatting with loved ones. . . . Our own Thanksgiving here is much different a holiday, many degrees more low-key.
 As I wrote, though, I know many of you are too busy today to do much reading, if you find time to stop by at all.
 And on this end, we're awaiting the arrival of a Four-And-Three-Quarters and her brother (a One-and-Three-Quarters) who will be visiting with their parents over the weekend, but starting out with a sleep-over without their parents tonight.  . . And we're hosting a Three-Sibling-and-Three-In-Law/Loves-and-Five-Cousins dinner on Sunday. So mad prep is happening here as well. Also, some putting-the-feet-up before the storm. . .
 So it's outfit pictures to the rescue today.  Most of these are photos I've taken over the last couple of weeks as I think about what to bring with me to Paris and Rome next month. I've decided on this tailored wool coat as opposed to the great raincoat I bought last month (hooded, slim-look yet roomy enough for layers underneath, fleece-lined pockets). . . . because I think this looks smarter, overall, and because it gives more warmth for the weight. I'll bring an umbrella, and if it's raining too hard for that to be useful, I'll be in a museum or art gallery or wine bar.

I'm not going to take the pink hoodie you see layered under my coat in the photo above -- for me, a cotton hoodie offers too little warmth for its weight--but I wanted to try out the look after seeing how Sue worked it here (we have the same Uniqlo hoodie -- twins!). I like the layering, and I'm going to try to get out of the house with it in my own neighbourhood, either before I head off next weekend, or perhaps next year (can you believe that 2020 is just around the corner?)
 Summing up from the top, before I go on, the coat is coming, as are the lightweight sneakers. I'l wear the Blundstone boots on the plane -- they're waterproof and the tread is good enough for snow and ice, as long as there's not too much.

I'm debating bringing jeans, but if I do, they'd be the pair you see above. Instead, I'm thinking of my new wool pants from J. Crew (in a Black Watch tartan). I've considered the wide-legged, cropped, knit wool pants you see in the photo above -- they're warm and they're ever so comfortable -- but in the end, I think they're probably too bulky/heavy.

The spruce green merino sweater you can glimpse in the photo below is coming along (I like that scarf with it, but not sure it does enough heavy lifting to make the cut).
 And I'm bringing the slim black felted-wool skirt (from Eileen Fisher). . . which I tried the other day with this silk shirt  (bought a few years ago at & Other Stories in Bordeaux). . .
 I really like this layering, although I'm not sure I will bring this rust-coloured sweater (One of the most versatile pieces I've ever knit, I must say, and I've worn it at least twenty times -- not a pill to be seen!)
 I've tried substituting my grey-navy striped handknit sweater, wearing it over the silk shirt instead of the rust sweater, and for me, it works, although I can see it's a mixed-print too far for some. The striped sweater has already earned its ticket for this trip, so you may see that combo eventually and judge for yourself.
That's it. Time to shower and dress before our crew arrives, and you'll need to get back to your turkey or refreshing your guests' drinks or tending to your online shopping basket (although, may I admit? The notion of Black Friday shopping makes me shudder. Ugh!)

If you do have any more time, I'd love you to read the comments on my last post, the one about apple pie. There are some rich memories there, one laugh-out-loud anecdote, a great recipe from a wonderful Croatian cook, our one-and-only Dotoressa. . . .

And if you're at all interested in volunteering to answer the Proust questionnaire to be posted here -- as A. in London did a few weeks ago, in the interest of nurturing our blogging community here -- please let me know by email (fsproutATgmailDOTcom).

Thanks for reading. If you have time to wave a turkey drumstick in my direction or lift a glass of wine toward me, the comments section is open. . . .Or mental telepathy will have to serve, for now. xo, f

26 comments:

Maria said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. As an Aussie, its easy for me to reply as I’m not up to my elbows in holiday prep. Your outfits are lovely, I especially like the warm and very smart looking coat. Your pics are also timely as I’m helping my daughter plan her wardrobe for her first trip to Paris and London after Christmas. It’s years since I’ve been and we don’t have much experience of European winters so it’s hard to work out what she’ll need, especially regarding shoes. I’m think that shoes should be comfortable and waterproof (so perhaps not sneakers) but as she’s 21, she’s more interested in style ��. Also, is a down jacket/coat better than a woollen one? Any advice from you or your wonderful readers would be most welcome.

Mardel said...

Not too buy here to reply. Perhaps my Thanksgivings are too laid back for my own compatiriots because it is rare that I do not have time to check out blogs, or read, even when I am doing the cooking. But this year I have been visiting an elderly aunt (89 yesterday) and am finding myself a little at loose ends.

Love your choices and your process for travel and a great chatty post for just catching up.

Lorrie said...

Sitting here with my feet up after another day of teaching. For all my good intentions blogging has taken a serious slide. Oh well. It's at times like this that Al Purdy's words from On the Flood Plain come to mind "whatever I have not discovered and enjoyed is still waiting for me and there will be time..."

Your black coat is beautiful and elegant, as you are in it. We are having small people over this weekend, too, and I'm preparing. Enjoy your weekend.

Anonymous said...

Love your black coat. It’s not possible to have too many. I’m interested to know the brand of raincoat you bought, I’m in need of a new one.
Arrived home this afternoon. I’m amazed I’m still awake.
Ali

Taste of France said...

Your coat will fit in nicely on Parisian streets. How about one of those tiny rain ponchos in your bag? The only people who look silly are the ones soaked to the bone. Yesterday, I was out with a friend and she pointed out a well-dressed man walking down the street. We parked and soon we passed him again. It started to rain and we passed him yet again, this time with one of those thin fold-up raincoats over his spiffy outfit. And we passed him yet again at the post office (Carcassonne is small). By our last sighting we were laughing so hard we could hardly walk. Anyway, he was proof that the smart thing is to be dry.
Personally, I am longing for a red coat. A jolt of color for winter. I have a beautiful gray coat in a Russian style, with fur collar and cuffs, that I bought 25 years ago at 1.2.3 and it still looks impeccable. And I have a down coat with a hood that I bought many years ago but less than 25 for the walks to and from school. Those are long past but the coat stays because it's lightweight, long, warm. A red wool coat doesn't seem too extravagant. Maybe with a swing style? Or a bathrobe style?
Absolutely love that silk blouse with the rust sweater.

Anonymous said...

Aw,I'm blushing-thank you,you're so kind.
I love,love,love Black Watch tartan,my favourite,lucky you!
Enjoy your guests!
Dottoressa

Anonymous said...

Frances, the rust colored sweater over the black silk shirt just says "yes and WOW" to me. It looks very chic, put together and versatile. Would be wearing that everywhere in your travels, I am sure. Wool coat is beautiful and agree with Taste of France...a little foldable clear poncho for the infequent torrential rains that are unlikely to occur. As she said, maybe not the chicest, but certainly the driest. And the wool coat with one of your fab scarves dresses up everything when traveling.

FOR MARIA: as a resident of London and a lover of the climate here, please advise your daughter the worst of what she will battle here after Christmas is the grey skies-that is Winter in London. It does not rain all the time in London, truly it does not. Everytime I am home in Maine I get asked this question and it makes me laugh. So, I am now armed with deep, recent research to use in reply: The average rain fall for all the states in the US is 39 inches of rain a year. Maine, my home state, has an incredible average of 46 inches of rain a year and.....London has 22!!!
BUT coming from a warmer climate she will undoubtedly feel the damp as it rolls in, often around 4pm, especially if she is anywhere near the river. For that she needs layers, most definitely take some scarves of various weights to go with her coat and so she can double up if needed. Flowers are still growing in flower boxes after Christmas and the grass is green, so not a frozen tundra by any means, but colder than she may be used to.
Tons of 21 year olds wear beanies, wool or acrylic with fake fur pom-poms on top. She will find those in abundance at multiple street kiosks selling tshirts, sweatshirts and umbrellas to tourists. The hats will be cheap as chips there, so no need to try and find one in Australia. And huge after Christmas sales will be occuring anywhere.
My 2 top tips for your daughter are: buy an Oyster card for travel the minute you arrive,(can even be found at the airport), which can be topped up with her debit card each time she needs more Tube, bus, river boat travel funds. Machines to do that inside every station. Perhaps have her look on youtube to see how one buys, uses and tops up an Oyster card. OTHER TIP, wear a cross body bag without fails. No more, no less pickpockets here, but best to keep your money close....OH and trust only Black Cab drivers, not Uber. They are being drummed out of the city very soon-Uber- but may still be here. Do not use them. Black Cab drivers are insured, knowledgeable and informative...and safe. Hope she has a blast.
Frances: loved the great pie debate; it rivalled the great tea kettle debate of 2017 on your blog!! My vote is always for a home-made, lemon meringue, always and forever, but will eat any apple or berry pie offered. Have made 1 pie in my life, so could not join in on the method discussion, but enjoyed it immensely.
A.in London

Mary said...

Like you, I've been trying on outfits for a trip to UK/Scotland in January and making the same kind of observations--hmm, too bulky, not versatile enough, colour doesn't work. Funnily, I'd thought I had it all figured out on paper, but when I tried some combinations, they simply didn't work. I do like your skirt, blouse combo--and the sweater, too, for that extra bit of warmth. The black wool coat is very smart.

Maria: I second everything Ali had to say about London. Especially the use of Black cabs only (expensive, but great when you are just too exhausted for the tube or it is late at night). I usually travel to London every January and have mostly found the weather to be milder than my own U.S. mid-Atlantic winter. Coming from an Australian summer might be a bit of a shock for your daughter, but lightweight layers (not cotton) can help one cope. My choice of coat is a lightweight 3/4 length down coat. Always bring scarves and gloves. Hope she has a great trip.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Looks like you’ve got a versatile travel wardrobe planned. I do love that sweater that you knit! I would buy that black EF felted skirt in a heartbeat...I must have missed it when it was in the shops.
Enjoy your time with the littles before you fly off.

Jen Lawrence said...

Such great choices! With school aged kids, all of my non tropical travel takes place in the summer months so packing is easy (I literally take a half dozen black jersey dresses) so I'm very impressed with your warm clothing packing skills! What a wonderful trip you'll have!

Sue Burpee said...

I love "our" pink hoodie with your black coat. Lightens the mood a little I think. Hope you have a wonderful trip.... I'm sure you will. Now I'm off to read your apple pie post which I didn't get to read when I was at Mum's last week.
P.S. Thanks for the link. xo

materfamilias said...

Maria: As you can see, there are already helpful replies here with readers more savvy than I. I will say that as long as she has a second pair and doesn't mind having the occasional wet feet, sneakers will serve her well (I've ruined leather shoes in Paris rainstorms, but sneakers will dry out not much worse for their soaking, right?) And 21 rarely minds cold wet feet. . . .Personally, I'm happier with wool than down when it's raining, but Mary overrules me. In the end, I suspect your 21 will be governed by what she feels most stylish and comfortable in.
Mardel: I'm sure that your 89-year-old aunt enjoyed the visit very much. And perhaps you did as well. I have no 89-year-olds in my life at all these days, and I miss that.
Lorrie: Your teaching week is over, but now you'll be plunged into Grandmother activities! Wise to keep Purdy's words in mind. . . time enough for blogging later. You're on the home stretch soon, right?
Ali: My coat is by M0851 -- I'm really happy with its lowkey style and smart functionality -- and Paul's had a man's version for about 8 years now, so I know how well they stand up. Now you go rest up! And welcome home! ;-)

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Could you share the sweater pattern by any chance ?

materfamilias said...

Taste of France: I can see that many find those tiny ponchos useful -- I do question how many wearings before they're added to the landfill, and for my travel purposes I've always managed with an umbrella. That's not to say I haven't sheltered in a doorway in Strasbourg while rain pelted down at near monsoon-strength, nor that I haven't ruined shoes on Paris sidewalks in a sustained cloudburst, nor that I haven't scrunched under an awning with five or six other shelterers near the Pantheon in Rome. . . AH, the joys of travel . . .
Yes! to the red coat! And then show us on your blog. In fact, perhaps you can keep us abreast of the search. . .
Dottoressa: It's such a classic yet dramatic pattern, isn't it?! And you deserve every word of sincere praise, truly, my friend. . . .
A. So should I ever want to start a new blog, Of Tea Kettles and Pie could be a contender for the title? ;-)
Mary: Mine's going to be a quick trip, and my activities will be very low-key, so the packing won't be difficult but it's still fun to puzzle it out and trying possibilities on here works better than assuming something goes together well but finding out in a distant hotel room that a particular combination really demands an accessory I have left behind. . . Completely agree about the gloves. I can't be without, October through March. . .
Hostess: I think that skirt went quickly. I bought it even though I already have a black wool knit tube skirt, similar length. The felted wool holds its shape better -- AND it has pockets! So versatile.

materfamilias said...

Jen: Packing is definitely more challenging in winter (unless one's headed to Hawaii or Mexico or the Caribbean, which I never am). It helps that my trip is short and that I'm travelling solo so I'll only be boring myself in the repetition ;-)
Sue: Yes, I really like the layering with "our" hoodie -- I love it with your pink coat, but it really lightens the severity of my black one. I do hope your back is loosening up a bit (that plane ride home wouldn't have been much fun).
Hostess: The sweater pattern is Kate Davies' Doocot, and I knit mine in Rowan's Felted Tweed, a yarn I really like, delicious colours and it performs well.

Linda B said...

TASTE OF FRANCE: I love 1.2.3! The website is somehow scary, but I always find great things in the shops, including a mustard linen shift dress in a sale and a dressy take on the marinière. Frances, if you haven't been, I've always found the assistants in the Bordeaux shop (rue St Catherine) really friendly and chatty - and vocabulary-extending. Had a long chat last time about the delights of the French "enter-saison" in fashion.
MARIA, I agree with A. in London. I would add to that list - take socks!!! Although I know that most 21 year olds affect the bare ankle between sneakers and jeans/leggings, it can be very chilling, so a couple of pairs of socks might help. Marks and Spencer currently has a great colour range of the obligatory beanies with fluffy pompoms. If taking a down coat it should at least be showerproof - nothing worse than soggy down. And absolutely only ever take a Black Cab.
Last but not least - Frances! Your travel choices all look really pulled together and workable and city-smart. You are really getting this down to a fine art now.

Mary said...

As to wearing a down coat in London during January--I wore a down coat last year and was delighted at how little it weighed compared to my previous wear--a heavy black wool coat. And despite the idea that it rains continually in London, in the past five January trips I've only needed to use an umbrella once (probably just jinxed myself for the upcoming trip with that statement). The down coat also serves a second purpose: extra padding for the airplane seat. If you haven't traveled recently, let me assure you that most airlines these days are cutting corners/weight by putting very little padding on their seats. On a long-haul flight, you will begin to notice the difference after a while when your bum goes numb. :)

Also, Maria, if your daughter finds that she is too cold with the clothes she has brought, she can also find fairly inexpensive long underwear at Uniqlo or Marks & Spencers; they come in all styles, both tops and bottoms and are very lightweight. They can also double as pj's and take up very little room in a suitcase.

Susan B said...

Oh, that coat is so elegant! I love the idea of the wide leg Black Watch pants, am just wondering if they work with the Blundstone boots? And I join the chorus for the raves for the rust sweater over the printed blouse. It's a distinctive look, and I think you'd be able to wear each of the pieces separately or with other tops in your wardrobe?

Have a wonderful trip!!

materfamilias said...

Linda B: I haven't been, but I'll keep that address in mind, thank you! And I second yours and Maria's and A's recommendaitons of the black cabs, having been so relieved to step into one when no one met me at the train station in London when I was 14 (I'd sent details of my arrival from Glasgow to the wrong address, as I realized when the cab pulled up at the wrong house. Ah, 209, not 109. . . .

Mary: Good point about the down coat as seat padding. I always take one of the Uniqlo scrunchable down jacket and use it for a neck or lumbar pillow on the flight. And I love that this blog has become a place where readers can advise other readers where there daughters can find affordable long underwear while travelling -- my readers are Influencers! ;-)

Susan: The Black Watch pants are slim-legged. In fact, they're the J Crew pants you linked to in a recent post. I do wear my Blundstones with some wide-legged pants but for me it depends on how cropped those are -- and also on my willingness on any given day to look more Street than Elegant. Not that I ever achieve elegance, but sometimes one hopes ;-) Thanks for piling on the nice words about that sweater-blouse combo. I must admit to being quite pleased with it, and a bit surprised. . .

Mary said...

FYI - In case you are leaving this week and may not have heard, France is having a nationwide general strike on December 5th. Will impact all travel services. Have read that it may be an open-ended strike lasting beyond that date, too. Hoping it does not impact your trip.

Eleonore said...

It is quite chilly around here, Paris might well be the same. So taking two hand knit sweaters on a 12-day-trip does not seem exaggerated to me.
Have a lovely time.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Thank you for sharing the sweater pattern and information...I am ready for something new to knit.
I think we were in your neighbourhood this past Sunday...our friends moved into their new penthouse on East 10th and they told us the area was called Mount Pleasant and there was a lot of funky street art like you post on the blog...so I figured this must be close to your place too.
We had brunch at a funky place on Main called something like Burdock or Burdick? I had the avocado smash and it was delicious!

materfamilias said...

Thanks, Mary! I hadn't heard, and can only hope my flight won't be affected -- I don't leave 'til Sunday. . . . crossing my fingers. . .
Eleonore: Trouble is that I'm also planning on some non-hand-knit sweaters. Biggest point against the rust sweater is that it needs a layer underneath because it's so cropped. . .
Hostess: Yes! You were not far from me at all. We had dinner at Burdock & Co. on our anniversary in August and have been meaning to get back (Fabulous tasting menu with great wine pairings). I've never tried brunch there but can see it would be good. . . Looks like you had a very good weekend overall.

Georgia said...

I am late, very late, without a Thanksgiving excuse in sight. But have had many pleasant thoughts arising from this post and the last (love pie, especially fruit, the shorter the better, Criso).

I always smile when I scroll down reading and anticipate what's coming...as I did above when I thought 'you could also wear your grey striped sweater over that blouse'...then, ah...great minds and all that...

Something I have been interested in since I started reading blogs...what we consider cold weather and how we dress for that, especially when travelling. I have been caught a couple of times in temperatures I thought were quite mild while everyone around me seemed to be wearing parkas. Two lessons 1) a furry hood does not a parka make: just because my parka takes me to -30c does not mean all of them do; and 2) pull together some wardrobe items that look warm but are not, to avoid that 'bathing suit in a snowstorm' look. :)

Lisa said...

Hello there;). Thanksgiving having concluded, I can say something! I adore your silk shirt.

I was going to make an apple pie, but life took over. xoxo.

materfamilias said...

Georgia: No need for excuses. Glad you enjoyed thoughts of pie ;-) And so pleased to have someone imagine that combo as good -- I'll be wearing it in Paris (if I get there in one piece -- ah, these strikes!)
Yes, re the relativity of climates. I feel something the same when people speak of rain and the horrors of getting wet given what my city is known for. As for yours, you do know how to dress for cold and you have a different idea than many of us what actually deserves the name. My sister lived there for decades (and also spent a couple of years in Leaf Rapids! Really cold!) and I remember being amused, when visiting in February, to see some male students at the university wearing shorts. . . . Also remember a friend of ours who would come back, mid-winter, from med school in Nfld. and look a bit of a goof from our perspective, dressed much more lightly than anyone around, revelling in the "mild" temperatures which the rest of us bundled up against. He needed lessons from you on how to avoid the "bathing suit in a snowstorm" look ;-)
Lisa: Thank you! I do think it's a good shirt and I need to get it out of the closet more often. And yes, life will do, won't it?!

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