Earning my stripes

Well, we’re off on holiday on Monday, and I’m pleased to announce that so far I haven’t fallen prey to some kind of debilitating illness. You know, like I did last year?

I’m less pleased to announce that in preparation for said holiday, I seem to have totally screwed up my packing. You know, like I did last year?

This time, of course, I don’t even have the excuse of the aforementioned debilitating illness. I haven’t had so much as a head cold (Watch one come and claim me now that I’ve said that, though!), and I’ve also managed to keep my workload under control, so, in theory, I have plenty of time to pack without all of the STRESSSTRESSSTRESS that usually accompanies the thing. Last year, I was so ill with flu that I was forced to leave it all until the last possible minute and then I basically just opened my suitcase and threw things in at random, meaning that when we arrived at our hotel, I realised all I’d brought with me was 25 black tops, a handful of black shorts, a couple of black cardigans, an evening dress, and the shower curtain. (OK, maybe not the shower curtain, but definitely all the rest.) Almost every single item was black, and actually, black isn’t really my colour, to be completely honest with you.

(I’d also apparently assumed that the weather on holiday would be permanently BOILING! HOT!, so when it was overcast and a bit chilly all the time, I was pretty uncomfortable in my little black  shorts and tank tops, let me tell you. )

“This will never happen again,” I muttered grimly to myself, as I got dressed that first morning (Well, the first morning AFTER the three days in which I got the flu AGAIN and had to stay in bed, moaning piteously and clutching a Coke Zero bottle filled with boiling water which I was using as a makeshift hot water bottle.) in the shower curtain and a pair of black tights. “Next year I will be totally prepared, and will bring clothes that are suitable for both warm AND cold climates, and which are any colour but BLACK. I have an entire year to prepare for this: what can possibly go wrong?”

I guess that’s why I now find myself the proud owner of no less than FOUR stripey dresses. And about a kazillion stripey tops. I even have a stripey jacket, and I WOULD have bought a pair of stripey shoes, but… Oh no, wait: I DID buy a pair of stripey shoes, didn’t I? Whoops.

These stripey items are what constitute my holiday wardrobe. I could lie down on the road and pass for a zebra crossing, it’s that bad. And the thing is: I can’t seem to stop myself. No matter how many stripey items I own, I still want more. It is a hunger that is never satiated. I will see a stripey dress/top in a shop. It will be virtually identical to one I already own. Hell, most of the time it will actually BE one I already own, given that I own all stripey items of clothing ever made. “Ooh, lookit that stripey thing that looks exactly the same as the stripey thing I’m wearing rightthisverysecond!” I will think, a sweat breaking out upon my brow as I gaze upon the stripeyness. “I think I will buy it!” And then I’ll have ANOTHER stripey thing. I look like a pirate most days. Aaaar!

Such is my way. If it’s not green dresses, it’s Things That Are Grey. If it’s not Things That Are Grey, it’s the Suitcase O’Blackness. And if it’s not that, it’s apparently stripes.


(Most of the other components of my holiday wardrobe are… navy. Which is, of course, DRAMATICALLY different from last year’s All Black, All the Time fest. Only a few of the navy items also have stripes. And by “only a few”, I mean “most of them do”. GOD.)

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  • My equivalent of stripey is red. I have an embarrassingly large collection of red dresses, shoes and coats. And I can't seem to stop!
    .-= Roisin´s last blog ..Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • I am wearing a stripey top and stripey socks today. There should be come kind of stripey clothing rehab we could go to – preferably somewhere warm, with a spa…..But then would I replace one addiction with another? Would I become obsessed with polka dots instead?
    .-= Anne-Marie´s last blog ..Etsy Christmas Cards =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • Almost everything I've packed for the UK is grey, black or navy. I figure I'll brighten things up with accessories 🙂
    .-= Erin Le Clerc´s last blog ..Modern Vintage: Helene Berman's feathered beret =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • Have a fantastic time on holiday, I am very jealous of you guys.

    Everyone seems to be heading off on holiday on this week – my brother and his girlfriend are leaving tomorrow to go to Cuba for the next 2 weeks.

    Roll on March.

    .-= Mhairi´s last blog ..Wedding Dress: Tick =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • Attempting to pack sensibly is the worst. And MY winter holiday is to a cold climate (Minnesota, bleh) so everything takes up even more room in the suitcase. My weakness is coats, jackets and blazers. I always want to bring 4 or 5, because I can't imagine wearing my grey swing jacket to church, but my black dress coat doesn't really go with jeans, and what am I going to wear if I have to go sledding? Have fun on vacation!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Cranberries =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • Hee hee! Can totally relate, had to force myself to buy "coloured" items this summer. Because I seem to own only black, navy, grey (most!!) and brown items. Had to remind myself that I am just 23 and not 83. Even though when I'm 83 I might just start dressing like a school kid, b/c I am old and crazy and am therefore allowed to wear whatever I want. Even if that might include leopard print, magenta shirts and mustard coloured skirts. Hee. I might need to get cats, too, just to complete the image 😉
    .-= Nina´s last blog ..And I don’t see and don’t believe =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • I hear ya. I pretty much buy all my clothes in grey or navy, and it's completely a surprise to me when I dump out the shopping bags at home and realize this.
    .-= Amanda Nicole´s last blog ..week three =-.

    December 3, 2009
  • Robyn


    I used to do the exact same thing (and still do, sometimes). But for me it was leopard print and florals. I seriously have way to many florals. And at one point I would only buy things that were either brown or cream. I have no idea what was wrong with me. I find trying to just buy neutral basics helps, but then you realize you don't have enough color after a while too. Gah.

    December 4, 2009
  • Kirsty


    Not to influence you into buying more stripes, but have you seen the stripey top in Dorothy Perkins with the gold buttons on the shoulders? It is gorgeous, almost bought it last night but high neck+horizontal stripes+large chesticals= not a pretty sight! Can't find it on the website though 🙁

    December 4, 2009
  • thestyleexpress.com


    Just stumbled onto your post..very clever! Will be back to read again. I assume you know there is a "trashy novel" with the title Forever Amber!? Hope your holiday is great. Melinda

    December 5, 2009
  • I just wanted you to know that I do the packing all in black thing a lot. I actually did it for fashion week this year, it was about day three when I realized I literally had not brought a top or dress that was not black, and the only variant color skirts were gray. I did have a whole range of colored tights, though. And I guess it's slightly more appropriate for New York than the beach.

    What I do is have a capsule wardrobe of beachy clothes I wear pretty much only on our annual vacation to the beach/biannual vacation to a lake. It is entirely red, white, and blue so everything goes with everything and I get to indulge a preppy, Hamptonsy part of myself that really doesn't go with my usual personal style. So I fully support the stripey wardrobe thing, it will be so easy to pack for vacation after a few years of culling your capsule wardrobe.

    December 6, 2009
  • Moni


    I second the stripey thing… especially when grey is included. (I have several tops in black/grey, white/grey, dark grey/light grey,…). But it's not limited to that. Stripes in any colour are just fine.
    My personal "must buy although I don't want to and already have dozens at home"-item are striped socks. 🙂

    Anyway, have a great sunny vacation. Over here in Germany the weather forecast predicts snow for the weekend…

    December 11, 2009