Holiday capsule - help!!

So I'm off to Morocco for a couple of weeks as of tomorrow and I haven't been as good about planning my packing as I'd like to be. It's not a major disaster, but I'm taking some risks and I have the feeling I'm carrying too much. Also, the colour palette is all over the map.

The capsule involves a few decisions which take me somewhat out of my comfort zone, but this is my first trip to North Africa and I'd like to be dressed for both the climate and the culture. 

What do you guys think? Am I carrying too much for two weeks? Or have I forgotten something?

Controversial outfit move:
Dresses layered over pants and t-shirts. It's versatile and it fits with the local mores (I like a good pun, me) but it does involve more pieces than I would usually pack. 

5 dresses:

Wax print sack dress, red/navy
White shirt dress, long sleeved
White shirt dress, sleeveless
Draped tunic, blue/grey
T-dress, black w/metallic print

5 pairs pants:
Hiking pants, grey
Skinny chinos, navy
Track pants, navy
Wide leg lounge pants, black
Silk pyjamas, yellow floral

9 T-shirts
2 plain white
2 plain black
4 long sleeved 
1 woollen base layer

3 pairs shoes:
Lightweight (sort-of) desert boots
Sneakers
Sandals
Controversial footwear move:
Sandals are a very old pair of fancy Birkenstocks, which will be worn with statement socks. I think I can get away with it and I can't be doing with blisters. Or I could nix this and sub in an extra pair of sneakers.

Outerwear
Lightweight performance jacket, aqua
Quilted lightweight down jacket, chartreuse
Lightweight bomber, black.
I'm wondering if I need a lightweight fleece or hoodie here as well?

Accessories:
3 shawls
2 headscarves
2 baseball caps
Beanie
Sunglasses
I'll be experimenting with different head coverings during the trip. I'm no stranger to hats, but it's been a while since I tried a head wrap and I doubt if I'll graduate to a hijab. Will have to see how it goes.

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31 Comments

  • fashiontern replied 2 weeks ago

    Do the dresses and pants have specific partners or do they mix +match well? I would think one white shirt dress would do it. Also, if you're planning to wear all the dresses over pants, then you could cut out half your T-shirts, or more.

    How do you plan to wear the shawls? Could you leave one out if you add in a fleece?

    I saw this recently. It might be useful, even though she traveled there at exactly the opposite time of year. http://www.oneikathetraveller......-code.html

    Safe travels! I hope we see pictures later. :)

  • approprio replied 2 weeks ago

    Thanks fashiontern, (and thanks in advance everyone else. Clearly I'm in a hurry and forgetting my manners ;) )

    Yes, the dresses do mix and match with the pants, but not universally - there are four partners for each.

    You could be right about the shirt dresses, but I'm having trouble choosing between them. The long sleeved one is a great cover-all against the sun, the sleeveless a fantastic layering piece over tees. Of the other three, the sack dress is too good an all-rounder to miss out, the grey drape is a clear substitute for a fleece (that's a problem solved right there) and the black print great for evenings. 

  • fashiontern replied 2 weeks ago

    So you've replaced one dress with a fleece? Now how about those T-shrts? Would 1 black, 1 white, and 2 long-sleeved be enough?

    I have no idea of your itinerary, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

  • fashiontern replied 2 weeks ago

    I don't know why that posted twice. Sorry!

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 weeks ago

    What's your laundry situation? Nine sounds like a lot of t-shirts to me. 

    Dress-over-pants sounds like a perfect way to be respectful while still feeling like yourself. And bringing a variety of head coverings and getting a feel for what seems right once you get there makes sense to me -- I have a feeling the expectations will be different in cities vs in the countryside. What is your itinerary? Marrakech? Elsewhere?

    The lightweight puffy should serve in most instances when you'd want a fleece, unless you plan on doing something aerobic/high-intensity where you'll be sweating continuously in temps cold enough for a jacket. The only real value of fleece over down is that it wicks and breathes. Otherwise, it's bulky and heavy for the warmth it provides, and has no wind resistance. Also, puffies look way cooler. :D

    Oh, and I support the Birks -- two pairs of sneakers sounds like too many unless the sneakers are very different from one another; I'd err on the side of variety. ;)

  • approprio replied 2 weeks ago

    Thanks guys! Very quick, because it's bedtime...

    I swapped the long sleeved shirt dress for a tiny silk slip dress I'd forgotten all about. Very light, perfect over a long sleeve tee, on trend in a hipster kind of way. Now reviewing the sack dress and navy chinos. Not sure when we get to do laundry, hence too many tees. 

    Flight's not until tomorrow evening, so I still have a bit of breathing space...

  • Style Fan replied 2 weeks ago

    Your capsule looks good to me.  Very respectful.  Mr Style Fan was in Morocco in the early 70s.  His comments were that people were dressed in everything from traditional clothing to casual Western sweatshirts and jeans.  Of course, that was a few decades ago.
    Morocco is on my wishlist of places to go.  Have a great time. 

  • UmmLila replied 2 weeks ago

    I think it’s unlikely you’ll need the head coverings. I find tunic over pants works in most conservative cultures. And it’s still nice even in the non conservative places. I’m pretty sure you’re fine as long as everything matches and the shoes keep you happy. (Spent three weeks in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon in October.)

  • Joy replied 2 weeks ago

    Followed Fashiontern's link and it looks very helpful and also leads to what she suggests wearing to Egypt (similar). Have a wonderful time.

  • rachylou replied 2 weeks ago

    The controversial plan looks like a good one, but I do think that’s a lot to shlep all over a country. If you’re staying in one place the whole time, I’d say it’s ok. But if you’re changing hotels every few days, it will get arduous...

  • approprio replied 2 weeks ago

    OK, I've edited. Now down to a more manageable size. Still sounds like a lot, but all are lightweight, compact items which pack small. 

    6 tees, including base layer
    4 dresses
    4 pairs pants
    2 each of scarves, shawls, caps, and a beanie. 
    3 jackets, including packable down
    Sneakers, boots, sandals. 

    LaPed: thanks for your input, particularly on the down jacket. You've convinced me, I don't need a fleece. Base layer and down will be enough for a chilly night in the desert.

    rachylou, I thought the same. I love to travel light, and a versatile capsule can be the most satisfying thing on holiday. We're about as mobile as we were in Japan, and I think this is tighter by now. Can I afford to lose another tee and one of the shell jackets? Not sure if I want to.

    SF, Joy, thanks! Always helps to have input from experienced travellers! UmmLila, I'll fess up, I've been eyeing Ledonna's head wraps and dying to give it a go in an appropriate setting ;) Seriously though, other travellers report that while head covering is not required, it can make a big difference if you do. 

    fashiontern: thanks for that link! It was very useful, and confirmed I'm on the right track here. 

    Thanks again all! Now back to last minute prep...

  • skylurker replied 2 weeks ago

    Not good at travel packing, but wanted to wish you a good time and safe travels.
    Been in Tunisia once, a long time ago (I was 15), I was wearing jeans (not skinnies, they didn’t exist at the time) and long sleeved t-shirts : I felt hands on my bottom every time we were in a crowded place (like markets) and I was harrassed in the street every time I strayed too far from my father.

  • approprio replied 2 weeks ago

    Oh Isabel! It sucks being a teenage girl. Yuck. I remember similar experiences at that age. Anyone trying that in the medina next week will get an earful.

    Anyway. On my way to the airport now and I must say I've packed pretty light this time. All fitted into the carry on with room to spare for souvenirs. Thanks for all the help and wise advice. Happy holidays everyone!

  • Astrid replied 2 weeks ago

    I love a functional small travel capsule! Hope you have a great trip. :)

  • rachylou replied 2 weeks ago

    Bon voyage!

  • fashiontern replied 2 weeks ago

    Your unhappy memories have reminded me of a happy one, walking through Djibouti with my ex and his brother. I was wearing a loose cotton A-line skirt with slash pockets, a tank top, and a very large hijab that covered most of my upper body.

    They hadn’t seen each other in over a decade and were jabbering away in Somali while I walked just behind them. That way I could see them both and ask questions when something funny came up or I half understood something, but really I was just enjoying ex’s enjoyment of his brother.

    We came to a bus depot and bro said something like “we can’t go through here with her” and ex said something like “she’s cool. She can handle it”. So they turned and warned me to be on my guard before we started crossing it.

    Sure enough, I felt a hand that I thought was groping me. I reached down to brush it aside, and discovered the hand was in my pocket! The few words of Somali I knew had been picked up around families, so the best I could do was pull his hand, still holding the bank notes (dummy), out of my pocket, and scold “little boy, no no!”

    My ex and his brother turned, saw what was happening, each grabbed an ear and gave him a tongue lashing from two sides before my ex finished it off with a little slap to his face. The guy was so startled!

    I don’t endorse physical discipline, but this whole incident makes me laugh as I think of one surprise unfolding after another for the guy: she caught me! She speaks a local language! She isn’t alone! And then the scolding. Who knows if he forever changed his ways, but I bet that put him off pick-pocketing for at least a little while!

    I hope you have a safe and happy trip, with perhaps a little less drama than that. ;)

  • shevia replied 2 weeks ago

    Never been to the area but know people who have (and are from Morocco) and my sense is that dress over pants is pretty much the perfect respectful choice for you. It is something you would wear anyway. You will not blend in, nor should you, but you won't offend. Hair covering seems overkill.
    Enjoy your trip!

  • Angie replied 2 weeks ago

    Sorry to be late to this, but safe travels and have a fab time. Take pics and show us. 

  • approprio replied 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for all the well wishing! Wireless is limited here in Tangiers, but as a social experiment head covering seems to work. Old ladies are saying hello and I've been gifted a tiny basket and a flower pot.

    Sadly I'm a terrible holiday photographer, but here's a selfie from this beautifully restored riad. Headscarf tied Berber style.

  • Angie replied 2 weeks ago

    OOOOH. Super fun pic, Liz. Love the turban. Now I want to see the basket and flower pot. 

  • Sal replied 2 weeks ago

    Have a fantastic time- I am sure it will be fascinating.

  • The Cat replied 2 weeks ago

    You look fab in that head scarf! I wish you a great time. And maybe you'll be able to buy other scarfs and shawls, which you may choose to use while you're away, and which will be lovely souvenirs to bring home.

  • Violettt replied 2 weeks ago

    Hi! I think your capsule and travel outfit sounds simply splendid!  The most important thing ever is to have comfy shoes, do you have those?  Otherwise my dear you're trip sounds beyond splendid. Have a wonderful time and make sure you see the wonderful churches. God Bless

  • Srah replied 2 weeks ago

    You look great! Enjoy the trip and tell us all about it!

  • approprio replied 2 weeks ago

    Angie calls, I answer ;) Random objects given to me at the restaurant where we had lunch, which was plenty good enough even without the freebie. The rug still belongs to the riad.

    I'll try the basket as an extra compartment in the lightweight tote I'm carrying. Not sure I want to cart around an unglazed jug.

    Heh. Except the picture won't upload :P

  • rachylou replied 2 weeks ago

    Awesome! I feel a need to practice scarf tying...

  • unfrumped replied 2 weeks ago

    I know I missed the packing phase, but wanted to add, this seems like a good opportunity to buy a souvenir shawl or scarf.

  • shevia replied 1 week ago

    You tied that turban beautifully. I am very impressed! Enjoy!

  • Angie replied 1 week ago

    You crack me up, Liz. Thanks for trying. 

  • Jane replied 1 week ago

    I am so enjoying this thread! I love your photos with the turban and wow look at the ceiling! My sister had a lovely time in Marrakech and got some amazing slippers with upturned toes...

  • Beth Ann replied 1 week ago

    So glad to hear your enjoying your trip (and that your wardrobe is working out)!

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