Five years ago, I was known as a somewhat legendary packer. Meaning I could somehow fit a two-week vacation into a carry-on bag — and I was endlessly smug about it. When other people’s luggage got lost by the airline, I marinated in my self-satisfaction, knowing that would never, EVER be me.
Fast-forward half a decade, and I’ve evolved into my own worst nightmare — a packing mule. I over-pac,k and I smash everything into a suitcase without leaving enough room for souvenirs. Or I completely forgo the most logical items in favor of the whimsical.
My recent trip to Mexico highlights this fairly new behavior.
I had been looking forward to my trip to Isla Holbox for months. It’s a sleepy, bohemian island about 4 hours away from Cancun, making it an ideal backdrop for far-flung expat fantasies about quitting your job to open a yoga studio. I love for my clothes to illustrate these types of stories and alternative realities, so I literally storyboarded all my outfits before the trip. (I did this before my Morocco honeymoon, too.)
The first day and a half of our trip to Isla Holbox was sunny and toasty. Because it was so early in the vacation, I didn’t bust out any of my dreamiest outfits. I was saving them (for what, I don’t know).
I had packed the entirely wrong type of shoes for the vacation. I had brought leather Isabel Marant sandals and jeweled Stuart Weitzman flip-flops. These choices were disastrous — the leather was not waterproof, and the beaded flip-flops were far too fancy for the environment. Should you find yourself on a beach vacation, just wear unembellished flip-flops. Anything else is just too high-maintenance. (And bring your own — because I was stuck on an island, I had to pay a hugely inflated price — $30! Admittedly, they were worth every penny, just so I could feel comfortable.)
For the balmy evenings, I stuck to simple summer shifts. (The versions I brought were in silk or linen.) Silk can be a little stuffy in hot climates, but the secondhand dress in the photo was selected for its ocean-froth print and the fact that it was well-ventilated (thanks to a large cut-out across the back).
I wound up packing several swimsuits, including a vintage-inspired red polka-dotted number — but I needn’t have bothered. I wound up sticking with this Frankensuit, which I cobbled together from two totally different designers. The high-waisted designer bottoms are by Rachel Comey, and I first spotted them at Bird in Brooklyn — although I wound up buying the bottoms online at The Dreslyn because they were on sale and in my size.
The matching Rachel Comey top was rather dreadful (zero support and a blah design), so I opted for this striped and super-cheap push-up from Target. I was rather pleased with the way this turned out — and for about $100, it cost a fraction of what designer suits typically run.
And then the rain started.
For the rest of our vacation, our little corner of paradise was pummeled with rain, flooding and power outages. (It felt a little like the end of Jurassic Park, when Wayne Knight is embarking on his doomed trip to the dinosaur embryo ferry.)
I knew it was supposed to rain, thanks to my weather app, but I did not think it would be an all-day affair. Moreover, I thought the rain would be warm. I was wrong on both counts, forcing me to make some tough clothing-related decisions. (Questions like, “Do I soak my jeans in the rain or do I wear jorts and freeze my feet?” danced in my head.)
I wound up looking everywhere across the island for an umbrella or a raincoat, and the only thing available was this (used) poncho that had been hanging across a potato chip display. And it cost a pretty penny, too.
My husband refused to pay a king’s ransom for a raincoat, so he spent the rest of the trip in a garbage bag — literally.
Needless to say, my dreams of a Pinterest-worthy vacation were quickly dashed. Instead, my husband and I got a lot of laughs and plenty of priceless memories,
Has your vacation wardrobe ever been totally derailed by the weather? How did you cope?