Clothes, clothes, and more clothes...

We take our clothes for granted. 

They hang in our closets patiently waiting to be selected as a means of covering our bodies for purposes of modesty or warmth while defining our personalities and our mood for the day.

Some days they fit tightly based on the size of last night's scrumptious dinner or mind blowing dessert.  Some days they fit loosely after 24-hour bout with the flu, only to become tight again after a new day's meals.  Some days they fit just fine.  

Our blue jeans are particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon which at times, require us to lay on the bed to zip them using a mighty pelvis thrust followed by a hefty hike or two while we're dancing on our toes trying to stuff in very last bit.

We all have favorite clothes.  Favorites make us look good, remind us of a sentimental occasion with their worn and comfortable feeling seemingly timeless. 

We save some of our clothes for decades, neatly tucked away in the attic, hoping they will come back in style. Ironically, when they do, there is a distinct trendy update, rendering them subject to stares from strangers and criticism from those we love, who refuse to allow us to embarrass them in public.

Some of us have no interest in their clothes, grabbing them mindlessly off the hanger with little regard for color, coordinating an outfit or the current style. Others of us are filled with angst, painstakingly trying on item after item in a futile effort to achieve that perfect combination that will magically make us look and feel good. 

Lately, I have been thinking about our clothes.  Honestly, in the past I seldom "thought" about my clothes other than their purchase (usually online), their washing (frequently after one wearing), their ironing (love to iron!), then deciding on what to wear and the occasional annoyance of a "wardrobe malfunction."

Thinking about clothes has become a necessary element of traveling about the world for the next three years or more, with two suitcases and one carry-on each.  We have read numerous websites with packing suggestions.  Na, not much help there when most suggestions are for vacations, not carrying everything owned at the time, never going "home" to repack. 

I've always rotated my clothing not only for variety but to take advantage of what fashionable items I had at the time.

Tom tends to wear the same clothes day after day. I currently do laundry everyday. Whatever he wore today will be back in his drawer within a few hours of his taking them off being "first up" to be worn again the next day, rather than rummaging through the drawers to find something different. 

This past weekend, when we started accessing his wardrobe needs, the top two or three items in each drawer were old and worn.  Everything underneath these items, was nearly new.  We found 20 short sleeve button down shirts in his closet that he had never worn, from either lack of looking through them or from them not fitting him until now with him 25 pounds lighter from his recent diet, low carb, wheat free, grain free, starch free and sugar free.  With his 20 shirts neatly folded and ready for packing, we are purchasing the following items to round out his wardrobe:
  • 16 pairs of shorts:  khaki, taupe, brown, white, jeans, navy, beige
  • 2 pairs dress pants: khaki, black
  • 1 sport coat (for dressy cruise nights)
  • 2 dress shirts + 3 ties (for dressy cruise nights)
  • 3 pairs jeans
  • 1 pair lightweight sweatpants & hoodie
  • 20 button down shirts:  solids, checks, Hawaiian print (Tommy Bahama)
  • 16 tee shirts: all solids
  • 4 swim trunks
  • 1 lightweight robe
  • 20 pair briefs (to avoid paying for laundry service on cruises)
  • 20 pairs white socks
  • 3 pair dress socks
  • 1 pair tennis shoes
  • 1 pair heavy duty sports shoes
  • 1 pair casual sandals
  • 1 pair dress shoes
  • 2 belts
  • 1 lightweight rain jacket
  • BugsAway clothing: 2 pair pants (pants to shorts via zipper), 2 long sleeve shirts, 2 tee shirts, 4 pairs socks, 1 baseball cap, 1 full coverage hat all treated with Permethrin, effective through 70 washings against, mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges.
Yes, 127 items seem overwhelming. However, they will fit into his two suitcases. We may have to pay for additional or overweight baggage.  But, Tom will have enough clothing to accommodate our longest cruises without paying laundry service fees instead, waiting until we arrive at our next location at which time we will be able to do our own laundry for the cost of laundry soap.  

Based on Royal Caribbean's attached laundry fee schedule, we would easily spend a combined $400 on laundry fees on each cruise.  With seven cruises booked thus far while awaiting four more to post, we could be looking at about $2800 in laundry fees.

After considerable research, it appears that most international flights will accept two bags each or may charge additional fees. At this point, we will take our chances and bring plenty of clothes, hand washing a few items as necessary along the way.

Our next post on Saturday, June 2 will be the dilemma of the other half of this packing equation: the clothing of a color coordinated freak, overly picky, somewhat fashion conscientious, moderately trendy, shoe loving, variety seeking individual who refuses to ever wear the same clothing two days in a row: ME!

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