The Key to Packing for a Fall Getaway

Finally, after a very long and humid North Carolina summer, crisp fall weather is here! There is something about the coolness in the air that has always thrilled me this time of year. You get to cozy up in thick socks, sleep soundly under piles of warm blankets, drink hot cocoa and apple cider... but best of all, you get to wear beautiful wool coats, stacked booties, thick sweaters and snuggle underneath scarves. To me, fashion gets better in the cooler months as life slows down from the non-stop chaos of summertime.

This fall, my family will be taking a small vacation up to the mountains of North Carolina. We have rented out a gorgeous cabin retreat, perfectly nestled underneath endless acres of trees and overlooking streams and waterfalls. We plan on hiking, resting, and enjoying being lost in the quietness of nature. After a fairly busy summer, I can not wait for the moment when I will curl up by a window and read a book or hike through some trails. Or sleep...

For a "long-weekend" excursion like this one, I am reminded of times when friends and family have asked me how or what to pack. In the past I have been known to over pack - bringing along the book I think I'll read, bringing the outfit I think I'll wear... usually, I arrive back home with more clean clothes than dirty ones! I have found that there are 2 important things to think about when packing for any vacation: layering and versatility. Layering done correctly can easily achieve the latter - and I'll show you how.

First, frequently check the weather. I like to pack in increments, sometimes weeks before my departure date. As I pack, I keep up with the weather so I know how to be best prepared for my vacation. Weather always changes, and no matter how much I pack in preparation for it, sometimes weathermen just get it wrong. Because of this, I prepare by packing layers. I LOVE to layer - with my favorite go-to layering piece being my chambray (or as my sister and I have given the nickname of "cham"). I've never gone on a trip without it. Any boyfriend-fit, chambray-looking blouse or sweatshirt in a neutral color is the best thing to pack. They can stand alone, or be layered underneath or even over other items. My sister coined the phrase, "Cham today, cham tomorrow" (genius, I know), because really, you can wear one everyday and still style it differently than the day before. Or the day before the day before... and so on.

1. Let it serve as it's original purpose.

Even though it is layered underneath an over-sized boyfriend cardigan, my chambray is being worn at it's original purpose - a shirt. Notice the plaid pullover tied at the waist, it can also be used as a layer to put over the chambray if needed.

Chambray: J. Crew (similar here and awesome tunic one here), Plaid pullover: Madewell (similar here , loving this red alternative), Denim: Citizens for Humanity - Avedon (my favorite jeans), Booties: Madewell Charley Bootie (this season, still available!) 

2. Layer it underneath.

Here we see the chambray being used as an extra layer underneath a military jacket. It brings extra coverage and warmth over the arms of a sleeveless wool dress and adds innovation to the outfit. Here it serves two purposes and can even be replaced by either the gray cardigan or plaid shirt from Look #1.

Chambray: J. Crew, Wool Dress: Loft (old, but a great printed alternative here and simple sweatshirt dress - BOTH are 40% off!!), Military Jacket: Zara (similar here), Scarf: Gap (I like the plaid alternatives you can find here), Booties: Madewell Charley Bootie (this season, still in stock!)

3. Layer it on top.

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fall vacation, fall weather, Mel, Mel in Chanel, booties, Madewell, packing, how to, how to pack, how to pack for vacation, blog, Raleigh blogger, fashion blogger

I have replaced the traditional chambray with an army green military shirt very similar in size and shape. Both the chambray and military shirt are fairly lightweight, so in order to add warmth, I have layered the two of them together. These awesome high-waisted jeans are perfect for tucking the chambray inside and letting the military shirt hang loose. If the military shirt is unneeded, you can tie it around your waist and use the chambray as the outer layer. If it is cooler than expected, bring along the Military jacket from Look #2 and layer that over it all!

Chambray: J. Crew, Army Green military shirt: J. Crew (almost exact found here and here!), Denim: James Jeans - Hunter  (my most comfortable, high-waisted jeans ever), Booties: Madewell Charley Bootie (this season, still in stock!)

The importance of layering is translated into versatility. When I pack, I think beyond an item's original purpose and find ways to expand it's use. I even find ways to pack multiple outfits using just a few garment items. So I encourage you to do the same,find ways to replace pieces with other items - just like how I replaced the chambray with the military shirt. Mix it up, play with it, and don't feel pressured to wear something the way someone else may intend for it to be worn. This is the beauty of fashion - there are no rules!

Mel in Chanel's 


items for a Fall Getaway

1. Big, oversized jacket to layer on top of even the thickest of sweaters

2. Medium-weight cardigan in a neutral color

3. Chambray or boyfriend blouse

4. Comfortable denim or a legging, or a boyfriend denim if a looser fit is more comfortable for you

5. Boots/booties

6. Long scarf