Kari Chan ’17 in Milan: The 10 item intern
Kari Chan, rising Senior, is concentrating in Marketing and is interning in Milan, Italy this summer through the Glavin Office’s Intern Abroad program. Her first challenge: the 10 item suitcase!
Despite all of the anxiety and fear of flying on an airplane alone and being in a completely foreign country both for the very first time, there is one thing I am excited to experiment during my stay in Milan and that is the 10 item wardrobe. I first encountered this concept through a TEDx talk video which is presented by Jennifer L. Scott. Jennifer spent a semester abroad in Paris and learned this concept by observing her host family while she was staying there. (Video Link Here)
One thing she noticed right away in Paris was how little closet space there was for the large suitcases that she had overstuffed on her way here. On the other hand, Jennifer’s host family had much fewer clothing items (minus seasonal items) and wore them in heavy rotation. There has always been a stigma in America if you were ever to be found wearing the same shirt two days in a row, or even within the same week! However, the view is completely different in Paris where people choose only the highest quality items but purchase less of it. They find ways to beautifully and elegantly mix and match every piece.
I began to experiment this on my shorter trips where I would only pack a few shirts and bottoms for a week or so and it amazed me. Jennifer is completely right about this: the less choice you have, the easier it is to get dressed in the morning. Ever notice how you open up your closet that it is actually spilling over with endless clothes, some you found on sale at the mall and thought was a great deal while others you question if you even fit into them anymore? You say to yourself: “I have absolutely nothing to wear” more often than not.
Jennifer says that if you put some thought and organization into this daily task, you can completely change your life. And it did for me. Getting ready in the morning is a breeze now compared to in the past. Plus, the benefits of this concept for those of us studying abroad is that you’ll be carrying around a lot less weight when you’re flying. PLUS, you will have even more room for the souvenirs and goodies that are more worthwhile to bring back in your suitcase than that shirt you only wore a few times.
For my internship abroad in Milan during this summer, I have packed the following in terms of clothing items:
- 8 Tops (4 that can be dressed up for my internship and are also my favorites, 2 basics that are easy to pair, and 2 super comfortable Red Sox shirts that just remind me of home)
- 3 Pants (1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of dark dress pants that can also be dressed down, and 1 pair of athletic pants that can be dressed up)
- 4 Shorts (1 pair of pleather skort, 1 pair of jean shorts, 1 pair of sweatpant-like shorts, and 1 pair of pajama shorts)
- 1 Dress (Versatile black maxi)
- 5 Outer Layers (1 button up that can be dressed up or down, 1 jean jacket, 1 rain jacket, 1 sweatshirt, and 1 black blazer)
- 1 Bathing Suit Set
- 3 Shoes (2 pairs of flats, 1 athletic sneaker)
That’s it for my two month stay! Not counting outerwear, seasonal, and shoes I have just 16 core pieces. I really tried my best to cut down on what to bring and you can notice that I have catered this set of items to functionality which is very important if I want to get the most out of each item while I am abroad. Basically, if I couldn’t think of three different ways to wear one item I took it out of my suitcase (with some exceptions like my Red Sox shirts).
Of course, being in Milan as the center of fashion, I will be making some (carefully thought out) purchases here and there (looking out for the perfect leather jacket as that is the popular staple item in Milan!) which is why I purposely made room for that for my flight back. But the key to AFTER organizing your closet is to maintain the simplicity and to avoid impulse purchases! Only purchase items that you will make the most use out of even if it is a little bit pricier. For me, I’d be willing to spend a little bit more on an absolute must-have shirt or skirt I see on a window display rather than 5 different, basic shirts that might’ve been on sale that I will never wear a second time.
Check out the video for Jennifer’s more thorough explanation on how to begin the purging and organizing process. You definitely don’t need to limit your wardrobe to just 10 items right off the bat. Start slow, begin with 15 or even 20. Cater this selective and simplified wardrobe to your own taste and needs. The important key idea out of me telling you all this is that you try it! If any of you do try this on any trip, please do let me know how it all goes!
In bocca al lupo (good luck)!
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