Packing: For Women

14th July 2017 Preparation

Packing for vacation is one thing but packing for a year in a hot country is its own special challenge!  As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking about this way too much…  This blog post could be way longer and filled with stories of all the things I’ve bought and returned already or all my anxiety about keeping the balance of buying what I need and not becoming materialistic, but we’ll skip all that nonsense and just focus on the essentials.

I think the difficulty comes from trying to balance the practical and the enjoyable.  I need clothing that will be durable– withstanding hand washing and sweating– and comfortable and yet not leave me feeling frumpy for an entire year.

So I’m thinking of packing for this trip as choosing a capsule wardrobe, which is a concept that I have been fascinated with for years.  The Stylebook app has been great for helping me to visualize my wardrobe and how everything will work together (because I’m a nerd).


I already have several service skirts which I’ll be bringing but I’m also going to invest in a multitude of high-quality t-shirts and tanks.

Wearing comfortable shoes goes without saying but I don’t want to wear ugly shoes. A comfortable pair of leather sandals– either flat or platform– will work just fine.  I have the idea of buying some Kork-Ease sandals because they’re have a cool, 70s vibe.  I’ll also get a pair of rubber boots for preaching during the rainy season or on the rivers.

For a service bag, I bought a vintage Coach bag months ago and I’m loving it!  But there was a day a few weeks ago where I wore it all day and my neck hurt so I found a second hand, compact, leather backpack and purchased that.  We’ll give that a test drive and see how it goes.  At the very least, it will be nice to have options.

I’ll likely want to carry an umbrella both to block the sun and for the rain in the rainy season.  I could wear a hat but I’m not really a hat person so I’m afraid it would just go unworn.  Also, with greater coverage area, an umbrella simply gives more shade, thereby making you cooler.

I also, for sure, will bring some light shorts to wear under my skirt, both for comfort and for modesty if riding a bike.


I definitely want to differentiate between service clothes (which are worn for long, sweaty days in the sun) and meeting clothes.  I want to be able to wear heels and nice dresses and costume jewelry.  I’m using as a rule of thumb to dress like the local sisters which is conservative and modest, but not overly casual.


I’m going to pack the usual, jeans and t-shirts but I also want to stay ultra-comfortable around the house so that means a jumpsuit and some flowy pants.  House shoes or flip flops are usually worn in the yard.  And as much as I love sandals, I know I’ll also want some closed shoes for more strenuous walking.


Accessories go a long way!  For the last few years, I’ve been really into wearing small scarves or neckerchiefs as a way to make an outfit more interesting.  And with such a small wardrobe, they go a long way to adding flexibility.  I have three that I wear regularly which will either substitute for a necklace or can be used as a head covering in a pinch.

I also consider my sunglasses an accessory.  I have one pair of Raybans and I’m eternally devoted to them.

Jewelry also goes a long way toward transforming an outfit.  I have a few statement necklaces which instantly make my outfit look more interesting.  I will probably skip them for service and just use them to dress up my meeting and assembly clothes.


Finding good makeup to wear in the heat is a challenge and I’m not entirely sure yet how I want to handle it.  Suggestions are welcome!  You can be sure that I’m paying attention to all these summer beauty tips showing up on the blogs these days.  I’m thinking that for service I’ll probably find a nice tinted moisturizer with SPF and then keep the foundation for meetings, assemblies, etc.

I fully expect to wear my hair up a lot!  I  want to try out some updo styles in order to mix it up a bit.  And I’m seriously testing anti-frizz products this summer.

So there you have it!  A plan for how to pack lightly and dress smartly.

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