Trip Duration – 2 weeks
Activities – preaching, working in camp, working with local churches, one day safari
Challenges – Africa sun, cultural constraints (dresses only, shoulders covered, knees covered), camping in the bush, minimal facilities for washing
Mitigating the challenge – Minimize bottoms by taking only 2 rugged skirts. Use T-shirt dress for sleeping. Use boots for walking in the bush. Wear 3/4 sleeve shirts for sun protection. Wear a hat for sun protection. Wear leggings and silk underwear with fleece jacket if it gets cold.
Neutral main colors
- French Blue
- Burnished Gold
The Capsule Wardrobe List
- Green Ex-officio long sleeve button shirt with roll up sleeves (can be worn open as a jacket)
- Grey 3/4 sleeve T shirt (can be worn as a pull over sweater over another shirt)
- Brown 3/4 sleeve T shirt (can be worn as a pull over sweater over another shirt)
- Navy tank top
- Navy print tunic
- Blue button front tunic (can be worn open as a jacket)
- Blue R1 fleece jacket
- Black shawl sweater
- Grey calf length Macabi skirt
- Tan calf length Macabi skirt
- 3/4 sleeve Jersey dress
- Very light cotton Kaftan bought at Maasai market
- T-shirt dress for sleeping
- Black/Grey/Tan/Brown scarf
- 4 pairs underwear
- 2 bras
- 2 pairs light weight black wool socks
- 2 pairs black footies
- scoop neck 3/4 sleeve silk undershirt
- black leggings
- Knee high boots
- mesh Mary Jane walking shoes (sandal alternative)
- Very thin and lightweight black patent leather flats
- Black windbreaker / rain jacket
- Sun Hat
Worn on the Plane
I will be wearing clothing from the list above. The general rule of travel is to wear your heaviest and bulkiest clothes on the plane. I also want something pajama-like for a very long flight. A jersey dress and leggings are very comfortable and culturally appropriate. My choices are:
- Jersey dress
- Black shawl sweater
- Undies & socks
- Rain Jacket
I may remove one of the shirts as 5 shirts is probably one shirt too many. Most days I will wear one of the two skirts and a top. I will preach in the dress and flats and also use it for church. The T-shirt dress is another dress alternative if I need it. For safari I will wear a skirt and top with a fleece jacket and a windbreaker. The jacket/windbreaker will give me the warmth I need until the sun gets high in the sky. I will only wear socks with my boots, and on occasion wear footies with my Mary Jane walking shoes.
The Kaftan will give me an alternative piece of clothing to wear while I launder the days outfits. I will be washing the socks and undies most nights. The skirts dry very quickly. In the past I only had one usable skirt which I washed at night and would wear again the next day.
Once I was out of the airport, I never wore my jersey dress! The same is true for the black shawl sweater. They were just too fragile for the bush, and we spent little time in the city. The dress was nice to sleep in, as Turkish Airlines managed to strand me for the day in Istanbul airport. I had brought a silk sleep sack in my carry on, so I was set to spend the night on the airport benches.
I could have benefited from an extra skirt just for variety, but it wasn’t necessary. I also found that this time my 3/4 sleeve T-shirts were too hot. I headed for my tunics when I wanted to stay cool but be protected by the sun. It was very chilly at night. The leggings, combined with the T-shirt dress and the R1 fleece jacket worked very well – I was not cold. The Kaftan, as always, was wonderful to get into at the end of the day. What an amazing garment!
I wore my boots more than I expected, as I was walking around the bush more than staying at camp. This actually meant that I needed an extra pair of socks. Fortunately, Turkish Airlines provides slipper socks in the comfort packs that they hand out to the passengers. I used these as a 3rd pair of socks and was fine. I never wore the footies – they kept slipping off of my feet and were useless. I just went sock-less inside of my mesh Mary Jane shoes.
For next time:
- Bring another skirt
- Bring another tunic
- Leave the Cotton T-shirts at home
- Leave the Jersey dress at home
- Leave the dress flats at home
- Forget the footies
Very helpful, thank you for sharing!! Do you have links or photos of the boots, tunics and kaftan? Trying to get an idea of weight, material etc, as there are many varieties of these 3 items.
Cindy Heazlit said:
The boots are knee high unlined boots from Merrell. I like knee high boots when walking through tall grass (snakes!) especially when wearing a skirt. I wear them on the plane. The kaftan was purchased at the Maasai market in Nairobi. It is a very light cotton. The tunics were cheap cotton tunics I bought in the states. They were a darker color to hide any possibility of showing undergarments. The material is light.
I found cotton to be way more comfortable than synthetics. It wasn’t a problem for me as the heat quickly dried the cotton in just a few hours.