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Joan Didion's Packing List

OCTOBER 02, 2015, by Karyna Schultz

With her bird-like stature, cool gaze, and sharp wit, Joan Didion is an icon, both in her keen-eyed prose and her sartorial choices. As a one-time Vogue editor, the girl knew how to get dressed in the morning, always with style and practicality. 

In her seminal 1979 book "The White Album", Didion recounted her packing list that she kept taped inside her closet door, in case she needed to pack quickly for a last-minute trip. 

2 skirts
2 jerseys or leotards
1 pullover sweater
2 pair shoes
nightgown, robe, slippers
bag with: shampoo
toothbrush and paste
Basis soap, razor
face cream
baby oil

mohair throw
2 legal pads and pens
house key

“This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those years when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. Notice the deliberate anonymity of costume: in a skirt, a leotard, and stockings, I could pass on either side of the culture. Notice the mohair throw for trunk-line flights (i.e. no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioning could not be turned off. Notice the bourbon for the same motel room. Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the day’s notes.”

This list has inspired many, and it still resonates today. We have made a selection of pieces that we think she would pack and wear.

2 skirts:

Lemaire Flared Rib skirt and Acne Pait skirt

2 jerseys:

- Acne Vista C Base in sand and Land of Women Line tank

1 pullover sweater:

1205 Prose Contrast sweater

2 pairs of shoes:

- Robert Clergerie Naloj wedges and Woman by Common Projects Slip-on Derbies


- Land of Women Triangle bra and high-cut brief

Mohair throw:

- Acne Vilia scarf in rust

Where to start? We recommend "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", "The White Album" and "The Year of Magical Thinking"

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