Not pictured: Some basic white, black, brown, gray, and navy shirts and cardigans. Also, multiple pairs of black, dark gray, and white tights and socks. Also, obviously undergarments and PJs.
Dresses and jumpsuits are going to be my best friend both in packing and picking out outfits in general. You get an entire outfit in one garment which takes up way less room in a suitcase than a multiple pieced outfit. I already have quite a few dresses, but I'll probably use some of my pre-departure shopping fund to get a couple more. These will be great on days when I am sick of wearing basics and want to feel a little more dressed up.
I basically live in jeans, but unfortunately they are the most bulky of all every day clothing items. Realistically, I should only need one good, simple, dark pair of jeans to get me through the semester. I think that having a non-jeans pair of pants are essential. Especially a pair that are a little more comfortable than skinny jeans. The last thing are black leggings. The perfect alternative to sweat pants and nike shorts, these will get me through the "I want to wear my pajamas to class" days. These three basic bottoms will match all of my neutral tops and cardigans.
The weather in Angers is going to be quite different than here in Austin. It will be pretty in the fall, good for dresses and cardigans. But, as winter approaches, it will get chillier faster and stay colder consistently. A nice basic coat is definitely an essential. Also, apparently it can get pretty rainy in Angers, and since our means of travel will be walking, biking, and waiting for buses, a good raincoat with a hood is needed. Unfortunately, this is something else I will need prior to going (or something I should buy there). The coats I have now are all cheap and not sufficient for consistently cold weather. I also do not own a single raincoat.
I also have quite a few bags, but to be honest, I only use two on a regular basis. A small brown over the shoulder purse and a larger carry-all type bag. The small one holds all things important, wallet, keys, etc.. and the larger one can carry my school books, my groceries, etc..
These are the things that are usually the least expensive and take up the least amount of room in a bag. They also happen to be the things that make an outfit fashionable. Something as simple as a pretty scarf or a cool belt layered over basics adds another dimension to an otherwise flat ensemble. To relieve my fashion itch without breaking the bank while I am in France, I'll probably allow myself to purchase these types of items, providing some French trends to my wardrobe. Also, jewelry is something I think of as unessential to a great outfit, but also something I could find while traveling for good prices.
All in all, this adds up to being about 30-40 pieces. This isn't bad at all for a four month trip and can easily be packed in a large suitcase a long with a blow dryer, straightening iron, and curling iron. I am currently planning on buying all my toiletries locally, especially since Lush in Europe is even less expensive than in America (even after converting from euros to dollars).
over and out.