As a seasoned traveller, I have always prided myself on the ability to pack up to 2 weeks worth of outfits into one carry-on suitcase. This all boils down to knowing your personal style, packing a fool-proof foundation of mix and match basics, and bringing all the right accessories to compliment each mood you'll have on any given day during your trip. It sounds impossible, but it's absolutely doable.
Let's be honest ladies, we all know how we can change our minds in an instant - and that outfit you had planned for weeks suddenly doesn't fit into what you're feeling when you wake up that day.
I use a simple rule of 2 (for anything from a long weekend to 7 days) and 3 (7-14 days). This means: 2 (or 3) of all your favorites - long sleeve tops, tees, tanks, pants, skirts, shorts, dresses, swimsuits, bags, and shoes. I always go with monochrome...who are we kidding, that means all black. However, it's nice to throw in a couple neutrals here and there. My current obsessions are dark hunter greens and burgundy, accented with gold and silver jewellery.
Functionality over everything for a vacation when it comes to choosing your main accessories such as your bags and your shoes. I know those 5" heels seem perfect for that night out at with the girls, but after 2 tube transfers and walking down some cobbles in Soho, your feet will have nothing left in them for dancing and you'll be rethinking that decision...
- For bags I always bring a backpack in addition to a medium sized cross-body bag. Something with a zipper tends to give me a sense of security as you never know where your travels are going to take you and it assures me that I won't be losing anything on the way.
- My current personal favourite is the Kara Large Stowaway Crossbody Bag in all black pebbled leather. I purchased mine from a wonderful new shop in Williamsburg called Concrete + Water via the help of the lovely Hannah. It even comes with a removable leather zip pouch, which was handy for things like travel cards/passports/foreign currency. The pebbled leather fared well in the rain in London and the texture has managed to hide any scratches to the surface of the bag.
- For backpacks, my go-to is always the Fjallraven Kanken. I recently picked up the 17" laptop Kanken in black, and though it's quite large for me, it was and comfortable to carry and easy to fit everything I needed for the plane ride.
- It's also a good idea to double a wristlet as a wallet for the trip, as you will be able to take it out on it's own for an evening on the town. A good one I like is the Alexander Wang Fumo Wristlet here.
- Packing the right shoes was always something I struggled with - too many options - but now, I think I've found the perfect combination. And since my most recent trip was to a cold weather destination and involved many hours of walking, I tried to make sure to bring the appropriate footwear.
- A pair of boots is a must - something comfortable to walk around in all day that is practical and can be matched to almost anything. I picked up these Topshop Margot boots in black and haven't stopped wearing them since I've been back! So comfortable and flattering...they fit nice and snug around the ankles.
- A pair of sneakers - I always go for a good pair of Nikes. I have been religiously wearing the Nike LunarElite Sky Hi sneakers. They are unbelievably comfortable, and even manage to give me some height! Much needed when you're just a touch under 5'...I love them so much I even picked up the newest waterproof sneakerboot version.
- A pair of heels - I brought a pair of heeled boots and, in this case, matched my more dressed up outfits to the shoes and I was headed out to London where I knew I'd be walking a lot. I've never been one for pumps or stilettos anyways!
- As far as accessories go, I tend to get a bit cray with packing and just bring it all. A couple favorites are a thick gold chain necklace, a couple long statement pendant necklaces, bangles, and tons and tons and tons of rings. In God We Trust NY is my absolute favourite shop for all these dainty pieces! These are all the small little bits you can use to really dress up and differentiate the feel of your basics.
Here is a quick checklist for all you neurotic packers out there like me who love lists.
- 2/3 tanks (includes undershirts, camis, Uniqlo heattech - saved my life!)
- 2/3 tees: basic, opt for black/white/grey/navy and one other colour
- 2/3 tops: sweatshirts/sweaters/button-ups/turtlenecks or anything else that isn't the previous category
- 2/3 bottoms: fave jeans/skirt/shorts
- 2/3 pieces of outerwear: I always bring a Uniqlo ultra thin down vest and a leather jacket (All Saints is my personal fave) and/or a more tailored coat
- 2 bags: larger weekender type bag (duffle/backpack/large purse), a smaller cross body day bag, wristlet for going out
- 3 pairs of shoes: boots/sneakers/heels
- Accessories: Bring pieces that have pops of color, statement jewellery, and don't be afraid to pack as many rings and pairs of earrings you want (within reason, girls). These are easy to carry and tend not weigh much or take up too much space.
As with anything, there are always exceptions, but in general this is a good place to start. It's taken me many trips of trials and errors to get to this point but I've realized that the key is to bring pieces that you feel confident and comfortable in, stick to a neutral color palette, and make sure everything can be mixed and matched. You can always tweak the numbers and throw in fashion pieces if the space allows. Remember to leave space, because depending on your destination, you will probably shop or want to bring back souvenirs!