It's no coincidence that you will often hear people lamenting, "Ugghhh, I have to pack tonight." Taking the time to plan and strategize your looks prior to departure can be both bothersome and a challenge, but at the end of the day, it's an absolute necessity.
A carry-on would certainly be ideal, and for those who can manage that: congratulations. Personally, I am incapable -- my worst nightmare would be arriving at my destination only to find that I haven't packed appropriately. When traveling, I simply cannot compromise style for comfort. Yes, I have to feel good, but I also have to feel stylish. Otherwise, it's best just to stay home.
Since launching Walk In My Closet (my virtual wardrobing and international designer resale site), I've shot the wardrobes of some of fashion's most notable designers and stylemakers. This is a set who are constantly traveling, and particularly versed in packing to ensure that they'll dress-to-impress no matter where they're going.
Here are some of my tips to help make the process as painless and efficient as possible, as well as some sage advice from fashion's most savvy travelers.
Check out the weather of your destination before packing a single item.
WHAT TO PACK
It goes without saying, but consider your destination before attempting to fill your suitcases -- my packing list differs greatly when traveling to NY vs. Ibiza.
My best advice and the rule that I never stray from is to pack your favorite of-the-moment pieces. That being said, I would literally die if my luggage happened to get lost. My favorites shoes, jacket, dress...just imagine. I suppose that for me, the reward is worth the risk, because I wouldn't have it any other way.
Ideally, plan your outfits in advance, making sure to pack a few more options, just in case.
ESSENTIALS WHILE TRAVELING
A jacket: A leather jacket, except in the hottest temperatures, is an absolute essential, a blazer or tuxedo jacket, a denim jacket
A dress: Ideally, a little black dress that will work for both day and night
A few favorites tees, no matter the season: Go for black, white, or heather grey
A few button up shirts or blouses, no matter the season: Go for stripes, white, denim or plaid
Bottoms: In warmer weather, your favorite skirt and shorts. Otherwise, leather pants and a pair of skinny black jeans
Shoes: I used to pack so many pairs of shoes, but never ended up wearing all of them. Now, I try to strategize. For me, flats are an absolute necessity if you will be doing a fair amount of walking. I personally cannot leave without a pair of comfortable boots, even in a heat wave like the one I just experienced in Manhattan. A pair of heels, sandals, or pumps versatile enough to complement most outfits.
Ziploc bags are highly recommended to avoid tragic incidents such as a shampoo leak on your favorite dress. I also suggest placing them in the
outside pockets of your luggage, to keep them separated from your wardrobe.
Travel with your jewelry. When I hear stories of people that lose their jewelry while traveling, it makes me want to scream. Always wear your jewelry or carry it in your handbag. Always.
KEEP WARM AND COZY ON THE PLANE
I always travel with a cozy cashmere scarf in my bag -- it can be so cold on the airplane, and this helps me to feel a bit like I'm at home. Also, a sweater and pair of socks in your bag is a must, especially on long flights.
I love to feel at home when traveling, so I always make sure to bring along some candles -- Dyptique makes a small version perfect for just this thing. Candles also make fantastic gifts for your host or hostess, and some of my very favorites are the incredible customized scents from Le Labo.
This also goes without saying, but another absolute essential is your own music and speaker system. Nothing instantly calms or gets the party going quite like your favorite playlists
Quite similar to the Russian dolls concept, I like to travel with a tote that houses the bag that I will be using during the day, and inside of that, several clutches for night.
I like to bring separate clutches to pack everything, including one each for: Lingerie, bikinis (if it's a beach vacation), jewelry, sun products, chargers, plugs and converter, boarding pass and passport
And here are a few tips from some of fashion's most seasoned travelers:
Try to think of the number of outfits you will need during your trip, although I'm not capable of doing it! -- Virginie Courtin-Clarins
"Take slips that can be worn to sleep in or as dresses." -- Shiva Rose
"Set a list of uniforms so you don't over pack." -- Thierry Lasry
"Always pack in a carry on." -- Irene Neuwirth
"Pack in advance." -- Marie Poniatowski
"Try and put together outfits for day and night beforehand, then throw in a few extras just in case. I fold everything really small that way I can fit more in and appear like I'm traveling light. Also, always bring extra layers as we can't predict the weather..." -- Charlotte Ronson
"Hermès canvas zipper bags to put lingerie, socks, stockings etc to keep me organized in my luggage." -- Jacqui Getty
"I wish -- I hate it!" -- Polina Aronova
"Don't check luggage." -- Kimberly Ovitz
"In advance + list of events to attend." -- Laure Hériard Dubreuil
"Pack in advance!" -- Julia Restoin Roitfeld
"Pack flat, don't fold." -- Estee Stanley
"Rolling my clothes to save space." --Jenni Kayne
"Bring your own travel kit onto the plane. Having your own pillow, eyeshades and headphones makes all the difference." -- Cheyann Benedict
With all this in mind, I suppose the only thing left to do is pray for your luggage to arrive safely. Oh, and don't forget your passport!
Packing for my kids is another story.