Examine Your ClosetChances are you wear the same favorite clothes over and over, with some variations on pants or jackets. These are the clothes you want to take on your next trip.
Identify FavoritesHere are two strategies for figuring out which are your favorite (most worn) pieces of clothing:
- Move your entire wardrobe into an empty closet. Over a couple months, move only the clothes you wear back into your main closet. Congrats, your favorite clothes, those you most often wear, have now been identified.
- Rotate your hangers so the hooks face you, rather than facing the closet’s back wall. Over a couple months, as you wear your clothes, switch the hangers of the worn items so that they face the correct direction. After a few months, you’ll have a good visual of exactly which clothes you regularly wear and which ones just take up space in your closet.
Identify Double Duty ItemsWhat does double-duty mean? These are clothes that you can layer, easily wash, and which complement each other.
LayeringCliche, but true: layering clothes is the simplest way of dressing appropriately for any type of weather. Peel off a layer when it’s too hot, or add a cardigan when you’re cold. Ball up the clothing to see how small it can become when you pack it. Types of clothes that layer well:
- Tank tops
- Light cotton shirts in any style of neck line
- Cotton or merino wool cardigans
- Collared button down shirts
- Leggings or heavy tights (to layer under a dress or jeans if super cold)
- Jersey dresses that wrinkles shake out of
- Victoria’s Secret Essential t-shirts
- J Crew tees
- Banana Republic stretchy t-shirts
- American Apparel shirts
- Target t-shirts like the boyfriend, boat neck or vintage cotton shirts
- Everlane cotton v-tees
Base Layers: Neutral ColorsYour tank tops and cotton shirts will be pulling heavy duty, so, you need them to flatter your other clothes. When packing, select shirts in colors that compliment each other. For example, my closet has lots of blue t-shirts, so I typically pack black and pink tank tops. I know the two colors look good together. And, if needed, I can wear the black tank top on its own.
Max Your AccessoriesAdding in a scarf (which can ward off chilly winds), or a statement necklace, can change an entire outfit’s look from casual to dressy. Best part is these small accessories don’t take up tons of space in your bag. And if you’re like my friend — her entire outfit is built around her jewelry — you can wear almost the same outfit every day, but make it look totally different based on your accessories. Get creative!
Basic Accessories To Pack:
- Brightly colored scarf
- Necklace: Chunky fashion one, or something more delicate
- Earrings: Dangly, studs, or hoops
- Bracelets: Thin bangles, chunky
- Belts: Skinny, leather, or colorful
- Hats: These can take up more space so I would only go with one
Put It TogetherBy now you should have a pile of clothes that do several things:
- Play well with each other, in similar or complimentary colors
- Can easily be layered without feeling too bulky
- Can be dressed up or down with your accessories
- Wash well and hide stains
- Make you feel good
Sample Packing ListJust for you, here’s a sample of what I pack for a trip:
- Two Old Navy tank tops in black and blue
- Three cotton t-shirts (short sleeve or three-quarter length) in black, blue, or navy from Everlane, Target, or J.Crew
- Long sleeve cardigan from Victoria’s Secret in green
- Flowery scarf with pink, blue, and green accents
- Two necklaces: One delicate and St. Christopher’s medal
- Three pairs of earrings: Siamond (or CZ) studs, silver dangly, and silver hoops
- One pair of Lucky Jeans (wear them — don’t pack)
- Blue and white J.Crew collared shirt in long sleeve length
- Optional – Black jersey dress for a nice dinner out
- Lightweight, wind-resistant jacket like FlyLow Gear’s Vixen jacket (strap to your bag’s outside for easy access on a chilly flight)
- Sometimes I pack a baseball hat if I’m going to a game, or driving at night (the brim shields my eyes from passing vehicles’ headlights)
- If it’s a colder destination, I throw in a long sleeve cardigan or wear a blazer underneath my jacket on the plane
Pack ItLet’s be honest: I hate folding and ironing clothes almost as much as I hate waiting. What I’ve found works best for my clothes is rolling them. With this method, you can see all shirts at a glance, use minimal space, and you can pull out shirts without messing up the general organization of your bag.
Packing like this is much easier with a bag that unzips from the top, like the Tortuga travel backpacks do, than a normal hiking backpack that opens only from the top.
TL;DRAs a woman, you can pack in a carry on and still look good; without buying a new wardrobe for your trip. Remember to select items of clothing that layer well, compliment each other, and easily wash. Skip high-maintenance clothing that needs to be dry cleaned or ironed. Here’s how:
- Examine your closet
- Identify your favorite clothes
- Pick clothes in your favorite clothes that mix and match well and wash easily
- Pack your bag using those clothes you’ve just identified
- Use accessories (think: scarves, jewelry) to juice up outfits