10 tips for traveling light & still looking fab

I went to New York City for a week with my interior design graduating class two years ago, and I was the only one who took a carry-on suitcase. Most girls brought full-sized checked baggage with 2 different outfits and pairs of shoes every day for a week. Do the math and that equaled about 2400 possible outfits for 7 days. (If you’re reading this, girls, I love you…)  Granted, the outfits I chose to take were poor, but every time is a learning experience. Lucky for all of you, I’ve worn enough terrible outfits abroad to write a blog post about it and let you know what you SHOULD be wearing! And you can do it with just your purse and a carry-on suitcase.


·          Bring less and wash more often. Set aside 10-15 minutes every few days to wash – there is no point carrying around clothes you aren’t wearing because they’re dirty.
·          The key is to pack basic yet stylish pieces that can be mixed and matched. This means no wild colours or big patterns that clash. One of the most important tips I can give you is make sure every single piece of clothing you bring matches every single other piece of clothing.
·          Your hair and some jewelry will differentiate your outfits day to day. You could wear the same thing two days in a row but if you accessorize it differently and wear your hair in a completely different way, no one will even really notice.
·          Remember the keys to looking chic every day! These still apply while traveling!

your suitcase.

1.        4 shirts, one being a little dressier. I usually choose dark clothes that dry quickly and either do not wrinkle or look good wrinkled. Mix your long-sleeves and your short-sleeves, and incorporate a few different shapes.
2.        1 sweater, medium weight. Crucial for layering if it’s chillier than you thought it would be, and great if it’s not quite cold enough to wear a jacket.
3.        2 pairs of pants. I usually bring a pair of nice jeans that I wear day-to-day and a pair of black skinny, comfortable cigarette pants for nicer dinners and events. DO NOT NEGLECT THE PANTS. My most recent trip to New York was supposed to be beautiful and sunny all week and it ended up being 10 degrees C and raining. Someone was an idiot and didn’t bring any pants (this girl right here), and I was stuck in shorts for the week.
4.        1 pair of shorts. This depends where you’re going – if you’re traveling in winter, you can probably skip this step. If you are taking shorts, APPROPRIATE PLEASE! Most other countries are more modest than North America and wearing booty shorts will not go over well. Plus that’s just not comfortable.
5.        1 skirt. Lightweight, non-wrinklable – a dark, patterned one is great. Light colours have the ability to be spoiled/stained easily and then you’re… what’s the saying? Something about up a creek without a paddle… Wear something light, get it stained the first day, and you’re lugging around a piece of clothing you can’t wear.
6.        5 pairs of underwear and socks (or more). You will never regret having a clean pair of either.
7.        1 jacket, relatively lightweight. Thin pea coats and short trenches are good, because they have the ability to be stuffed in your purse or tucked over your arm without weighing you down. I took my leather jacket to Europe last time I went and while it looked tres chic in brisk Paris, it sucked lugging it around in hot Barcelona. Keep in mind all of the places you’re going and try to find a jacket that will work for all of them.
8.        A nice purse. Okay, I know I’ve talked about the wonders a purse can do but really, traveling is no exception. Have a durable, waterproof (fake leather is good for this) purse with a strap long enough to sling it over your shoulder or across your chest. When you’re walking a lot, the last thing you want to do is have to hold your heavy strap on your shoulder. Should be big enough to fit a water bottle, a guide book, a map, some snacks, transit passes, wallet, camera, etc.
9.        A good pair of shoes. Okay ladies. If you read this blog I do not want to see you traveling anywhere in runners. They are called runners because they are for RUNNING. With all of the shoes out there today, there is no reason that you can’t find a comfortable, good-looking pair of shoes that will hold up to walking all day – especially if you throw some insoles in. My bff Jackie did our 2-weeks-walking-absolutely-everywhere trip to San Francisco, Seattle and Victoria in Toms, and I did it in Keds. If you have a comfortable pair of boots, great. But NO RUNNERS. And don’t even get me started on traveling in Crocs or Uggs.

You need one pair of walking shoes, one pair of dressy shoes (dressy flats are the best because they take up no space), and probably a pair of sandals/flip flops (for showers, the beach, the pool, etc).
10.     A scarf/pashmina is the ultimate travel tool. In European churches there is often a strict modest dress code enforced, which could include your shoulders or legs needing to be covered. Bam! Pashmina. It’s a bit chilly? Bam! Pashmina. Need to make an outfit look different even though it’s the same? Bam! Pashmina. Need to wrap up something you bought so it doesn’t crash around in your purse? Bam! Pashmina. Need to wipe the rain off your camera? Bam! Pashmina. If I was to choose one thing to never travel with, this would be it. Get it in a basic colour (mine is black… go figure) and you won’t regret it.
 Now go, my fashion minions! Go and travel and be well-dressed and teach the Croc-and-fanny-pack-travelers of the world that traveling light and looking good is so easy to do.


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