Friday, March 1, 2013

some notes on packing

Photo by Tim Walker
One thing that my odd assortment of jobs over the last several years has provided me with is the ability to pack like a pro. Whether for two weeks in China, five days of dinners and meetings in Istanbul or a lengthy trip that takes me from a ranch in Tampa to the streets of Manhattan (in November), I am a dedicated carry-on only traveler and have a fairly formulaic approach to what goes in the bag. Traveling frequently brings other troubles to the table (dry cleaning?!) so I have a few different versions of this clothing menu (namely blue, black and gray).

When it comes to toiletries I finally caved in and bought duplicates of all my bathroom necessities (in travel sizes) so I am more than halfway to packed and ready to go. For me this not only cuts down on packing time, it also ensures that I don't forget to toss in my toothbrush or contact solution after I'm done using them the morning before I leave.

Here's what I have been packing lately - it should take you through about a week of meetings, dinners and a little tourist-ing on the side.


In addition to your pajamas, a few pairs of black tights and all of your other unmentionables, these basics are essential. I rarely travel without each of the items above since they take up essentially zero suitcase space. My picks are a tunic-length racerback tank from here although this is a decidedly more glam offering.  For a long-sleeve tee, I'm very fond of this one... but people, Nordstrom Rack and Loehmann's are designed for picking up a stack of these for much less. For my short sleeve pick, I have entertained my family for the past several years by having a drawer literally filled with these, at $8 a pop I buy a new one every time I walk into a Target. Mediums, larges, extra larges, I have multiples of each. Stretchy pants are essential, and I am having a love affair with these leggings from Zara - so high-waisted, the perfect in-flight pants... but I might be convinced to stray for a pair of these.

Basics +

Next - you shouldn't go anywhere without a black dress, I picked up this Theory one for a steal at Loehmann's. It's a great basic layer that works well by itself, with a collared shirt underneath or with a cardigan/jacket on top. With bare legs and heels or black boots and tights, you could probably wear it for five days straight. Dark or black jeans are a must, I am in good company with my love for Uniqlo's ridiculously stretchy pairs, they are so comfortable I'm not sure they count as real pants, must be the Japanese technology. The Tippi Sweater, another thing I can never have enough of. My former colleague and I used to have to consult with each other before picking up another color to avoid dressing like twins on a daily basis. I love this sweater because it's kind of slouchy, works under a jacket as part of a suit or by itself with a skirt or jeans. You don't have to tuck it in - a big plus in my book.  I love leopard print accessories, so I bought two pairs of my Bandolino kitten heels to ensure I had a backup when the first pair burnt out. Unfortunately the leopard print is no longer available, but you could try these instead. The Donald Pliner boots are my newest obsession. They never see the inside of my suitcase, but they are perfect for looking pulled together at the airport or trekking up and down cobblestone streets. Sleek enough for business attire, but comfortable enough to pair with jeans for after hours sight-seeing. The red roll is a Turkish towel, which I have re-purposed as the best airplane scarf ever. Amply sized, heavy-weight and beautifully textured, the only place where it attracts odd looks is in IST. Want one for yourself? Let me know before I leave town.

Basics ++

Finally, the suits. I'm a big fan of the 1035 trousers and jackets from J Crew and I'm always waiting for the 40% off final sale deals to pick up another piece. A great black pencil skirt is a no-brainer and I think a white collared shirt is so classy. For the latter I prefer something on the looser side that can pair just as well with skinny jeans as with suits. I've been coveting this one from J Crew forever. Throw in a few fun belts, and you're packed... well almost

I love a long cardigan for the plane, and it also does a nice job dressing down the black dress.  This one was a great deal at Loehmann's and I promise it's much cuter in person.  A clutch that packs flat like these from Claire Vivier is a handy thing to have when you want to leave your big day bag in the room for the night. Finally an assortment of fun jewelry can completely change the look of the same dress or sweater that you've been rocking for most of the week. 

What are your travel must haves?

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