I’ve always hated packing guides whose mantra was “pack light”. As far as I know, the airline, my car, the taxi driver and bellhop are the ones who are gonna have to deal with the weight of my luggage, not me. I abhor wearing the same thing twice on a trip. So, I’m not going to tell you to bring a long sleeved white button up to dress up and down for 3 different outfits.I don’t want to wear the same recycled “dress me up or dress me down” outfit with interchangeable shoes and jewelry, it’s boring and there’s a good chance I already spilled tea on my outfit anyway.
I’ve honed a different packing philosophy over years of flying cross country, road tripping and packing for months at a time. My packing plan is never to “pack light” it is to be prepared and organized. When I pack my general rule is 2 complete outfits for every day of my trip, a comfy daytime one and a dress to kill option. Do I wear 2 outfits every day? Not always, but the ones that don’t get worn get turned into additional options for the rest of my trip. And I always need options and variety to suit my mood, adjust for weather, and go with the occasion.
So once I’ve amassed my outfit selection for my trip, I break it down this way. I take each complete outfit, layer the articles of of clothing going from largest item on bottom to smallest item (underwear/socks) on top and then roll it into a tube. This way it’s real simple, 1 tube = 1 outfit, and it’s the most compact way you can fold your clothes. For bras I take all the bras I need for the trip, stack them and put them in a gallon ziploc, I’ve seen some people fold their bras in half to save space but I don’t like folding my bras, I think it ruins the shape of them. Once I’m done folding all my outfits, I layer all my outfit tubes on the bottom of my trunk, it perfectly fits the uneven slats most rolling trunks have and creates an even surface.
Shoes are cumbersome to pack and travel with but it’s a far less evil than feeling like an idiot for wearing the wrong shoes with an outfit. I wear the heaviest biggest clunkiest shoes I wanna bring on my trip during the travel period and pack my less space intensive shoes. All shoes go in the shoe bags they came with, if they didn’t come with shoe bags I put them in a clean plastic bag then layer the shoes on top of my outfit tubes.
I wear a lot of jewelry and accessories and I don’t sacrifice it for travel, I instead use a large plastic weekly pill container to store my baubles. The compartments are the perfect size for rings, stud earrings, necklaces, pendants and tennis style bracelets. Peep a cute example of one here. These unfortunately don’t accommodate certain jewelry like huge hoops, bangles and cuff bracelets. If I must bring that type of jewelry for an outfit I usually just wear it during the travel period and take them off when I get to the hotel.
All my sunglasses get taken out of hard cases, put into their respective sunglass bags and get tucked into one of the purses I’m bringing. Since I usually bring multiple purses to coordinate my outfits I usually Russian nestling doll my purses, putting one inside another. I then tuck my jewelry in the innermost purse and put the whole thing into my duffel which I always carry on my person. This means I have the most expensive chunk of my travel items in my possession at all times – precious jewelry, expensive handbags, designer sunglasses. During my wedding trip to Vegas a person accidentally took my trunk off the carousel, fortunately all my valuables were in my carry on so they had no temptation to steal anything, all they had were my clothes and toiletries (I always check toiletries because I bring the full size products I normally use, buying travel size is usually a ripoff).
Outerwear depends on where you’re going but if you’re heading for cold weather, I usually go with a fur coat and a leather jacket. If you feel silly wearing a fur coat through the airport (I sure as hell didn’t but a lot of white women asked to pet me which was annoying) get an acid free wardrobe box, they sell them at Container Store. It comes with a hanging rack so your fur will be hanging up while traveling.
This packing method usually ends up with me wearing a ridiculous outfit to and from the airport – fur coat, big clunky boots, big jewelry and whatever else didn’t fit into my bags.