Travel Tips: Packing, Layering, Looking Put Together

Free People Jacket (similar) | Free People Top (similar) | Lucky Brand Jeans (similar) | Johnny Was Scarf (similar) | Patricia Nash Handbag (similar) | Tote Bag (similar)
The Challenge
I'd like to try to tackle a couple of traveling challenges with this post.  Trips will vary depending on
location, time of year and planned activities.  We all hear the mantra that we must "layer" when we travel, but what does that look like?  Here are some tips that have worked for me.  I completely understand that our fashion preferences are different, but hopefully this can give you some ideas.

Secondly, the whole luggage, tote, handbag thing can be crazy-making.  I know it has made me crazy.  All of my traveling has been casual, domestic, so that's what we'll be looking at.  

These items/tips are what is currently working well for me, at least at this point in time, as things have a way of changing.

The Details
1) Start when you are making purchases.
Just like good nutrition starts with what you put in your grocery cart.  Looking pulled together also starts in your shopping cart.  I mention from time to time that I follow Dressing Your Truth.  This is an energy profiling system that in addition to colors, addresses style lines, textures, hairstyles, everything.  This has helped me tremendously over the past five years.  Obviously, you don't have to follow this program, but if you know the color palette and design lines you prefer, or a "capsule" you'd like to develop for travel, by all means, follow that!  Religiously.  It will make all, ALL the difference.  Note:  I added design lines, because sometimes, even though colors go together, you may not want something sweet and flowing with something that's more tailored.  (Not that you can't go for that look, I'm just trying to keep things easy and stream-lined.)

2) Ruthlessly edit when packing.
When it comes time to pack, if you've followed the above tip, you should have a bunch of clothing items laid out on your bed that you are contemplating packing that by and large already go together.  Take a look to see if there are outliers.  If an item doesn't work back to almost everything else, set it aside.  In the above example, these are the items that made the cut.  Although only one t-shirt was worn for layering purposes, you can see that you can pretty much get dressed with your eyes closed and everything works back to each other.  The long sleeved shirts are different weights, so I could pick and choose depending on weather conditions or layering.  For this trip, since I brought a brown denim jacket, I limited myself to one mustard-colored cardigan.

1) Your sleeveless/short & long sleeve tops/toppers and bottoms should all coordinate with one another.  
2) Make sure they will work with layering--do sleeves and bodies fit over one another without being too tight?  

Now, start putting outfits together.  How many outfits do you need?  How many can you make with what you have?

3) Weather permitting, seriously consider a scarf or two.  
Seriously, consider a scarf or two.  To make the cut, they must fit the criteria of coordinating with all of your other pieces.  This can be a great wrap for the airplane.  If it's hot this may not be the best option, although, A/C could be a factor.  A scarf can really add different looks to an outfit while only taking up a smidgen of packing space.

1) Evaluate how you like to be organized.  I'm not ├╝ber organized, but I do like to have things contained properly with easy access to my ID and boarding pass

2) How much are you willing to carry/wheel?  My latest tote is a bit heavier than I'd like, but everything else is contained well, so it's a good solution for me

3) Make mental notes of what has or has not worked for you in the past.  As much as I've heard a lot of great things about Longchamp Le Pliage (plus, it's so lightweight), my laptop slips around in it, along with everything else.  Crazy making.

4) Do a little research whether on blogs or Amazon reviews.

Since I wasn't overly happy with the small Le Pliage, I took to Amazon and read tote reviews and ended up with this laptop bag.  The only changes I would like to make to it are to have small feet on the bottom and and outside pocket.  I was able to hold my laptop, my shake mixer, a bottle of water, book, snack.  You may or may not want your handbag to fit inside your tote.  My crossbody would fit into this, if needed, to meet the two bag requirement if I were bringing a carry-on.

5) Take a moment to think about the "purchases" tip above.  What colors/styles are in your travel capsule/wardrobe.  Yep, order that one.  Note:  I'm not saying if you have a grey-centric colored capsule to buy grey, but something that will blend with all of your other pieces or accessories.

6) The handbag I've practically worn out and would recommend (or one like it) is my Patricia Nash crossbody camo bag.  There is a back magnetic snap pocket for my phone.  The separate front pocket can be used for anything I want to keep special track of.  On this trip, I kept all of my home goods receipts in it.  

FYI:  My carry-on suitcase is a warm purple color.  My check-in bag is dark red.

A Word About Footwear
All of the above tips can be derailed if your feet aren't comfortable.  Evaluate what has worked in the past.  Do you prefer completely closed in shoes to move fast in case of an emergency?  Are you "okay" going through TSA having to remove sandals?  Are mules a good option, foot mainly covered with socks, but easy to slip off for TSA?  If at all possible, start at the point of purchase.  Will the color/style coordinate with all of your other pieces???  The shoes that get the most wear when I need closed-toe shoes are my Ziera's.  On this trip, I also found a pair of Uggs, seen on my Instagram feed.  They did hurt my feet when worn all day, but I'm hoping they break in better.  I left them behind in TX.  (I had packed some sandals, but they never got worn.)

The Takeaway

How things worked for this trip:  It was extra cold, so I mostly layered my long sleeved-shirts with the cardigan and used my daughter's winter coat--if she had not been there, I would have checked out a thrift or consignment store for a coat, or used my husband's.  My scarf got used daily.  I purchased mustard-colored gloves as a souvenir on the first day.  Before it got overly cold, I used my denim jacket over my long-sleeved shirts.  I was there nine days and rotated the pieces around.  Since I wasn't getting sweaty, I re-wore the tops.  I also had one sweatshirt that I had left there which only got worn lounging around the apartment.  It wasn't necessary, but I did have it as an extra.  Remembered after this post was complete:  If you saw my Instagram photo at the Four Seasons, I was wearing my new coral pants from the cabi outlet and a peasant shirt, but the top was so lightweight, it was the only time I wore it.  These items were not essential.

Also, the way I pack is by rolling everything.  I haven't tried packing cubes, but have heard people like them really well.  

While it sounds rather cumbersome to ALWAYS keep in mind your palette, style, or capsule, it truly does become second nature and it makes shopping much, much easier as items can be ruled out right away.  Often times, we do shopping specifically for a trip, anyway.  If you follow these guidelines, you'll look something like this-Haha!  (All items, but shoes, in top photo.)
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