Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Stylist's Guide on How to Pack Lite


One of Erykah Badu's most memorable songs is "Bag Lady" for reasons that have to do with much more than the catchy tune.  If you aren't familiar with the song, the lyrics speak to women who carry too much baggage. So now you're saying to yourself, "This is supposed to be a style blog...what does a song have to do with a fashionable and stylist life?" But the reality is, getting ready for a trip comes with emotional baggage that can get as heavy as the actual physical bags you are packing. This post is dedicated to helping you pack lite.

This month, I took an 8 day 7 night trip to beautiful Dubai, UAE. It would be the longest trip I've taken since I was a teenager and traveled to London and Paris with my parents.  The weather forecast for Dubai showed numbers consistently over 100 degrees. The trip itinerary had me scheduled for something every. single. day (we had ONE leisure day). And the cherry on top of all that problematic icing was I would be traveling to an international destination with much different cultural norms than any country I've ever visited. Packing for this trip would require me to use my creative stylist skills as well as my project management skills. But planning ahead is my claim to my fame, so I was definitely up for the challenge. If you have a big trip in your future, here are my tips for packing successfully.

  • Step 1: Buy a journal and a pen. This is your travel journal (you can use it to write your thoughts while on your trip if you'd like).
my trusty travel journal

  • Step 2: If you have an itinerary for the trip, pull it out/screenshot it/have it handy and readily  available. Write down every day of your trip and what is on the schedule for that day, then leave several blank lines under each entry. (If you're trying to get an A on this test, note the weather for each day as well.)
    • Example: Saturday, September 7 - Abu Dhabi tour
What I wore to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (in 120 degree heat!!!)
  • Step 3: Now plan one outfit for each item under each date entry. Yes ONE. No, you cannot have an alternate outfit. Why do you need an alternate outfit? Are you that unsure about your clothing? You bought it. Check that emotional baggage and proceed to the next date entry in your journal.
  • Step 4: If you have days with pockets of free time on the itinerary, add one outfit to wear for potential unplanned events. Again, check your emotional baggage here - do you really need 3 more formal outfits for something that isn't even planned (the answer is no) - best to pack potential event clothing that is safely in the middle of super casual and super dressy.
  • Step 5:  Pack all of the above in your suitcase(s). If you still have room, you may add 2 or 3 extra tops and bottoms in case of wardrobe malfunction. No more than 3 tops and 3 bottoms (note: tops include dresses. bottoms include pants, jeans, skirts, and shorts).  
Resist the urge to second guess the outfits you select to take or you will end up over-packing. Do you really want to be the person who has to buy an extra suitcase at the airport because her luggage is over-weight? Or worse, the person at the ticket counter rearranging the contents of her suitcases trying to get them under the maximum weight - all of her personal belongings on display for everyone walking past to see? (the horror!)  Once at your destination, you are totally allowed to switch your outfits around - but you will be forced to work within your travel wardrobe instead of your entire closet.

This dress was an extra that replaced a planned outfit for an excursion to the Burj Khlaifa

Trust in me, a little pre-planning pays off in the end. BONUS: You'll have room in your suitcase for all the fabulous fashion finds you will score while on vacay!!!!

Last Note (which I guess makes this a footnote): If any of this seems way too hard for you to handle, contact eLevated, so I can get you packed lite.

Write comments
  1. #Truth Kudos! Great advice! I'm a serial last-minute overpacker. I need to start listening to all your sage advice!

  2. Going to try your technique Michele! Wish me luck, Chica :)


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