I always leave packing to the VERY last minute (i.e. midnight or so the night before I leave) but with my “capsule-ish” wardrobe it really doesn’t take me more than a half an hour. I will say, I am heading to London this time where the weather is relatively mild, so other than a packable raincoat I didn’t have to worry about much outerwear. Below are my tips as well as what I packed – let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
How to Pack:
Make your bed to create a nice place to lay everything out so you can easily see things
Write a list of what you’re doing every day. I find if I write down outfits vs. activities I end up way overpacking because after I’ve packed the outfits, I add in all the “what-ifs” (extra shoes if I end up walking, a sweatshirt if I get cold at night, different accessories if I feel like I won’t LOVE the outfit, and on on on and on 😊). If I pack for what I’m doing, it allows me to wear items multiple times and ensures I’m prepared without overpacking.
Gather the essentials first. I pack enough underwear for each day + 2 additional pairs (in case you have an unexpected layover, delay, etc). Essentials include the items you will use every single day. Start by thinking of your day from start to finish – I like to roll play my normal routine and collect those items as I go. Typically this includes:
Everyday makeup + beauty routine (I save samples from blue mercury for this to save space). I do not bring my own shampoo and conditioner – I wash my hair the night before I leave to buy myself two days, and then I use the hotel product. It is ALWAYS good enough for a few days and it switches things up for your hair…trust me!
Blow dryer, curling iron + brushes: I may skip on my shampoo and conditioner but to ensure I can bring my hairdryer. Hotel hair dryers are terrible. It’s worth it to me to bring my own.
PJ’s: two t-shirts, one pair or shorts and one pair of pants
Next I choose my footwear for the week. Look at your list of activities each day and mentally check off the boxes that whatever footwear you’ve chosen will work for all of those. Shoes take up the most room so I do not bring more than the pair I wear to travel and 1-2 others. I almost brought just one on this trip but packed another in case I need something more formal as I’ve heard mention of a dinner or two with the team.
Once you have your footwear, line up your outfits. You’d be surprised how many outfits you have that work with a single pair of shoes. For one week, I pack:
2-3 pairs of pants
2 button downs
3 neutral sweaters
White tee for layering
Silk cami (packs small, good to later with and/or dress up a look for dinner)
1 packable jacket
Lastly I pack my airport outfit. I typically wear the same thing there that I will wear home. Each of these pieces are also part of my rotation for the week. If I have a particularly bulky sweater, jacket, etc. I will also wear that. For this trip I wore sneakers (I like to have socks on when going through security) with black leggings, an oversized chambray and my loose-fitting tunic turtleneck. I also typically wear whatever accessories I plan to wear for the duration of the trip. I keep this SUPER simple – studs, my arm stack, and my family necklace is all I bring.
In terms of a “personal item” I also recommend keeping it light! I don’t buy magazines or bring heavy books, snacks, etc. with me anymore. I never use it especially if it’s a business trip – I will spend most of my flight on my laptop or catching up on sleep if it’s a red-eye. I bring:
A bag that fits my laptop (I use my RL Ricky Bag, which I still claim is the single most underrated luxury bag of all time)
A pouch to hold my passport, lip gloss, wallet, sunnies, etc. so it’s easy to find in my bag (I use this epi leather one from Louis Vuitton… again, never talked about but SUCH an incredible buy! It doubles as a clutch, has a flat bottom so it stands upright, and it 100% leather for much less than many of their canvas pieces).
Phone and computer chargers
That’s it! This also gives you more legroom which is so needed on longer flights.
Now that everything is laid out on the bed, I fold everything Konmari-style. Then I pack shoes first (typically external pocket if you can) and then I stack everything Konmari-style facing up as tightly as possible. I make sure all clothing fits in a single row so that I have another deep row open for the blow drying, curling iron, and cosmetics bags to fit into. I don’t like to put those items on top as they make the suitcase tough to close. Next I pack underwear (typically in a shoe slot) and socks as well as any meds I need bring (in the other shoe slot).
And that’s really it. Here are the exact items I packed for this trip as well as what I will/can wear them with – you will see it’s far more outfits than a week’s worth!
- White Frank & Eileen Button-Down (or this poplin one, next one my list!)
- Blush GANT Rugger Boyfriend fit Button-down (sold out)
- White James Perse Tee (mens, down two sizes)
- CAMI New York Black Racer Lace Cami (I also have it in white)
- POLO Ralph Lauren Chambray (worn to airport)
- Dramatic sleeve Banana Republic Cotton Crew (in-store only)
- Universal Thread for Target White Jeans (best white jeans! $27.99!)
- Black Lululemon Align Leggings (worn to airport)
- Black quilted Chanel Flats
- Nike Running Sneakers (worn to airport)
- Two Hanes V-neck mens tees (stolen from C)
- One part of my favorite LOFT sweatpants
Blazers + Outerwear:
- Anine Bing Plaid Blazer (excellent boxy fit, NO WOOL!)
- Lululemon Water-Resistant Packable Jacket
Jewelry + Accessories:
- Pearl Studs (these are the BEST pearl studs! Mines are the white/gold)
- Griege Longchamp cross-body
- Round brush (mine is SO old it’s falling apart but I haven’t found anything better1)
- Makeup Routine:
o Beauty Blender
o Embarassingly old liquid eyeliner (even the brand is worn off… I know, I know! I don’t wear it often)
Now for outfits: you can stop reading here if you’re tired of this but here are the various outfits I can create from this mix:
1) White jeans, grey sweater, Vince slip-ons, black jacket
2) White jeans, cream rollneck, Vince slip-ons
3) White jeans, chambray shirt, blazer, Chanel flats
4) White jeans, black crew-neck sweater, blazer, Vince slip-ons
5) Distressed Jeans, black turtleneck, Chanel flats
6) Distressed Jeans, GANT Button down, Vince slip-ons
7) Distressed Jeans, grey sweater, sneakers, black jacket
8) Distressed Jeans, black cami, blazer, Chanel flats
9) Distressed Jeans, white button-down, Vince slip-ons
10) Distressed Jeans, white tee, black crew-neck sweater, Chanel flats
11) Dark Skinnies, black crew-neck sweater, Chanel flats
12) Dark Skinnies, Silk Cami, Chanel flats
13) Dark Skinnies, grey sweater, black jacket, sneakers
14) Dark Skinnies, white button-down, Vince slip-ons
15) Dark Skinnies, white tee, blazer, Chanel flats OR Vince slip-ons
16) Dark Skinnies, GANT button-down, Cream roll-neck sweater, Vince slip-ons
If you look at this way, I could easily travel for two weeks with this assortment. I love all of these items do I don’t mind wearing them multiple times. You can see even by this example that if you add in a single trendy item like an off-the-shoulder printed blouse, you won’t get nearly as many outfit options. Trendy items also seem to be much more obvious when you repeat them vs. a classic button down, etc.
Lastly, it’s a huge relief to pack simply and neatly as it’s much easier to go through security, unpack at your hotel, relocate if you are visiting multiple places, and to repack! Right now my suitcase is “full” but I have more than enough room to extend my row of clothing – the benefits of Konmari! I know a lot of people roll their clothing but I’ve found the Konmari method is much more effective as it fits more, prevents wrinkling much better, doesn’t stretch my clothes, and allows me to see everything in my suitcase all at once.
I’d love to hear if you have any packing tips or tricks!