It is my belief that packing a suitcase is truly an art. So how does one become the Picasso of packing? Trial and error. With this guide, I'm helping you skip the error part, and go straight to suitcase success.
I'm a recovering overpacker. Packing loads of random articles of clothing led me to the other end of the spectrum- underpacking. Getting to my destination, opening my suitcase to find 10 bikini tops, 6 rompers and 1 tank top. Through many under-clothed vacations, I've found that the key is to pack items that can be worn with all other items in your suitcase.
EXAMPLE: You have a black sweater. You can wear that black sweater with jeans, or a suede skirt, under a jacket or with a t-shirt underneath. I can also wear that t-shirt with the jeans, skirt, and same jacket. I can wear the jacket with the pants and skirt, or over a dress. The dress, I can wear the t-shirt underneath. Get it? It's the cycle of packing smart.
So you've got the system down- but how much should you actually bring to not only optimize everything you've packed, but to wear things that make you feel good. I went on a 8 day trip abroad, so keep in mind the weather and duration I'm packing for. This will vary depending on where you go, for how long and what you'll be doing. This is an overall outline- use it wisely!
Black Long sleeve
1 Camo ("fun" jacket- can do a bomber, duster coat, etc.)
1 Formal (this is the only exception to the "everything wears with everything" rule, it is a piece that stands alone for a formal occasion)
2 Casual- to be layered under jackets, over t-shirts, body suit
1 Black v-neck
1 Pink "statement sweater" (it had lots of ruffles- the ultimate statement)
1 Grey crewneck
1 Suede skirt
1 Pair of boots
1 Pair of sneakers
1 Pair of sandals
1 Pair of heels, "fancy shoes"
2 Neck scarves
Extra pair of earrings
*I'm not including undergarments on this list- that should go without saying and you should know how much to bring...if not....God save us all.
...here's where it gets good. How you pack the clothes is just as important as what you're packing. How you arrange things in your suitcase is a game-changer as to how much you can bring (or leave room to bring things back!) I used to just fold everything haphazardly, stuff my shoes on top, and sit on top of the suitcase willing for it to shut. Finding the guide below changed my mother-packing life. I tried to take my own pictures of said system, but the lighting in my apartment is as good as a mole hole. So, let's give thanks to these lovely illustrations I found on a sketchy website:
1) Roll all small items on bottom: tank tops, t-shirts, camis, thin sweaters, leggings, pajamas. Roll as much as you can- you want to fill the entire bottom layer of your luggage in rolled items.
2) On top of the "rolled layer", fold blouses and dresses ("un-rollables").
3) Take your jeans (for me it was 3 pairs) and fold them half-in-half-out of your suitcase, with the legs outside the suitcase and waist inside, creating a "base" over your folded clothes.
4) On top of the half of your jeans that are inside the suitcase, fold your outerwear (my two jackets went here).
5) Fold the legs of the pants over TOP the jackets. You should have enough room to fit your shoes and toiletries bag on top of it all (small shoes like slippers and sandals can be stuffed in sides).
In these illustrations, I think the suitcase came from 1972 with that hard, shiny exterior. Today, the best suitcases are deep, and not only have the zippered pouch for your undergarments on one side, but have a compartment behind the zippered part. Ideal for shoes, toiletries and all the hotel lotion/mouthwash/soaps your heart desires.
With the conclusion of the Travel Series, I hope you were able to pick up a few tips to better your trips. When your suitcase is adequately packed, your carry-on has everything you need, and you arrive at your destination with a fresh face- I truly believe it makes your vacation that much better. That, and a whole lot of pillow-chocolates and Mai Tais.