What you pack for a business trip or to visit family at the holidays matters as much as what you wear to travel. Creating a uniform that fits in a lightweight carry on is essential to surviving the chaos of holiday travel. Foolproof ensembles that take you from Thanksgiving dinner to corporate retreat the following week must accommodate layers and accessories as well as shifts in weather and audience.
Packing clients is one of my most requested services. At this time of year, many of my clients in politics are balancing family time with end-of-year campaign stops. What you wear, says a lot about who you are and when you're traveling you need to effectively project a successful image without your entire closet at your disposal.
I start by shopping a client's closet for the best pieces that match the dress code of their destination. To be an efficient traveler, you need to be a smart packer. Here are my recommendations on what to pack to stay stylish while traveling.
- Mini steamer. Don't get caught without the ability to quickly release a wrinkle from your ensemble. Small in size and big on efficiency, I never leave home without one.
- Packing cubes. Compartmentalize your suitcase with packing cubes to stay easily organized. Separate pajamas from toiletries or business clothes from lounge wear to pack an enviable suitcase.
- Travel size beauty and grooming products. Even if you're checking luggage, buy or create your own mini sized samples of your favorite products that will make your skin glow and hair shine while out of town. If you have hard to manage hair, invest in mini hair tools such as a travel sized curling or flat iron and if you require extra light for applying makeup, pack a rechargeable, portable lit mirror.
- Travel-friendly shoes. Lean into the athleisure trend and invest in a dressy sneaker that can be worn day to night. Expect to include one more pair of shoes in your suitcase to transform ensembles for family dinner or work meeting.
- Clothes you can wear in layers. Carry a scarf, shawl or pashmina on board in case you are cold or need to rest your head. Pair with your coat when landing in cooler weather.
- A third statement piece. This is your blazer or power jacket that will transform any outfit with color, styling, or fit while anchoring your daily ensembles. Men should consider a deconstructed blazer while a 'jardigan' works wonders for women (comfort of a cardigan and the look of a blazer). Depending on the duration of your travel, weather and capsule wardrobe, you may need to pack more than one.
- A column of color. Choose a base color you can wear head to toe and add your third piece to exude a stylish presence. For maximum crossover, pack hybrid pieces that can easily work day to night. Expect everything to be worn more than once and mix and match with shoes and accessories.
- A backup outfit. If you lose your checked luggage packed with your travel steamer and work capsule, don't despair. Be sure to roll, rather than fold, your clothing to avoid wrinkles or add a versatile, wrinkle resistant ensemble from a travel friendly brand like Argent or Ministry of Supply to your carry on.
- Accessories. Add a splash of color in your tie choice, belt a dress or change your jewelry to transform a look. Make a statement and include accessories in your carry-on in case you need to make today's outfit work tomorrow.
- A bag you can pack within a bag. You never know when an unexpected casual opportunity will present itself. Store tech accessories or makeup in a wristlet or cross body style small bag that can double as a casual on-the-go handbag if needed.
- An all in one charger. Be a tech minimalist and keep your devices organized and charged with this savvy tool while you're on the go.
- Scented dryer sheets. Pack a couple of dryer sheets to keep everything smelling fresh.
- A luggage scale. Unless you're flying private, avoid baggage fees by weighing your bag in advance.
Win best-dressed this holiday season. If you're worried you will forget exactly how versatile your capsule wardrobe is, be your own stylist and take pictures to forever record the memory.