Tricks of the Trade: Packing

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If you’ve followed my blog for some time, then you know I’ve written a packing tutorial before. But since that was more than two years ago, it felt like the right time for an update!

Whenever I am leaving town–whether for a weekend getaway or a two-week excursion–I always follow the same 4 steps. They’ve never once failed me, and I hope you find them as helpful as I do.

  1. Go shopping: In your closet, that is. Kick off your packing process by looking through your clothes and pulling out what catches your eye.

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2. Lay it all out: Once you’ve selected your favorite items from your closet, go ahead and lay them down on your bed. No need to make this super neat, as you’re just starting to lay the foundation.

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3. Start making piles: In my last post, I advised you to make piles based on type–shirts with shirt, jeans with jeans, etc. Recently however, I’ve been changing my ways and actually setting out my outfits. So instead of creating piles by type, I create piles of actual outfits that I intend to wear on my trip.

I find this to be the most crucial step, as it ensures that you’re only bringing exactly what you intend to wear and don’t wind up 500 miles from home with 10 blouses but no jeans that pair well with them.

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4. Pile it into the suitcase: With your outfits all set out, it should be really easy to see exactly what you’re bringing with you and what can go back into your closet. Simply put, if you have ten extra dresses than days on your trip, you can confidently put those all back in your closet.

When it comes to actually laying things down in the suitcase, I like to revert back to the piles by type strategy. I’ll put jackets with other jackets, jeans with other jeans, and so on and so forth.

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I like to start with the bulkiest items first and gradually layer in my lighter pieces.

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So now that we’re all packed, where should we go? : )

Packing List: New York

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I’m so excited for New York in a few days, I can hardly stand it. It’s been a while since I was last in New York and I can’t wait to squeeze my friends and explore all that the city has to offer.

While I continue to work on my travel itinerary, here’s a peek into what I’ll be packing.

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P.S. Making a packing list like this is a must before going anywhere. It helps you get your thoughts down on paper so you know exactly what you need to buy and wash before your trip.

Tricks of the Trade: Packing

Packing

No matter if I am packing for a weekend getaway or a two-week vacation in Europe, I always follow the same routine. The reason for this is that it allows me to see all of my clothes laid out, so I can easily identify unnecessary items or needed items.

The first thing I do is raid my closet for all of the pieces that I could imagine myself wearing on the trip. Silk jumper? Yes. Utility jacket? Of course.

Next, I l toss everything onto my bed so it’s all in one spot. Much like closet organization, things need to get messy for a minute (or two) before they can be perfect.

After everything I think I want to bring on my trip is splayed across my bed, I then start to make piles. Shirts in one pile, sweaters in another, and jeans in yet another. I continue like this until all like items are grouped and evenly displayed so I can clearly see everything. Only then does it become obvious what I’m bringing far too much of and sadly need to put back in my closet.

Laying my clothes out this way also helps me to develop outfit ideas in my mind. There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and realizing you brought the perfect pieces from your closet, but none of it seems to go together. Thinking of outfits ahead of time ensures me that what I am packing will definitely be worn while I am away.

Of course, I then put everything in my suitcase, but that’s a step that we’ll save for a future post!

Suitcase Talk: Winter

Suitcase Talk

Last year, I shared some of my must have winter packing list items – you know, those items that I can’t travel anywhere without. This year, as I get ready to go to little trips throughout Northern California, I’m putting together a round up of the items I’m absolutely packing (and have pretty much been living in all season long).

The key to packing for a cold destination is to be prepared for anything. Sure, the weather report only calls for rain during one of the days, but that could change at the drop of a hat. My motto is, it’s better to be safe than sorry, or in other words, to pack as much as you can without your suitcase being too heavy to manage.

While I won’t go through each and every item I am packing, here are a few of my key pieces.

Pea Coat. You’ll definitely want to bring a thick pea coat that will be easy to throw on no matter what you’re wearing. I opted for my gray coat from J.Crew, as it matches with everything and keeps me incredibly warm.

Light rain jacket. But, for those days where it may be drizzling but isn’t as cold as you imagined, you’ll want a light rain jacket. This will keep you dry while also letting you breathe.

Variety of sweaters. Perhaps it’s because I live in San Francisco where it’s always 60 degrees, but sweaters are probably my favorite piece of clothing. I can never have too many chunky sweaters, so they were naturally coming with me on my trip. Choose one neutral one and one that’s a bit more fun so you can mix and match.

Variety of shoes. When it comes to shoes, you should be practical. My Hunter rain boots absolutely made the cut, since they’re comfortable and practical. For a little spunk, I’m bringing along these bedazzled booties!

Fun necklace. Last but not least, don’t let your outfits grow dry just because it’s cold outside. Add in some charm with a chunky necklace!

Suitcase Talk: Summer

Suitcase Talk

It wouldn’t be summer without a weekend getaway to a resort destination, so that’s exactly what’s coming up for me next weekend. Since many of you are likely traveling somewhere these next couple of months as well, I thought I’d share the key items I’m packing for my brief getaway to Tahoe this coming weekend.

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Blouses – Since I’m going to be laying by the lake during my vacation, I opted to bring a blouse-y bathing suit cover up and then one slightly nicer camisole for dinner.

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Shorts – Shorts mean summer, summer means shorts. I’m bringing along two patterned shorts for the trip.

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Dresses – I’ve packed one colorful dress that can be worn over a bathing suit or to a nice dinner (as long as I wear a slip underneath!). I’m also packing my overalls because they’re my favorite item in my closet right now and I can’t imagine a weekend without them!

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Sweater – I likely don’t need a sweater, but this one is light and airy and will look great over the dress I packed.

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Shoes and a hat! – Fun and bright sandals will complete all of my looks. Of course, I’m bringing a hat to protect my face from burning!

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A bathing suit – Last but not least, perhaps the most obvious item I’m packing: a bathing suit! I like to mix and match when it comes to swimwear, so that’s why I opted for these two pieces.

Pro tip: Always put a dryer sheet in your suitcase to make all of your clothes smell freshly clean, even when you’re far from home!

P.S. In case you’re going somewhere a little cooler, check out my Spring and Winter packing lists.

Suitcase Talk: Spring

Suitcase Talk

During the colder days, I wrote about what I packed for a weekend getaway to a cold-ish destination. Now that Spring has finally arrived, I wanted to share what’s in my suitcase for a slightly warmer, more colorful vacation.

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As always, please keep in mind that I believe less is less and more is always better when it comes to packing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been scarred by getting to a hotel and realizing I forgot my favorite face wash, or the time I arrived in Paris for my six-month long stay without pajamas, but whatever the reason, I like to make a thorough list ahead of time and follow it through with a few additions here and there.

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Jeans: No matter where I am, I am always most comfortable in jeans. But because the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, I packed my floral-themed jeans and white ones for a crisp, elegant look.

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Tees and Longlseeve: As I’ve mentioned many a time, I live for t-shirts. I work out in them, sleep in them, go out in them. If all else fails, dark denim with a white t-shirt is a winning combination; remember that! Naturally, for my trip I packed tees in white, gray, and black, and also threw in a striped longsleeve which I imagine myself pairing with my white jeans.

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Dresses: It’s always fun to wear a dress—at least that’s what Diane Von Furstenberg has taught me. For my trip, I packed one flirty white dress complimented by a more casual jersey dress.

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Jackets and Sweater: Sure, winter is over, but it can still get a little chilly. My navy tweed jacket and cream knit will certainly do the trick if I get cold.

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Shoes and Scarf: Sneakers are a must on vacation, so I packed my new favorite slip-ons that my boyfriend gifted me. I also can’t imagine a spring-time trip without pink ballet flats, hence they definitely made the cut. Also pictured: a thin scarf that you can wrap around your imaginary Birkin or tie in your hair for added color.

Suitcase Talk: Winter

Suitcase Talk

When packing for a weekend trip somewhere cold (well — I was traveling within California, so maybe I should say cold-ish), I tend to go a little overboard. It’s incredibly hard for me to know what I will want to wear when I am away and I’ve learned from experience that if you don’t give it some solid thought, you will forget the one thing you absolutely couldn’t forget.

Because I know just how hard it can be, I decided to share the items I selected for a weekend-long trip to San Francisco.

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Jeans: My trip was casual, so I stuck with denim. I bring both black and blue jeans wherever I go, since the black jeans can be dressed up if need be.

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Tees—I’m a t-shirt kind of girl, so whenever I travel, I make sure to bring more t-shirts than I’ll likely need just in case! You always want a white t-shirt, and then the others can be played with a bit. Since I knew I was going to be seeing friends and possibly even a concert, I decided to bring a graphic tee.

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Winter wear: If you’re going somewhere that will get a bit chilly, be sure to bring a sweater and a scarf. I chose grey because it’s muted and can be paired with all of the t-shirts I brought.

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Jackets: I brought one lighter jacket and one heavier coat. I knew I probably didn’t need the heavy coat (and I was right), but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

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Shoes: I always travel with sneakers, usually Converse. They just make it easier to get around, especially in a city like San Francisco. I also brought some flats, which are just as easy!

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Accoutrements: Never travel without a good book and some nice jewelry (though not too nice, you’re traveling, remember?).