I've been reading quite a few blog posts recently about packing. Partially, it's a search for decent tips, since I've been traveling so much, and partially it's a side effect of reading a lot of clothing/fashion blogs. I'm fascinated by how fashionable people pack. My favorite posts, I think, have been from Maggie Mason, who has a series called "Packing Light" that I've really enjoyed. Maggie and I have pretty different styles, but I freaking love the way she puts things together.
So, since I've been enjoying looking in on other people's packing (and, of course, reading the blog posts popping up every day about what to wear at BlogHer), I decided to have a go at telling you all my current packing routine. If I can swing it, I'll take pictures of my outfits while I'm gone and show you what I actually wore out of what I packed.
The trip is thusly: BlogHer, in New York, from Thursday-Sunday, plus a two-day pre-BlogHer detour to New Haven to visit a VERY stylish friend. Weather is supposed to be warm bordering on extremely damn hot, with the caveat that the conference is in a big hotel and those are always overly air-conditioned. I'm traveling by MegaBus, so I can only bring one suitcase, but don't have any airline-type regulations. So, I need to get everything I need into a regular carry-on type roller bag, plus my laptop/shoulder bag.
My first step is list-making. I know some people are list people and some aren't. I am a list person. Even if you aren't a list person, though, I don't see how you can pack for a trip of any length without list. Things just get left behind. So I always make a list. For this trip, the list was as follows:
- Wednesday casual outfit
- Thursday casual outfit
- Thursday night party outfit
- Friday casual outfit
- Friday night party outfit
- Saturday casual outfit
- Saturday night party outfit
- Sunday casual outfit
- Evening bag
- Laptop & cord
- Camera & cord
- iPhone & cord
- Business cards & case
Looking at the list, I decided I needed four day outfits, two party outfits, and a couple of extra tops. Between those and what I wear to travel, I should easily be able to make up three party outfits and five day outfits. First, I went through my closet and took out all the pieces I knew I wanted to bring, either because they have worked well in similar situations (lightweight black wrap cardigan, denim skirt, purple maxi dress) or because I am really into them right now (black geometric tank, white off-shoulder Moroccan top, black Swiss dot shirt). I piled those up on the bed:
Starting with those things, I began to make outfits. The maxi dress is good for one day outfit, the denim skirt and black and white geometric tank are another, the white off-shoulder shirt can be paired with my skinny jeans (add those to the pile) for a third. For a fourth, I went downstairs to the laundry room and grabbed my new lime green eShakti skirt--I'm loving wearing that in hot weather, and paired it with a fitted black tank. Easy!
Party clothes were a bit harder. I have a lot of dresses I'd love to wear, but they tend to be of the crisp cotton variety these days (I'm loving a shirt dress), and those do NOT pack well. I decided I'd wear one of those on the bus tomorrow (bus wrinkling being probably a bit better than suitcase wrinkling) and picked out two of my non-cotton, packable dresses that will work for parties. Neither are my favorite, but both are fine, and an unwrinkled non-favorite is a better bet than a super-wrinkled favorite.
Looking at the outfits I'd amassed, I checked to make sure they'd all work with my black wrap cardigan. The dresses wouldn't, so I added my shorter black embroidered cardigan for those. Then I added two or three extra plain tank tops, which can be used to layer or worn alone with any of the bottom I'd packed.
Next came underwear, bras, and pajamas. I added those to the pile on the bed. Then shoes. I decided that everything I was bringing would work with either my black wedge heeled sandals and or my flat silver sandals. Since I know I'll be walking a lot tomorrow, I decided to wear those and give up a bit of suitcase space to pack the wedges.
Looking back at the list, I saw that I was missing my swimsuit and an evening bag, so I tossed my suit and my favorite little black and white wristlet on the bed.
Finally, I picked out jewelry to go with the outfits I'd chosen and packed it into my little divided box. Worked out perfectly!
OK, moment of truth time. I rolled it all up and put it in my suitcase. And...it fits! With plenty of room left for my toiletries and makeup and hairbrush, which I'll add after I get ready in the morning!
How'd I do?