Welcome to my first ever reader Q&A! I tend to be thrown a fashion question or two quite regularly whether it by on social media, at an event or right here on this very blog so I thought I would start featuring my answers here in case it’s something another reader has also been wanting to ask. If you’ve got a question you’ve been dying to know the answer to feel free to post other questions in the comments section, send me a Facebook message or write on my wall, comment on my Instagram or send me a tweet. The more questions the better!
Any ideas please for packing to travel overseas. I am going to Ireland, Scotland and Denmark in July and would love to get an idea of basic mix and match and practical travel clothes I will wear rather than have excess luggage.
Kind regards, Robyn
You’ve come to the right place, Robyn! I’ve become become quite good at taking the bare minimum when I’m travelling. I used to pack so much every time I went away and my thought process would usually go something like this: “Oh I love this dress, I’ve never worn it in Sydney but I might wear it overseas!” and just apply the same logic to pretty much everything in my wardrobe. And let’s face it, the reality is, if I would never wear it in Sydney, why would I wear it overseas? These days I limit myself to one piece of luggage when I’m travelling (even tinier if it’s just a quick trip interstate) and make sure I take a tight edit of clothing. Here’s how I do it:
Packing separates means you can get multiple looks out of each item. Every separate you take you should ensure that not only can you get multiple wears out of it, but that you can also easily dress it up or down. For example I’ll always take a little black skirt that I can dress up at night with a black singlet top or wear casually during the day with a tee or singlet and sneakers. I normally take one little black skirt, maybe a longer skirt whether it’s a midi or maxi skirt and some shorts. I’ll always take white t-shirts, I’ll always take a black singlet top, and even if it’s summer you’ll still need a little cardigan just in case it gets cold. So the cardigan I wear on the plane is the cardigan I’ll wear throughout the trip. Usually I’ll take a cardi in black is it will go with a lot of outfits.
Fact: shoes are heavy when you have multiple pairs on your hands. Don’t go nuts in the shoe department when you travel. I’ll always take a black pair of heels, they might not be my favourite heels at the time but they’ll go with everything. And usually they’re the only heels I will bring. When I went to Switzerland with my family over Christmas one year it was black tie events each night and I only had one pair of heels with me that I knew I would be able to wear to every single event. Also if you’re heading to Europe you’ll encounter plenty of cobblestoned streets which are quite romantic and lovely to stroll along but are wildly inappropriate for walking on in heels. For this very reason make sure you bring a pair of wedges. I go to Taormina in Italy a lot and I know I wouldn’t be able to survive a trip (and most likely end up with a broken ankle) without wedges.
I always take flats with me like sandals and sneakers. I’ll take sandals for the beach and Adidas sneakers or Nikes that I can wear casually or on a power walk. But I always keep flats to a minimum and make sure that they work with everything that I’m bringing.
Bring a multipurpose bag
I always bring a tiny Chanel cross body bag that I can wear during the day and then at night I can tuck the chain in and use it as a clutch. If you decide to take something with you it should always serve more than one purpose. I’ll often have a bigger bag for the plane which can fit my computer but I’ll make sure that bag is the bag I’ll use as a beach bag or a baby bag during the trip. There’s no need to bring a million different bags.
Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t wash clothes during the trip! Just take a small ziploc bag of detergent with you in your suitcase so you can easily wash things like underwear in your hotel room. Don’t bring 100 pairs of socks and underwear because you don’t want to wash. That’s precious suitcase space all those superfluous underpants are taking up!
Make accessories multitask
Take a variety of different accessories as they don’t take up too much room but they’re really great for changing your outfit. One thing I always take is a black sarong because I can wear it as a scarf and also wear it as a cover up at the beach or as a towel if I don’t have one with me. Plus if I’m going sightseeing to places such as a church where I might need to cover up my shoulders or need a scarf around my head, a sarong can always be used for that too.
You don’t need multiple options for the one type of clothing. You have to decide and choose to bring only one. So for example I always limit myself to one pair of jeans. If I bring a pair of white jeans then I don’t take blue jeans. Just stick to one pair. And only ever take one swimsuit.
Do a trial run
I will lay some clothes out a week before and I will slowly take things away during the week. By the end of the week I’ll have a pretty limited number of outfits but I know they all work together to form a good capsule wardrobe.
Have a two-occasion minimum
While separates are great you can take summer dresses or a playsuit too but just make sure that you can wear it at night with heels or a statement necklace. Or if you bring a maxi dress you can wear it to the beach but also in the evening if you’re going out to dinner. Make sure you look at something and ask yourself how many times can your wear it and in how many different ways? You should always be able to come up with a minimum of two occasions in which you will be able to wear it during your trip.
If you follow the above tips you should be well on your way to being able to pack light so that you’ve got plenty of space to bring home all those holiday mementos. Or just shop a lot.
Photography: Sophia Athas