Packing clients for trips is one of my favorite things to do. Why? Well, it’s one of the most dreaded things a woman faces regarding her wardrobe so if I can take that worry away…well, nothing feels better than that!
When I’m planning a trip wardrobe for a client, I work with two basic strategies.
If it’s for a vacation, I’ll use the Travel Wardrobe Charts and create a chart of daytime outfits and create one for nighttime outfits. We designate a section of their closet to hold the things they’ll be taking with them so packing is carefree. When they reach their destination, they can look at their charts and pick whatever outfit they feel like wearing knowing that all the pieces are with them.
With trips where special events are planned like a destination wedding or a business conference, I plan out specific outfits for each important day or night. I’ll plan some lounging outfits for them to relax in or some casual outfits to wear if they get time to sightsee on their own. Everything goes on the Travel Wardrobe Charts so they don’t have to think.
I recently packed myself for a six-day trip filled with special events. Dad was turning 90 and we had three different parties planned for him on three separate days. The parties weren’t in ballrooms or anything but I wanted to be dressed in outfits that honored and respected this huge event even if they were fairly casual.
Want to come watch me pack? I’ll take you into my home in Sonoma and show you how I packed for this trip. Maybe one idea will help you take the stress out of packing the next time you’re traveling.
Start putting the puzzle pieces together
In order to figure out what to take with me, I have a list of questions to address. If I’m leaving on Thursday I’ll sort it out throughout the week prior to traveling. I don’t ever want to be making decisions on Wednesday night for a Thursday morning flight. I want to be getting my beauty rest!
Here’s what I need answers to.
- What will the weather be like?
- What activities do I need outfits for?
- What will be my traveling day outfit?
- What do I need in my carry on?
- What will I bring for reading material?
- What documents do I want to bring in case I get a chance to forward a project I’m working on?
- Is there something I’m bringing for people at my destination?
I think one of the hardest things about planning a trip wardrobe is truly imagining how to dress for temperatures you’re not used to. When I was heading to my dad’s 90 birthday party celebration at the end of January, I was hoping for weather that would be above zero. I’ve visited in January when the temperatures never strayed far from -18 degrees (Fahrenheit). There’s a lot more wardrobe freedom when temperatures are 18 or above rather than -18 and wind. I got lucky this time. We were going to have good weather! I still brought my puffy knee-length down coat, cashmere lined gloves, a wool hat and layers. But I also brought my walking shoes and planned to get a couple of walks in.
Turning 90 is a big deal and one party wasn’t going to be enough! We needed three of them.
Friday: Dad’s birthday party at Briarwood, the assisted living place in Perham, MN where he’s been staying since November
Saturday: Dad’s birthday party at the lake house on Dead Lake with the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids
Sunday: Dad’s birthday party after church services at United Methodist Church in Dent, MN
Bonus Monday: Visiting with the newspaper reporter from the Detroit Lakes Tribune who won first prize in the annual Minnesota Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest for her story about Dad and the bracelet that was found in a landfill a couple of weeks after Mom died last year. Mom had given it to him on his birthday in 1951 and inscribed it with “Love, Girlie.” It’s one of those amazing “How did this happen?” stories. What better way to top off his parties, right?
I planned out each of the party outfits. Once I decid what I’m going to wear I write it down on my Travel Wardrobe Chart and then I start building it on a hanger.
This outfit above is what I planned to wear to church on Sunday and to brunch afterwards. I pack the entire outfit on a flocked thin hanger. Here’s my process.
- I start with the accessories. I hang the scarf across the bar and the beaded tasseled long pendant over the hanger.
- I add my layering pieces. In this case it’s a cement colored tank.
- Next comes my ruched charcoal gray shimmery Etcetera t-shirt.
- The last piece is my deep mushroom colored leather and knit Per Se jacket. I’d wear the black pants I traveled in with my black boots.
When I have each outfit packed on its own hanger I slip a dry cleaning bag over the top. This keeps the pieces from wrinkling and makes it easy to fold them over and slip them into the suitcase. When I arrive at the lake house I just pull the hangers out and hang them in the upstairs closet.
Once I have the important events planned, I figure out what to wear while hanging around the house, cooking, visiting with friends and neighbors, going out to dinner or taking walks. Those items go at the bottom of my suitcase: jeans, warm socks, a sweater, a cardigan and a long-sleeved t-shirt, jammies and underwear, walking shoes and my caramel colored Lucky Brand booties. I had these everyday outfit pieces packed and in the suitcase by Monday.
Around Tuesday I checked my skin care bag to be sure my little containers were topped off with product. My makeup bag doesn’t go into the suitcase until the morning I leave. I don’t have a separate travel set of makeup although if I was doing more frequent traveling, I would.
Thursday morning my bag is packed except for the outfits hanging on the knobs of the pie shelf in my office. I’ve kept my bag in my office during the week as I gathered things and of course, that’s where Bella slept day and night. I scoot Bella off the suitcase so I can fold my bagged outfits over three times, hangers and all, lay them on top and zip the suitcase closed.
Flight essentials in carry-on
I bring a small to medium crossbody bag for traveling. In addition I have a carry on bag with my inflight essentials.
I carry on:
Day time and night time medications and vitamins in little round clear containers marked Day and Night
My iPad (in the polka dot bag) and chargers
An extra pair of prescription glasses
My Morning Pages notebook (if it’s an early flight)
My red sleeve protector with flight documents, loose papers that I may be editing or reviewing on the plane
My irreplaceable jewelry
Snacks (apple, string cheese, my homemade trail mix)
In addition, I use my travel jacket, complete with four pockets, to store the things I’m likely to use during the flight.
The travel day outfit
The travel day outfit is really important. I want to be comfortable whether the plane is warm or cold. I want to look nice in case anyone asks me what I do for a living (and because that’s how I like to travel). One outfit can perform the same duties both ways.
On this trip I wore:
A long-sleeved black Cuddl Dud Tee for warmth under my lighter weight black and white striped J&J sweater
My silver themed jewelry Beauty Bundle
My quilted, multi-pocketed lightweight Per Se moto jacket
My cashmere striped scarf
My Ponte knit Michael Kors black pants
My black Ecco mid-calf boots
My big puffy coat which turns into my lap blanket on the plane
Cashmere fingerless gloves
The flight on the way was warm, the flight on the way home was cool but I was totally comfortable both ways.
There it is! Everything was fabulous. The parties were a hit. Dad was happy, happy, happy. I even found one of Dad’s vintage Allis-Chalmers windbreakers in the upstairs closet and wore it over my orange sweater and scarf. The weather was so mild on his birthday I didn’t even need a warm coat.
I wish you ease the next time you go traveling and consider using the Travel Wardrobe Charts. Like they say about all details, writing them down gives you peace of mind and who couldn’t use more of that while traveling these days!