Traveling light has never been my area of expertise. I prefer to always be in fighting form, so being caught unprepared without my fashion battle gear is not something I enjoy. Whether it be a quick weekend beach getaway or a three-week vacation abroad, I like having options, and always find myself over-packing.
If I could, I would travel Princess-style with a trunk full of shoes, accessories, and clothing to serve as a complete wardrobe away from home. But the truth is, luggage allowances and the threat of overweight charges bop me on the head and push me back to reality!
Traveling light is a skill that I have challenged myself to master. This would not only make me a chic yet stress-free traveler, but it would also help fuel another agenda: shopping! Imagine having more luggage space for unique travel finds.
Let me share with you some of my personal travel style principles that I’ve adopted, with the hope of becoming an expert in jet-set style!
Have a travel style theme
A good starting point is to come up with an overall style theme for your upcoming trip. This will help you decide on which outfits to pack, and to choose pieces that are consistent and make sense. Let your destination and purpose assist you in deciding. Something like Parisian chic for a European vacation, glam resortwear for a trip to Bali, minimalist city dressing for a business trip, relaxed beachwear for a weekend in Batangas.
Make every piece count
I have continually challenged myself to pack wisely yet significantly. Whether it is a basic essential or an accent piece, when deciding on the pieces to bring, make sure that each one has a purposeful contribution to your overall travel wardrobe. Eliminate the unnecessary items that you most probably will not even use. And bring only the pieces that you are absolutely sure will make sense with the rest.
Plan ahead for each day and activity
I usually plot out my activity schedule in order to figure out what outfits I will need. Day per day, I list down the various activities such as touring, shopping, dinner, etc. I then make a list of each corresponding outfit, all the way to accessories and shoes. There are many packing rules that I’ve encountered, but my personal rule of thumb is, for a short trip (below one week), bring at least one outfit per day. For longer trips (over a week) bring outfits to last one week, and create various combinations for the remaining days.
Mix and match
Take along separates that are easy to layer and mix and match. This is when you can put your wardrobe styling skills to the ultimate test. For example, with just a selection of 10 total pieces, see how many different outfit mutations you can come up with!
I find that packing along a small assortment (two to three) of standout pieces works like magic! They may come in the form of an intricate necklace, a chic jacket or cover-up, or even an eye-catching bag. These can be instrumental in spelling out your travel signature style. It is important that you bring favorite pieces that you absolutely adore and would have no qualms wearing over and over again!
Good pieces and fabrics
To always look polished, pack pieces that are reliable and with a good fit. Choose fabrics that are low in maintenance and require minimal ironing.
Monochromatic wardrobe + a pop of color
I find that packing a monochromatic wardrobe works best. I don’t mean to stick only to a stream of solid blacks. Rather, choose pieces that all go together in a similar color family, and complementing hues such as nudes and blush, cream and earth tones, blacks and grays. This will allow effortless mixing and matching. To keep things interesting and exciting, throw in an occasional piece with a pop of color, such us a brightly hued blouse, a printed scarf, or a vibrant tote bag!
5 must-have travel style essentials
1) Sunglasses—the best way to hide traces of jet lag
2) Scarf or shawl—the easiest way to add interest to an outfit
3) A well-fitting jacket—for unexpected weather changes, and an easy way to look polished
4) A good quality hand bag—whether it be of nylon, fabric or leather, it should be able to survive wear and tear.
5) Stylish yet comfortable shoes—ballet flats, loafers, sandals or flat boots work best.