Ask Lex

Ask Lex: How to Pack Lightly and Maintain Style

Reader: Lex, you always look so great on your vacations! How do you pack light and still pull off those fire lewks?? PS – please be my stylist!

Aw, thank you! Full disclosure, I don’t typically pack light. I used to! My parents had a rule that all of our clothes needed to fit into a carry on because we don’t check bags, but as soon as I started paying for my own luggage I switched to a larger bag. That being said, when I need to I can still pack light! Here’s what I do.

Plan looks in advance

Before I pack for every vacation I lay out all of the clothes I intend on wearing. I think about what we might do (dinners, going out, sight seeing, excursion, etc.). Then I put together potential outfits down to shoes and accessories. Doing this helps me edit realistically. Options are great, but I don’t need 10 dinner outfits for a three day weekend trip. I bring two or three extras just in case, but any more than that is overkill.

Long story short: Don’t pack like you’re moving there, but leave room for error.

Take accessories/shoes that go a long way

Even when I am checking a bag, I try my best to bring shoes and accessories that I know I can wear with more than one outfit. This means leaning towards neutral colors like nude, black, and sometimes metallics.

Bring a backpack for sundries

Backpack | Urban Outfitters

When did I learn the word sundries might you ask? While my family did always carry on for vacation, we would collectively put our miscellaneous beauty products, excess shoes, etc into a one checked bag. One year we were overweight and my father had to put a pair of my mother’s wedges into his golf bag. In anger, he chastised us for all of our “sundries”. To the this day, we still laugh about the word.

Anyway, I digress. To save room in my suitcase for clothes, I put my toiletries, makeup, hair products, and a couple pairs of shoes into a backpack. I bring a small bag to carry my passport, wallet, etc. that can easily fit into the backpack while boarding plane. Just in case I encounter a flight attendant on power trip.

Fold strategically

I try to get my clothes as small as possible before putting them into my suitcase. This way I can maximize the space. After watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I am going to try folding horizontally to really get the most out of my carry on.

Edit again

Give yourself a beat then edit again before packing everything into your suitcase. Ask yourself if you really see yourself wearing each item. Are there any redundancies (like five LBDs)? Are there things that are super cute, but you know will remain unworn? Take those pieces out.

Don’t force light packing

If you can’t get it to fit into the carry on, just check a bag. It will save you a ton of stress and headaches. Note, I am only saying this for trips longer than a weekend. There is no need to check a bag for short trips unless your trip is literally fashion related or you’re going to a super cold place.

How do you pack lightly?

*Lex answers questions on Tuesdays. All submissions are anonymous.


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