Hey guys, Jaye Rockett, reformed overpacker here. I love going on trips but the thought of packing for them often fills me with dread – will I have enough jumpers, how many pairs of jeans is too many, what if I need a formal dress at the last minute – you get the idea. The idea of travelling with anything less than my full wardrobe makes me itchy, a girl’s gotta have options! All that being said I’ve turned things around in the last year or so, a high point being the time I went to Copenhagen with just a backpack, and I now consider myself quite a packing expert. I’m not sure you’d call what I do ‘packing light’ (I’ve already talked about why a minimalist wardrobe isn’t for me), but more ‘packing appropriately’, so here are my tips on how to pack clothes for your next trip away.
Start on paper. Before I even get near my wardrobe I like to make some notes. What’s the weather going to be like? What sort of activities do I need to dress for? What are the pieces I simply can’t leave without? Sometimes this is as straightforward as identifying the need for thermals or smart evening wear, and other times it can be trying to figure out crossover pieces that can be worn comfortably during the day but look smart for the evenings too. Getting your requirements down on paper will make it easier to get started, rather than just staring blankly at your wardrobe.
Set some simple packing rules. Setting yourself rules for how much you allow yourself to pack can really help. They don’t need to be hard and fast rules, but think about the way you wear clothes at home – how many different outfits do you wear throughout the week? Do you wear seven different outfits for the day and seven different outfits for the night? Or do you wear variations of four or five different outfits in the day, and maybe one outfit change one night? For me it was about identifying the way I can reuse pieces throughout a week, so now my general rule is one pair of bottoms per 3 days plus one. So for example, on a long weekend city break I’d pack one pair of jeans + a pair of leggings that I’d likely wear on the plane. For a week away, that would probably look more like two pairs of jeans, one pair of leggings and a skirt.
Pick a colour palette. You don’t want to arrive at your destination to find none of your clothes actually go together. Pick a colour palette of shades you love and try and keep your clothes within that scheme, with a few pops of different colours in your accessories. That way it’ll be easier to mix and match pieces throughout the trip, and you’ll be able to pack less.
Stick with what you know and love. A trip away isn’t the time for the first wear of a new pair of shoes, or a new jumper – if it turns out that they’re not comfortable or don’t fit quite right, you’ve not got you’re whole wardrobe behind you for backup. Pack your favourite, tried and tested pieces that you know you’ll feel happy + comfortable in.
Pick fabrics carefully. Do you want to waste half your holiday steaming dresses and ironing shirts? Chances are, probably not. Pick fabrics that travel well, thicker fabrics with denser weaves, and roll them to prevent creases. Unpack your clothes as soon as you arrive to minimise time spent in your case, and if they still look a little wrinkly, hang them in the bathroom whilst you have a hot steamy shower!
Think about where you can double up. Gym leggings doubling as in-flight wear? Black skinny jeans for day and night? Smart heeled boots that are comfortable enough to wear all day, but also look dressy? Perhaps you’ve got a jumper that you can dress up with accessories, or down under a trench coat. Think about the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe and pack those.
You don’t need that many shoes. Trust me. Most of the trips I go on now that are a week or less, I’ll pack one pair of shoes, either trainers or boots depending on the trip. Shoes take up so much unnecessary room in your suitcase and chances are you really only need one pair.
What are your rules for packing clothes?