Jet Setting :: Packing the Pieces

Okay, so you've booked the trip. Now what? Personally, I start thinking about what to pack for weeks before I go. There's nothing I love more than a pre-trip shopping spree to get everything I might need for the road. Naturally, what you pack is entirely dependent on time of year and nature of the trip, but these are the basics I always start with when I'm building the perfect suitcase.

layer up! jacket cardigan blazer
It never fails - I never have enough layers and end up freezing at the airport or some cold front blows in and I wish I had more than just a light cardigan. The basic layers you should consider including are a leather jacket, a warm wrap cardigan, and a great blazer. I love a wrap cardi (like this one from Victoria's Secret) because they can sometimes double as a scarf. I turn the sleeves inside out and throw it around my neck as a scarf when I head to the airport - then I can use it to get warm and cozy if I find myself in some strong air conditioner. The blazer is a no-brainer - it can dress up anything in your suitcase and is appropriate for day or night, casual or business. And I like the leather because it's much better at blocking wind than other jackets (plus it gives any outfit an instant cool factor).

top it off - the perfect tanks and tees for travel
I pack the most tops. That's what people will usually remember about an outfit, so go with something bright, buttoned, sparkly, simple, and striped. I love a bright top that you can wear with jeans by day and a chic pencil skirt at night. A chambray button up is a major must right now - you can wear it over, under, tied up, open, or on its own (extremely versatile!). A sparkly tank looks cute with shorts and flats by day, but can get dressy under a blazer for dinner. A plain white tee is the most remix-able, so grab a great one like this one from StyleMint and add a scarf or jacket to jazz it up. And finally, if I know one thing, it's that stripes are ALWAYS chic. Seriously, they're always a great idea, so bring a striped tank or tee.

bottom out! these bottoms are great for sitting on a plane.
I have the most trouble with bottoms. They're hard because I want to have enough and usually end up over packing here. So take this advice with a grain of salt, because I'll probably pack more than this. Skinny jeans are perfect for travel - pick a pair with a nice stretch for ultimate airplane comfort, or grab some in a color for a fun addition to your outfits. A pair of great white shorts in a dressier fabric (think city short over denim cutoff) will look cute with a tank by day, and a blazer and heels at night. A simple black pencil skirt is a must if you're on a business trip - you can choose a fun mini instead for vacation. And finally, a great dark trouser jean is appropriate almost everywhere. The dressier cut makes them perfect for most places you might end up.

play dress up - two dresses for day to night
I love dresses. I'd wear one every day if I weren't worried about being totally boring. You can probably get away with two - a chic black shift can easily be day wear or go more formal, and a fun, flirty sundress adds a little something more festive to your weekend-away wardrobe.

shoes wisely - shoes that won't work you
Finally - and most importantly, shoes. I have a tendency to bring the wrong shoes everywhere. I'll pack sky-high heels in ridiculous patterns and wonder why nothing matches (and why my feet hurt so much). Since I'm headed to a walking city, I made sure to pack lots and lots of comfy flats. I recommend loafers or boat shoes, since they offer more support than flats or sandals and look far more stylish than tennis shoes. A simple ballet flat or sandal is great for day as well. I still like to pack one pair of heels - a sensible wedge in a neutral color should work in most situations.

Tomorrow, we'll talk accessories and get into the actual mechanics of packing. NYC, 3 days and counting!