Packing Essentials

Last week my kiddos were in Florida with their parents so I headed home to Iowa for a five-day weekend packed full of mom and daughter time, visiting extended family, eating at all my favorite hometown spots, attending a gorgeous wedding, shopping, and obsessively reading Fifty Shades Freed on the back porch.  With these events ranging from super low-key (lounging in pjs) to dressier attire (wedding), I thought I would share my tips for packing in an overnight bag for a weekend trip.

First off, the bag.  Be prepared to be jealous.  I scored this Longchamp Le Pliage Travel Bag for $60, yes you read that right, during our three-hour layover in Dublin airport (similar here) and I’m officially obsessed.  No more hauling out the mini suitcase or the ugly black backpack, I’m now traveling in style with the fun, girlie, bright pink color and the weekend perfect packable size of the bag.

Next, choose a color scheme.  I generally try to stick to either black or brown with additional fun, pops of color that coordinate.  For this trip my neutral basics included:  two denim (one dressy, one casual) and one black pair of shorts for bottoms and white and gray v-neck t-shirts on top (due to the 100+ degree weather I didn’t pack any pants even though I usually do 99% of the time).  I stuck to mostly bright pink, yellow, and turquoise to spice up my neutrals in the form of cardigans, tank tops, and jewelry.

Remember any special occasion pieces:  swimwear, wedding attire, neutral jacket, etc.  Due to the weather and my weekend plans, I needed to include a swimsuit, coverup, fedora, and a wedding appropriate dress with coordinating shoes and clutch.  The key to these special occasion pieces is to choose items that can easily go from day to night and are multifunctional:  my paisley swimsuit cover up can be worn as a casual dress, the fedora can be added to create a laid-back feel to any outfit, the clutch can store my jewelry, and the yellow dress for the wedding could be worn with flat sandals and a cardigan for running errands or brunch.

Choose your accessories and footwear wisely.  A statement necklace, cocktail ring, earrings, bracelet, scarf, or hat can seriously transform your basics making it appear that you packed way more than you actually did without taking up your valuable packing space.  Pair your basic white tee with a scarf, jean shorts, colorful sandals, and boyfriend watch to create a casual look or layer on a turquoise statement necklace with black shorts, wedges, and an armful of bangles to create a look perfect for drinks or dinner.  As for footwear, in the summer I include two pairs of sandals and a neutral wedge and for fall/winter usually a flat, knee-high boot, pair of flats, and black or nude heels, remembering to always pack comfortable, walkable shoes that compliment the clothing packed.

Pack it all up.  After choosing my clothing, accessories, and shoes, I roll the clothes and pile together by type (shorts, tees, dresses, etc), store the accessories inside a clutch, and begin the puzzle of packing.  Make sure to start with your footwear in the bottom of your bag (heels pointed in) followed by rolled clothing, clutch of jewelry, and bathroom essentials.

Travel Tips Summed Up:

– Stick to a color scheme with coordinating fun colors (i.e white with blue or navy with pinks)
– Choose basic, lightweight, multifunctional staples that make you feel confident and can easily transition from day to night
– Choose neutral shoes you can walk in comfortably
– Alter outfits with easy-to-pack statement jewelry
– Textured and printed pieces hide wrinkles making it less necessary to get out the iron
– Roll clothing to minimize wrinkling
– Stuff socks, belts, jewlery inside footwear to save space
– Start with footwear followed by tightly rolled clothes, folded items, sweaters/jackets, and finally crushable items
– My travel staples:  white tee, sunnies, loose go everywhere dress, wedges, flat sandals, button up, colorful accessories, and denim

What are your travel essentials and packing tips?!


14 thoughts on “Packing Essentials

  1. I stumbled upon your blog awhile ago [via we have much in common being from Iowa, now living in Chicago ..and I just enjoy your posts. well, I was at a wedding this weekend as well [in Iowa]. and there was someone there that looked so eerily familiar, but I could not place where I recognized them from. I read this post & BINGO [a light went off]’re the eerily familiar person. what a small, small world 🙂


    • WOW, what an incredibly small world. You look so familiar too, which is probably due to us both being from Iowa, graduating from the University of Iowa, being friends with Jenners, and living in Chicago! Crazy how much we have in common! Thanks so much for checking out my blog (via Sarah) and for commenting! If you ever want to get together, I’d love it!


  2. Your fedora looks just like my DIY Volcom hat redo post….or Blues without the blues OOTD post, Awesome! Is is jean material also?


    • It does look just like that! This fedora is actually from the men’s section at J.Crew Factory and came with that jean material-ish band. I wanted to use your DIY to put a bright fun fabric on instead, but haven’t because I do love how this one goes with everything! Maybe I’ll just have to get a new one to play with! 🙂


  3. Great reminders!! I’m headed for a quick and glorious excursion next weekend and this will definitely help! I never gave much thought about keeping all the items in a color scheme…I’ll certainly be adding that little golden nugget to my travel savvy repertoire! 😀


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