Pack it up…

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Be honest, how many of you have ever sat on your suitcase to get it to close?

I have sat on them every single time. My husband just pays the extra charge up front now as soon as we check in. I don’t really like to travel that much. I am a homebody by nature and I like all my stuff with me, thank-you-very-much. I like choices and I really hate being committed to an outfit ahead of time. What if my mood changes? I want options!

I do realize this is not always practical. And for my clients who have to travel they look to me to make the process less dreadful. Fortunately it is easier to take less of someone else’s stuff. I will just stay home and do more changes than Ann Hathaway hosting the Oscars.

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In exchange for all the lovely things my sister does for me on a daily basis I asked her if I could use her as an example when she had to go on a recent trip to NYC for the weekend. If I haven’t mentioned it before my sister teaches 5th graders full-time. She has two wonderful children but they are both under the age of 3. She is tired, like really really tired. Shopping and packing are about as much fun for her as Demi Moore running into Ashton Kutcher and his new girlfriend Mila Kunis.

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Enter Moi. Her reason for going to New York for the weekend was a bachelorette party complete with an agenda of activities. Ironically this sometimes does make it easier because you can literally look at your itinerary and plan your outfits around your events. In my opinion this is much easier than when things are spur-of-the moment and you are unprepared. I have been caught away on a vacation where I was told attire was casual only to learn it is actually cocktail. Don’t make me improvise. I will get angry.

My sister’s agenda was:

Drive up on Friday evening. They were staying at an uber-trendy hotel so something comfy yet nice enough to make you feel like you are cool enough for check in.

Girls night in, slumber party theme, so wearing your husband’s t-shirt just won’t cut it. This is cute girl lounge attire, keeping in mind she feels too old for the Victoria Secret PINK look of college dorms with something like FRESH written across the butt.

Saturday morning was breakfast followed by rooftop pool. Easy Peasy.

Next was wine tasting, dinner and dancing – all in one attire.

Sunday morning, hangover, car ride home – comfort rules.

So we stuck to basics – navy, white, black, pop of pink, 3 shoes – 1 flat, 1 flat sandal, 1 metallic wedge sandal. And we threw in an extra dress just in case she wanted a last-minute option. All in one very small bag.

Things to almost always take?

1 pair of fitted dark denim jeans. They can be dressed up, they can be dressed down. You will be glad you have them.

A heel you can walk in. This way if someone decides you have to get all fancy you can A) Put them on with your jeans, or B) go buy a dress. But at least you won’t have to find a pair of shoes that fit comfortably.

A large wrap or cardigan – preferably cashmere if you can make the investment. I know, it sounds extravagent but it will elevate everything you have on, can go from an airplane ride to a chilly restaurant to a wedding. Pick a neutral color that still compliments and lifts your skin tone and you will have it forever. I bring mine everywhere and it is the adult version of a blankie. Please for the love of God do not use those blankets supplied by the airline. I don’t know what has happened on top or underneath them so don’t blame me if you get a rash.

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True story. Naturally I brought mine to the hospital when I thought I would be sleeping in the waiting room waiting for my sister to give birth to my nephew. Under a series of unforseen circumstances my mother and I wound up in the room with my sister and her husband as she gave birth to her son SANS DRUGS. It was so out of my comfort zone I actually asked the nurse if I could have my sister’s epidural. Afterward her very brave body started to shake with chills, no doubt worn out from the birthing process. Feeling helpless I used my cashmere wrap to wrap it all around my sister bring her body temp back up. Soooo much nicer than the thin flannel sheets at the hospital. Poor George the intern who was on his first night of baby birth duty gasped right away – “Oh my God is that cashmere?” he asked. This was the only thing that snapped him out his trauma of seeing a full-on no drugs birth. “Why yes!” I said. From there on I wanted George to be my new best friend. The other nurses didn’t understand us. My sister gave me her usual “What the hell is wrong with you look?” I never did see George again but I think of him often. And I am pretty sure he didn’t go into obstetrics.

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*Insider Tip – Annoying and as limiting as it may seem try and stick to a color palette that will mix and match with each other. Blacks, grays, whites. Navy, Red, Tan.

A black, gray and white palette for a clien’t 5 day trip to Italy for meetings

*Insider Tip – Try limiting your accessories and jewelry to gold or silver accents. That way you can keep it simple.

*Insider Tip – Think multitasking. Each top should go with at least 2 different bottoms. This gives you more choices. And try to make sure what you are bringing can work for day or night, provided you change-up your accessories and shoes.

What we want to look like when we travel….

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Too glam? Okay I’ll take this…

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This is closer to what I probably look like…

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Just don’t look like this…which I think is worse…

Can you say D-I-V-A?
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or God no…

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Published by suziegaffney

owner at Suzie Gaffney Styling

7 thoughts on “Pack it up…

  1. I agree keep outfits simple and use basics when traveling…the only way to go… Less is best! Your model Kelly is adorable.

  2. I wish you would post daily … I so look forward to reading what you write. LOVE IT … although I will say this was an eye opener as I sit here in my Victoria Secret sweat pants fully loaded with PINK stitched across the buttocks … I know I am too old (WAY too old) for them but way too immature to admit it!

  3. I’ll be packing shortly for an upcoming trip to Spain. 3 nights, four full days with a carry on. So my plan, 1 jean, 1 black skinny slacks, 1 bandage skirt, tights, boots for walking, heel for dinner, 4 tops and jacket. Now which of those I’ll be bringing….Still trying to decipher! It’s a dilemma. 🙂

  4. Love the suitcase poll! You should have added another option…using some of the space in your husbands suitcase. Every year when we pack for vacation, he leaves room for me to add stuff to his. Now the girls are trained to leave room in their suitcases for suntan lotion and shampoo/conditioner bottles. It’s all about the training!! But seriously…who ever keeps under the 50lb rule that the airlines puts on luggage. We’re usually THAT family that is weighing and shifting stuff at the check-in line. Sorry everyone…..

    1. Betsy – I can’t believe I missed this comment from before. You are so right! That should have been an option. I have been known to even put stuff into Chris’s shoes when I am desperate for space!

  5. Your tips are spot on! I’d only add that **all** your clothing pieces should mix and match with each other. And you are right on about neutrals. Glam it up with scarves and jewelry instead. I usually bring a dress that is classic cut and a dark color. That alows me to dress it up or down as needed.
    As far as colors go, I like to go with one dark and one light. I can add in extra colors with my scarve, and maybe one print top (more mix and match possibilities).

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