Pack it up, Pack it in!

How many of you are launching into House of Pain’s Jump Around song after reading that title? While the song got on my nerves in my 20s after the 50th or so drunk dude was bouncing up and down spilling his beer all over the bar, I have to admit that now I kinda like that song. But back to packing. Most of us have to travel at some point. Sometimes it’s for business and sometimes it’s for pleasure, but one things for sure, packing can really suck.

But it doesn’t have to. If you can take the time to commit to a restricted color scheme, limit your shoes, and make accessories your bff than you can actually get on a plane without that dreaded neon sticker that boldy declares your bag as OVERWEIGHT. It’s pretty mean anyway. Can’t they just make a sticker that says your bag has PMS and is bloated? OVERWEIGHT seems so discriminatory. So to that end why not avoid all the drama and keep it simple. Honestly, have you ever gotten to your destination and been excited that you have brought everything but the kitchen sink with you? “Go ahead down to the pool bar! I’ll see you in 3 hours after I unpack all this crap!” That’s no way to start your trip.

Trip packing is one of my favorite services that I can provide to my clients. It’s fun and it makes their life easier. It’s a win-win. Recently one of my friends told me she loves to be able to sneak a peek inside of the closets of my clients when I show outfits I’ve created from their existing wardrobe. (Thanks J.H. ;)). With her suggestion, and the approval from one of my very lovely and long-term clients, I thought it would be fun to share with you how it all works.

I like to keep the personal lives of my clients personal and private, so for this purpose I will refer to this client as “Lilly.” Lilly and I have worked together for a couple of years so she knows me well and I know her style, as well as the contents of her closet really, really well. Lilly has a demanding corporate job and travel is part of the deal. She’s also a wife and mother and has laundry to do, therefore packing is not high on her priority list of fun. But like most of us, she has been down that road of taking too many items without any real plan as to specific items. We all know this leads to an overstuffed suitcase and clothes all over your hotel room. Not fun. For this work trip Lilly was headed to a more casual event out west where it would be cold and snowy. She needed to look chic but effortless, and she needed to be comfortable and functional. With a fairly set agenda I set to work on pulling outfits based upon a specific color palette. The key to making this work is to create outfits with options, so every item packed needs to make sure it plays well with others. As you will see from the pics, almost every item can be paired back to at least 2 other items in the suitcase. The outfits are then photographed and put on a Pinterest board or a photo file for Lilly to access. Her only job is to wrap her head around the idea that “You can’t take it all with you.” She has a fabulous wardrobe but she really truly only needs 5 or so outfits. If you saw her collection of drop-dead amazing shoes you too would struggle and just taking 3 or 4. But given these basic pieces she now has at least 12 options, even though her trip is only about 5 days.  So here’s what I put together…















The color palette stuck to some basic neutrals like cream, navy and brown, while we threw in a couple of fun splashes of color such as the light blue cords and the rust colored sweater. The accessories were statement type pieces but versatile, easily able to take a look from day to night. For layered warmth the oversize plaid wrap works with almost everything, and the faux fur vest with the drop dead amazing Hermes inspired print on the reverse truly does double duty. Lilly was good to go. My only panic came when the blizzard descended upon my area. I was very worried about her flight home being delayed and if she would have enough outfits to hold her through. I checked in with her via text and she was fine!

The process of planning out outfits and laying everything out may seem like a waste of time, but trust me, it’s nothing compared to the time you will waste when you are trapped in your hotel room with clothes thrown all over the bed as you try to piece together and outfit. With a little bit of effort before you leave, your trip can be focused whatever you there to do, with outfits for whatever you need ready at the tips of your fingers on your phone. Think of it like meal planning for the week. It totally sucks on Sunday when you are planning out your meals and schlepping to the store, but it is so worth it on a Wednesday at 5pm when you know what your dinner plans are and you are prepared with all the proper ingredients.

*Insider Tip – White is Right

No, this is not some racist rant. This is an ode to the forgotten white items in our closet. Just because the temperature dips below 50 degrees it does not mean we have to abandon all that is light and bright. In the case of Lilly’s business trip, the whitish (they are really a cross between ivory and cream) cords are a fantastic option to brighten up winter darks. Some people still aren’t comfortable breaking out white denim in the winter and that’s totally fine. If you feeling like that is a stretch then try the alternative of a light-colored pant. The corduroy fabric makes it fall and winterish, and the color is the perfect backdrop for textured sweaters and sumptuous cashmere. If white feels too light opt for a pale pastel like the pale blue we used above. The key is to winterize with a leather or suede boot and a thicker sweater. In a sea of denim and black you will be sure to lighten and brighten any room

Thanks for reading!





Published by suziegaffney

owner at Suzie Gaffney Styling

2 thoughts on “Pack it up, Pack it in!

  1. Well done Suzie! Did she try the outfits on before you photograph? I have found myself in this situation more then I can count on both hands and you are right, it ends up causing so much frustration and takes away from your having a good time at your destination. I love the idea of the Pinterest board. I look forward to your next post…

    1. Hi Susi! This particular client didn’t try the clothes on. She had just purchased some of the pieces so she was familiar with the fit as in where things would fall on her and how they would look. I would say about half of the time my clients do prefer to try on the outfits as we take the photos, this way we ensure everything not just looks good together but fits well together as well. Thank you so much for commenting and for being a reader!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: