How to Pack | Episode 3 -- 5 Steps to the Perfect Suitcase

I spent last weekend in Atlanta celebrating my future sister-in-law with a handful of bridesmaid and friends. This trip inspired a departure from my typical “how to pack” post, because to be honest, if you’re not wearing sky high heels and neon crop top on your next trip, what I wore probably won’t be much help.

This week I’m taking a different route.

Here’s how to confidently pack a suitcase no matter where you’re headed, what you’re doing or who you’re going with.

Get ready to jet set in style.

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1. MOOD IS EVERYTHING, SO SET IT. 

I love this part of process because it takes away the mechanical feel of packing and replaces it with creative flow. Packing is about deciding how you want to feel when you arrive at your destination, and to do that, you need to get into the mood of your trip.

A) Put it into words.

When you’re able to put words to feelings, progress is always made.

Take a sheet of paper and write the name of where you’re headed horizontally in the middle.

My words for last weekend's trip!

My words for last weekend's trip!

Next, define the place you’re going. Choose three words to describe where you’re headed. Write them on the left side of the city, vertically stacked.

For me, Atlanta was: energetic, hot, busy.

Then, choose 3 words that describe how you want to feel in your clothes.

I chose sexy, fun, confident.  Write them on the right side of the city name, vertically stacked.

B) Put on a playlist.

During the 15-30 minutes you’ll be assembling your bag, you gotta have tunes. Pop on whatever feels right for where you’re headed.

My favorite hip hip artists of all time, Outkast, are from Atlanta, so that was an easy choice for last weekend’s pack. (If you don’t know Aquemini, I highly recommend giving it a listen.)

Next month I’m headed to a town I used to visit with my mom as a child. She’d always play Van Morrison on this trip, so that’s what I’ll be turning on.

If your destination is new, choose music based on the words you chose to describe your city. If it’s a spot you’ve visited before, think about what music you heard last time you were there.

C) Put it on ice.

This isn’t as essential as the other parts of the prep, but let’s face it…a cocktail is the perfect way to get you in the mood for vacation. Match what you’re drinking to wear you’re headed. A trip to Napa deserves a glass of wine, a margarita is perfect for Mexico, an IPA encompasses that Pacific Northwest vibe. It’s a sweet indulgence to celebrate your style.

For my trip to Atlanta, I went with rosé, because the bride-to-be is a big fan of the pink drink (who can blame her).

2. TRUST YOUR GUT

You’ve got your words, you’ve got your music, you’ve got your drink. Now for a little self pep talk.

Even if you’re going to be in a group setting on the trip, this is not the time to think about what anyone else is wearing. There is one person and one person only that this suitcase is about, and that’s your self.

Go with what you want to wear.

Wearing something to fit in with everyone else will ultimately make you feel bored, look boring and snuff out your self-expression.  And style is all about self-expression. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but to fit in, you need to stand out. Being yourself through your style helps people accept you and understand that you are genuine, authentic and a person worth knowing.

3. Do the dirty work.

It’s time to style your outfits. And yes, I say style, because that’s exactly what you’ll do now and exactly what you do every day in your closet.

Grab your sheet of paper with the city + 6 words on it. Think of the first occasion you need to dress for on the trip then create an outfit for that occasion (i.e. on the airplane, dinner, beach day.)

Now look back at your sheet. Does the outfit you choose match the words on the left? Does it make you feel the things on the right?

If yes, hooray! Throw the outfit in the suitcase. If the answer is no, what didn’t match? Why? In determining your "why", consider what would work, and swap the initial outfit or piece of the outfit for something new. 

Follow this formula for each look you’ll need for the trip.

Finding the right outfits for the right occasion is a tough task, so if you feel confused or can't find a clear answer, I would love to help! My work is about celebrating women. Through a combination of teaching, styling and coaching, I help you feel powerful and put together in each of your outfits every single day. 

In Atlanta celebrating with the maid of honor (left) and the bride-to-be (center).

In Atlanta celebrating with the maid of honor (left) and the bride-to-be (center).