How to pack for a weekend escape.

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It goes without saying that travel has been – and still is – a huge part of my life. With the arrival of our little bebe in just under five months’ now, our travels will become more and more of the weekend road trip variety to escape the hum of the city, whilst still being close to home. As selfish as it might seem our love of travelling is probably the biggest reason we didn’t start a family earlier and though I have no regrets, I’m really looking forward to living a more grounded, settled life instead of jumping on the next plane every few months!

As much as I have loved exploring new, far-flung places (though not so much the 30 hours in transit on four different planes!) the idea of mini weekend escapes are something I can’t wait to do more of. I have a couple of trips down south planned before the end of the year (before the home stretch of the third trimester begins!) and now that spring is here, it’s such a perfect time of the year to soak up the sun in idyllic locations.

Little holidays in short doses are so much more fun to pack for, too. All it takes is a little bit of planning but mostly just throwing whatever you have on hand in a large weekender.

This month, I’ve shared what I typically pack for a weekend escape for Country Road. For those travelling to Perth in the near future, you’ll also find a few of my very favourite places to eat, sleep, and relax!

Read the full post here.

Packing for Santorini.

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Those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning know that the Type A in me loves nothing more than a good packing list.

So I’m really excited that the next three months will see me teaming up with Country Road to share my travel and packing tips from my travels around the world and around Australia.

First up, a summer in Santorini and all my must-have packing essentials for a blue sky holiday.

Head over to the Country Road journal to read the full post.

On packing lists and two month trips.

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When I first started putting together this post (just under 4 weeks ago), I was on my way to Tokyo, leaving the 98% humidity and 35C temps of Vietnam (thankfully) behind me. I’ve already spent the night on an unforgivingly hard chair in an airport thanks to a missed flight at Narita and a few days ago I left New York City where spring has definitely sprung, with some days hitting a max of 26C, the warmest since summer ended. This week, I’ve been traipsing glaciers and snowstorms in Iceland, where the average real-feel temperature has been a blistering 0C. The last leg of my trip involves spending time in Greece until mid-May for my first taste of a European summer.

So in light of my current travel situation, the idea of packing light to visit 10-12 cities with a million climate extremes seems laughable. Because I’m flying various airlines, my limit is 20kg of checked luggage, so packing for a two-month trip around the world has been about packing smarter, not necessarily lighter.

And by ‘smarter’, I mean packing a spare change of underwear in my carry-on.

My new-found fear of flying has nothing on my fear of packing too much for a holiday. I have these horrific visions (stemming from past travels) of lugging my suitcase up six flights of vertigo-inducing stairs to my Copenhagen airbnb, or walking 2km from my Paris hotel to the subway station negotiating cobblestoned paths and an erratic GPS that sends me astray the entire way.

Many of you have asked for a run-down of my packing list so I thought I’d put together a small insight + guide as to how I’ve packed for my two-month holiday.

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FIRST THINGS FIRST – PREPARING A PACKING LIST

My overarching goal is to ensure everything goes with everything – lots of easy, wearable and fuss-free items from pants and tops to shoes and dresses. This also always means I tend to stick to a very classic and neutral colour palette – grey, white, black, and navy, with the ‘colour’ I add being khaki, blush or mid-blue denim.

My other ‘deal-breakers’ include:

Shoes that I can walk all day in

Summery clothes that can also be worn for a wintery climate

Things that can be replaced + wouldn’t be devastated to lose or damage on my travels

Wrinkle-resistant items or those that require little ironing

In preparing my packing list, I always use Pinterest as my main packing list tool.

I first start by putting together a (secret) board of items I’m thinking of packing for my trip. This helps me to clearly visualise my packing list at a glance to see if I’m missing anything or have too much of something. I add items and/or refine or cull as I go along. For this particular trip, I created two boards – one for winter and one for summer. It just made it a lot easier to achieve a good balance of summer and winter items.

The second phase involves creating an inspiration board filled with travel outfits that could work for the nature of my holiday.

It doesn’t always happen but I try to complete my boards the week before I fly out. I start packing the day or two before – never any earlier as I find the wrinkles in my clothes are much harder to iron out.

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A TYPICAL IN-FLIGHT OUTFIT

When I’m flying 30+ hours, then walking my bedraggled self and catching a train to my hotel, comfort wins out every single time. I’m all about loose layers, relaxed silhouettes and comfortable, easy pieces, for a long-haul flight:

A merino or cashmere sweater

A relaxed long cardigan or an oversized slouchy coat

Acne Canada wool scarf which I use as a blanket

Black ponte pants or soft leggings

Porselli black ballerina flats (I slip off my shoes as soon as I get on a flight and put on a pair of soft cotton socks)

A large black tote bag

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WHAT I PACKED

WordPress would probably have a meltdown if I listed every single item in my suitcase right now, so here’s a good run-down of a good proportion of my packing list for this current trip:

COATS + JACKETS

Isabel Marant khaki down parka

Zara nude wool long robe coat

Balenciaga navy wool jacket

The rationale:

This is actually packing ‘light’ (for me) especially for such a long trip. I always pack a statement blazer for more dressy occasions and although it’s super heavy, the calf-length Zara coat keeps my legs warm when I’m only wearing one layer of pants. I’ve gotten the most wear out of this coat the most. The parka is virtually indestructible – I packed it specifically for exploring the fjords in Norway and Iceland.

I’ve bought a Uniqlo quilted down jacket on my travels which has proved to be indispensable to wear on its own or as a thin layer underneath my coat. It rolls up like a sleeping bag, too!

What I wish I packed:

Nothing. I think I’ve ticked all the boxes with these three options.  

KNITS + SWEATERS

Topshop charcoal grey coatigan

Isabel Marant merino turtleneck

Country Road mens’ grey merino sweater

Country Road grey knitted sleeveless roll neck

The rationale:

The Topshop coatigan is perfect for plane trips and can be easily layered underneath a coat. For wintery destinations, roll-necks and turtlenecks are essential. The Country Road mens’ grey sweater goes with everything.

What I wish I packed:

I may have packed way one too many grey knits (even though they are varying shades of grey… lol), so I kind of wish I had packed my classic mens’ black sweater by Country Road.

DRESSES

Bassike striped dress

Seed black silk trapeze tank dress

Alice McCall playsuit

The rationale:

Because it’s far less versatile than separates, I tend to pack the least dresses as possible. The Bassike stripes are ideal for in-between weather, the Seed black silk dress is my LBD that works on its own or layered in winter, and the playsuit is my ‘dressy’ piece for my summer destinations.

What I wish I packed:

Nothing, except for maybe my black Witchery jumpsuit. It’s just so heavy, though! 

SHOES

Chanel espadrilles

Porselli black ballerina flats

Birkenstock Arizona in black

Converse trainers

The rationale:

Shoes are always always, always the most challenging part of my packing list. I never want to travel with any more than three pairs of shoes but it never happens because, well, FOMO. For this trip, however, I made sure that every pair of shoe I packed could be worn all day without a hint of a blister.

One thing I always do is to place the insert from my Nike Frees into my shoes (like the Converse sneakers) for added comfort. It makes such a difference to shoes that don’t have a thick sole.

What I wish I packed:

My COS black Chelsea boots or Isabel Marant Dicker boots. It broke my heart to leave them at home this time – they are heavy and they just weren’t versatile or comfortable enough for me to wear through all seasons. Sneakers can make me feel so dowdy though and they’re not waterproof. I’ve almost caved into buying a pair of ankle boots on this trip…

BAGS

Celine Trio in navy

Celine Cabas in black

Everlane backpack

The rationale:

Only the ‘basics’ this time and I really wanted to go light on this – I even left the Le Pliages at home. Even though they’re super compact, all the weight adds up – it’s so important to remember this when you’re packing.

It’s also the first time I’ve ever travelled with a backpack and I swear I will never travel without one ever again. I haven’t yet figured out how to make it look less schoolbag-ish but when you’re travelling for 8 weeks, practicality trumps all.

I brought the Trio as it can be worn cross-body, and the Cabas doubles as a sturdy and expansive carry-on bag.

What I wish I packed:

A larger bag with a shoulder strap that fits my OM-D E-M1. I’ve hardly used my Celine Trio because it doesn’t fit my camera, and the Cabas is too impractical for all-day walking. Also, I wish I had brought my Longchamp expandable weekender – I’m really missing the practicality of a zippered carry-on bag! I’ll never learn…

ACCESSORIES

Acne Studios ‘Canada’ scarf in grey

Country Road black leather belt

Ray Ban oversized Aviators

Knitted grey beanie

Straw boater hat

The rationale:

The scarf doubles as a blanket on the plane, the beanie will keep my ears warm in Iceland, the boater hat works in both summer and (kind of) winter, and the belt is really my only accessory.

What I wish I packed:

My black wool fedora as it’s such a classic winter staple and (call me pedantic) but it just feels weird wearing a straw hat when it’s snowing outside.

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THE VERDICT SO FAR

So I’m at the halfway point of my two-month trip now and the general consensus is that I’ve neither packed too much or too little. If anything, I think I’ve packed slightly more than I probably need, even though when I departed Australia my checked baggage weighed in at roughly 13-14kgs.

My only major regret is not packing a pair of ankle boots because some destinations have turned out to be way colder, snowier and rainier than I anticipated. You can never predict the weather, I guess, and I didn’t own any boots that I could walk all day in plus be ok with trashing them in mud puddles!

At the end of the day though, I’d say 99% of what I’ve packed can be worn together so, and off the cuff, I’ve worn about 90% of what I’ve packed so far. So given packing smarter (as opposed to lighter) was my goal to begin with, my packing list has performed relatively better than others of mine in the past.

And in case you missed it, read my Spy Style post over at vogue.com.au for more of my packing tips + essentials.

How to pack light and travel in style.

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For the past ten days I’ve been working on planes, car trips, hotel rooms in five different towns and cities, every single day and night all the while sick with a virus that I caught off my husband and trying not to divorce my parents at the same time (whom I’m currently travelling with during my Vietnam leg). The wheel on my newly minted Rimowa also snapped off yesterday so my last night in Vietnam couldn’t have come soon enough.

For a few hours last night though, I was finally able to switch off work for the first time during this holiday, having caught up on nearly all of my deadlines and projects. I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to have the laptop shut and not have it glare at me from across the room.

Sometimes when I have a few hours spare, though, I go a bit crazy because the notion of ‘spare time’ really is non-existent in my life these days. It’s like I have no idea what to do with myself (I don’t even know what it’s like to sit on a couch and relax anymore) so I swing between polar opposites. Case in point: after a leisurely dinner last night at L’usine, I painted my nails a dodgy Rouge Noir-dupe and took a pair of questionable hairdressing scissors that my husband packed to chop two inches off my hair in my equally questionable hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City. The bathroom is a hot mess but my hair seemed to survive the trauma of being hacked into.

So what has this got to do with how to pack light and travel in style? Not much, probably, but with a flight to catch at 8am and my husband tossing and turning next to me as I (not so silently) type away, all I can manage is one schizophrenic post today.

Which brings me to my latest post for Vogue. I’m doing a series of packing posts in light of my travels – and you can read the first of them here.

A few of you have asked what exactly I’ve packed for a two month holiday so I’m planning to try and write a follow-up on the plane today (told you I don’t know what rest means anymore…) which I hope to share on this blog over the coming days. I’ll also be posting my Vietnam travel journal for @olympus_au this weekend but for now, you can follow my real-time updates on Instagram to see where I’m off to next. Hint: it’s my favourite city in the entire world. Not even exaggerating.

Weekend Escapes.

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I’m heading off on a little roadtrip tomorrow with my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

We didn’t want to do just another dinner, so we decided at the very last minute to drive down to Manjimup and Denmark for the weekend. With our anniversary (which is actually today) coinciding with Easter, we were hard-pressed to find somewhere – anywhere – to stay at such short notice, and at one point considered sleeping in our car at a caravan park until we realised we were essentially paying $50 for a shower. As you can see, we’re all about romantic gestures in our relationship.

Also, it’s no secret that I will find any excuse to write a packing list (or any list, for that matter) so I’ve made some notes as to what’s going into my weekender. We’ll only be away for a couple of days, so my list is gloriously short and sweet.

We’re planning to do a lot of walking and exploring, which calls for clothes I can move easily in. Cotton shirts, mid-rise jeans, boots with a sturdy heel, a scarf and a warm coat I can throw over jeans or a lightweight dress, are my perfect long weekend essentials.

To Pack and Wear.

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As far as packing lists go, Joan Didion’s is inexplicably boss.

But I do love a good list. Doesn’t this particular one just make you want to pile all your hair on top of your head, find a cosy seat on the plane, snuggle up in a knitted sweater with a face free of make-up, and just be done with it?

There’s a certain appeal to approaching a brief excursion out of the country with a packing list that you’ve revised a thousand times over. That’s me at my most happiest.

In packing for Japan, I’ve decided to take a leaf out of Joan’s book (The White Album, FYI) – or at least tried to.

I will be wearing on the plane: black soft leggings (I’m bringing two – wool long johns whilst I’m up in the air, and fleece-lined leggings whilst transiting). An Acne scarf. Always an Acne scarf. A Bassike loose-fitting striped shirt at high altitudes and a crisp, classic white shirt from Witcherywhen I arrive at my destination. And lastly, a pair of black Chanel ballerinas, because who doesn’t love the ease of kicking off a pair of ballet flats to soothe their feet in a pair of cosy socks?

As for the rest of the notable contents in my suitcase: a couple of collared shirts, three sweaters, two pairs of jeans, and erm, four coats (yes, I know). I’ve accepted the fact that coats and shoes will always, always, win.

Longchamp is a tried and true travel favourite of mine. I’m travelling with this tote as an every day bag and this expandable overnighter as carry-on.
Oh, and if anyone who follows me on Instagram is wondering, I’m taking the black pointed oxfords and leaving the grey Dieppas at home. And yes, my heart broke into a million little pieces in deciding to do so. I’m a creature of comfort, though. And as such, I’m leaving the heels at home this time.

Packing List: Post-Holiday

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As a follow-up to my packing post on Vogue’s SpyStyle, I thought I’d share a more detailed summary as to how the list unfolded, post-holiday.

Criss-crossing Europe meant I was packing for all sorts of different climates, destinations and activities. My main concern was packing sensibly for 0 degree temps in Iceland but appropriately for 25C days in Italy, whilst still being able to lug my suitcase up five flights of steep stairs to my airbnb apartment.

I mentioned this in my SpyStyle post – but I can’t tell you enough about how it truly helped me form the backbone of my packing list. I used French Vogue’s list of 10 wardrobe essentials as a starting point and it gave me a clear and concise direction for my own packing list. I didn’t follow it precisely (there are a couple of things on there I didn’t pack) but I loved that all the items on that list were things that could pair easily with any new holiday purchases I was to make during my trip. Easy! Or so I thought.

Anyway, I’ll start with a itemised list of what I packed for my four-week stint in Europe:

Shirts & T-shirts (6)

Country Road White button-down shirt

Zara two-tone chambray shirt

Saba striped top

Bassike striped top

Zara burgundy mariniere top

Sportsgirl crew-neck cotton t-shirts in white and grey.

Knits (4)

Country Road intarsia spot sweaters (two of them in different colourways), Phillip Lim leopard sleeve sweatshirt, Uniqlo taupe cashmere cardigan.

Bottoms (7)

J Brand black leather jeans

J Brand 811 blue skinny jeans

Scanlan & Theodore blue/grey acid jeans

Nobody Beau ripped boyfriend jeans

Scanlan & Theodore black relaxed trousers

ASOS cream chiffon pleated midi skirt

ASOS white cropped culottes

Dresses (1)

Lover ‘Wiccan’ black lace short dress 

Outerwear (3)

Dress Up navy trench coat, Zara navy military short coat, blush-coloured feathered marabou jacket.

Shoes (4)

Seed navy striped canvas espadrilles, Isabel Marant Dicker ankle boots, Nike Roshe Run sneakers, Valentino Rockstud kitten heels.

Bags (3)

Longchamp large totes in black and grey/taupe, Celine navy Trio bag.

Accessories

2 scarves (lightweight printed scarf by Seed; cashmere/wool spot scarf by Country Road), 2 beanies (cream and charcoal grey), Ray Ban aviator sunglasses.

Other

Swimwear and thermals – 2 x long sleeved tops, fleece-lined leggings, Uniqlo heattech tank with built-in bra.

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IN SUMMARY

I’m so glad I packed…

1. Nike sneakers. Pretty self-explanatory but it’s possibly the wisest decision I’ve ever made.

2. Striped shirts. I went a little overboard with the amount I packed but I ended up wearing every single one, equally. It helped that they all served a different purpose – yes, really! That said, I’ve been less enthused about wearing stripes after coming home…

3. Cashmere/wool sweaters. I wore these the most second to my striped tops, particularly in Scandinavia when it was crazy cold. They were loose enough to wear a couple of thermals underneath and I loved the monochromatic spots which ensured they went with everything and anything.

4. A neutral colour palette. Mine was navy/black/white/grey/camel/blush. It doesn’t have to be necessarily boring – I opted for monochromatic prints or unexpected details.

5. A little black dress. I love bringing my Lover lace dresses mostly because the lace never, ever, wrinkles. 

6. These fleece-lined footless tights from Woolworths. I love these so much! They were great to wear on the plane (they’re 200 denier) or underneath jeans and trousers as thermals. Best $8 I’ve spent and literally saved my ass in snowy Iceland! You can find them in the socks aisle and I think Razzamatazz also do a similar pair.

I wish I didn’t pack…

1. My Valentino Rockstud heels, definitely. Did not wear them once. I dressed considerably more casual on this trip and once I arrived in Europe, there was no way those cobblestones were going near my shoes.

2. So many jeans! I think I suffered from a case of just-in-case packing here and decided to bring a pair for every single (imaginary) occasion. If I could do it all over again, I’d limit myself to a maximum of three pairs – one in white, classic blue, and black.

I wish I had packed…

1. Another coat – probably this one. All navy everything was getting a little tedious by the end of the trip!

2. Black ballet flats or loafers. I left these off my packing list as I felt they were too ‘safe’ (and opted to bring my striped espadrilles instead). I had packed so many striped tops, though, that pairing them with striped shoes looked ridiculous. I ended up scouting around for a pair of classic black flats early on in my trip as they really are so indispensable. Next time I won’t be leaving home without them!

3. Black cigarette trousers. Again, a wardrobe staple that looks a lot more pulled-together than the loose-fitting, relaxed pair of pants by Scanlan I packed. Again, I headed straight to Zara as soon as I landed in London and bought myself a pair from their Trafaluc line.

4. More summer clothes! Italy was so much more warmer than the rest of Europe during October. I didn’t have time to go shopping for summer clothes during my 10 days in Italy so I ended up wearing my Lover lace dress with my Nike sneakers on my last day in Rome. They were the only two items I had in my suitcase which ticked the cool and comfortable boxes.

5. Wellington boots. I would have had no hope in hell fitting these into my suitcase but it rained and snowed a lot during my trip and these would have been ideal. All my other shoes weren’t waterproof – I hate feeling clammy.

Some lessons for next time.

1. For cold weather – jackets and coats must extend past the hip. Nothing cropped as it’s just not warm enough and really does no favours to your layering efforts.

2. Cold-weather clothes can be really bulky and heavy in a suitcase. To refresh your look each day you’re on holiday whilst still keeping warm, just pack a couple of coats or jackets in different prints and styles (and then wear the same thermals or knits underneath) rather than packing a multitude of different tops, sweaters and cardigans which would collectively take up even more space.

3. If you’ve got a few fancy dinners or activities planned, pack a dress that could easily be dressed up or dressed down (black or white is an obvious choice!). Ideally, this dress should also be made from wrinkle-free fabric.

4. Everything has to go with everything. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

5. In terms of make-up/skincare/toiletries, try to bring only travel-sized compact portions and keep everything less than 100ml. Even if you originally plan to pack your toiletries in check-in luggage, there might be an occasion where you won’t and can’t – and it’s always best to be prepared.

The verdict?

My suitcase – by the end of the trip – weighed in at around 20kg (when I left, it hovered around 13-14kg). I found I actually had room to spare when I packed to go home – and yes, I did pace the room back and forth for an hour wondering if I had forgotten to pack anything. Thankfully, the only thing I left behind were fond memories of my holiday and an instax picture of Bardolino in the back of my friend’s car…

If anything, I under-packed (for warmer weather) but as this constituted only a third of my holiday, it wasn’t a major issue.

And even though I bought next to nil clothes by the end of the four weeks, I found that I wasn’t running out of things to wear nor becoming bored with what I had to ‘work’ with.

Overall, although it was accompanied with a lot of pre-planning and packing angst, I was pretty satisfied with my packing list. And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that it’s not often this happens!

Aesop’s Fables.

Does anyone else feel that sheer joy and relief once the toiletries are packed? I typically leave my least favourite aspect of packing until the day I fly out, which almost always causes me to forget something rather critical, like my toothbrush.

I’m putting those days behind me now though and managed to get all my skincare and make-up together this afternoon. It feels good to be organised.

In my suitcase.

These are but a few things I’m throwing into the suitcase.

A pair of espadrilles, an inconspicuous purse and some colour on my nails because I feel naked without it.

I don’t leave until the wee hours of Saturday morning but my husband and I have already packed – in a concerted effort to be much more organised this time. With almost all the itineraries written up now (no mean feat when you’re dealing with eight destinations) and train tickets purchased, we’re finally starting to have the opportunity to be so excited about what lies ahead for us:

Blissing out in the Blue Lagoon, catching a boat to Riva del Garda with our close friends, lunch at Noma (kind of a big deal), the possibility of catching the aurora borealis dancing across the Icelandic sky, scaling confectionery-hued cliff-clinging fishing villages in Cinque Terre, eating too much gelato (if there ever is such a thing), picnic-ing on the banks of the Canal St Martin… and basically, this: Il dolce far niente (‘the sweetness of doing nothing’). I can’t wait.

I plan to update my blog as I traipse my way through various parts of Europe as I’m certain there’ll be no shortage of photos to share and places to write about. Oh, and things to buy, of course!

Planning.

Frantically finishing (or starting, rather) my Europe itineraries in between attending a morning and afternoon wedding was not what I had in mind five days out from departure, but that’s exactly what I’ve been ambitiously doing and working towards today.

Packing sped into high gear yesterday, starting with getting together my favourite Aesop essentials to see me through a myriad of climates and countries.

Speaking of packing I’ve also made the decision to take only half of my original packing list upon the realisation that I probably don’t need four coats and eight pairs of pants/jeans/skirts. Especially after discovering today a magical wonderland called the Acne Studios outlet in Copenhagen.

Here comes trouble…

Post-Holiday Packing.

I promised a reader of mine that I’d evaluate my packing list after I returned from the States. It has been almost a month now that I’ve been home and I’m actually missing getting dressed for the cold! It’s unimaginable that a month ago I was moaning about -3 degrees celsius and today I’m battling 40C Perth summers.

So, above is what I had planned to pack but I ended up going off a slight tangent at the eleventh hour out of sheer anxiety that 1. I didn’t have enough clothes and 2. I couldn’t physically fit them into my suitcase.

To keep this short and sweet, here’s what I learnt:

Best things I packed: Bassike black slouchy jersey pants (I wore two pairs of thermal leggings underneath these), Lover navy wool cocoon coat (practically wore this every single day), T by Alex Wang chunky black cardigan (proved to be indispensable for layering), same with my black fur gilet, black chunky knitted scarf (until I left it behind in an H&M changing room in New York), a long sleeved dress (again, great for layering and wearing out at night) wool gloves and thermals, thermals, thermals.

Things I regret not taking with me: Faux fur coat (on my list but I had to leave it at home because it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase – regretted it majorly because I became so sick of wearing my Lover coat), cream shearling gilet as a layering alternative to my black fur gilet.

Things I should have left at home: So many shoes! I really could have survived with just one pair of ankle boots and my Chanel ballet flats. It was a big mistake to bring my wedge sneakers – they were a great idea until I had to scale the streets of San Francisco. Also, my Acne leather jacket. I thought this would have proven to be a good layering piece but I ended up not wearing it very much as it was hip-length and it didn’t keep my bottom half warm enough. My Witchery leather pants – thought I’d get so much wear out of these but I found that they were too tight to wear any thermal leggings underneath and it was far too cold most days to wear just one layer on the bottom.

Things I’m glad I didn’t pack: High heels and accessories/jewellery (no one would see it anyway, plus it was far too cold to be imaginative with outfits)

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If I could do it all over again (i.e. travelling during a NH winter), these items would be what I’d focus on:

Printed pants and leggings (keeps an outfit from looking dull especially if you’re wearing the same coat day in, day out)

Lots of faux fur – jackets and gilets (as a warm alternative to a coat)

A statement coat (e.g. leopard print or an eye-catching block colour)

A statement skirt (made of a thick jacquard or quilted material that I would obviously wear a couple of pair of thermal tights underneath)

Flat black boots (such as these Report Jude boots)

Ear muffs (I kid you not)

USA Packing List.

This is all I’m taking with me.

I’m going to sound incredibly neurotic but I ended up spending about 3 months coming up with this packing list, as I attempted to reconcile the pros and cons of packing lightly. Apart from running the risk of overpacking, one of my more major concerns involves not packing enough or underestimating the weather – to the point where I’d have to buy clothes to purely compensate.

Also, the more I travel, the more I’ve become appreciative of travelling light.

My husband and I are very independent travellers; we walk to our destination wherever possible or use the subway as an alternative. We rarely ever catch cabs or chauffeured vehicles whilst on holiday, unless, say, we need to be at an airport at 3am. I remember coming home from my month-long European honeymoon with the palms of my hands covered in blisters because I lugged my 20kg suitcase through five different cobblestoned countries. Lesson learnt!

So for America, here’s what I’m packing:

6 tops (including a sweater)

4 bottoms (1 x shorts; 3 pants)

1 dress (with long sleeves for practical reasons) and 1 playsuit

4 jackets (including a cardigan)

3 pairs of shoes (ballet flats, ankle boots, wedge sneakers. I would have loved to bring heels but I sadly won’t wear them as much (nor will they be practical enough) – especially as I’m planning to catch public transport/walk everywhere. 

3 handbags (not including my medium coral YSL BDJ clutch as it will double as my ‘wallet’).

There are a couple of items that aren’t shown above (a Maurie & Eve silk shirt and a Cameo playsuit) in addition to a pair of black woollen tights that will serve to winter-fy my skimpy Lover shorts.

It’s really not much at all for a 3-4 week trip, and admittedly, I panicked a little after putting together this layout. To help visualise how my packing list will come together on holiday, I’ve created a few different outfits using the tops (only). My ‘strategy’ is to basically ensure that I’ve one weeks’ worth of outfits already in my suitcase, as I’ll no doubt be replenishing the emptiness of my luggage with purchases I’ll make along the way.

I always find it mind boggling how my husband packs much less than I do (and spends waaaaaaaay less time thinking about it) yet still manages to breeze through a long holiday wearing the same things day in, day out – and without buying a single thing by the end of the trip. Men really are from Mars, aren’t they?

The (faux) fur jacket.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found in helping me pack for month-long holidays is to choose one item I would like to take with me and start scrapbooking outfits from various fashion blogs, Pinterest and style websites.

I’ve decided to bring a faux fur jacket with me in favour of a wool car coat which I hope will see me through three-ish weeks of temperatures that range from 2 degrees celsius in Vancouver to a balmy top of 29 degrees in Vegas (I doubt the fur will make much of an appearance in the middle of a desert but you can never be too prepared, right?).

It’s going to be pretty chilly for the majority of my trip, though, so I’m focusing more on winter-based outfits. I plan to pair my faux fur jacket with:

Burgundy ponte pants

Leather leggings

Cotton jersey sweatpants 

Leather shorts & silk/lace shorts with woollen tights

Printed long-sleeved dresses with tights and ankle boots

One of my readers recently asked me how versatile a faux fur jacket would be in a northern hemisphere winter if I was to compare it to a wool coat. Both are quite bulky to pack and are warm as the other but I find that if you stick to a neutral coloured fur jacket, the possibilities are endless when it comes to putting together an outfit in the morning or evening. I’d go for a light brown/beige, ivory, black, flecked grey/blue or a jewel-toned hue like ruby. Picking a go-with-everything colour in a flattering jacket shape (my pick would be a hip-length with a round neckline) means you’re more likely to never run out of easy-peasy and toasty holiday outfit options when the cold snap hits.