I travel for work quite a lot at late. So much that I’ve gotten TSA security checks down to a well choreographed dance, where I’m in and out of the body scanner in record time. All without checking a bag. Yet, I still make it a point to maintain my vintage aesthetic; all with the contents of a 21″ roller bag. The key points here are: 1) pack smart, 2)pack small, 3) pack the heck out of your second carry on”personal item.”
Packing smart means realistically examining your most basic needs. Why are you taking this trip? Is it for work? Is it a weekender? What’s the climate like? What does the weather report say?
I always start with wardrobe. It’s the most mutable part of any packing job. I usually make a mini calendar of what I’m doing before I pick my clothing, unless it’s for work, in which case I assume I will be working and then going back to the hotel to watch TCM or possibly going out with Fella’s sister, if I’m in Dallas. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. My approach is choosing garments that are versatile and travel well without too much wrinkling. Separates are my friend when I am traveling for work. This time I packed two twill circle skirts in basic grey and navy with two boat neck knit tops, one in navy one and one in teal. You’ll be seeing them later in the “Self-Stitched-September” picture gallery. Dirty little secret time: pack neutral bottoms and re-wear. Seriously, if I threw in three more tops and wore them with those two skirts, which take up more suit case real estate, no one would be the wiser and they wouldn’t take up too much room in my carry on.
My other bugaboo is shoes. How many do you really need to bring? I bring one pair…usually on my feet: black ballet flats. It goes back to neutral simplicity. They go with everything, they slip off your feet with ease at security, they fit nicely in those little bins that go through the x-ray machine. IF I need heels, I would bring my Rockport pumps, which are basic and black like my flats. Honestly though, I am usually racing through the airport at break neck speeds after trying to get through the endless lines at security and my heel game isn’t strong enough for that.
Toiletries and beauty products take up nearly as much space as my clothing. Again, it’s about examining what you REALLY need to achieve your look. Hair and makeup is as much a part of this style as the clothing. I find skin care to be vital and I will sacrifice tiny bottles of shampoo in favor of tiny bottles of face cleanser and moisturizer. Luckily for me, my favorite drug store brand makes minis of my daily use products so my skin feels at home, even if I’m not. If my hotel provides a sulfate shampoo, I’ll use it. As far as hair is concerned, conditioner is more important to me. I mix up my Overtone conditioner in a sample bottle and take that with me to keep my color fresh and happy. I throw in a lint roller, because cat and corgi hair travels too, and my electric toothbrush, because dental hygiene is more important than skin and hair care.
I have a plethora of ways to set my hair at home; I use pin curls, hot rollers, several different kind of wet set rollers. When I travel, I pick one. Lately, it’s been foam rollers with brush rollers on the top and front for volume. I put some setting lotion in an empty bottle which is then in my TSA approved quart size baggy, my spray bottle is packed empty with my rollers, end papers, a few duckbill clips, bobby pins, chiffon head scarf, and shower cap. All of this fits nicely in a gallon sized ziplock. I always bring my Denman’s paddle and styling brushes. My mini can of Elnet hair spray goes in the TSA baggy. At home I use a high humidity finishing spray to lock everything down or up as the case may be, because Houston is Houston. I have YET to find a good, high hold finishing spray in a 2 oz can. I also bring my curling iron, in case something doesn’t set right.
As far as makeup goes, I try to fit everything into one bag. My bag is pretty cool, because it has two sections, one where I store my brushes and one where my make up goes. My MAC foundation and concealers are in glass bottles, and I have real concerns about something getting broken in flight. For travel, I stick to a BB cream and a cream based concealer in a plastic pot, both by Benefit. Honestly, I love Benefit products because they are very travel friendly. So much so, they have vending machines in airports! I actually prefer their mascara minis to full sized mascara for all use, so I usually buy mine in between flights when I run out. They also have baby sized blushes, which I will totally use for eye shadow in a pinch. Add lipstick, felt tipped eyeliner and translucent powder and I’m set. I can reasonably approximate my vintage makeup with seven products. My makeup bag holds more than that, so I will usually throw in the mini-Urban Decay Naked Palette (of which I only use 2 eye shadows, because I’m weird), my eyebrow powder palette, and a couple lipstick choices. My lipstick lives with my compact, in my other carry-on, which brings us to key point three.
All of my tech goes into my other carry-on. If I’m traveling for pleasure, I carry my Cambridge Satchel, it’s black, super classy, and matches my shoes. I have a decidedly modern, not very cute, laptop bag when I travel for work. If I decide to bring a purse, I pack it in my suitcase for the purposes of getting on the plane, because I would rather have as much real estate as possible. Sometimes you have to be practical. In addition to my laptop, I carry my wallet, eye glasses, phone and laptop chargers, network cables, my phone itself, and my new GorillaPod with phone adapter and IOS remote control shutter. The selfie game just got real, folks. Beauty side, we’ve got my lipsticks and liners, lip balm, my compact, and rain bonnet.
Today kicks off Self-Stitched-September, tomorrow kicks off a new series “Favorite Things Fridays,” and Saturday kicks off my 2016 Staycation and Sewbatical. Stay tuned!