With a honeymoon not far in the future and quite a bit of recent travel along the Eastern seaboard under my belt, I’ve given some serious thought to making travel easier and more stylish. For me, it all comes down to de-cluttering and compartmentalizing: I don’t like to be juggling 23 miscellaneous bags and I hate the feeling of scrounging around in an enormous bag for my passport. All I need is one big shoulder strap carry-all and a roll-a-board. I usually carry my Louis Vuitton Neverfull — it can hold my entire life and more, Macbook included —
I organize the contents with smaller zip-top bags: a neoprene laptop case for Mr. Apple (mine is a hot pink inCase brand — $39, inCase), a clear makeup compartment that I can remove and place in the separate bin during security screening (Kate Spade, on sale now for $38 at Bloomingdales), and one or two for miscellaneous items — pens, passport, iPod, etc. (the one below is by Anya Hindmarch, $70, Net-A-Porter — the website claims they will be getting new stock in soon!)
Anya Hindmarch has come out with a bunch of adorable little pouches just like the one above for a variety of purposes — I’ve seen ones labeled “Parking” (for parking coinage), “Glasses,” “Odds & Ends,” and more —
(You can find some of them on Anya’s website.) I also always keep the jewelry I’m traveling with in a separate pouch in my carry-on. It’s just foolish to check it. My soon-to-be-parents-in-law gave me this classic Tiffany jewelry roll that I carry with me everywhere, and I like to keep bigger statement pieces in my gold Kate Spade pencil case (can double as a clutch while you’re on vacation!):
I keep my pearls separately for whatever reason, in a little round monogrammed jewelry pouch my mother gave me years ago. (The much-revered Leontine Linens has similar versions.)
With my shoulder bag squared away, all I need is a roll-a-board that will fit in the overhead compartment. I have a hot pink Longchamps Pliage collection bag I picked up in France several years ago, and I love it — you never run the risk of having someone run off with your bag (too obvious) and it’s easily spottable on the conveyor belt.
($270, Longchamps.) They are super compact — smaller, actually, than they need to be to qualify as a stowable overhead item — but I just springload mine with clothing. If I were to buy another, I’m in love with this Henri Bendel ($595):
Why not travel in color? Flight001 (an Oprah-approved vendor) features a range of brightly colored and patterned options, including the beloved Rimowa-brand Salsa Air Cabin Trolley, fabricated of some amaza-material that acts like a hard case but compresses/gives in a tight spot:
For smart packing within the bag, I die over this monogrammed lingerie bag that the mother of my maid-of-honor gifted me at one of my bridal showers (So Pretty Monograms, $60):
The above-mentioned Leontine Linens company has some covetable monogrammed lingerie and toiletry bags as well (first image below), as does the company Turq Bridal (Ms. Southern Belle gifted me a lovely toile version for helping me with her wedding a few years ago — great gift! — it’s roomy and I usually keep my bathing suits in it):
Because I’m a big shopper, I usually throw in an extra Longchamps Pliage tote. They weigh next-to-nothing, fold up into tidy little envelope, and expand to a decent size — and they come in such an amazing range of colors ($145, Nordstrom)!
With the luggage down pat, let’s move on to attire. I feel as though every guidebook tells you to “dress for comfort” and while I couldn’t agree more (imagine a 5 hour flight in skin-tight jeans!), I’m grossed out by the sloppy track suit / loose-fitting pants and sneakers route. Sick. Maybe this is because my parents always made us “dress up” for travel — my father usually wears a blazer to the airport, and my Mom looks like she’s ready for lunch with the Queen when she’s train-bound. And I love that. While I’m not quite as formal, looking put-together is the first step in an organized travel experience. I usually wear ankle-length Paige or J Brand jeans with a little stretch in them and the ubiquitous easy-off Tory Burch Reva flat (perfect for slipping out of at the security checkpoint).
I’m also getting into the whole moccasin shoe look. I bought my fiance some classic Tod’s driving loafers a few years ago and have been longing for some of their brightly-colored mocs for women ever since. Until I decide to take the leap and invest in a pair, I’ll live in J. Crew’s less expensive ($108) Emilies. (I’m also kind of obsessed with Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow 1960 mocs — offbeat cool at $178.)
Up top, layering is crucial. I begin with a cami (love J. Crew’s “Perfect Fit” tank — 2 for $30), then add a blousey, long shirt (as mentioned in my Cube Couture post, I love the brand Tucker — they cost around $275 a piece — but have also had good luck at Zara of all places); and a long, drapey cardigan (Splendid has some awesome ones — $63, Revolve Clothing).
I always bring a light-weight, foldable coat as well. A trench would work, but I love my little red Juicy Couture coat (I’ve featured it multiple times already):
I’m also in love with this bracelet-sleeve khaki parka for travel ($298, Bergdorf Goodman) — coincidentally, also by Juicy Couture:
It could work in the rain or just for some additional worth. Occasionally, for longer flights, I’ll swap out the jeans for a pair of black American Apparel leggings ($26) and some of those low-wedge boots I love:
The above pair are by Loeffler Randall ($664, Revolve Clothing), and I have to brag that I just snapped up this impractical but I-die-over-them perforated version at ChickDownTown for 75% off (!)
Steve Madden has an awesome much-more-affordable version known as the Intyce ($129, Nordstrom):
Everyone and her mother owns a pair, but they’re a great way of getting the look for less. Love this cognac color — it matches well with everything! (Beware: these shoes have about one season of solid use in them. Then they die.) I’ve also snagged these BCBG Petler boots (on sale now for $91 at Zappos) in a faux-croc material. They look surprisingly expensive in person — and they run super-narrow, so they make your legs look trim:
I also always, always bring a big pashmina in a coordinating color — I like either solids (bright, happy peony pink or demure camel color), a leopard print, or a cool-looking stripe. Tolani has some awesome and extremely-popular-amongst-the-celebs versions (around $75 each), but they can at times look a little dowdy for my taste. I’m into the one Style Icon Nicole Richie’s wearing here, though:
Hilary Duff, another Tolani enthusiast, claims that she buys “African and Indian tablecloths” and throws them around her neck…woah, H-Duff. Not sure I’m on your page with that one. I’m more inclined towards solids I’ve snagged from a vendor called “Off the Shoulder” at my high school’s annual “Esprit de Noel” (bazaar with lots of preppy vendors) or this luxe Armand Diradourian ($285, Barney’s):
They can double as blankets when I’m cold on the plane — and I’m always cold on the plane. For this reason, I never travel without a spare pair of Smartwool socks. They are ugly and embarrassing but they keep my toesies toasty ($17, Smartwool). I live in them.
For longer flights, I occasionally pack an actual throw blanket. I’m in love with this Henri Bendel cashmere version ($388):
Other musts for on-board survival? An iPod shuffle (in love with it — perfect for working out and so tinytinytiny…I also have an iPhone for all the fun apps that I need to keep me occupied) and some huge shades (these are Stella McCartney, $200):
And, of course, a good book. I’m not a big contemporary lit consumer; I’m beholden to the classics. But that doesn’t mean they need to be heavy and dense. Check out the brilliant, devilishly critical social commentaries in Evelyn Waugh’s novels (Vile Bodies is hilarious — $10, Amazon) or some of Fitzgerald’s short fiction (note that his track record with short stories is uneven — he wrote some for magazine audiences, and these tend to have awkward crowd-pleasing endings).
I also have some beauty essentials: along with the requisite DiorShow mascara and Nars bronzer, I need antibacterial gel (traveling leaves me feeling dirty — so many people in such confined spaces), L’Occitane’s travel-sized hand lotion (loved the rose bud scent, but think it was a Limited Edition deal — $10, L’Occitane), and solid perfume (luckily, Tocca’s Cleopatra scent — my signature — comes in the solid for $30, Tocca.com).
Thanks to my soon-to-be-mother-in-law, I’m also never without an umbrella: the Totes version she gave me in hot pink literally fits in my jacket pocket. It’s perfect for the unexpected downpour — and it’s only $10 (KMart).
Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m not always so put-together and practical. Just this year, I invested in a Louis Vuitton duffel.
I lovelovelove it, but, for a shoulder-strap bag, it is decently heavy on its own and unimaginably heavy with the amount of clothes I try to jam in. If you’re gunning for it, make sure you get the version with a shoulder strap. It seems like a ridiculous expense ($200 more for a strap?!), but I literally wouldn’t be able to use my bag without it. Other cute-but-impractical travel items? A little hat-box-esque boxy tote — love this Henri Bendel —
I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some jetsetting…