Seven fashion journalists share their tried-and-true packing secrets.
When fashion is your job, the typical jeans-and-walking-shoes travel ensemble simply isn't going to cut it. But how does one stay street-style ready (and wrinkle-free, for that matter) jetsetting from one fashion week to the next? As it turns out, the answer involves eye masks, old socks, and a little tissue paper.
Danielle Prescod, Accessories Editor, InStyle
"An eye mask is one of my most necessary travel essentials. It is great to have on the plane so that no one really knows what you look like sleeping but for even more practical purposes, it is wonderful in a hotel room. You never know if you will be facing east in a hotel and when the sun pours in, it will inevitably wake you up. But never close those blackout shades! They are a trap. I had been woken up one too many times by housekeeping, two hours after my alarm has gone off to learn my lesson. Now, I just wear an eye mask to bed because you will still feel the sun, but it won't be blinding.
"Another tip: Bodysuits are a girls best friend. They serve as both shirt and undergarment and make a really effective layering piece if necessary! My favorite ones are from Alix."
Jane Bishop, Style Director, Travel + Leisure
“I like to organize items by packing them in pretty shoe and handbag dusters, one of which I use as a laundry bag once enough of my clothes have been worn. Clare V makes my favorites—they’re free when you buy one of her handbags, and they’re covered in the chicest polka dot print. It’s cheap and cheerful. ”
Lisa Arbetter, Editor, People StyleWatch
“I always wrap my necklaces in tissue paper to keep them from getting tangled.”
Eric Wilson, Fashion News Director, InStyle
“I am notorious for hoarding all my old undies, socks with holes, ripped or stained undershirts, and gym shorts with no elastic left in the waistbands, expressly for the purpose of fashion week packing. Actually I like to pack anything from my closet that is old, ugly, weird, ill-fitting, out-of-style, or generally in too bad a shape to consider donating to Goodwill. I know this sounds crazy. But on a 21-day trip through three cities, nothing makes me happier than getting back to the hotel after a long dinner or party and throwing away my clothes. Plus, I don't have to repack very much after each city. There are no sweaty, stinky gym clothes to contend with, either. And there's plenty of room in my suitcase for new clothes by the time we get to Paris. This also helps avoid outfit repeats in front of people who are likely to notice.
"I travel with two suitcases: one large Tumi packing case (with an interior zip pouch that is practical for separating suits from the crush of everything else), and a smaller Rimowa (international carry-on size), in which I pack everything I need to get through the first four days in London. The larger bag remains unopened until the start of Milan. By the end of Paris, the smaller one is dedicated to dirty clothes not yet ready to be thrown away. Everything is on wheels, with flat tops for resting my carry-on with laptop, magazines, etc.
"I will note that men have it easy packing for women's fashion week. No one pays much attention to us anyway. But still, this is fashion, so we try to make an effort. I have the rest pretty much down to a science: Two suits in complementing patterns from the same designer (so the jackets and pants can be mismatched but the fit remains the same), a classic navy blazer, two pairs of sharply tailored chinos (one in a bright color to break the monotony), one pair of jeans, eight dress shirts (neatly folded in an embroidered Fragonard travel pouch—I love these, by the way, for separating undies, socks, shoes, etc., and their Frenchness never fails to make me smile ), four simple Ts or lightweight sweaters that can be subbed for a shirt under a suit jacket, two ties, and 21 pairs each of undies and socks. Plus the rest of my fashion detritus.
"I also sometimes pack a tuxedo, even if I haven't been invited to a ball. Twice I've been caught unprepared for such events that somehow pop up last minute on my schedule, and I've had to resort to a dark suit, which is pitiful, particularly in Paris. Even if nothing comes up, the tuxedo jacket looks great with a pair of jeans and a black T-shirt, and the pants can be worn with a black sweater and sneakers."
Deanne Kaczerski, Editorial Director, MIMI
"I'm a collector of travel-sized products and keep them in a pre-packed, vinyl travel case, so I can grab and go. This way, I'm never scrambling last minute to pack my essentials and don't waste precious space in my suitcase on full-sized products. I keep everything from a separate razor and hairbrush, to divinely scented shampoo and conditioner minis I took with my from various hotel stays in Paris."
Melissa Rubini, Fashion Director, InStyle
“I use the Samsonite suitcase with double zipper separation; I like it better than any other, more expensive options I have used in the past.
"In one side I pack shoes and handbags (I save the dust cloth bags, and pack each individually), on the other side clothing (all completely flat, folding only when needed to fit in the suitcase). Lingerie, tights/socks go into two of the zipper compartments in one side and toiletries go into the other two ones (one of them is plastic and waterproof). The large size is packed for Milan and Paris (I don't open that in London). The medium is packed in the same way for London—and after that it serves as a 'I don't want to wear this again during fashion week' case.
“I also take a small weekender bag or large handbag (the large peekaboo Fendi does the job just fine) on the plane with a 'love myself kit', containing a comfortable yet elegant change of clothes like a cashmere top and bottoms, Organic Pharmacy jet-lag kit, Dior bb cream and lip balm, a great pair of sunglasses like the new Chanel cat-eye (for arrival), Neutrogena wet wipes (I don't like the water in the plane), a new book I am excited to start reading and my wireless Beats headphones. This helps transform the journey into a pleasant and relaxing time, much needed to arrive ready to go on the other side."
Katie Fish, Fashion Assistant, Travel + Leisure
"I like to make a checklist before I start packing to make sure nothing is forgotten. Also, I wear my bulkiest items during the flight (hat, boots, sweater, etc.) leaving more room in my luggage for the fun pieces I will inevitably buy while traveling."