Tips for Traveling Light
Rule number one: Keep it simple. Three jet-setting designers share their streamlining tips
YEOHLEE TENG, Fashion Designer
I travel all over. This year I've been to Berlin, Rotterdam, Venice, Paris, throughout the States, and to Malaysia (where I was born). When I'm in town I tend not to carry bags, and I like to travel without a lot of luggage.
I look for inventive ways of making pockets, so you don't just stuff them. Everybody has a wallet, a MetroCard, a phone, but you don't want them all jumbled together. Then there are the papers you need to have on hand—but if you just put them in your pocket they could slip out, so zippers are very important. The right sizes and shapes also matter—pockets need to be deep enough that your keys don't fall out. I'm always thinking about how to make them more useful and beautiful.
Even if you rarely fly, you probably travel every day. Commuting and traveling are essentially the same thing—getting from point A to point B. The journey is not just from here to Venice, but also from your office to your home. I'm trying to solve the overall problem.
LAMBERTSON TRUEX, Bag Designers
JOHN TRUEX: We're mainly concerned with functionality. Traveling inspires us to make more useful bags. For example, the City Tote gives you an idea of the versatility of our bags. There's a clip for your keys—so you don't have to root around the bottom of the bag when you get home—and lots of compartments. It's great for traveling or just running around the city. Even our handbags have small pockets, which I think of as built-in wallets, so you don't have to carry something else.
RICHARD LAMBERTSON: There's nothing worse than a really heavy bag or piece of luggage. For years, I resisted wheeled luggage. When I worked for Gucci I traveled constantly, all over the world, carrying several pieces of heavy, hard luggage. Later on, I switched to canvas, but it was still all hand-carried. Then, in Hong Kong, my back went out. So I broke down and bought a Hartmann suitcase on wheels. I'll never carry a bag again. It made everything easier. I don't have to look for a porter; I don't have to find the $2.50 in change to rent a cart at the airport. I'd always hated the way wheeled luggage looked, but now I won't travel without it.
HEIDI WEISEL, Knitwear Designer
I've been working with cashmere for the past six years. It's so luxurious and it travels well. My own experiences as a traveler convinced me that I need to design pieces that make it easy for women to look beautiful while traveling light.
I pack only one color, usually black. And I never go anywhere without a cashmere twinset. The twinset is the perfect traveling piece—during the day, you can wear the cardigan with pants or a skirt; to look a little sexy at night, just take the cardigan off. Women never had the option of dressing this way until a few years ago. Sweaters weren't considered dressy, they were considered sporty.
There's a time for spending hours getting dressed—if you're at home and you're going to a big event. But when you're traveling you don't want to do that. If you get off a plane and are going to dinner in an hour, you don't want to bother with having to call hotel housekeeping and asking, "Can you press this for me?" I like making clothes that you can take out of your suitcase and put right on. That's the modern way to live.