Monica Mendal headshot
Monica Mendal headshot

Monica Mendal

Monica Mendal is a New York City-based writer and editor focusing on fashion, travel, and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Vogue, Architectural Digest, The New York Times, and more. Previously, Monica was a fashion editor holding posts at Condé Nast publications, such as Vogue, GQ, and Glamour.

* 10+ years of experience working as a writer and editor
* 10+ years of experience covering fashion, design, and trends
* 6+ years of experience covering hospitality, travel, and lifestyle
If there is one thing every traveler needs, it’s a backpack. Whether you’re toting it through the airport or using it as your day bag in a new city, it’s the ideal companion for a hands-free day. The perfect backpack is comfortable, lightweight, and practical, yet doesn’t compromise style. Mini backpacks are particularly trendy at the moment, because in today’s fast-paced world, carrying around less means the opportunity to do more. Related: The Best Bag Organizers to Keep Your Purse From Becoming a Jumbled Mess There are all kinds of small backpacks that appeal to various style aesthetics — whether you’re looking for a sportier, more functional style you can take from city streets to nature trails or a more classic silhouette that lends itself to casual and dressy outfits. Then, there’s also the fashion backpack that functions as a key ingredient to your travel look. Some backpacks can even be worn multiple ways so you get a bag that’s 2-in-1. No matter your style, we’ve rounded up the best small backpacks to travel with.
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There’s a lot to keep track of while traveling — from your ID, passport, boarding pass, and baggage claim ticket, to bus and theater tickets, to different types of currency and credit cards. My routine of reaching into my bag for a rushed and stress-induced game of hide-and-seek is getting tired. A crinkled gum wrapper? No, that’s not what I was looking for, let’s try again. Train ticket to Boston? No, that was from last week. Where is my boarding pass!? Related: More travel accessories If this sounds familiar, then you’ll agree that keeping things organized for a stress-free commute is key. That’s why finding the perfect travel wallet that can consolidate and organize all of your travel essentials can be just as important as picking out the perfect suitcase. From wallets with multiple pockets and written-out labels to ones that can do double-duty as a wristlet or a cross-body bag to be worn throughout your trip, we’ve narrowed down the best travel wallets of 2020 that are both functional and stylish.
Stay stylish and comfy at all of your summer occasions with these dressy flats at every price point.
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At long last, it's finally time to start planning our summer travels. I’ve been telling myself that summer is around the corner for the last three months, but now it really is. With our flights booked, hotels confirmed, and itineraries in progress, what’s next? What to pack, of course. Packing for a trip is half the fun and shopping online for the perfect outfit for MiamiCosta Rica, Colombia, or wherever you're headed is a truly delightful part of anticipating your trip. (I mean, for what other reason can you justify buying a pineapple-shaped bag?) But let’s start with the basics. There's one staple item you simply can’t go on a beach vacation without: a caftan (or kaftan). Related:18 Comfortable Dresses That Are Made to Travel In Though the garment dates back to ancient Mesopotamian, the caftan's essence has largely remained the same: it's lightweight, breathable, and loose-fitting. It just so happens that these three characteristics make for the perfect piece to transition from a day on the beach to an afternoon exploring a new city — especially in the heat of summer. Wear it atop a pair of light linen pants for a day of shopping. Toss it on over your swimsuit as a cover-up by the pool. Belt it and step into a pair of heeled slides for a night out. You really won’t need to pack much else. But if you do opt for a pineapple bag to pair with your caftan, just know you have our full support.
When you’re packing for your first warm-weather escape of the year, you may realize that the search for the perfect summer footwear isn’t as simple as you may have thought. This quandary struck me when I was packing for Miami last month, and before I had even gotten to the clothing portion of my packing (shoes in first, people!), I had already filled my suitcase. I needed leather sandals and sneakers for walking around the Design District and Wynwood, Havaianas for the beach, and espadrilles for a night out or a nice dinner. I thought about how ideal it would be to have a warm-weather shoe that was all-in-one; this way, I could save room in my suitcase for all of the other frivolous accessories I insist on taking with me and the souvenirs I intend on bringing back. Related:12 Brands That Make the Perfect Breezy Spring Dresses As a result of inevitable vacation laziness, I ended up only wearing my leather sandals, which came back entirely destroyed from too much wear and contact with salt water. I swore this would be my last time traveling with a superfluous abundance of shoes to a beach vacation. After much research, I discovered Sea Star Beachwear, a line of lightweight, water-friendly espadrilles. “I was looking for a multifunctional shoe that would protect my feet in the water, but was also attractive and durable enough to wear to town, biking, and boating. No water shoe existed that combined fashion and function,” said CEO Libby Fitzgerald. “Water shoes are typically poorly constructed and purely functional. They don’t resonate with today’s more style-conscious and quality-demanding customers.” The neoprene shoes come in a range of casual and elevated styles and colors — some even feature embroidery — making them the perfect shoe for every moment of your trip. A rubber sole protects your feet from hot sand and rocky ocean floors. And post-dip, they'll dry super-fast in the sun (and sand shakes off them like magic once they're dry). Sea Star shoes fuse the functionality of a water shoe with the tropical sophistication of an espadrille. The result? A one-stop-shoe that’ll take you from the beach to walking around town then to dinner. One quick sizing note before you run off to buy five pairs, though: the brand doesn't offer half sizes, so definitely make sure to size up or the band that secures the shoe around your heel might feel too tight. Here, we've pulled a few of our favorite styles. 
At long last, it's finally time to start planning our summer travels. I’ve been telling myself that summer is around the corner for the last three months, but now it really is. With our flights booked, hotels confirmed, and itineraries in progress, what’s next? What to pack, of course. Packing for a trip is half the fun and shopping online for the perfect outfit for MiamiCosta Rica, Colombia, or wherever you're headed is a truly delightful part of anticipating your trip. (I mean, for what other reason can you justify buying a pineapple-shaped bag?) But let’s start with the basics. There's one staple item you simply can’t go on a beach vacation without: a caftan (or kaftan). Related:18 Comfortable Dresses That Are Made to Travel In Though the garment dates back to ancient Mesopotamian, the caftan's essence has largely remained the same: it's lightweight, breathable, and loose-fitting. It just so happens that these three characteristics make for the perfect piece to transition from a day on the beach to an afternoon exploring a new city — especially in the heat of summer. Wear it atop a pair of light linen pants for a day of shopping. Toss it on over your swimsuit as a cover-up by the pool. Belt it and step into a pair of heeled slides for a night out. You really won’t need to pack much else. But if you do opt for a pineapple bag to pair with your caftan, just know you have our full support.
When you’re packing for your first warm-weather escape of the year, you may realize that the search for the perfect summer footwear isn’t as simple as you may have thought. This quandary struck me when I was packing for Miami last month, and before I had even gotten to the clothing portion of my packing (shoes in first, people!), I had already filled my suitcase. I needed leather sandals and sneakers for walking around the Design District and Wynwood, Havaianas for the beach, and espadrilles for a night out or a nice dinner. I thought about how ideal it would be to have a warm-weather shoe that was all-in-one; this way, I could save room in my suitcase for all of the other frivolous accessories I insist on taking with me and the souvenirs I intend on bringing back. Related:12 Brands That Make the Perfect Breezy Spring Dresses As a result of inevitable vacation laziness, I ended up only wearing my leather sandals, which came back entirely destroyed from too much wear and contact with salt water. I swore this would be my last time traveling with a superfluous abundance of shoes to a beach vacation. After much research, I discovered Sea Star Beachwear, a line of lightweight, water-friendly espadrilles. “I was looking for a multifunctional shoe that would protect my feet in the water, but was also attractive and durable enough to wear to town, biking, and boating. No water shoe existed that combined fashion and function,” said CEO Libby Fitzgerald. “Water shoes are typically poorly constructed and purely functional. They don’t resonate with today’s more style-conscious and quality-demanding customers.” The neoprene shoes come in a range of casual and elevated styles and colors — some even feature embroidery — making them the perfect shoe for every moment of your trip. A rubber sole protects your feet from hot sand and rocky ocean floors. And post-dip, they'll dry super-fast in the sun (and sand shakes off them like magic once they're dry). Sea Star shoes fuse the functionality of a water shoe with the tropical sophistication of an espadrille. The result? A one-stop-shoe that’ll take you from the beach to walking around town then to dinner. One quick sizing note before you run off to buy five pairs, though: the brand doesn't offer half sizes, so definitely make sure to size up or the band that secures the shoe around your heel might feel too tight. Here, we've pulled a few of our favorite styles. 
From boat shoes to espadrilles to classic white sneakers, there are tons of shoe options for men this summer. Although after a long, treacherous winter, we say give your toes a break; free them from their caged winter existence and opt for a stylish leather sandal instead. While flip-flops are typically the obvious choice, you can’t wear a pair of rubber shoes out to a bar or a nice dinner without looking underdressed. A well-made leather sandal is versatile enough to take you from the beach to a walk through the city and then into a night out — not to mention much more supportive and sturdy. Related:Hundreds of Reviewers Say These Sneakers Are So Comfy You Won’t Have to Break Them In Leather sandals come in all forms. Whether you opt for an easy flip-flop or slide sandal for a more casual affair, a classic Greek sandal for days spent strolling the narrow streets of Santorini, or a slightly more elevated leather slide with raffia detail, there’s a style for everyone. Below, the comfy and cool men’s leather sandals you'll want to wear every day this summer.
Once you've finally found the perfect carry-on suitcase , it’s important to consider all of other the necessary items that’ll make your trip as seamless and comfortable as possible. First, you have the organizational accessories: the travel wallet, tech organizer, and jewelry case. Then, there are the toiletries, like travel-sized shower kit and a trusty, TSA-approved pouch for your favorite beauty products. Hoping for a good night sleep on the overnight flight? Then you’ll need an eye mask, some cozy socks, and high-quality headphones. Related:13 Clear Travel Makeup Bags That Make Getting Through Airport Security a Breeze Below, these 10 accessories will prepare you for all of your upcoming travels for years to come.
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Traveling can be a real pain if you’re unprepared. Loose travel documents and tangled tech chords will create unnecessary panic. A stiff neck from an uncomfortable sleep on the plane (that also had a screaming baby nearby) will get your trip off to an exhausting start. Related: The Comfy Walking Shoes for Men Podiatrists Love But all frequent fliers know that traveling smart requires an arsenal of top-notch gear. From grooming and tech gear to organizers and cozy cashmere, we’ve rounded up the must-have travel accessories for every man on the go. And might we add that they all make for excellent gift ideas
There’s a lot that goes into planning a trip, regardless of whether it's a weekend somewhere nearby or a two-week, multi-country adventure. So it’s important to be prepared for everything that could potentially delay (or destroy) your long-awaited vacation. While you can’t anticipate everything that comes your way while traveling, there’s a handful of gear and accessories that exist to provide ease every step of the way. Screaming baby on your flight? Hello, noise-cancelling headphones. Heading from warm-weather to cold-weather? Break out your lightweight, compressible down jacket once you land. Need to keep your chargers from snaking around everything of importance in your bag? Magnetic cord clips to the rescue. Related:Away Just Dropped Its First Patterned Collection — and You're Going to Want Another Suitcase Whether these items are saving your suitcase space, time, or sanity, they’re problem solvers that practically exist to make your travels stress-free. Below, this season's seven best pieces of smart travel gear.
Just in time for holiday shopping, cult luggage brand Away is introducing its latest capsule collection inspired by the winter solstice. The Solstice Collection features two new suitcase colors in Away’s standard sizes and limited-edition Everywhere Bags, Dopp kits, leather zip pouches, and coordinating passport cases in hues borrowed from our vast solar system — from the glimmer of the Northern Lights to the warm hues of the sun. The new suitcase colors offered in the capsule are Halo, an icy white with a glossy reflective finish, and Aurora, an iridescent purple with a sheen that appears to change colors at every angle. These chic astronomical tones are the perfect neutrals to carry you through the winter season and beyond. Related:I Traveled Through Nine Countries With Just a Carry-on — and I'm Never Checking a Bag Again Away’s best-selling personal item, The Everywhere Bag, has also been released in a blush sateen and textured leathers. For the traveler who already has an Away suitcase, these, as well as their Dopp kit, make for perfect presents. For an extra gold gifting star, toss in one of the new zip pouches or passport cases to complete the set. You can shop our favorites from the collection below and shop it all at awaytravel.com — while it's still in stock, that is. 
In other words, it’s a luxury handbag that’s designed to be used.
Hats have become an increasingly popular summer trend among celebrities and influencers alike. And one brand, in particular, has become a cult-favorite, attracting the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, and Beyoncé. Whether they’re darting through LAX, running errands around the city, or on vacation at the beach or in the country, these It-girls have unknowingly declared Janessa Leone’s hats the accessory of summer. Related: 5 Summer Style Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed Since hats are an effortless and versatile throw-on-and-go piece that can quickly elevate your summer style, the designer finds that they’re an especially crucial ingredient to your packing list. “When you’re on a trip with your family or friends, you want to look great without taking time away from the activities,” says Leone. “Hats are the perfect solution for travel because you can decrease your time getting ready and still look perfectly put-together.” So we asked the expert herself which hats she’s packing for her upcoming travels. Scroll through to see (and shop) her answers, below.
By now, you’ve probably figured out that woven bags and seashell anything are this summer’s must-have accessories. And while they help elevate your warm-weather wardrobe, they don’t harbor much on the basis of functionality. Related:What to Pack for a Stylish Getaway to the Amalfi Coast Meanwhile, there are a few other trends quietly making their way onto our summer packing lists by managing to be both stylish and practical. These unexpected accessories each help to alleviate the common struggles that go hand-in-hand with long travel days — overheating, losing your sunglasses, etc. — while also keeping you in line with summer trends. Below, a round-up of summer’s chicest travel accessories you didn’t know you needed.
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Until this year, parents were limited to a combination of mass retailers and brick and mortars if they wanted to crank out their holiday shopping for their littles. When shopping for ourselves, we're inundated with editorially curated sites from Net-a-Porter and Farfetch to Moda Operandi — making holiday shopping simple. The luxury kids industry, however, lacked the same kind of aggregated online marketplace, making shopping for your kids a never-ending game of hide and seek. Related:Gifts for Kids Who Love to Travel Frustrated by their own experiences shopping as mothers, long-time friends and former Vogue editors Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza de Roccia launched luxury children’s e-tailer Maisonette, an expertly curated site for all things mini. From clothing and accessories to home decor and toys, Maisonette is the one-stop-shop for hard-to-find children’s brands and independent boutiques from all over the world. So close out the 16 tabs you have open and spare yourself the trip to Toys ”R” Us this holiday season because you won’t find any of these gifts there. Below, Sylvana and Luisana share their favorite picks for this season's best kids' gifts, all available on Maisonette.com.
Arguably the best way to look forward to your holiday travels is to begin shopping for them. As vacation gets closer, your days at work consist of filling up your online shopping carts with vacation essentials and must-buys (Don’t worry, your boss is probably doing the same thing). However, if you’re traveling to any of these 20 cities, voted the 20 best cities for shopping in our World’s Best Awards, there’s an added pressure to look the part. While you’ll be doing much of your shopping while there (remember to leave room in your suitcase!) what you take with you is especially important. Fashion capitals in their own right, these cities will have you trotting through the world’s most exquisite markets, shopping malls, independent boutiques, and department stores. We've rounded up the one item you’ll want to take with you to the shopping city of your choosing. Oh, and a parting thought? They all make for lustworthy gift ideas.
Before any formal event growing up, my mother used to escort me to her closet, reach into the depths of her jewelry drawer, and hand me a velvet pouch. Inside was a pair of pearl stud earrings intended to make a lady of me. I met this routine with ambivalence, because I never liked those earrings. The simple style bored me. I didn’t feel like myself; I felt like my mom, or my grandmother. I felt “classic” — not a word that a 12-year-old girl has yet earned the right to call herself. Though now, as fashion has evolved over the last couple of decades in fun, individualistic ways, even pearl earrings have come along for the ride. We’ve taken athleisure out of the gym and lingerie out of the bedroom as we work to broaden the bounds of conventional style. These are not necessarily trends my mom or grandmother understand, but they’ve come to define our generation of liberated, outspoken women. Related:21 Travel-approved Jewelry Cases for Your Next Trip And this season, designers injected that spirit into the pearl earring, giving both faux and freshwater a cool, modern upgrade. No longer are they reserved for white tablecloth dinners; instead, we can wear them to elevate our Saturday sweats (I’ll explain later, Mom). Given the pride I have for my South American heritage, I was overjoyed to find hoops — a jewelry style that I feel so whole-heartedly defines me — decorated with pearls in a variety of shapes and colors of my choosing. Some designers played with oversized pearls or showcased a strand on a single earring, as opposed to a set. Related: 22 Travel-inspired Jewelry Picks Perfect for Globetrotters With so many ways to wear pearl earrings, there’s a style to suit you no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what occasion you’re dressing for. Here, a round-up of 10 we love.