How to Pack Smarter According to Richard Branson, Barack Obama, and Chrissy Teigen
Like all great inventors, Richard Branson is a little eccentric. The Virgin founder previously shared his nighttime routine, which consists of having dinner with his family and world thought leaders (no big deal), having a cup of tea, and reading his social media mentions. And now, he’s sharing another one of his routines that he says helps drive his success: always wearing the exact same pair of jeans.
“I just wear the same pair of jeans every day,” Branson shared with Page Six. “Whatever I’m doing, whether it’s a speech, whether it’s going to see the Queen, you know, whatever it is.”
According to Branson, his rather unfashionable choice actually helps simplify both his day and his frequent travels.
“I don’t have to pack very much,” he said.
But, beyond streamlining his luggage, CNBC explained, this decision can also make him a better leader by helping him avoid “decision fatigue.”
According to Entrepreneur, decision fatigue is exactly what you think. It’s when you become mentally and physically exhausted from having to make so many choices throughout the day, from what to wear in the morning to what to have for dinner at night. So, by taking out the clothing element of his day, Branson is freeing up space in his mind for making bigger, more important decisions.
Though Branson’s choice to wear the same thing is smart, he’s not the first successful person to do it. As CNBC reported, other inventing greats like Steve Jobs wore the same turtleneck and jeans day in and day out. Mark Zuckerberg is well-known for his hoodie and jeans attire. Even President Obama has been open about the decidedly unfashionable choice, telling Vanity Fair in 2012, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits.”
Obama added: “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
This is most certainly a trick every traveler, be it for business or for pleasure, can use as well.
As anyone who’s ever gone for a trip can tell you, deciding what to pack can quickly become overwhelming. But, to help you enjoy your travels a bit more, it’s key to pack light and to pack items that all go well together. Here are a few tips to ensuring you don’t suffer from decision fatigue on your next trip so you can live the Branson way too.
Pack by outfit
Forget packing individual items. Do as Travel + Leisure Senior Digital Editor Nina Ruggiero does and pack by outfit instead.
"There's nothing more annoying than struggling to stuff everything back into your suitcase at the end of a trip only to realize you didn't even wear half the clothes you brought,” Ruggiero previously shared. “That's why I started strictly packing by outfit — not individual item — and only letting pieces I had a plan for make the cut. I'll take a skirt only if I know I'm bringing a top and shoes that I would wear with it, and I'll think about the activities on my itinerary and what I see myself wearing while doing them. I hate checking a bag but love clothes, so being realistic and planning ahead is key.”
The easiest way to ensure a smooth morning while traveling? Only pack things in the same color family.
“Neutral colors are the most versatile,” Leslie Willmott, packing professional, wardrobe consultant, and founder of Smart Women On The Go, previously shared with T+L. She added, neutrals “can go from city chic to country very easily.”
According to Willmott, a white tank top is an ideal base for black shorts, which can go from day to night to hike the next day. “Plan to wear each item several times over the trip,” Wilmott said. “And limit shoes to three pairs.”
Make a lookbook
Want to ensure you don’t waste any time piecing together outfits on a trip? Then it’s time to pull a Chrissy Teigen and make a lookbook for your trip before you even leave.
In 2017, the model and mogul shared a few images from her family vacation to Corsica. In a tweet, Teigen shared the lookbook she created with her styling team prior to her vacation so she had every single outfit planned for each and every activity.
She called it “pathetic” in a tweet, but we think Branson, Zuckerberg, and other business leaders would simply call it “genius.”