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How to pack smart, not light

BY Bec Oakes

24th Jun 2022 Fashion & Beauty

How to pack smart, not light

Worried about fitting everything in your bag for your summer holiday? Streamline your suitcase and pack for a stylish trip with limited luggage space 

As we gear up for the summer holidays, it’s time to talk packing. It’s an often dreaded task. Luggage restrictions and a lack of storage space make organising outfits, toiletries and everything else required for your trip away awfully tricky. But there’s a solution to streamlining your suitcase without having to compromise on style. 

"Packing for a stylish holiday simply needs a little organisation"

It’s not about packing light; it’s about packing smart. So, whether you’re heading abroad for the trip of a lifetime or exploring the shores of the UK on a mini-break, packing for a stylish holiday simply needs a little organisation and an easily interchangeable wardrobe to make it pain-free, no excess baggage required. 

Invest in a quality bag (or two)

First things first, consider upgrading your luggage. Packing smart starts with the right bag, and a beaten-up suitcase that’s falling apart at the seams isn’t going to do the trick. Look for a sleek, stylish case with built-in compartments for underwear, socks and laundry. Some suitcases come with a water-resistant laundry bag, making packing and unpacking easier than ever. 

tote bag with purple background

A tote bag makes the perfect travel companion—both fashionable and functional

And a spacious carry-on with room for a book, sweatshirt, chargers and all the other miscellaneous bits needed for a seamless journey is vital. Luckily, supersized tote bags are one of the biggest accessory trends for Spring/Summer 2023 after being spotted on the runways of Jil Sander, Tom Ford and Salvatore Ferragamo. They're equal parts stylish and practical; the perfect travel companion. 

Plan ahead

Instead of just throwing random pieces of clothing into your suitcase and hoping for the best, make a plan of the outfits you’ll want to wear while you’re away. Make a list in the Notes app of your phone or use Whering—a digitised wardrobe platform—to really visualise your outfit choices.  

When planning your outfits, think what and where. Consider what you’ll likely be doing each day and evening and pack accordingly. For example, a day of walking and exploring requires comfortable footwear. A fancy dinner at a nice restaurant, on the other hand, may need a more elevated look. Pick items that cater to each scenario and skip anything that doesn’t have a specific use. 

Pick items that can multi-task

Try to pack items based on the fact that they will work with lots of other items and in multiple outfits throughout your trip. This means you won’t end up lugging loads of things you’ll barely wear. Look to multi-tasking pieces that be easily transformed between day and night. For example, wide-legged trousers are perfect for both daytime adventures and evening drinks with a simple change of shoe.

"Your travel hero-piece is undoubtedly the do-it-all dress"

Choosing complementary colour palettes makes this even simpler. My wardrobe for my most recent travels to the US consisted mostly of black, white and shades of blue—each piece going with multiple other pieces in my suitcase. 

And your travel hero-piece is undoubtedly the do-it-all dress. A summertime perennial, it’s the perfect piece to throw on and go, no matter what your travel plans happen to be. But don’t be tempted to stuff your suitcase with every sundress available on the high street. With the right care, one dress can last up to three days. A portable steamer helps keep your clothes crease-free, a lint roller effortlessly removes any fluff or hairs and there are even products, such as The Lab Co.’s Laundry Mist, which are designed to leave your clothes feeling fresher in between washes, using essential oils to neutralise unpleasant odours. 

Put your best foot forward

pile of shoes

You may be tempted to pack every pair of shoes you own, but you'll only end up wearing the same two pairs

Wear your chunkiest pair of shoes while travelling to cut down on wasting much-needed space in your case. And, a ratio of one pair to every three or so outfits should suffice. I’ve been known to pack up to six pairs of shoes for a holiday but on my most recent trip, a pair of trainers, leather flip flops and a heeled mule were more than enough. Once again, pick items that will work hard and that will go with multiple outfits throughout your trip. 

This holiday season, eschew the hard and fast rules of travelling light in favour of packing smart with an organised, easily interchangeable wardrobe, making your trip as stress-free as possible. Happy travelling! 

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