A light and savvy packer I am not (although I try very hard to be). I used to travel with more than five pairs of shoes and numerous bulky items–various coats, bags, etc.–for a two week leisure trip, and while that’s not a lot for some people, I’ve recently been learning to whittle down the items I take whenever I travel.

I’ve learned that NOT over packing for a trip, especially in the colder months when weather & temperature shifts can be drastic, takes a little extra effort and more than a few styling strategies. It’s almost like planning a small collection (only the accessory pull-outs are from your own closet, LOL)! Last year I even obsessed about it enough to sketch out what I would pack for a three-week trip, just to make sure that each item in my suitcase could be mixed & matched at least three other ways! The sketches turned out to be useful for other trips too, with a few items/styles being changed around for variety.

So what are some of the things I’ve learned that have helped me pack light(er)?

-Layering is key. Packing lightweight items in natural or blended materials like cotton, cashmere & silk allowed me to dress for different weather conditions/temperatures while creating new looks for different days as well.

-Pack with a color scheme in mind. To make the most out of fewer clothes, I stuck to a limited color scheme so that everything worked with each other & layering was a no-brainer. Black-white-grey, or brown-khaki-cream, or navy blue-pale blue-white…then I just contrasted with textures and played with accessories.

-Think slim. Instead of packing a lot of big, bulky coats, wearing thin, temperature adjusting thermal inner wear under my clothes allowed me to bring more streamlined styles.

-Mix in dressy separates. My lace shirts, cigarette pants and velvet tops didn’t remain in a separate ‘night out’ pile, but got paired with denim and layered over, or under, other pieces for double-duty during the day. Needless to say, I chose to design dressy pieces that weren’t too heavy and ornate.

-Bring samples! Sample toiletries make the best addition to a cosmetic kit (my favorites were Cetaphil and Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils)! They’re small, light and can just be disposed of afterwards.

-Stay light on your feet. Personally I prefer dressier walking shoes that don’t take up much space like ballet slippers, loafers, or oxfords. But I also packed a pair of lightweight Converse hi-top sneakers in case it rained or we went hiking somewhere damp. For winter, I bring thermal socks/tights and ankle boots.

-A statement bag is okay to use in transit, but I usually pack another durable, lightweight bag for days when I will be walking around a lot (which is often). My 16 year-old black, nylon Prada backpack has been everywhere and carried water bottles, travel books, snacks and numerous flea market items, while conveniently keeping my hands free.

I’d love to know, what are some of your tricks to lessening your load while traveling? πŸ™‚

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