How To Organize Your Travel Wardrobe
It took one too many a few lost and delayed bags to convince me that flying with carry on, was the quickest, least painful way to travel.Taking a wardrobe of predominantly black clothes has been helpful, but using a Travel Wardrobe Chart also takes the guesswork out of it.
Pack mostly unmemorable clothes.
Sometimes, like this time, it didn’t matter how many clothes I brought, I ended up undressed.
On my trip to Vancouver last month I packed:
Black Trench coat-2 pair of black cigarette pants
Black tights & black fishnets
Black riding boots
Black pointe knit dress
2 black V-neck sweaters
Pale gray & pale taupe cashmere V-neck sweaters
2 pair black flats & low heeled black dress shoes
Black jeans-2 black, J Crew knit tops
Gray workout wear…always hopeful I will be motivated to work out
Black workout shoes
Teal velvet scarf and gloves & Teal Pashmina
Black patterned Hermes scarf
3 pair black socks
I started to fill out this packing worksheet but decided it wasn’t necessary… bad decision.
This was one of the tools I used with my clients, to organize their wardrobe for travel, simplify packing and remind them what to wear with what. There’s a link at the bottom of this post to print a blank copy.
My little mishap happened the morning I was introduced to my husband’s new boss.
We were staying at the Pan Pacific for his business conference. I’d tagged along to visit my daughter and generally relax.
My husband rang the room, told me he was waiting in the lobby with his boss and I should hurry down to meet him. Dressed for a day of shopping with my daughter, I raced out of our room and hopped in the elevator.
I knew I’d have to go back for my umbrella, coat and handbag after this quick diversion, so I just brought my key.
I looked down.Hmm…when had I bought a black skirt with a lace edge? That would be…n e v e r.
I doubt his boss even noticed my lack of skirt, but I was distinctly uncomfortable.
My handbag is always packed upright, inside the top of the handheld satchel. That gives me easy access to the contents, and can be considered my “handbag”, if stopped by a snarky flight attendant.
I always wear my hat and largest footwear to travel in. Other hats, get packet upside down in my suitcase, surrounded and filled with soft clothing and scarves.
I’ll show you how I physically organize and pack my bag next week, as I prepare for my holiday to Mexico.
Using these wardrobe sheets will allow you to pack less, with more efficiency. Seeing your outfits grouped on paper also gives you a visual aid for easily pairing your separates in creative new ways.
Ever have your bags not arrive with your flight and immediately need to board a two-week cruise It’s torture so fun to spy your bags, jammed into the back of a speeding car, trying to catch up with you in every European port…just as your cruise ship is departing for the next port of call.
Always travel with a change of underwear [bra, panties, & socks] and a top in my carry-on tote bag for flights in a zip-lock gallon size bag and a small just ” in case bag” aka as a “Ditty Bag” — military term for basic toiletries… IF my CHECKED suitcase doesn’t show up with me at my destination….. LEARNED the Hard Way!!
I call it a ditty bag too! 🙂
I’m getting ready for a fall trip lasting 10 days. I’m really excited to have this spreadsheet to help me pack as I always bring way too much. Thanks for sharing this with us!
Have a wonderful trip!
I’m amazed at how many clothes some people have. 4 v neck sweaters, 3 pairs of black socks. Its more than my wardrobe, let alone my travelling clothes, not that I can afford to travel.
I don’t know how I could go to someone’s home and stay a week with a carry on. Hair dryer, hair products, curling iron (gotta have for this horse hair), makeup and toiletry bag, medications, clothes, and shoes.
And this is summer time in Texas. If I needed long sleeve, warm clothes and jacket….no way.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful, helpful blogs. I’m a new subscriber (the last few weeks) and really enjoy and appreciate your writing.
This one was spot on. My husband and I went to Italy over the holidays, and I checked my “big” bag, while taking just my cosmetics bag on board. This was the first time in my 14 years of travel that they lost my luggage. It took FOUR days to get it back, and my only life-saving graces were that a) I had my cosmetics bag and b) I was wearing my trench coat. The vast majority of our pictures in Italy feature me in my trench coat, haha. Lesson learned. I’m still working on bringing one memorable outfit while having the rest in a basic color, such as black. I’m a hopeless optimist. Thanks again for your great ideas and writing.
Ouch, that’s no fun. The good news is you had your medication with you. Trench coats are perennially stylish so I bet you looked chic and cosmopolitan.
Agree with all except the “snarky flight attendant” comment. Can you imagine the amount and size of some passengers bags? Besides, the size situation should be taken care of prior to boarding. Signed, a former 37 year year flight attendant ?
I use a similar chart to lay out my activities during the trip. Then I use Pinterest to select clothing items, styling them in various ways until I have things narrowed down. It really works for someone as visual (and lazy) as I am!
I like visual cues too, Margaret and Pinterest is an amazing source for great ideas.
Oh Jenny, that was so funny. I read it allowed to Mr Him. I still use your chart and day wear is all very interchangeable as a result. I just overpack evening clothes because I don’t know what to expect.
I have something similar and if I am going for more than one week I only complete the sheet for one week so that I can wash and rewear the following week(s). It gives me room in the suitcase for surprise purchases – yes, there are ALWAYS those!
Jennifer, first off, thank you for adding this wonderful spread sheet. I’m definitely a carry-on only type of traveling gal and like you, I’ve learned through experience. I’ve also found when I travel this way, it’s quite liberating and free of stress (once in a while it’s so nice to not worry about what to wear for the day with so many choices). I love how you said not to pack memorable clothing.
Carry on is the only way to go!