Snob Essentials Twenty-4 Hour tote on HSN.com
I have been an active member of Overpackers Anonymous for as long as I can remember. It started at eight years old when I moved to the United States from Taiwan. The transition definitely affected my tendency to stock up—being uprooted from the only home you’ve ever known to a foreign country and not speaking a word of the local language is beyond traumatizing. Therefore, wherever I went, I packed everything with me.
For a trip to Hawaii in high school, I brought so many things I could have moved there. In fact, I ended up staying a month because I was so prepared. For the first “weekend” trip I took on my own in college, I went to New York City with a friend. She had a simple weekender bag. Me, two full-sized suitcases. I can’t say things are that different now, I still pack everything but the kitchen sink (you just never know), but I’m a lot smarter about it. I’ve developed a carefully organized method to my madness.
I bring at least six bags with me on each trip, whether it’s for the weekend or two weeks, and these are my six essentials:
1. Travel bag: It’s usually my old faithful hard-side Rimowa trolley, but we just designed a camouflage trolley for our Snob Essentials line that I am in love with, so things are about to change!
2. Tote bag: Treat a large tote as your second carry-on, and make sure you have a change of clothes (or two) in case the airline loses your luggage.
3. Treasure (a.k.a. exotic) bag: You never know when you’ll get invited to last-minute fancy luncheon with your future mother-in-law.
4. Trendy bag: Wherever you’re going, you’ll appreciate having something new and on-trend to spice up your outfit.
5. Clutch bag: Think versatile elegance, and choose a clutch that works as well for the daytime as it does for evening (or at least almost as well).
6. Lingerie bag: A lingerie bag will be the best twenty bucks you ever spend! Divided into “Wear me” and “Wash me” pouches remind you which undies are clean on a busy trip.
I pack my bags like nesting boxes: three to four bags nested inside each other with a clutch in the middle and undergarments inside the clutch. The bags don’t get crushed, and you save a lot of space. I also use packing cubes, one for each member of the family.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in New York City for three days. I packed six pairs of shoes, including the pair I wore in flight. This may sound crazy, but shoes are as integral to your look as your bag. But they are trickier to pack. Store them in shoe bags to keep them organized and the rest of your belongings clean, and pack them first, lining them on the bottom of your suitcases.
Pack enough for at least three days, three nights and for three different kinds of occasions—no matter how long your trip. I am always picnic-, luncheon-, and cocktail-ready; I don’t care if there’s not a park or lounge in sight. Make a list of what you want to bring and then edit it down before actually packing. It always helps to see things in writing. Roll (never fold!) each garment into 6-10”-length rolls. It helps keep them wrinkle-free, as opposed to folding, a surefire way to end up ironing everything you’ve brought on your trip. As for items like silk shirts, I roll them in dry-cleaner plastic to keep from creasing.
I ask for samples of my favorite products and never bring full-sized products with me. Bottles and jars of creams and potions get very heavy, and samples save you the messy trouble of squeezing, pouring, and repackaging products yourself.
1. Hermès shawls and scarves in bright colors: Cashmere and silk shawls that double as blankets on the plane and wraps for cool evenings; silk scarves to tie around my head or wrap as halter tops.
Hermès vintage scarf, $980, farfetch.com.
2. Armani Maestro Eraser and CC cream in Luminessence: Also known as real-life photoshop.
Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer, $50, nordstrom.com.
3. MUNITIO 9mm bullet earphones: The best! Not only do they look slick and cool, they fit my ears perfectly and offer incredible sound.
MUNITIO 9mm bullet earphones, $169, munitio.com.
4. J. Crew white v-neck T-shirt: Each trip, I pack them by the half-dozen to wear with everything from skinny jeans and short skirts to wide-legged pants dressed up with layers of chunky gold necklaces. I also sleep in them. The definition of multi-functional!
J. Crew vintage cotton v-neck Tee, $30, jcrew.com.
5. Rag & Bone hat: I have the floppy-brim fedora in multiple colors and materials. Their hats are the chicest sun-protecting, bad hair-hiding accessories on the planet.
Rag & Bone fedora, $55, rag-bone.com.
1. Pinch Provisions Metallic Minimergency Kit: This kit will be your best friend. I panic when I run out of the things in it, including earring backs and hair elastics, and keep a few at home.
Pinch Provisions Metallic Minimergency Kit, $15, shopbop.com.
2. Tide Laundry To-Go Stain Pen: I once spilled red wine on a cream-colored silk shirt on a trip to LA, my magical Tide pen got rid of it overnight. Don’t leave home without it.
Tide Laundry To-Go Pen, $8.99, drugstore.com.
3. TUMI Packing Cubes: You can pack a month’s worth of clothes in each of these cubes to put in your carry on. When traveling with family, my son and husband each get a cube, then I toss them in the hotel drawers upon arrival and head straight out for fun and sun.
Tumi Packing Cubes, $65, tumi.com.
Via Harper’s Bazaar