I believe that perfectly packing a suitcase is one of life’s great skills to be mastered, and it’s one that I am continually honing. In fact, every time I pack a suitcase, I pick up a new tip along the way.
The most important thing for me is efficiency; when I go away, I’m packing for my two girls as well as myself, so making the process as swift as possible is important. I find that sticking to a few rules helps achieve that, and makes it more enjoyable, too.
For this trip – a week’s sailing – I need pieces that are non-bulky and multitasking. However, these universal pointers will prove endlessly useful wherever you happen to be going this summer or in the future.
PICK A COLOUR THEME
This is my number one tip; pick a colour palette for your trip and stick to it. I’ve selected blues and white to chime in with the nautical theme, adding interest with prints and textures. Keeping colours limited is a simple way to make sure pieces can be mixed and matched easily, for maximum wear.
DO A FLAT LAY
When packing, the first thing I do is lay the clothes I am thinking of taking with me on my bed. This allows me to see everything at once, ensuring that I don’t have too many items and that pieces work with each other. I can’t stress enough how important this step is in avoiding overpacking or forgetting something essential.
PACK OUTFITS NOT PIECES
Always pack whole outfits and have in mind where you want to wear them. This is one of my tried-and-tested tips, but it bears repeating as it’s so important. Just putting random pieces in your case means you’ll end up taking more than necessary and will have to spend precious holiday time working out what to wear.
Keep swimwear to a capsule edit and coordinate with the colour palette of the rest of your packing list. I’ll take a mixture of one- and two-pieces from my existing collection, adding an update with something new. This summer I particularly love Alexandra Miro’s pastel blue bikini, which comes with a flattering waist belt and supportive bandeau top.
KEEP LINGERIE VERSATILE
Just like the rest of your collection, lingerie has to earn its place in your suitcase so must be versatile. Stick to flesh-toned styles that will sit perfectly under every outfit. I’ve just discovered Nudea, a mid-priced label offering beautiful underwear to complement a wide variety of skin tones.
HAVE FUN WITH ACCESSORIES
I give a lot of attention to finishing touches, especially sunglasses. These can completely transform an outfit – adding glitz to plain cottons, a retro vibe to sundresses, etc – so, for a week, I’ll take four or five pairs. Pack them in their original protective cases and stuff them into gaps in your suitcase. Or, place them in basket bags to give support.
CHOOSE JEWELLERY WITH CARE
Just like sunglasses, I like to use jewellery as a transforming touch. It’s wise to stick to a theme and pack a capsule edit of pieces that can be added to outfits with ease. This summer, I love the idea of beach-inspired pearls, shells and beads. To keep them safe, I use a small leather case from Smythson.
BE CLEVER WITH BAGS
For summer trips, I would always recommend taking versatile beach-to-bar bags that will pack flat, thus saving space. I also believe in re-wearing favourite pieces; I’m taking my Ulla Johnson crochet bag and Prada raffia clutch, both of which I’ve had and loved for years.
… BUT DO TAKE ESPADRILLES
I never take heels on holiday, however I will include a pair of wedge espadrilles. These offer a little height, yet always feel summer-appropriate, no matter where you are. I wear mine with evening outfits for special dinners, or casually with shorts.
PACK WITH CARE
Shoes are the bulkiest items in your case so can be difficult to pack. Put each pair in a protective fabric bag, then place at the bottom of your suitcase. If travelling with hand luggage, use shoes to pad out your basket bag.
INCLUDE A MINI NAIL KIT
Sun cream, sand and salt water all play havoc with nails, so I always take a mini manicure kit to keep mine looking pristine. Pack a small selection of summery polishes, a file, clippers and moisturising balm (I’m devoted to Clarins) into a small cosmetic case.
REMEMBER LITTLE LUXURIES
When travelling, I find it takes me a little while to settle into a new bed, so I always pack a few sleep essentials to help me drift off. A silk sleep mask is a must, as is Aurelia’s calming pillow spray. I’ll also reach for De Mamiel’s soothing Anchor Balm and a lavender oil to make me feel relaxed and at home.
USE PACKING CUBES
I am a big fan of packing cubes; they make both packing and unpacking a lot easier. Group garments into categories – such as sleepwear, lingerie, activewear – then place each into its own cube and layer inside your case. Once you reach your destination, simply remove each cube and put them in a drawer or shelf.
This is a tip I picked up from our West Coast contributor Carrie Berle Robertson last year. She suggests packing dresses and pieces that crease easily on space-saving clothes hangers, which can then be hung as soon as you reach your destination. Plus, as hotels and villas rarely have an adequate amount of hangers, this also means you’ll always have enough.
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