I’m a clothes whore, take more than I need and rarely travel with less than six pairs of shoes. But I make it all fit. More importantly, I pack with a specific purpose and it isn’t getting it all in the bag. My purpose? Reduce stress and primping time. Here’s how I do it.
No more will I show up without an outfit for the Fetish Ball or Little’s Playtime because I didn’t prepare! No more will I forget the neon blue collar to go with my neon blue shoes.
I start with a list; plot out the days, including travel days; plot out what’s going on: vanilla plans, mini-events, play dates, etc.; plot out the outfits. I usually end up with three outfits per day, including gym clothes, something to wear to breakfast and so on.
Then I get to the fun stuff….
2. Start with one key outfit
I start with my outfit for the main event and build from there. Using the same pieces to make different outfits with different feels makes me ecstatic, reduces luggage and increases outfit changes.
My first instinct is to stick to two or three pairs of shoes and build around them. However, switching up your footwear keeps your feet fresh, in heels longer, and in less pain. If pressed, I always opt for the extra pair of shoes and leave out something else.
I find that it’s easier (and space efficient) to start with a basic bottom (skirt, leathers, etc) and add tops and accessories. Accessories take up less space than bottoms and the plaid skirt that rocked your punk outfit on Friday, will work with your school girl uniform Sunday afternoon. Don’t forget the Woolite and stain stick to do laundry in the sink.
3. Try it on
I don’t know how many times I’ve thrown my tried-and-true dress in my carry-on and headed off for a weekend frolic, only to find that that it suddenly didn’t fit, or – even though I’ve loved that sparkly skull appliqué for the past six months – I discover that I’m so ready to move on.
Trying it on also helps you put together the right accessories to make your outfit standout from every other person in black leather. Instead of, “Have you seen my friend in black?” your friends will say, “Have you seen my friend with the amazing feather collar?”
4. Wrap it up
The most useful, stress reducing, utterly amazing thing that I’ve discovered while packing for an event is to pack each outfit individually: from the panties, the earrings, even the cotton balls that I stick in the boots that fit a little funny. Extra-Large ZipLocks or disposable hang-bags work great. Then, label accordingly: school girl, traveling home, dinner with vanilla friends, etc.
It can get tricky is if you use the same piece for multiple outfits. What works best for me is to label the bag with where I can find the missing item: “gloves for this outfit are with school girl outfit” or “borrow pink hat from Gwendollyn for this outfit”. Too much? I can’t count how many times I’m taking off an outfit at the end of the day and realize, “grrrr…. I wanted to rock my new fake lashes with this outfit!”
Another option is to package outfits that share pieces together, remembering that after you wear your maid’s outfit, that the pertinent pieces need to make it back into the bag to make their encore with the steam punk outfit tomorrow.
5. Learn from your mistakes
I document, build from a key outfit, try it on and wrap it up. But, it never fails. I always have something to learn; some way to make my next experience less stressful and more fashion-tastic!! The key to learning from my mistakes? Write it down before I forget! Next month I pack all over again.
Originally posted September 1, 2010
Love the bag idea! I travel a lot, and have always done the list thing and usually pack the outfit together, but makes so much sense to bag it together. I do bag my jewelry by days in the little snack sized zip lock bags. Great article!
Yes! This is what I need to do every time I travel, whether its a weekend event or a family vacation. The list, the bagged outfits, trying it all on before packing, it all makes so much sense. I’m using all 5 tips when I pack (and unpack) for my vacation next month. Love this article!
Nina Love’s creative ideas worked wonderfully to solved my packing problems with easy-to-follow methods and without needing to purchase specialized supplies.
By following her guide, I packed everything for a 5-day event, including a banquet and a party, in one carry-on plus a small cloth backpack. Since I was driving, I added a canvas bag with an extra pair of jeans, leather pants, a dressy blouse and a nice t-shirt, but they came back unused and unneeded.
By organizing ahead, it was easy to coordinate mix-and-match pieces. Trying on ahead eliminated unpleasant surprises at the event and made me mindful of the weather’s impact
The written list/chart plus the plastic bags saved so much time! Nina Love’s choice of extra shoes for foot comfort applies no matter if you wear spikes or flats; sore feet spoil fun.
With my calendar showing four more trips in the next ten weeks, the timing for Nina Love’s insights turned out to be as on-target as her advice.