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At the height of my clothing consumption days in my late teens, we were invited to the wedding of a family friend in Austin, Texas. It was a two day drive from our home in Colorado Springs, and my mother, in the interest of managing her limited trunk space, gave me an ultimatum: I could only take as many clothes as I needed for the trip. No more.
To make sure I did not over pack, as was my habit, Mother stood over me as I loaded my suitcase, militantly refusing to indulge my, “Let’s take everything and I’ll let you know what I feel like wearing when I get there” attitude. Every piece of clothing I packed had an assignment on my trip itinerary. I got everything in one small case, protesting as I packed.
Justifiably, it turned out.
At the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, we were issued a last-minute invitation to the bridesmaids’ luncheon, to be held the next morning at a posh country club. Having brought exactly the number of clothes I needed and no more, I was faced with the very scenario every self-indulgent teenage fashionista dreads: I had nothing to wear.
I couldn’t muster one extra outfit from my sparse travel wear, and given the lateness of the invitation (10 pm) and the time of the function (11 am the next morning), I didn’t even have time to shop. I ended up wearing the same dress I’d worn to the rehearsal dinner to the luncheon the next morning, sheer black stockings, strappy sandals, and all.
My mother never heard the end of it.
Thus, for any trip I took over the next few years, I packed practically everything I owned, even if it was for just a weekend trip. Business suits, jeans, cocktail attire – you name it, I was ready for it. That my bag always weighed a ton was of little consequence.
My, how times have changed.
There’s an old Aboriginal saying that goes, “The more you know, the less you need.”
I have found this to be true, particularly with clothing. You don’t need to have a lot to LOOK like you have a lot; you just need to know how to REALLY wear what you already own.
With that in mind, let’s apply this concept to packing for business trips, leisure trips, or any trip that takes you away from your closet for days on end.
Here’s what you need to do to pack light:
Finally, always give yourself plenty of time to pack. Rushing almost always leads to over-packing or forgotten items, so don’t put yourself in that situation if you don’t have to. Launder everything before you start, check items off your list as you pack, and double-check to make sure you have everything. The piece of mind is worth the extra effort.
Packing for business or pleasure needn’t be a panic-inducing event. Start with a plan, opt for a color scheme, pack travel-friendly fabrics, and choose pieces wisely for function and versatility. Not only will you look chic and well put together, you’ll be amazed by how far you can go with so little