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A Peek Inside the Suitcases of 3 Style Experts

Everything you need to pack for your next getaway.

summer travel packing guide

As we gear up to travel this summer with a ferocity like never before, it's too easy to stop short at the important task that awaits us: packing. Few tasks embody the idea that "hindsight is 20/20" better than packing for a trip. How many times have you come home only to realize you wasted a third of your suitcase on a pair of frighteningly high heels or a dress you know isn't comfortable, only to never put them on? So we've called in some experts who live and breathe fashion—and therefore have some of the best relationships with their own wardrobes—to answer your questions.

No matter where you're going, start with the essentials—specifically, items that can serve various purposes when paired with different looks. Let jewelry serve as your statement piece so you don't waste space on extra clothing. As for shoes, well, that depends on who you ask. Continue scrolling to discover expert-approved tips and to shop their packing essentials.

Her Philosophy: "I think, when packing, it is important to be very real with yourself and ask: Will I actually want to wake up and put this on my body? (In other words, is this an item I normally reach for? Does it fit and feel comfortable? Will I feel confident and like myself wearing it?) How many different ways can I style this? For example, a denim shirt that can be worn as a jacket, over a swimsuit, or as a shirt. Then, will I need to pack special shoes or accessories just to make this work? I have done this many times—packed a specific dress that only works with a specific pair of shoes, and then I have to bring an extra pair of shoes that I will probably only wear with this dress—not smart!

"I think it is nice to bring things that you wear at home, but you also have to think about the vibe and climate of where you are going. For example, in New York I wear a lot of blazers, but I am not going to bring a blazer upstate. It just doesn't really work for that environment."

Her Essentials: "I always bring my favorite pair of denim, a white t-shirt, a bodysuit, and some sort of oversized button-down shirt. For me, this works everywhere (in Michigan or Italy!) and allows for a lot of mixing and matching. For example, you can wear the oversized button-down open over the bodysuit (or over a swimsuit), you can wear it as a jacket over a tee, you can wear it tucked into jeans. I think if I have those four staples, I can really play around. You also kind of can't go wrong with a fresh white t-shirt and jeans, no matter where you go. You can wear it with sneakers, with sandals, or with heels and change the entire vibe.

"In an ideal world, all of my pieces are doing double (or triple!) duty. I have dresses that I will wear with flats during the day and then add a necklace and a kitten heel for nighttime. I also often like to pack a one-piece swimsuit that I will wear to swim and also wear as a bodysuit with jeans or trousers. It is the ideal bodysuit for a hot climate!"

Accessories: "For statement pieces, I usually go for jewelry and accessories. For example, on a trip to L.A., I brought a pouch with some beaded necklaces, a chunky chain, and a (faux) tennis necklace. Adding one of those to a simple look changes it so much. I think you get a lot of bang for your buck, plus they are easy to pack. I am also very into bringing some fun statement pieces as long as you can make them work multiple ways. I think having less also forces you to be more creative with what you have. Have you ever noticed on vacation sometimes you come up with really fun looks? It is because you are limited and therefore use what you have in a more creative and interesting way!"

Shoes: "It depends on where you are going, but I usually like one comfortable shoe for travel (either a sneaker or loafer), a sandal (or flat boot in winter), and one that you could wear in the evening to dress up your look. This one doesn't have to be a heel, but just something that can take your look from day to night."

Last Remarks: "I always want to bring shoes and bags that I think work with all the clothes that I bring. I really don't want to take up space with pieces that will only be worn once. I also find that sometimes I get really fun looks when I take only one handbag. It forces you to wear it with everything, and sometimes you get combos that you wouldn't normally do. When I was in upstate New York, I only brought one suede top-handle bag and wore it with everything. I wore it with cutoffs and a bathing suit, and it actually looked quite chic. I also had a pair of chunky sandals that I wouldn't have normally paired with a floral dress, but it actually looked very cool. Having less makes you explore a bit more. It also forces you to create a 'capsule,' which I think is great for a trip. You want to have a bit of a theme, and re-wearing and re-styling allows that to happen."

Shop Her Packing Essentials:

Linen Shirt


Everyday Blazer

Blaze Milano

Hanna MW

Stylist, Creative Consultant

Her Philosophy: "I'm really passionate about my vacation closet and the items I've collected over the years. My vacation style is a little bit more playful than when I'm home running around in everyday life. I think it's really important to pack according to outfits so I don't take unnecessary things with me and need to think too much about my looks on my vacation— vacations are for relaxing!"

The Essentials: "I always bring a pair of relaxed linen suit pants—they are so versatile—either to be thrown on together with my swimsuit during the day, or with a top by night. I also love shirts in all forms—wear them open over your bikini or buttoned-up for dinner. My best go-to is a good dress; you can just throw on a dress and still look very put together with the right accessories. I also adore my Bottega Veneta swimsuit that I wear both as a swimsuit but also as a bodysuit with my linen suit pants. My vacation closet contains fairly easy and light pieces—a lot of silk, linen, and sheer items. I have a rule not to bring anything that I haven't worn before. I only bring pieces with me I know I'm comfortable with and I know will come to use."

summer travel packing guide

Photo: Courtesy of Hanna MW

Accessories: "I love a good, big scarf—it's so versatile! I'm in love with my Totême one that I bought years ago. For a day on the beach, I wear it as a sarong, and during the evening I tie it to a sophisticated skirt. I never go on vacation without my straw hat and straw bag. I also believe that accessories are the easiest way to change up your style, that's why I like to bring my pearl necklace, ankle bracelet, belly chain, etc. I also like hats and scarves! On vacation, I think you should go for it in terms of accessories, but I only bring the pieces I love and know I will use."

Shoes: "When it comes to shoes, I always say it's better to bring too much than not enough. It of course depends on how long I'm away, but I usually bring about five to seven pairs—two pairs of heels, and the rest are different types of flat shoes, sandals, slippers, etc."

summer travel packing guide

Photo: Courtesy of Hanna MW

Packing Tips: "My number one best tip is to roll the clothes instead of fold—it's a game changer. I also pack with packing bags. They give me a better overview of what I am bringing while also keeping the clothes fresher for a longer period of time. I really believe in planning your looks ahead, or bringing your favorite basics you know go really well together so you can focus more on enjoying your vacation than what to wear."

Last Remarks: "Overall, I encourage you to have fun with your style during your vacation, challenge it with an accessory or a pop of color. With that said, I don't believe in totally changing your style during your vacation and packing things you have never worn before. You should always stay true to yourself and what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Don't change your style, but have fun with it!"

Shop Her Packing Essentials:



Her Philosophy: "I go by 'the fewer, the better' philosophy and stick to simple, comfortable staples. Limited space lets me focus only on the essentials. I wish I could say I plan every ensemble for my vacation, but that would be a major lie!"

Essentials: "The Pleats Please Issey Miyake basics dress—the name says it all. The Hunting Season Voyage case is the perfect travel companion for packing all the essentials and can double as a clutch for day or night. My go-tos are dresses from Aqua Bendita. They have a very feminine cut, which I love, and can easily transition from day to night."
summer travel packing guide

Photo: Courtesy of Lena Baranovsky

Shoes: "The Manolo Blahnik Susa Thong Sandal is amazing because its simplicity makes it so versatile. It can leisurely be worn on the beach or be paired with a linen dress for a casual evening."

Accessories: "I prefer jewelry as a statement piece; a great vintage necklace or earrings can elevate any look. A Hunting Season XL Drawstring always makes the cut on my beach vacations. It is big enough to use as a beach bag yet it is refined and can be used as a classic everyday companion."

summer travel packing guide

Photo: Courtesy of Lena Baranovsky

Last Remarks: "Don't forget your sun hat and sunblock…protect that skin!"

Shop Her Packing Essentials:

The Voyage Set

Hunting Season

High Neck Technical Pleated Midi Dress

Pleats Please Issey Miyake
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