World's Worst Packer Goes to Aruba

Last January when I was on vacation with my family, my niece announced that I was indisputably the worst packer in the world, mainly because I had dared to travel to Aruba without any shorts or proper sandals. In my defense, you should know that my sister had told me NOT to pack a lot because I could just wear my nieces' clothes. What she had failed to mention, however, was that most of what they had packed were short shorts, micro-mini-dresses and string bikinis.

Yeah, that wasn't happening.

This summer I'll be traveling again (to BlogHer in San Jose for starters) and I don't want to get caught (again) with a suitcase full of rubber flip-flops and striped t-shirts. Here are a few of the key pieces that I'll be including in my bag this time around:

1. I'm turning my nose up at the ugly-sandal trend this season and going with pretty flat ones instead. This one (by Stuart Weitzman) has foiled leather in silver metallic. It manages to combine cool dressy style and comfort without even a hint of the F word (uh, frumpy). Full disclosure: I'm partial to SW since I've been wearing his shoes* for more than ten years and have always found them comfortable, well made, and smart looking.

 the SW foil

the SW foil

*Do not ever toss out a well-worn Stuart shoe. Ever! All you need to do is have them re-soled or spiffed up by a cobbler. The cost for re-soling here in RI is usually $30–$40. (And oh yeah, find a good cobbler!)

2. White jeans* are scary. They can be unflattering on even the most model-y among us. This is why I advocate the white jean jacket. It gives you all the benefits of wearing white denim during the summer (or vacas to warm weather destinations) without any of the stress of worrying about whether or not you need a longer shirt to cover your butt. You can usually find nice-looking, updated versions at either Anthropologie or GAP.

 Image of Classic White Denim Jacket Courtesy of Pinterest

Image of Classic White Denim Jacket Courtesy of Pinterest

*If you are feeling brave enough (and possibly doing lots of Pure Barre - the most effective way to lift and tone your butt), then do buy those white jeans - one size bigger than you normally would. They'll look and fit much better.

3. Shorts. I freaked when I read just now about how these shorts could be paired with heels and worn to work. No! No! No! Don't do that, but these would be perfect for a casual summer day. I would wear them around San Jose before the conference starts.

 City Shorts from J.Crew

City Shorts from J.Crew

4. Ziploc Bags. I cannot stress enough the importance of packing as much as you possibly can, including clothes, in Ziploc. Once, during a trip to FLA, the airline (thank you, Southwest!) had somehow allowed everyone's luggage to get wet. When I arrived at my destination and opened my bag, I found that my brand new dark denim* skirt from Banana Republic had bled all over practically everything else. Now, I go to town with these. Better safe than...Well, you know.

 A Packing Essential

A Packing Essential

Photo Courtesy: SW Foil Flats photo, Stuart Weitzman; White Denim Jacket photo, Pinterest; City Shorts photo, J.Crew; Ziploc Bag photo, Ziploc.