How 6 Tastemakers Curate The Perfect Travel Wardrobe

See exactly how the style set pack for near (and far-flung) locales.

Courtesy of Chriselle Lim.

When looking good is literally part of your job description, packing smart can become a bit complex. To wrap up Lonny’s Summer Travel Month series, we caught up with six movers (and shakers) across the fashion, beauty, and design space, to learn more about how they approach travel style.

Short of throwing your entire wardrobe in an oversized trunk, packing for work, play, and sometimes both, can overwhelm even the most frequently flyers. With the rise of capsule fashion companies like Vetta (for women) and Cladwell (for men), we had to ask our tastemakers if there was temptation to embrace a "less is more" philosophy when they're on-the-go.

“Although I like the idea of having a minimal closet and sticking to what works, I’m a sucker for trying out new things too,” explains digital influencer and entrepreneur, Chriselle Lim. “I guess it comes with my job to test out new things and trends. But, I like to say I am aspiring to be more minimal and become a capsule travel packer — but I’m honestly not quite there yet!”

On the flip side, the fashion faux-pas of repeating looks is definitely a thing of the past. MILK Makeup co-founder, Zanna Roberts Rassi thinks it's a travel no-brainer. “You don’t necessarily have to repeat the same exact look, but if you pack with a color palette you can easily wear the same pieces in multiple ways to create different looks — versatility is key.”

Wardrobe curator and stylist, Zerina Akers agrees. “There is no rule to this," she adds. "These days it doesn’t exist unless you post a photo! I prefer for things to be able to mix-and-match when I travel. If there’s a shoe that only goes with one look, it’s likely to be edited out!”

Want even more fashion-forward advice? Keep scrolling to see what other gems Criselle, Zerina, Zanna, and others shared exclusively with us.

How 6 Tastemakers Curate The Perfect Travel Wardrobe
Courtesy of Chriselle Lim.

Who: Digital influencer and entrepreneur, Chriselle Lim.

Go-To Airport Look: “[I aim for] comfortable yet polished. I usually wear sweats or jogger pants with a soft white tee, but always throw over a chic trench coat to polish up the look.”

Frequent Flyer Essentials: “I always travel with compression socks, a good book, a cozy sweater, my cashmere blanket and eye mask from Parachute, and my in-flight skin care bag that includes a face mist, overnight sleeping mask, a face oil, and a lip balm.”

Planning Makes Perfect: “I have about three to four looks that I always pre-plan or style, but I will bring enough options to switch it up if my mood and/or the weather changes. Pre-planning a few outfits gives me sanity knowing that I will have a few strong looks, but I also like to leave it somewhat open-ended. I find myself creating the best looks when I’m on-the-go and not thinking too hard about it.”

Who: Barney’s senior social media manager, Candace Marie Stewart

Factor In Easy Essentials: “My signature airport look is sleek, easy and comfortable. Slip dresses are always at the top of the list because they are easy to throw on for the plane.”

All About The Extras: “My style approach is extremely different when I pack for business. Seeing that my business trips usually include fashion week, I’m often packing full looks with jewelry, hats, shoes, sunglasses, and more. For me [repeating outfits] is a no. I think it’s okay either way but I love to curate my packing based on the location.”

Be A Master Packer: “Roll your clothing and utilize the space inside your shoes to place items. [For beauty items], I have different containers that I purchased, but to help, don’t place liquids on the outside pockets of your luggage. When you do it makes it easier to burst because your luggage is being thrown around.”

Who: Lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur, Freddie Harrel

How 6 Tastemakers Curate The Perfect Travel Wardrobe
Courtesy of Freddie Harrel.

Skip Complicated Travel Looks: “I like to be comfortable yet cool, so I wear functional clothes with an effortless edge! I don’t want to spend more time than needed in the airplane bathroom, so jumpsuits are a no-go!”

Dress Codes For Work and Play: “When I pack for business, I think about outfits that are going to make me stand out and feel super confident — it helps me get the right mindset once there. For a personal trip, there’s a bit of some of that mindset but, I’m also thinking about laid-back, comfy pieces that are going to encourage me to be mindful and switch off!”

The Power of The Pen: “I write exhaustive lists for every trip with everything I need to pack. But, I always add extra options for the clothes—you never know the mood you’ll be it! It sounds like I’m super organized, but I’m not really, I can be super forgetful! Writing down a list also allows me to pack at the last-minute without stressing!”

Who: MILK Makeup co-founder, Zanna Roberts Rassi

Get A Head Start: “Start packing earlier — like, two days before you leave — rather than leaving it to the last- minute. I literally lie all the outfit combos on my bed. That way, I can visualize everything and it also gives me a little breathing room to revisit!” 

Keep It In The Family: “I  pack with a color palette in mind so I can easily mix-and-match items. I also follow the ‘one, two, three, four, five, six rule’ for a week of travel. It’s a simple packing formula that includes a killer dress, two pairs of shoes, three pairs of pants/skirts, four shirts, five pairs of socks, and six pairs of underwear.”

Save Space: “I’m a believer of bags in bags to keep things compartmentalized. Shoe bags are a great example that can be easily used for undies or dirty laundry upon return. Also, use socks around bottles and inside hats, which can help save space and protect those items too. I also have a separate case for tech stuff — a dopp kit that contains chargers, cables, headphones, adapters, etc.”

How 6 Tastemakers Curate The Perfect Travel Wardrobe

Who: HGTV television host of “Dear Genevieve,” and designer, Genevieve Gorder

Splurge on Yourself: “I’ve recently learned that your suitcase and travel vessels are an extension of your style. For many years, I just saw luggage as a vehicle. Then, I walked into an Away luggage store one day on a trip to Oakland and it changed the way I thought about luggage. I could care less about designer luggage — I see that and think ‘I could’ve bought a couch for that much.’ Ugh, such a designer I know! But, when I saw color and function playing in a meaningful way in luggage, I got weird and obsessed. Now, I use their Bigger Carry-On in blush and the stackable bag in olive green. I literally get giddy to pack, mostly because they’re so damn cute.”

Repurpose Looks If You Can: “My personal travel is a bit wild, unplanned, and spontaneous. I [typically bring] five to six outfits that I can re-construct 20 different ways depending on my mood. For work, I have to strategize my suitcase — think outfits by task. Am I sitting or standing? Designing or judging? It’s a harder pack.”

Be Strategic: “[Traveling with] a carry-on is always the goal because you want to be nimble, organized, and as chic as possible when traveling. You never know when something will be cancelled or delayed, and you’ve got to be able to hop skip and jump at any time. Here’s what I typically pack: underwear and a great bra, my favorite Planet Brooklyn sweats, a hot work outfit (think, an Equipment blouse, pair of AG jeans, or a J.Crew pencil skirt), a workout outfit, a sports bra, [one pair of] sneakers, my Loeffler Randall red wedges, a curling iron and hair spray, 2 Note Hudson face oils, thick hair ties, flip flops, and one t-shirt.”

Who: Fashion stylist and wardrobe curator, Zerina Akers

Stay Ready: “[Whether I select a carry-on versus checked luggage] depends how and the length of the trip. Typically, I don’t unpack my carry-on which has a basic survival kit — an outfit in case my luggage gets lost, my pillow and blanket for the plane, chargers for my devices, protein bars, and basic toiletries. I like to have this bag ready in case I have to travel at a moments notice!”

Create A Uniform: “The key to dressing for the airport is having shoes that are easy to get on and off and clothes without a lot of excess fabric or metal snaps. No one wants to get searched in the security line! I’m often flying on a red eye and going straight into work, or working all day and going straight to the airport, so I prefer to wear all black (because it shows less wear and wrinkles).”

Play With Color: “Often for personal trips, I bring a lot of colorful flamboyant and flowing clothes! I love taking interesting photos on vacation! It’s something I don’t often have time to do while I’m working. But, a business trip always includes a bright colored suit!”