Maybe it's a long trip. Maybe you are backpacking. Maybe you don't like suitcase fees. Maybe you plan to fill your suitcase with new purchases. Maybe you adore efficiency or maybe you are weak in the arms and prefer a light weight travel bag. In any of these cases, packing light is essential, here is how...
1) Choose Your Metallic (Jewelry)
What jewelry would you like to wear on your travels? Silver, pewter, gold, bronze, rose gold ? On my yearly two-week east coast trip, I chose rose gold. With this in mind, I packed large rose gold dangle earrings, a rose gold necklace when earrings are not preferred, a rose gold ring and three rose gold bangles. It is easiest to pick one pair of earrings, one necklace, one bracelet and one ring to cover your jewelry bases without over packing.
2) 3 Pairs of Shoes
To go with my rose gold jewelry, I packed my nude flip flops, dressy rose gold flats and my pink Guess stud heels (I also packed running shoes, but that is for my workout, not my fashion). The nude flip flops are for casual looks and walking, the rose gold flat sandals are for dressier day looks and walking, and the heels are for evenings out. Each of these shoes work perfectly with rose gold jewelry. If you chose silver jewelry, pack silver, grey, black or blue footwear. What kind of shoes depends on your trip of course. A lot of walking will need a sleek sneaker or sandals, but if you won't be walking a lot, skip the utilitarian kicks. Is this a business trip with some pleasure? Pack sandals for casual looks or walking, versatile pumps for the professional looks, and spicier heels for the nights out.
3) Clothing Meets Shoes & Jewelry
Now that you have chosen your jewelry and shoes, take a look in your closet. What goes with these shoes? If not a lot of clothing go with your shoes and jewelry, start again and switch out your metallic choice. Maybe you own more clothes that go with gold jewelry and nude/gold shoes. Maybe you have more nude/gold tone shoes, than silver.
4) Appropriate Clothing
Now that you have laid out everything that goes with your three pairs of shoes, which items are appropriate for your trip? Think of the restaurants you will be frequenting, the event you will be attending, the people you are with and the activities planned. The silver heels you chose may look fabulous with that cocktail dress, but maybe your trip is more casual. Instead pair the heels with dark jeans and your light grey blouse for that dinner out.
5) Oprah Style: Day-To-Night Clothing
When I see a garment that can travel from day-to-night and work-to-play, AND compliment numerous items already existing in my wardrobe, I call it an Oprah item. Why? because, just like Oprah, it does it all! Look at the trip appropriate clothing left and eliminate the tops, bottoms and dresses that do not emulate Oprah in a glory of multi-tasking. Each shirt you pack must go with at least two bottoms. Each bottom (pants, shorts, skirts) must go with at least two tops. Each dress must go with two pairs of shoes. For my New York trip, I packed a cotton Lush dress that goes with my rose gold sandals for day and my pink Guess heels for night. It does it all! My white cotton button front blouse and white tank top go with all three of the shorts I packed. It can be tough to keep it straight, but the equation of outfits must be balanced. Each garment must create more than one outfit, preferably three.
Season counts, but we are talking Summer for now. For my August New York trip, I packed a lightweight cape for the plane, never to be used again. If you foresee rain or sporadic drops in temperature for your Summer trip, pack an umbrella, one heavy sweater and one light weight sweater. Both should be able to pair with as many outfits as possible, but at least two. The light weight sweater should compliment your evening looks.
If you will be swimming, running, hiking, or any other activity that requires necessary items, pack only what is necessary. In the spirit of keeping it light, pack one swimsuit, one running shirt, one pair of hiking shoes and so on. You get the point. Obviously my packing instructions are for the leisure or business oriented trip, not the four week hike across the Pacific Crest trail. If that is the case, I recommend scraping the heel idea all together.