Like most girls out there, I used to suffer from SEVERE over-packing syndrome. The fear of not having what I wanted to wear with me, the “need” for options, and general indecisiveness left me lugging pretty much everything I owned (all my “favorite” things) with me on various adventures– and without fail, I would ALWAYS return home with half of the stuff unworn (and even worse, now wrinkly and in need of a wash or dry-clean!). So I’ve tried, over the past few years, to apply the rules I follow in life in general– simplify, quality over quantity, be content with what you have, and the Tim Gunn favorite “make it work”–to my packing strategy.
Tomorrow morning Tim and I leave for a three night stay in Miami (!!!), one of my absolute favorite places to go, and in my opinion, the BEST spot for a quick, shorter-than-a -week getaway, no passport required. Here is what I’m packing: 10 “clothing” items, and 10 “accessory” items, detailed below:
The only ten “clothing” items you need:
1) A romper (preferably printed): Rompers are great for vacation/packing because like a dress, its a one-piece outfit, with the added bonus of mobility (lol)– you can jump on a bike during the day, which is a given when Tim and I go away– we love renting bikes on vacay!– and wear it straight through the day into a casual dinner.
2) A Panama hat: Other than obviously providing shade, a hat is the lazy girl-on-vacation without a blow dryer’s best friend…tuck a side braid or low bun underneath, or keep your beach waves down and -voila!- instant style.
3) Gold or metallic leather sandals: Every summer I get at least two pairs of metallic sandals from J.Crew and basically live in them until October– they go with literally EVERYTHING, and are super easy to pack.
4) White Cover-up Dress: I’ve collected quite a few pretty printed cover-ups over the years, but really, when it comes to efficient packing lists like this one, a white cotton cover-up dress is the way to go. It will pair with any swimsuit, and with a tank underneath and dressier gladiator sandals, can go straight to dinner.
5) A Printed Bikini or Swimsuit: This old Vitamin A ikat print bikini is an old stand-by, with good reason. Vitamin A (and VIX, my other favorite swimsuit brand) make superior quality bikinis– yes, they’re definitely more expensive, but they seriously last for years! I love a printed bikini for vacation, if I have to pack only one (although a second favorite may sneak into my luggage…) because a fun print just feels like vacation to me!
6) A white lace or crochet dress: There is nothing better than a light and breezy white dress to show off sun kissed skin, am I right?! Always pack a white lace, embroidered or crochet dress for a summery getaway– easy, comfortable, with a slight bohemian flair– that’s how I like both my dresses and life in general! This dress can be worn during the day with the gold sandals, or at night to a dressier dinner with the lace-up heels.
7) A heeled or wedge sandal: The only other footwear you need to bring on a short vacation like the one I’m taking are a metallic flat sandal and a heeled or wedge sandal– really, this is me, the shoe-lover speaking honestly– and really, its so freeing not to agonize over which shoes for which outfit– the sandals and heeled lace-ups pictured here are almost interchangeable, depending on what type of restaurant/bar/brunch/event you’re going to– these particularly suede lace-ups can be work with the romper or the dress. Also, I’d go with neutral colors only for shoes…metallics, wood, cork, natural colored leather or suede, raffia…you get the idea.
8) A cute, casual t-shirt: For those vacay days spent biking around the city, or just to run down to the lobby for a quick coffee, definitely have a fun but casual t-shirt in your bag to pair with the denim cutoffs. This “kale” tee is my new obsession–beyond comfy, and it makes me smile.
9) A light and airy, dressier blouse: This top you should have to switch out with the casual t-shirt– to go to a less-dressy dinner where you want to wear flat sandals but still want to feel put together…I’ll wear this blush colored, silky tie front button down from Joie (who make, hands down, the BEST silky blouses around) at night with the same distressed cutoff denim shorts I wore with the Kale tee.
10) A pair of worn-in, distressed denim cutoffs: There is nothing that makes me feel more free, happy, and “me” than a pair of my favorite, ripped up cutoffs. When I discovered this One Teaspoon pair, I’ve ordered one new pair at the beginning of every summer since. They are baggy and fitted in just the right spots, and feel like you’ve owned them for 20 years.
Gold Leather Clutch: Gigi New York |Gold Feather Earrings: Kendra Scott via Nordstrom |Gold cuff bracelets: J. Crew |Mirrored Sunnies: Wildfox Couture |Oversized Aviators: Ray-ban | Raffia and leather tote: Yves Saint Laurent (old, before the name change lol! similar here) |Gold stacking rings: Gorjana |Orangey-coral lipstick: MAC “Saigon Summer” |CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara in Black | Black Eyeliner: MAC Ebony | Bronzer: Too Faced “Sun Bunny” | Sunscreen: Neutrogena SPF 15 for Sensitive Skin
The only ten “accessory” items you need:
1) A gold, metallic, or neutral leather clutch: This clutch will be the secret work horse of your trip: this zippered and tasseled pouch from Gigi New York will hold my plane tickets, ID, cash and phone on the way there, my hotel key card and cash during pool/beach days, and all my night out essentials at dinner.
2) A pair of dressy gold earrings: I love a pair of gold dangly or statement earring on vacation– normally, in my regular life, I usually do studs, but on vacation, a pair of gold, bohemian-feeling earrings is a staple. This feather pair from Kendra Scott has been pretty much everywhere with me.
3) A pair of gold cuff bracelets and stacking rings: Ok, I can count; I’m aware that this is more than one item– but since I cram all my gold vacation jewelry into one black velvet pouch, I’m counting it as one item!
4) A pair of “fun” sunnies: Like this mirrored pair for days by the pool or with the more casual looks you wear.
5) A pair of classic aviators: These over sized Ray-ban aviators are an old stand-by…you know something is a classic when both you and your 70 year old father both rock them equally as well.
6) A raffia or woven “beachy” tote: This item is a must. It will function as your “day” bag, holding your towel, books, mags, sandals, water, while you’re at the beach or pool or running around the town/city/country/wherever your travels take you. Leather or other materials look way too “formal” in a vacation setting– this is actually a huge fashion pet-peeve of mine– people using the wrong material bags for the wrong occasions! While I’m a true believer in “if you like it, wear it” , leather or patent in 80 degree weather is just not OK. A quick note about this particular raffia and leather tote featured here: I bought this friend about ten years ago, while I was still in college (!!!), back when “Saint Laurent” was still “Yves Saint Laurent”– and I swear, I will NEVER get rid of it. It’s lined in suede with an inside pocket, which is now full of various grains of sand from many, many beaches in the western hemisphere…big enough to carry all my daytime essentials.
7) Orange, pink or coral lipstick: Because red just feels too “city” and serious for vacay. This shade from MAC, called “Saigon Summer”, is the perfect light, shimmery orange.
8) Bronzer: To highlight that sun kissed glow! I don’t really wear any other face makeup on vacation, a bronzer/blush combo like this one from Too Faced is it.
9)Mascara/Eyeliner: Again, two items, functioning together.
10)Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen/Moisturizer SPF 15: Yes, I know that dermatologists everywhere are probably shaking their heads saying “why only SPF 15?!!?” I tan pretty easily, rarely burn, and just hate the feeling of a heavy, skin clogging sunscreen on my face– this is the ONLY sun product I’ve found that doesn’t bother my skin, or make me feel like my pores can’t breathe– all while keeping my face protected.
So guys, that’s my packing list! Hope this list helps you pare down your own vacation items list and rethink your packing strategy– follow along on my Miami trip through my Instagram (@thelittlegoldmix) — full vacay post to follow next week!