One of the old lessons they used to teach at Vogue was how to pack a suitcase. I’m not sure they still do it but my first tutor was Anna Harvey, then the Vogue Fashion Editor who steered Princess Diana into choosing an appropriate wardrobe – so I learned from the best.
Anna packed a case for a fashion shoot I was styling and I couldn’t believe how many changes of outfit she managed to get into a tiny carry-on case. It was so exquisitely packed flat that I had more than a dozen choices for the model when I got to the location and a hell of a job getting it all back into the same case for the return journey.
More recently I’ve had tips from Nancy Pilcher ex-Editor in Chief of Australian Vogue who I’ve travelled with all over Asia and who manages to conjure any number of outfits, day and evening, as well as matching accessories, bags and watches out of her one suitcase like a never ending Pandora’s box of tricks.
Lessons in packing may sound quaint but it’s incredible how much you can slot into the tiniest space if you know how. I don’t do that rolling up thing- I lay everything as flat as it will go to the edges of the case and put tissue paper in between it all. (Anal maybe but I don’t have to spend time ironing anything so worth the initial effort). I force myself to economise on shoes.
That’s the tricky bit. I have a friend who travels with an extra case just for shoes. And he’s male not female. I aim for three pairs max. Not easy.
The one thing I don’t economise on is products. You can never get your favourite shampoo/conditioner/suncream/moisturiser/serum when you get to the other end. In my experience holiday destinations have the worst products unless they’re international cities. Anyway- who wants to spend their spare time shopping for basics?
I wrap products in waterproof sponge bags and often put them inside a ziplock just in case.
I often take my This Works skin deep dry leg oil, or deep sleep bath oil and I couldn’t bear them to have leaked all over my stuff. One of the most important things about the new in transit range was that the packaging was tough and leak proof and even better it could go into any hand luggage because each of the five products are 100mls or less. I now take all five on every trip.
Perhaps its because I travel so regularly that I have come round to planning. Being spontaneous and throwing a few things into a case at the last minute sounds wonderful. But I can relax far more easily and work better if I know I’ve got a moisturiser and an SPF that I trust safely in my makeup bag and those early Vogue packing tips over the years have helped me get the whole process down to a fine art.