this is how you pack exactly what you need

Holiday season is upon us once more! I’m super hyped becauseI have actually planned a couple of trips this year, which means my suitcase will be more than just a weekend bag for a few days spent with a friend. Or will it? Is packing a huge suitcase, 5 pairs of shoes and both a hair straightener and curling iron really necessary?

Having less is seriously cool. I’m no longer worried about stuff not matching in my wardrobe, or that pink jacket I never wear: if I’m not using it, I’m not keeping it.


But then comes your exotic trip, and you think you need the entire asos swimwear department to survive it. (Just a piece of friendly advice before we start: you don’t.) I take more long weekend trips than weeklong holidays so I’ve become accustomed to packing a small carry-on and making the most of what I bring! Here’y how you can apply underpacking to longer holidays like I am this year!

1. Think ahead

Beautiful view of Ostuni, Puglia, Italy. Photo: Kate Holstein:
Ostunia, Puglia © Kate Holstein

If you’re not one of those people that starts packing or thinking about packing at least 2 weeks before you leave, start now. Honestly, this is a huge help – ask yourself where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing and how often, think of what you already have and what should be replaced or bought for the occasion. I’m leaving for Italy in a couple of days for a super casual poolside reading and city exploring break. Realistically, only 3 scenarios are likely: a day out, for which I’ll need some comfortable, functional and breathable, a day at the pool, for which I’ll need swimwear and a cover up and a classier option for the evening to wear to a nice dinner. My make-up and hair routine can be adjusted accordingly by increasing the intensity rather than the amount of products used. Instead of just slapping on some mascara and eyebrows, I might spend longer on some eyeliner or contouring. And then there’s the airport days, where you should think of wearing something comfortable and layerable, for example the only thicker jacket you’re bringing in case of colder weather, and to keep yourself warm on the flight, over a t-shirt you can wear on a city day later on. Write it down, draw it out, whatever you need to do: just think!

2. “One of each” rule

If there’s more than one item for each scenario in your case, you’ve overpacked. Especially if you’re not away longer than a week. I know you want to ‘have a choice’ but when you get back, it’s not those shorts you didn’t bring that you’ll remember, but rather all the amazing gelato you’ve eaten and the colour of the sea you won’t be able to forget! Here’s a great example:

HOW TO PACK: THE 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GUIDE. Replace at least one dress and one swimsuit with some scarves and maybe a jacket, we'd be good to go :):


3. Mix and match

This tip really is all over the internet, under ‘capsule packing tips’, but it deserves to be mentioned! If you pack a neutral colour palette, or at least a coherent one (no bright clashing colours, complimentary tones…) it’ll save you space and a headache when faced with outfit decisions! I’m definitely a neutral lover, with some red and navy stripes thrown in here and there. Most of my clothes also have simple shapes and designs to match everything else I have packed: a straight pair of white shorts will go well with a loose checkered shirt or a tight crop top, for example. The easiest colours to match are white (off or true), grey (dark or lizard), navy, khaki or tan and a brighter colour of your choice, depending on your preference.

MINIMAL + CLASSIC: camels, soft greys & stripes:


4. Small but mighty

Because I love my neutrals, I’ve always found that I could get away with wearing bigger, brighter statement jewellery items, sunglasses, hats, scarves and lipstick to add a lil’ something. Even nailpolish can make a huge difference! So think small but smart, the right accessories can transform an outfit and really won’t take up much space in your case. I slip all mine in a little jewellery bag to keep them untangled, but you could also place them in a sock if you’re bringing some. My personal favourites are a big pair of sunglasses (1), a dainty neck scarf that doubles as a bracelet, hairtie and hair band (2), a big necklace (3) and a cool red lipstick (4).


5. It starts at home

If it’s a stressless, easy packing experience you are looking for, it really does start in your everyday wardrobe. Maybe this is a good time to declutter and start working on your ‘capsule’ wardrobe, or whatever you wanna call it. I definitely wouldn’t call my wardrobe a capsule, I’m just choosy about what I buy. If you already own pieces you cherish and want to wear until they fall apart, you’re halfway there. A good pair of denim shorts, a basic white tee and a versatile summer dress is a good start! My favourite places to shop for basics are COS, American Vintage, Levi’s and believe it or not, Gap has a really flattering basic t-sirt!

Denim daze. Choose your favorite wash in 501 shorts for summer.:

Have a great summer everyone, wherever you may be going!




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