I consider myself an expert when it comes to the subject of a womans clothing packing guide for a couple of reasons.
1-We’ve been traveling regularly ever since we were married 20 years ago.
2-I came to the realization that the goal of packing isn’t to make sure that you wear everything you pack. It’s to have everything you need to be comfortable on the trip.
3-I’ve analyzed the reasons and items I’ve been packing, and have hit upon many great truths.
Quote of the day: “It is amateurs who have one big bright beautiful idea that they can never abandon. Professionals know that they have to produce theory after theory before they are likely to hit the jackpot.” Francis Crick
Sometimes the packing part of our vacation could be considered stressful and annoying. Yet once you break it down into these steps, you can get the task done without tears. While my guide is a great place to start, there are always individual aspects that you need to tailor for yourself.
The best thing to remember is there is no award for packing the least amount or wearing everything that you put into your suitcase.
It’s such an arbitrary aspect of travel that most people will beat themselves up for it.
At this stage of the game, it’s time to realize that the best womans clothing packing guide is one where you have all the things you need for the changing weather and events. That doesn’t mean you need to go overboard, but I always like to include variety.
This is not the first time I’ve discussed what to pack for a specific trip. Feel free to explore some of my other articles too.
- Best travel outfits for men and women for a short trip
- Road trip outfits in the summer
- What to pack for the holidays
- Packing for a Caribbean cruise
- My NYC packing list
Step by Step Womans Clothing Packing Guide
This woman’s clothing packing guide can be applied to almost any trip where you aren’t stressing about only taking carry-on luggage. Heck, it might work for that situation too, but personally, I wouldn’t know. I’m a maximalist at heart and have learned that packing for a trip, does not mean I have to be too limited in my selections.
Insider tip: These ideas also apply to men when they are getting prepared for a trip.
Especially with color. There’s no reason you can only take neutrals on your trip. If you love wearing colorful items, then I suggest taking colorful clothes with you as part of your travel gear. There’s nothing sadder than not feeling like yourself when you are on vacation.
But let’s start with a step-by-step way to make your packing easier and less stressful.
1-Start your Woman’s Clothing Packing Guide with your S.H.O.E.S.
Shoes? Yep, they are the best thing to start your packing for a multitude of reasons. Because
A-Shoes can be one of the most important items, especially on an exploring vacation. You need comfy shoes that will work with a variety of outfits, and you need more than one pair. And make sure you’ve worn these shoes a lot before taking them on vacation. Nothing is worse than having blisters on your trip.
Insider tip: My podiatrist explained that it’s much better for your feet to vary your shoes daily. For travel, that means at least alternating between two pairs of shoes for walking long distances.
B-Shoes tend to be the heaviest item in your suitcase and can take up the most space.
C-Footwear is something that most of us are limited in our selection. We probably have a much larger variety of tops, so it’s smart to start with the shoes.
How many pairs of shoes is dependent on how long the trip and what is the destination and activities planned are.
I will say that I take a minimum of 3 pairs of shoes even for a long weekend trip, and usually 4 pair for a week-long vacation.
- Two pairs of walking shoes are the minimum for a vacation that we are exploring and taking tours. Personally, I like to have one colorful pair and one neutral pair.
- I always like one pair of dressier shoes since we love to have at least one nice dinner no matter where we go.
- Then I might add another misc. pair that could be worn for both casual or dressy.
2-The next step is to figure out your travel outfit to and from your destination
The smartest way to travel is to wear the same thing to your destination and then back as much as possible. Don’t worry about trying to incorporate these items into the rest of your vacation outfits. I keep these separate, so I know they will be ready to go.
These are the reasons I have incorporated doing this:
A-Then you only have to come up with one basic outfit.
B-If it worked wonderfully getting through security and feeling comfy on the trip there, then it will be just as good on the trip home.
Insider tip: If it didn’t work wonderfully through security, then you will know what to change up on the trip home.
When I say wear the same thing, I realize that the top closest to your body is going to need to be a different one unless you take the time to wash the original top. But if you know that the outfit looks great with a blue top, then just pack a different blue top for the trip home.
Insider tip: Make sure to wear the heaviest/biggest pair of shoes/boots on the plane so they don’t take up room in your suitcase.
BTW, I have found that a skirt or dress can be the best option for airplane travel as I’ve talked about in the past. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it, especially for the bathroom convenience.
I’m talking about a flowy and/or stretchy skirt that is basically midi length.
3-Evaluate your plans and start trying on outfits
My biggest tip for any woman’s clothing packing guide is to make sure you try on the majority of your outfits. You may think that you know how a pair of pants will look with a certain top, but try it on anyway. I have learned that if you take the time to try it on, you may realize that you need a certain bra, or other specific detail that you hadn’t thought about.
Plus then you can start accessorizing and make sure the shoes chosen in step #1 are going to work.
I shared my packing list that I kept printed out and in my empty suitcase recently. I use this more for my non-clothing items as now that I take the extra time to try on outfits, I rarely need the clothing portion.
Insider tip: I always take slippers and/or flip-flops. Additionally, even if it’s not a beach vacation, I will take some kind of coverup/kimono/robe that can be used for going to the spa, after a shower, and many other things.
I know you’re asking, but what clothing items should I take?
That’s such a personal decision, but if you are anything like me, this is how it plays out in the order I choose them.
- At least one dress (because it can be worn in 4 different ways as shown here). Once I have a dress picked out, then I can figure out the tops/skirts/jackets to go with it in order for it to be versatile.
- 3 jackets or toppers. One of these is always worn on the airplane because it can be so cold in airports and on planes. Even if we are going on a tropical vacation, I always account for the fact that some places believe that the AC should be on full blast. And it’s always good to experiment with layering your toppers in case it’s really cold.
- Skirts or pants. Now that I know which toppers I will have with me (and shoes), choosing the bottom half of outfits is easier.
- Tops/sweaters. This is the bulk of my suitcase quantity-wise. I make sure to include a variety of neutrals and colors so that my women’s clothing packing guide doesn’t bore me. Many tops will be a print material so I don’t have to worry about adding a necklace.
Insider tip: I know you’ve read article after article about having a limited color selection as part of your woman’s clothing packing guide. Yet in all reality, if your closet is well-curated with the colors that look amazing on you, then those colors should all combine and look great together. That means you can take a yellow shirt and pair it with that blue jacket.
One of my tricks is if I’m taking a pair of blue pants, then also take a blue skirt because I know the tops will pair well with both.
Even though I am an accessory queen, I will say that I do limit the amount of accessories on a trip. One reason is that inevitably I will purchase accessories for myself as a souvenir.
But also, because they are small, they can get misplaced easier.
But there are some accessories that are essential
- Scarves. I always wear/keep one as part of my travel outfit. If I don’t need it to keep warm, then it can function as a pillow behind your head, neck, or back. A large scarf can also be worn as a coverup/kimono.
- Wrap. Even if I’ve tried on all of my outfits and have a topper that will work with each of them, I routinely add another wrap/poncho (as explained in #4).
- Magnets/clear elastics. These are part of the Tools of the Trade items that I talk about often. Even if you didn’t feel like you needed them when trying on your outfits, it’s good to have them in case you purchase something new that needs them.
- 2-3 purses. Sure, it’s good to have a crossbody/belt bag that works for your touring during the day, but it’s also beneficial to have a smaller bag for the pool, dinner, or other events. If it’s a beach vacation, then a tote is great for lugging your towel and sunscreen.
- Statement earrings. Instead of worrying about necklaces, I tend to concentrate on a couple of big and colorful sets of earrings.
Insider tip: Take a couple of extra backs for the earrings because sometimes they run away. AND bandaids in case you didn’t follow my advice on #1 with breaking in your shoes.
4-Now throw in a couple of extras
You may think you have everything planned for the vacation, but there can always be surprises. That’s why I’ve found that adding a couple of extras to this womans clothing packing guide can be just the ticket. It’s surprising how sometimes the things I included at the last minute are the most worn.
Even though I try everything on, I will always throw in extra
A-Undies and socks
D-And sometimes another jacket
There’s nothing worse than being too cold on a vacation, and since the weather forecast is not set in stone, you just never know about Mother Nature.
A couple of items that should be an essential for your packing list as extras:
- Umbrella (make sure to get a mini one and always keep it in your luggage for travel)
- Bag for dirty clothes
- Phone charger
- Stain erasers for spills (these are my favorite)
- Extra pair of glasses. I always do this but forgot to mention it, so thanks to my friend, Marsha, for reminding me.
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Welcome to Jodie’s Touch of Style. I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to look great. Clothing and style are meant to showcase your inner personality. So let’s have fun and try new things.