Packing Realistically

Friday April 13, 2012   


Recently I referred back to the book Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style for a refresher on packing a wardrobe. I thought I’d share some excerpts from the “packing” chapter.
Love this book.

Packing is serious business. As a way to add a bit of fun, may we suggest picking a narrative? Having a narrative is a way to streamline what you are going to bring. If you are going for “Urban Sophisticate Visits the South of France” you will not bring your “Hoedown Elegant” outfits as well. It is a theme around which to pack, a way to ensure that nothing makes it into the suitcase that shouldn’t. You may be tempted by the packing theme “Person Who Wears All the Things in My Closet That I Never Wear.” Resist this. If that kimono top doesn’t feel right in Berkeley, it won’t feel right in Berlin, either.

The packing theme is also a way to avoid that malady that strikes so many travelers: Aspirational Packing Syndrome.

The good packer is able to look inside herself and be honest about what will be worn.

There should be no uni-taskers in your suitcase.

Now add some shoes comfortable enough for sightseeing, but chic enough for dinner – may we suggest, yet again, the ballet flat?

Your handbag should be roomy enough for your digital camera and for a few wonderful trinkets. It should not, under any circumstances, be a backpack.

Your efficient packing will leave plenty of room for items you pick up. That’s what travel is all about, isn’t it? You may regret not buying that incredible clock, but the chance that, months later, you’ll rue not bringing that extra dress is minuscule.


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34 Responses to “Packing Realistically”

  1. Sewon says:

    I love this post, Jenny! I’ve thought and over-thought the packing process so many times. I’m a huge proponent of roomy bags and comfy yet cute walking shoes. :)

    • jenny says:

      Ah I’m so glad! I followed similar “rules” at New Year’s & it worked amazingly so I’m doing it again! It really is anxiety-inducing isn’t it!? I thought these quotes might be fun to share + future reference for myself as well, haha!

  2. Mischa says:

    Tim Gunn always gives the best advice; I love reading his books. I haven’t read this one yet, so thank you for sharing!

    • jenny says:

      It’s fantastic. A lot of the book’s guidance I had stumbled upon on my own before buying it. Basically, I wish I had gotten it a year sooner! Would have made things easier and move along more quickly! I spent last year stumbling through discovering more of my personal style. That said, I still learned a lot of new ways to look at personal style + reading an authority reinforcing conclusions I discovered beforehand felt wonderfully reassuring.

      I have his Golden Rules book (LOVE) plus saw there’s a new 2012 one now!!

      • Mischa says:

        I have the Golden Rules book, as well (Seriously the best!). Really?! There’s a new one? CanNOT wait to get my hands on it. He really is the best.

  3. Margo says:

    I’ve been wanting this book for a while and I don’t think I can resist any longer. Tim Gunn is amazing and he always has the best advice! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ru Chan says:

    Thank you for this! I’m not looking forward to packing my luggage for my upcoming 3 months in Boston…

  5. kmmy says:

    This helped! I’m going to travel soon and I’ve been thinking about the outfits that I’m going to wear. Now the problem is the luggage… I’ve got to buy one, but I don’t know which brand’s good ;p

  6. megan says:

    But what if it’s a really cute backpack?!??

  7. Mary says:

    Haha this is so perfect! I’m going to send this to my friend actually. She was fretting if she would under-pack or over-pack xD

  8. Jade Love says:

    I always have a hard time packing. Packing realistically just doesn’t exist in my universe :'(

  9. Lili says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m going to the UK for a month this summer, and it keeps bothering me not knowing how to pack or what to pack since I’ve never traveled anywhere for this long before. :(

  10. Annie says:

    This post is absolutely wonderful! I’ll be going on a honeymoon in October & this would definitely help me decide what to pack. I should get Tim Gunn’s book, sounds absolutely helpful. Also, I’m a new follower :)

  11. Miho-chan says:

    Thank you for sharing ^^ May I buy this book when I’m finished with my studies xD at the moment I am only ready school books -__-

  12. Emelie says:

    Oh man I love posts about packing!
    I always overpack, or under pack. You know, when you reach your destination and you see you brought 7 skirts for one week, but no panties/tops/shoes? That’s me. Every single time! Or I just go ahead and put in clothes for 4 days, when in reality I’m gonna be away for 3 weeks…
    I need to be sent to some kind of camp where they teach you how to pack, haha ;.;
    Seeing how often I travel, it’s really mind boggling how I manage to not have learnt how to do it..

    • jenny says:

      AGREEEEEEEEEEED! Honestly this New Year’s was the first time I think I actually had common sense when packing! I decided to just take 1 carry on for a week vacation and it really forced me to be smarter. Then I get this book and BAM! it’s something Tim Gunn suggests you do to break the cycle of bad packing!!!

  13. rene says:

    interesting post! I should go find the book! and I’ll do it tomorrow since I’m heading out!

    I like how you insert images between the lines too. Somehow it really fits the whole white background.

  14. 3lin says:

    This is my first time hear about this. Great that you share with us. Quiet helpful. Sometimes I just overpack it but not worn all the cloths that I bring along.

  15. Tori says:

    I think I really want to get this book now… There’s nothing wrong with getting some guidance from someone who knows how to be effortless & classic! ;)
    I love the little photos you included in this post too, so cute!

    • jenny says:

      Awe if you do I think you’ll love how it’s written! It doesn’t say what your style should be but instead just reinforces how to really take the best advantage of your personal style and taste! And OMG the chapter on closets … SO could have used that a flippin’ year ago!

  16. Eliz says:

    really great advice Jenny! thank you!!*

  17. Tiffany says:

    Great post! :) There are some people I need to share this with!!

  18. Kate says:

    How interesting — seems he gives advice my mother gave to me as a young child when teaching me to pack!

  19. Miia says:

    yeah packing for a trip is always hard – I always tend to pack the wrong things, too little or too much :(. I should also start packing more systematically.
    Are you going to travel somewhere soon?

    ps: Ive been going through your archives and love how your style has developed. Your recent personal style is my absolute favourite! inspiring every day!

    • jenny says:

      Yes, I’ll be going on vacation very soon ;) And thank you so much for reading through my archives. I’m so touched :) My current style is my favorite too though so was my style in ’08 & ’09 at the time, haha! I always love whatever style I’m in but we always continue to change & grow too :)

  20. L says:

    Ahhh if only I had read this before I went away for the weekend XD

    Seems like an interesting book! I doubt I would have given it a second look judging from its cover hehe

  21. Lokkita says:

    thank you for sharing this excellent guide! I commute a lot, so I’m obsessed with packing light, there’s nothing worse than lugging around extra baggage!

  22. Fuu says:

    I make a Word document of everything I am wearing and taking with me when I pack. I plan each outfit for each day that I will be gone. That way I can mix and match multi-taskers on the document, and then just check it off once I pack it ^^ I use two empty box bullets so I can check things off as I pack them, and as I repack them when I leave.

  23. Courtney says:

    Thanks again for more packing tips! I’m going to be gone for 10 days and hope to take one carry on luggage and an over sized “purse” (smaller bag inside for everyday). With charging for bags this is a good time to learn to minimize packing!! Plus i’m also the type that brings so many things i struggle to wear them all or only have two real “outfits”

  24. […] Also, I’ve been cutting down my LA&SD clothes by looking at sushi-cat’s posts. She’s really smart about packing and uses tips from Tim Gunn’s book “A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style.” Although she normally packs for shorter trips, it still helps. love her blog! She uses and reviews several Asian products (mostly Japanese), and her fashion sense is so cool. I want to dress like her when I’m older!! (Although her clothes are very expensive >_<) Categories: […]

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