Mighty Life List
May 17 2011

Packing Light: New Orleans with Roxanna

Hello team, please welcome my lovely, kind friend Roxanna from Every Day Treats. I saw her recently at Mom 2.0, and she always looks so smashing that I asked her to do a packing light for us. We were halfway through the trip by the time I asked, so she did an “unpacking” light when she got home instead. Enjoy.

Take it away, Roxanna:

DAY ONE

My flight landed at the exact time the opening cocktail party started, so getting dressed was a rush. After checking in, I went into my room changed out of my travel outfit (yoga pants, tank top and a cardigan — all in black) and slipped into this dress. It took five minutes. We all know that little black dresses are magic, and this one is stretchy and comfy, so wearing it feels exactly like wearing a T-shirt without pants.

Dress: Calvin Klein, purchased at TJ Maxx. Calvin Klein dresses fit me well, and TJ Maxx always has them in stock. Therefore, I never pay full price for them. Awesome.
Necklace: A find at a preppy little shop in Wellesley, MA. It cost $15 and I love it so.
Shoes: Naturalizer. These strappy heels are a gold/platinum color and go with everything, so they usually come with me on trips.

This is what I wore on the first day of the conference. I chose a purple top and yellow heels as a nod to Mardi Gras. I don’t think anyone noticed, but it was fun for me.

Unfortunately, I regret wearing jeans. I love skirts and dresses, and since winters are so cold where I live I don’t get to wear them as often as I’d like. So when I walked into the conference the first day and saw so many women in dresses, all I wanted to do was go change. But I didn’t. Instead I gave longing looks to anyone in a skirt and kicked myself for not taking advantage of a chance to wear what I like.

Even worse, I wore jeans so I wouldn’t stand out too much on my first day. I thought that’s what most people would be wearing. What a mistake! I’m always telling people that they should dress for themselves and I didn’t follow my own advice. Bad style blogger! Don’t be like me — pack things you love to wear and nothing else.

Top: Nordstrom, bought off season, so it was 60% off!
Jeans: Joe’s Jeans, also from TJ Maxx.
Shoes: Seychelles purchased at Saks…Off 5th. And they were on sale. Again, I don’t pay full price if I can help it.

NIGHT ONE

After a busy day bummed out by my too casual attire, I was so happy to change into something dressier. We had plans for an evening of misconduct on Bourbon Street. This was my favorite outfit from the entire trip. The night started at Pat O’Brien’s and ended at Galitoire’s, and I was comfortable at both places because I dressed for myself. Lesson learned!

You know how those makeover TV shows tell you to mix textures to “add interest” to your outfits? I think that this is what they mean. I love this skirt because it’s shiny and you can’t tell if it’s made of leather or fabric. People can’t help but touch it — which means that I was petted by many lady bloggers.

I would never pair this skirt with flats at home, but my feet were tired from wearing heels all day at the conference and these were my only other option. Limited choices force you to be creative, and in the end I loved how the whole thing came together.

Top: AK Anne Klein from TJ Maxx! (Are you sensing a pattern? I have an awesome one right by my house.)
Skirt: J. Crew, bought off season and on sale.
Shoes: Aldo

DAY TWO

I’m obsessed with personal style blogs and this is me trying to look like a style blogger. I could use some practice. I was going for sultry, but the expression on my face is actually me noticing that I need to mop my floor:

Housekeeping aside, this outfit is so comfortable. This skirt is better than wearing yoga pants, because it’s missing the pants part. I take it with me on almost every trip. You can also wear it as dress, and while I prefer longer skirts it’s nice to have options.

Tee: Banana Republic (I paid $5 for it!)
Skirt: J. Crew
Shoes: Jack Rogers (these never go on sale, but I live in them in the summer so they’re worth it.)

NIGHT TWO

I wore the same dress with different jewelry and shoes (the black flats) to the reading at the Eiffel Society. I actually had another skirt and top to wear, but it turns out I didn’t even need them. If you travel a lot, invest in a black sheath.

And that’s it! Other than my travel outfit and another set of workout clothes to sleep in, this is everything I brought to the conference. Everything fit in a carry on and it was more than enough. See you next year!

Thanks, Roxanna. You are a peach. If you’d like to read more on Roxanna’s packing light philosophy, you might like this short post from her site. Please let me know in comments if you’d like to see more Packing Light features from friends (maybe a guy friend?), or if there’s anything that’s been perplexing to you about how to fit everything in a carryon. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for packing lists for people who have tough trips ahead of them. Is that something you care to see, or too personalized to be of use? Let me know.

49 Responses to “Packing Light: New Orleans with Roxanna”

  • robyn Says:

    love, love, love this series, and definitely don’t want it to stop! i also love that you’ve pulled someone else into the mix – maybe asking folks to share their “packing light philosophies” and sharing photos like this is a good addition!

    that said, i’m totally willing to volunteer myself in late june … i live in Omaha, NE and we’re driving to Chicago to a friend’s wedding. it’ll be a super short, weekend trip, and i’ll also be 30 weeks pregnant at the time! yeow! plus, while there we’ll be hanging out with family a bit …

    anyhow, love the series, love the idea of pulling other folks in so you don’t always have to be the one sharing. also loved when you’d share your dopp kit and such – tidbits like that have helped me a ton in the past!

  • Ris Says:

    I love the packing light series. It helps me to think strategically about packing and to look at my own wardrobe with fresh eyes.

  • Sara Rosso Says:

    I love the packing light series but in addition would love to see what they’re packing in terms of toiletries.

  • jillian Says:

    I love this series! I agree with the toiletries idea- that’s often a bigger challenge.

  • Kathleen Says:

    Hi Roxanna!
    You really do look smashing! Thinking of trying a What I packed for my Boston trip.

  • BOSSY Says:

    What an excellent choice for a guest light-packer! Roxanna is a beauty through and through.

  • Grace Says:

    I love love love your “Packing Light” posts. Please keep them up!

  • Miss K Says:

    I love this series and want more! Also, will we be getting a Mighty Closet soon? That’s a favorite of mine as well.

    I love your site!

  • Michelle Says:

    I just don’t understand how you manage to take a nail file, nail clippers and razor on the plane in your carryon. What does a girl with constant bangs-trimming anxiety do when she has to leave her hair-cutting shears at home? Nail polish for touch ups? Liquid foundation? ARE THESE SACRIFICES WE REALLY HAVE TO MAKE? I should think not.

  • Alison Says:

    I love this series! Would also like to see the actual suitcases/duffles/carryons. And how the items are actually packed. My mother swore by tissue paper between each item to keep from wrinkling — and that woman was never wrinkled when she traveled! Do you roll your clothes before packing, fold in half or thirds? Thanks!

  • Sarah Says:

    I love this series too! And I like to see what other people do to pack light.

    Can you do a packing light if someone was going to San Francisco? I’m going for 6 days in July, but I’m not sure how to incorporate enough layers to survive.

  • Sarah Says:

    I’m a fan of the series too – not only do I get to be inspired as to how to pack lightly, but I also get to effectively nose into other people’s luggage. Score!
    I’d like to see how these elements are packed to – what size of bag is taken on a certain trip for example.

  • Meg Says:

    I LOVE this series. Keep it coming. You, lady friend, men, all of it. Pictures of how it all fits in a carry-on would also be of interest.

  • Susan Says:

    Love these posts! It’s great to see everyone in their outfits. I used to pack pj’s and now I pack comfy workout clothes to sleep in – thanks to you!

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    Roxanna Rox! Maggie, these posts are so much more fun than fashion mags. Love it!

  • Kristin Says:

    LOVE the packing light series! I’ve been doing it myself for several years, and I just love seeing how other people do it. More of you, more of friends, more in general! (Oh, and I’d love a cold-weather edition. Longer trips to snowy places have been my downfall for carrying on.)

  • hippittee Says:

    love the series, and would like to see what carry on the individual is using. also, because i’m such a nosy parker…am also interested to see packing light products editions.

  • Mags Says:

    More packing light, please. In any and all permutations. Ditto the requests for product suggestions (whether for bags, toiletries of the 3-oz variety, etc.).

    Anyway, love the series! Myself, I’ve at least gotten to the point where I have acknowledged that I am a horrible packer, which I hear is the first step…

  • Sosha Says:

    Oh yes! Bring in a cute guy to do the post :D

  • famousamy Says:

    Yes, more please! All versions are good, and especially nice when paired with the pictures. It’s really helped me reevaluate my packing.

  • Barb @ getupandplay Says:

    Would you consider doing a packing light for kids version? I don’t know if it’s possible but I really want to see if it can be done! (Maybe not babies because they need a LOT, but say toddler age and up?)

  • GirlsGoneChild Says:

    Roxanna? More like FOXanna. Work. It.

  • Maggie Says:

    Related to packing light and Roxanna’s post, I am trying to do some spring cleaning and trim my wardrobe. I would love a post or two about when to say good bye to something (how many black shirts is too many?) and what to do about nostalgic pieces (repurpose? Thrifting? Throwing away?).

  • Sheila Says:

    I 43rd the loving packing light posts. One request: many of your subjects are in creative fields so the style is a bit funkier and more flexible. Could you do a packing light with a woman who needs to wear more typical business attire?

  • agirlandaboy Says:

    That Roxanna’s a class act through and through. I’m off to find a pair of yellow heels now!

  • Tawny Says:

    I love any post about wardrobes.

    Packing light is one of my favorite series. I would love to see a post from a man’s point of view.

  • Meegan Says:

    I love packing light posts almost as I love the style closet posts. Let me see more of other people’s stuff! That might be weird! Don’t care.

  • Megan Says:

    LOVE these posts! I agree with Meegan, I want to see more of other people’s stuff!!!

  • Rachel Says:

    I love the Packing Light posts! I just went to Europe for 3 weeks and got by with a carry-on. Me and that backpack are gooood friends now. I think I was pretty successful but there were also pieces I never wore and things I wished I had. It was a good learning experience!

    You should definitely keep these posts going and guest posts would be awesome. I’ve been working on a similar post for my own blog but I have yet to actually slog through all my vacation photos.

  • Alice Says:

    I like it too. I’m going to a beach wedding in New Zealand next year (I need a wedding outfit that will still look nice after being crushed in a case for 23 hours – eek).

    I am combining the trip with a city break in Wellington and a 10-day holiday in a camper van, so suitcases aren’t ideal. And I have a 20kg weight limit. It is going to be challenging in the extreme as my usual “take everything” strategy is most definitely not an option!

  • a. Says:

    love the packing light posts. always want more, more, more. my travel-suitcase life has been changed in so many small but important ways. As for the packing lists- no detail is to small or too personal. Bring it on.

    I find myself wishing for: plus-size packing light, and also how best to handle hotel-sink laundry. I really hate that dried-soapy-stiff residue thing.

  • jayme Says:

    Love the yellow heels — please tell us who made them. Also love the series. Please continue — only we actually also need a picture of the suitcase for proof :)

  • Roxanna Says:

    Thanks so much Maggie for letting me hang out at your blog today — you guys are all so nice!

    I’m like everyone else, I love looking at other people’s stuff but I’m too lazy to take pictures for my own blog. So keep the series, Maggie! I want to see everyone else’s stuff.

    For those that asked, my this is the closest thing to my bag: http://bit.ly/mKNt3t , except that mine is at least 10 years old. In all honesty, they made me check it at the gate because the outside pockets are so big, so I’m searching for a less bulky carry on. I don’t even use the outside pockets! If anyone has any ideas, please share.

  • Roxanna Says:

    Jayme, the heels are Seychelles.

  • abi Says:

    I love the Packing Light series (and your other fashion posts – I have serious wardrobe envy). I’d be interested in seeing a Packing Light: Plus Size Edition — bigger clothes take up more bag space, and I haven’t yet found the formula for getting it all into a carryon. Great post, Maggie!

  • Christa Says:

    Looooovvveee the packing light posts. Bring ‘em on.

  • sophie Says:

    I love all your packing posts. Having a packing light guest blogger was a great idea. I, too, would welcome another toiletries packing post. I would really like better photos, though, so I can see the brand names and quantities of each item. Perhaps each item could be shown next to a ruler?

    Aiming for carry on only is a great place to start. Even if your readers can’t always manage it as you do, it’s a great direction to start!

    Try this thread for more ideas from frequent flyers who mostly work in more traditional, business oriented fields:
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/women-travelers/812201-how-do-you-pack-lightly-possible.html

  • Megan Says:

    I like these too! I’m a disorganized packer who’s trying to reform. Posts like these help me think strategically about complementary outfits with interchangeable accessories – things that used to make my head explode. A maternity version (or a straight maternity fashion post) would be great. I am now (finally) and when this little tot arrives I’ll have less packing space for me, and we travel quite a lot.

    Keep ‘em coming!

  • Amy Says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!

    Packing Light & Mighty Closet are my favorites! I love seeing what real actual people wear (versus some of the insane magazine suggestions… InStyle, I’m talking to you) and need the evidence of successful packing to help curb my own C.R.A.Z.Y. over-packing. Love it!!!

  • Amy Says:

    Also: cold weather/layers themed PL would be awesome!

  • Sarah Says:

    I love both Mighty Closet and Packing Light – they both are helping me wiggle out of my SAHM uniform of jeans/hiking pants and a t-shirt, especially on school days or days when we’re out and about the city instead of a hiking trail.

    What I’d love to see:
    - a “Mighty junior” Packing Light. I’m particularly interested in the 3-6 age range, but will happily read about any age group.
    - a Guy version of Packing Light
    - a carry on round-up – maybe reviews from your fellow travelers?
    - I’d also love to see a more casual version, but that’s because I do a lot of roadtrips to various state and national parks to see nature and get dirty. So that may be on me. ;)

  • Lianne Says:

    Love it, please do more! It seems in all cases you ladies are traveling with several pairs of shoes…how do you pack them? I’m always unhappy with my footwear choices because they’re too bulky and/or heavy. And do you have any nice Canadian friends so I have some chance of being able to mimic their fabulous wardrobes? :)

  • Martha Says:

    I love the packing light posts, too, but they always get me thinking about how I hate my wardrobe. I wear uniforms at work (at a CPA firm!), so my closet of “real” clothes has gotten smaller and smaller. It’s awfully depressing.

    I’m going to vow to use your Mighty Closet and Packing Light posts as inspiration to buy at least one thing that makes me happy when I put it on.

  • leslie Says:

    yes, more, please.

  • Jami Says:

    Last fall I had a 10 day trip to The Netherlands. It was my first overseas trip and all my things HAD to fit in a carry on. After a lot of searching, I ended up getting the BEST information on your site, Maggie. People commented on how well I looked AND how few bags I had packed! WIN!

    So, yes! Please keep it all coming!

  • Emily Elizabeth Says:

    Yes, keep it coming! Definitely thoughts on toiletries (and brushes, hairdryer… etc) would be fun. I just got some solid shampoo & conditioner (www.lush.ca/shop/products/haircare/solid-shampoos/) to help with the limited-liquids dilemma.

  • Colleen Says:

    I really like these posts and would like to see more of them. One of my requests, is people in warm climates. I live in Florida so apart from Jan-March, multiple layers for warmth and visual interest are right out.

  • Heidi/The Closet Coach Says:

    Definitely keep the Packing Light posts coming! I’m always on a quest to pack light myself, especially once the airlines started charging for the first bag. I think my proudest achievement is packing for a 10-day trip in the winter (bulkier clothes) and still fitting in a carry-on: http://www.closet-coach.com/2010/11/23/what-to-pack-for-a-10-day-winter-trip/

  • monique Says:

    I’m just finishing up a 2-week work trip from Ottawa, Canada to Geneva, Nairobi, and Paris. Luckily, these places are all about the same weather-wise but I pulled everything in one carryon suitcase and a tote for my computer etc.

    Jersey and slinky non-wrinkle fabrics are where it’s at! And also, I give up hair-styling tools and rely on what’s at the hotels or just go with the madness that is my naturally curly mane.

    Ladies, the single best piece of advice re: toiletries is to buy small containers (I invest in Muji containers everytime I’m near a store of theirs) and then use them at home as your normally would until it’s empty. This gives you an idea of how much of each thing (cleanser, creams, etc.) you actually need. You’ll be surprised at how little you actually use. It’s way less than you think!