by Sharon Mosley
Photo provided by Sympli
Thinking about taking a little vacation and escaping to the warmth of a tropical locale? Then get set for a few packing tips from one of the most famous fashion jet setters of all—Rachel Zoe.
“Everyone needs time off,” says the celebrity stylist, who wrote the book Style—From A to Zoe with Rose Apodaca. “It’s important to have a special spot you can escape to for a weekend or a week,” explains Zoe. “Exploring new cities is great, but there’s also something comforting in going to a fabulous home away from home.”
Whether she’s taking a break in the South of France before the Paris fashion shows or spending time with her husband on the beach in St. Barths, Zoe says she always wears black when she travels.
“I wear cotton jersey wide-leg pants or leggings and a comfy cotton jersey top,” she says. “To keep cozy, I choose from a fur vest, a great cashmere wrap or a chunky, oversized sweater. Then I have a silk scarf to wrap around my head if the hair goes all wrong or around my neck if there’s a chill.”
The stylist always wears giant sunglasses when she flies, not only to hide red eyes but to discourage chatty passengers seated next to her.
Zoe admits that the key to traveling in style is layering. “It always seems to be so stuffy in the airport and too cold on the plane,” she says. “And despite the weather report, it could all flip by the time the jet touches down nine hours later.”
She encourages travelers to streamline their luggage. “Go with cases you can haul effortlessly by yourself. Resist over packing. Don’t be the amateur who holds up a plane because your luggage is too heavy or is too large to fit in the overhead compartment.” (And who hasn’t had that experience lately?)
Here’s her trick to packing: “The contents of your main cases should offer a semblance of order to what is probably a time of madness in your life, whether the ticket is to paradise or payday!”
She suggests starting with shoes placed on the bottom of your luggage. “I put mine in sacks, either those that come with the shoes or other drawstring cloth bags, so they don’t get scratched. Protect their shape by stuffing them with socks, tank tops, or something else you are taking with you.”
Then she layers jeans on top of the shoes, folding them in half. Everything else gets layered folded flat on top of the jeans. Zoe saves more fragile items for last. She turns anything beaded or sequined inside out and wraps them in plastic or tissue paper.
Lastly, she says “no matter how tempting, don’t overstuff your bags. Clothes and even shoes end up badly creased.” And it can cost you at check-in, not to mention the horror of having your bag “explode” on the conveyor belt!
She always unpacks her bags immediately upon arrival at her destination. “This gives clothes and shoes a chance to air out and regain shape,” she says. “It also enables you to see everything you have right away, hanging in your closet or tucked away in the drawers—including what may be missing before a meeting or event.”
After all, “Traveling stylishly is the height of glamour,” says Zoe.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.