When it comes to packing, especially for those weekend getaways, many of us are idealists with big dreams and aspirations. I'm one of these dreamers. But, I know how the ambitious packer plotline unfolds, and it ain't pretty. I’m not going to try to disprove the “better to overpack than under pack” theory. I've personally developed some core values for packing smart. For example, if you haven’t worn it in the last year, then don't kid yourself. You're not going to wear it this weekend. I’m truly sorry, batique tube top I bought at a street fair in Argentina five years ago and have been “saving for the right occasion.” It shouldn’t come as a total shock that you’ll be sitting this one out with the rest of my 2013 Music Festival Dust Rag Collection.
I’ve learned to leave the Steve Madden lucite heels behind if I’m going to my brother’s college grad-week. "But, why?!" you ask, Kim Kardashian-West. They're impractical for the setting and landscape! That's why. Teetering around for a week of outdoor receptions? Those 6-inch stilts won't stand a chance against all that grass, gravel, and frat-sludge. But, this spring you don’t have to be that gal who poorly packed, wobbling around like a baby deer on the way to Coachella. Instead, you get to be the effortlessly chic and carefree bystander with a glass of sauv blanc in one hand and mini quiche in the other. I promise it’s possible if we do it together (with Deb’s supervision).
The low-key, seaside destination wedding scenario
Think: Film adaptation of Mama Mia, with Ralph Lauren and J.Crew overtones.
Break out the swim, golf, and tennis wear.
You’ll probably be doing a fair amount of outdoor activities. Accent your activewear with classic stripes, pops of red, whites, and chambrays for a naughty nautical feel. White linen and chambray button downs are great staples for weekends like this. By day, throw one on over your swimsuit as a coverup. You'll look very Streep-esque and the beach club patrons will appreciate your apropos aesthetic. By night, tuck or tie it at the waist with a skirt or wide-legged trousers. You can also just wear it unbuttoned with a dress if you get chilly (This is a Rosemary Sanders original. How ahead of the curve, you are, mother!).
Remember, the vibe of the weekend is beachy casual, not black tie, so keep things light, white, and bright. Wear your all-white look for the social side of the weekend. Not that you wouldn’t do this, but ditch the white for the wedding and don some color. A pop of seafoam or sky blue will look great with that tan (3rd-degree burn base) you harvested today.
Frisky, fun, flirty pieces you'll need to pack for both of the featured weekends:
- Dresses, kaftans, kurtas, tunics, and cover-ups.
- Foolproof sandals, Soludos, and sneakers.
- Swimsuit. No more than 2. This isn’t a VS shoot in Fiji, people.
- Favorite inexpensive sunnies. I suggest 1 pair for the beach destination attendees. This is merely a suggestion to people, like myself, who insist on wearing sunglasses in the water. A 7-foot wave will come, and the ocean will claim your beautiful shades for her sea children.
- Jean jacket, pashmina, sarong, you name it. Shoulder covering, for me, can be a touchy topic because I’m triggered by memories of my mother's staple warning before every formal co-ed event in high school:
“Don’t you think you’ll want a wrap?”
“You’re going to wish you had a shawl when it gets chilly later…”
“Go grab one of my pashminas. I have a gold one that would go perfectly with that!” FYI, I did always end up getting cold. I refused to accept the kind gesture of a borrowed blazer from a date because it would have, somehow, conflicted with my independent-woman scruples. Lesson learned, ladies. Borrow the blazer, or better yet, bring your trusty, GAP jean jacket!
The sporty, spa weekend with girlfriends setup
Think: Times when you’ve run errands in workout clothes but still wanted to look like your fresh, presentable, and ~whole~ self. Then, add chromatic quarter zips, lightweight vests that make swishing sounds when you move, and an LA Dodgers (team/organization of choice) baseball hat.
Break out your favorite workout clothes in fun colors.
You’ll want to have plenty of layers to switch out. This will keep you from getting stiff and staying fresh after breaking a sweat. Perhaps, you've planned a ladies weekend of fitness, detox smoothies/juices, cryotherapy, and massages at Canyon Ranch. Perhaps, you're doing my friend's modified version of this weekend: laborious debrief/walk in the blistering, Kiawah Island heat, then a protein-rich breakfast of bloody mary's and bagels slathered in cream cheese, and intense, "extended sun dormancy" (laying out until you, simply, can't stand another minute of heat). Regardless of format, the key is packing light and bright colors to take your looks out of the gym. This way, if you’re going to brunch or socializing, you don’t feel like a gym rat.
We used Weekenders to pack for both trips. They’re crazy roomy with a square base and perfect for packing shoes at the bottom. If you’re flying, feel free to pack this daddy to the gills and carry it on. It fits in overhead bins, but you may need to ask a strapping, able-bodied stranger for a little boost.
*This is not a shameless product plug.* Weekenders are my go-to gift for girlfriends. I carry a navy canvas weekender and have gifted several in this style. It’s fun to roll up to your destination, 4 Weekenders deep. You feel legit. We also featured a Crown Jewels and Packin’ Heat for your toiletries, jewelry, or makeup. In any case, never forget to pack your most important accessory: SUNSCREEN... And a toothbrush, doy.