Easy, Effortless, Stress-Free Travel Packing Tips


By Karen C. Hughes

When was the last time that you took a trip and felt comfortable and confident with the clothes packed in your suitcase, knowing you were ready for anything that might come up while you were gone?  Do you find yourself wishing you had brought that pair of jeans, your favorite belt, scarf, or proper undergarments while away?  Recently, I received a frantic call from a client who was trying to pack for a 6 week European vacation.  She didn’t know how to start.

Traveling today has lost some of its glamour-especially traveling by airplane.  In times past taking what might have seemed to be an entire closet was not unexpected.  This luxury is neither affordable nor reasonable regardless of how one travels.  More than ever, it’s important to pack wisely.  Smart packing is the key to having a versatile travel wardrobe that covers all your activities while gone.

Here’s where your packing begins… “Core, Accent and Accessory”.  Can it be as simple as three little words?  YES, it can.  These 3 words are the answer to all your wardrobe options no matter what your travel may encounter.

  1. Core: Your foundational neutral.  In the summer it will be a lighter neutral (khaki, white or navy).  Fall will bring darker neutrals (black, brown, navy, charcoal) Choose ONE.
  2. Accent: Your favorite color.  This is your color that looks your very best and makes you feel fabulous.  Some might call it a “signature” color.  It’s not about taking the rainbow with you.  It’s about choosing the right color to take. Choose ONE.
  3. Accessory: Shoes, scarves, necklaces and belts.  These will be your pieces that change your look and adapt your clothing to different moods. (Be choosey but choose many!)

Now that you know “where” your packing begins, let’s talk “how and what” to take.


Select 4-5 Bottoms that look and feel great on you.
Men: Khakis, jeans, dress dark slacks/light slacks (seasonal), shorts (optional)

Women: 2 jeans (white or dark/seasonally based), dress light or dark bottoms (seasonal) skirt, capris or shorts (optional). 1 Dress (LBD or LWD, little black dress or little white dress depending on the season)

2-3 Neutral Jackets/Toppers

Men: sports coat, leather jacket/golf jacket (seasonal)

Women: trench, novelty jacket, cardigan, jean jacket


Select 1-2 Colors at most that will be your fun color to wear in addition to white to mix into for impact.

Men: 2 white shirts, 1 white golf or dress type polo, 1 accent color polo or dress casual shirt.  Novelty print shirt (strip or patterned)

Women: 1 white shirt, 1 white blouse, 1 white dressy top, 5 tops in different styles (necklines and sleeve length variation) in your accent color, 1 print or patterned top with your accent color


Accessories have to ability to change your look from everyday to date night with ease.  Focus on key accessories in your accent color to add impact.

Men: 3-4 pair of shoes (loafers, walking, dress, and workout) 2-3 belts (casual and dress to match shoes), Socks match shoes, watch (if you are wearing a sport watch you may need to take an additional dress watch for dressy occasions).

Women: 4 pair of shoes in neutral core color (walking, ballet flats, dress sandals or pumps for evening, sandals/seasonal, workout shoes) Scarves in signature color, pashmina or wrap for evening, everyday tote, evening clutch, bangles in fun textures and colors, fun necklaces, 3-4 belts (chain, 1 dressy, 1 casual, 1 trendy)

Stick to the basics above you will create a wardrobe of color stories (vignettes) that will move you stress free in and out of whatever your travel schedule requires.

It goes without saying that you will know to pack sleepwear, lingerie, and toiletries.  Mix and match will be a breeze and you’ll wonder how you can do the same once you get home again!

If you are going on an extended trip…no worries, just add 1 more “accent” color into the mix and you have a new wardrobe of options to work with! As the saying goes “keep it simple” and enjoy your trip!

P.S.  Don’t forget your camera to record all your great new looks and fun you’ll have!

Karen C. Hughes, is the Creator of StyleYOUniversity, and President of Image Assets, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. A Certified Image Professional, Karen has helped 100’s of people learn  what “TO” wear through her online learning community at StyleYOUniversity, live StyleCAMP workshops, her corporate presentations and individual consultations.

Her passion is teaching you how to “look good, feel great and have FUN doing it”.

You can find Karen online at:



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