How do you pack like a celebrity? The simple answer is: hire a personal stylist and butler to do it for you. Or you can arm yourself with these tricks gleaned from jetsetting celebs and their teams, and travel with style and skill – no glam squad required.
Celeb frequent flyers recommend careful preparation, especially for a longer trip. Victoria’s Secret regular Candice Swanepoel recently revealed to a UK magazine that she starts a week before the trip “and I edit as I go.” Gwyneth Paltrow, famous for mastering the carry-on only trip, advices in her blog Goop: “The trick is to think it through before you go, pack key interchangeable pieces and clothes that are versatile.” If you travel regularly, keep essentials you’ll always need (adaptors, packing aides such as capsules and dust bags, travel hangers, passport) together in a special box or drawer at home so you can reach for them easily when it’s time to pack. Try on your travel outfits before you go and walk through each day of the trip in your head, checking you’re covered for clothes, accessories and equipment for every occasion.
Pack less, wash more
To keep your travel streamlined, Gwyneth Paltrow advocates taking fewer pieces and doing laundry on the road. “Don’t be afraid to wash clothes at the hotel, a local fluff and fold, or even in your sink.”
Weigh it up
Few women have packed more suitcases than stylist to the stars turned fashion designer Rachel Zoe. One of her key tips in her book Style A to Zoe is packing in order of weight: shoes on the bottom, heavier garments such as jeans next, then lighter (more crease-prone) items on top. You’ll be rewarded with smoother garments on arrival.
Rachel Zoe recommends packing your shoes inside dust bags “to prevent them from scratching against each other. Anything fragile or precious should go in plastic or garment bags.” Other stylists recommend wrapping your garments in acid-free tissue paper (to prevent discolouration) for a luxe, my-butler-did-my-packing touch.
Stick to your uniform
Several stylists, including Rachel Zoe, recommend identifying your go-to ‘uniform’ – the silhouette and style that suits you best – and basing your entire trip wardrobe around it, adapting fabrics and accessories to suit your destination. Your uniform might be jeans and a tee, a simple shift dress, leggings and shirt – whatever feels and looks best on you. Recently, Zoe told US Harper’s Bazaar magazine: “I opt for pieces that are comfortable, chic and wearable. Think: A great pair of wedges, long dresses, leggings, riding boots and cosy knit sweaters.” She adds: “As a general rule, cashmere and jersey fabrics are your friends. In the accessory department, a non-structured hat (so it won't lose shape if you stow it away) and a large pair of sunglasses are a must."
Love your luggage
It’s impossible to find a star who doesn’t schlep statement luggage, from monogrammed Louis Vuitton (Reese Witherspoon, Karlie Kloss) to funky, nylon Tumi (John Legend and Chrissy Teigen) to the current celeb obsession, the grooved, hard-shell Rimowa suitcase (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Solange Knowles, Kristen Stewart and many more). And why not? Choosing baggage that makes you smile (and it doesn’t have to cost the earth) turns packing from a chore to a pleasure, and adds to the sense of occasion. Plus, spotting your case on the carousel is easier if it’s eye-catching.
In the absence of a butler or personal stylist, a handheld clothes steamer is worth its weight in gold – especially if your trip requires crumple-prone dresses or shirts and you’re on the move without an iron. Hotel irons vary in quality and can’t always be relied upon to do the job adequately.
Helena Christensen is one of many celebs who glides off long-haul flights with a flawless glow, and she’s attributed it to the green veggie supplements always toted in her carry-on. She favours a US brand, but most vitamin companies sell a similar product – look for powders that mix with water (ticking the hydration box simultaneously) and deliver a hit of goodies such as kale, wheatgrass, spinach and the dark leafy ones.
Reconsider the bum bag
Look away as much as you like, but the little round-your-waist pouch referred to as a ‘fanny pack’ by our American cousins is back, and adorning the svelte waists of travelling celebs. Kendall Jenner, Jared Leto, Will.i.am, Rihanna and a horde more have been keeping their hands free to juggle boarding pass and green juice (see above) by strapping on one of these little buddies in transit. It can’t be denied: they’re handy.
Leave the valuables at home
Precious jewellery and accessories tend to be a burden rather than a pleasure on the road, as Kim Kardashian discovered in a Paris hotel last year. Take inexpensive substitutes.
Written by By Amy Cooper