Sydney. Three days. Two events. Cabin baggage only.

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 16 Comments

This is not a smug blog post. More a I-can’t-believe-it post.  It all started with booking a flight to Sydney for the Jasmine Awards. Initially I was only going overnight. Cabin bag only? No problem.

Clickety click and the flight was booked.

But then the invite to Kerri Sackville’s book launch arrived and I was damned if I was going to be flying back home just as the first glass of champers was poured.

So back on the Jetstar website I went and click, click, clicketied my way to an extra night in the Bloggers Suite at Chez Woog.

Yes, I looked EXACTLY like this on arrival at Chez Woog. Traveler Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/mamaracci

It was the day before my flight that I realised what I had done.

I was spending two nights and three days in very fashionable Sydney town with a just 10kg of regulation-size cabin bag to carry ALL my outfits.

It was clearly a first world problem of epic proportions, to which incidentally Mr Styling You did NOT show nearly enough compassion.  Choosing instead to pick up The Animal and Dyson anything that wasn’t moving. Oh, you know, for the 100th Millionth time.

Anyway back to me. I poured myself a glass of vino (for the 100th Millionth time that LONG, LONG Easter weekend) and proceeded to pull just about everything out of my wardrobe.

When I could no longer see the marital bed, I poured myself another glass and decided there had to be a better way.

I’ve never been one of those “expert” packers. I like to, well, err, on the side of the unexpected. Which roughly translates to packing as much as I possibly can so I can keep my options WIDE open.

But that dear Stylers all changed last week.

I performed a miracle. And as a community service to you, I have documented it for you.  Don’t worry, it’s safe to read on. I haven’t photographed my knickers.

How to pack a capsule wardrobe into an over-sized handbag

1.    Work out number of different outfits required across time away.  In my case it was five. On one day I would be doing three changes.

2.    Of those outfits, what pieces could I actually wear more than once without people a) not noticing and b) any resulting stench not being too off-putting?  My NYDJ black skinny jeans were worn on the plane, then tizzed up for the book launch and worn again on the flight home Friday.  A black Country Road blazer worked first at the Jasmine Awards breakfast over a Sacha Drake silk dress and the got another outing to the book launch. My latest go-anywhere purchase, a black Metalicus trench coat filled the other coat gaps – and folds up in my handbag.

3.    I did the same with accessories. I wore my Uberkate necklace and Renee Blackwell earrings on the plane; interchanging for the awards breakfast and book launch with my Salita Matthews statement piece and Peter Lang cocktail ring.

4.    Next challenge: shoes. Could I get away with one pair of flats and one pair of shoes? DONT BE RIDICULOUS. Clearly I needed Nat Sui suede booties to go with opaque tights and the Sacha Drake dress.  And even more clearly I needed patent Urban Soul 50s-style pumps to go with my tizzed up book launch outfit. Blogger Magneto Bold Too – a girl after my own high-heel heart – did suggest wearing one pair on the plane as earrings. Inspired but in end not required as I got EVERYTHING in.

5.   I even got in my essential skincare and beauty must-haves.  Absolutely LOVING Jane Iredale’s Eye Steppes and My Steppes for travelling.  These round, magnetised palettes contain all you need from eye colour through to blush, bronzer and gloss.  Too easy.

What I packed for three days in Sydney

The verdict? It all worked.  Well, I think it did. No-one muttered under their breath … “and she calls herself a fashion and beauty blogger” … well, if they did, I didn’t hear them because I was having too good a time, or I was busy drinking a French martini.  I may just do this cabin bag thing again.

Oh, and another thing …

Lots of people suggested that I just buy clothes when I arrived.  Now, I do love that idea and I tried. Really, I did.  But seriously, the line-up to get IN the store at Zara was 30 minutes; the line-up to the change-room was another 30; and the register; probably another 30.  I say probably because the whole experience was stressful. Not my kind of shopping.  I may venture back when things settle down.

What about you? Are you a good travel packer?  Or do you like to have “options” on hand?

Comments 16

  1. I live in awe of anyone who can travel “stylishly” with only carry-on being one of those “just in case” types who likes to have options to cater for variable weather and mood during my trips. My suitcase usually bulges as a result both at departure and even more on arrival home due to must-have purchases at destination. The nervous wait at the carousel, hoping all my treasures arrive at either end should be enough to encourage me to persist with the carry-on only dream but alas that 20kg is just too tempting. I’m still working on the “touch of vintage” outfit and will email you a picture when complete. Oh and CONGRATS on the win Nikki…you deserve it!

  2. For a virgin you did amazingly well. We always take carry on. Not because I’m cheap it’s more that fact that if I have 20kg allocated to me I’m going to take 20kg and then I’m going to pack way more then needed and I’ll probably still go shopping when I get there. So I follow your rules pretty much to the tee. Jeans can always be worn more then once. A nice jacket too and if I need variety I always pack a few extra shirts.

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  3. You are my hero! I am all about taking clothes that can be worn in more than one combinations. and choosing a pair of shoes that can definitely be worn with all the combinations.
    As for cosmetics: I usually take samples with me for cream and fragrance and I take only the necessary make up products.
    For 3 days I could live with an oversized handbag too…but not for more 😛

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      I was doing well on one pair of flat and a pair of heels but the one pair of heels didn’t “work” with both my event outfits! And yes, I’m with you, one more day and it wouldn’t have worked!!

  4. Nice work with the packing Nikki! I’m ok at packing light now, getting better the more I practice but my skill is always forgetting some quite vital. Like a toothbrush. Or underwear. Clever like that I am!

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  5. I’m a crap packer. I love to pack light – yeah I was a backpacker too. But while it’s fine to pack light when you’re backpacking – I island-hopped for weeks with a daypack filled with sarongs and togs in Greece – you can’t do that when you’re a grown-up who may need several changes of clothes, make-up, medicines and shoes, importantly the shoes. So I never pack enough, because I still have the backpacker gene. And then I end up having to go shopping. Then I can’t fit everything into the little bag I brought. Then I need a new bag. Sigh.
    I bow to your packing awesomeness.

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  6. After 5 years of backpacking around the world, I became an A1 packer (mainly because I was the one who had to lug it all around). Are you a roller or a folder??? Heading into Zara next month when it settles down. I lived in Spain for 2 years so was used to having it on tap. I still have a gorgeous rollneck black woollen dress from there – 10 years later! (that rolls beautifully into a backpack). Have a lovely day!

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      I bow down at your packing brilliance. I am not good at it as I want to bring everything. Even when it is a beach holiday where I’ll be in the same bathers for one week. And yes, wise, re Zara. I lasted as long as it took to take that video. Next time.

  7. You are a clever chookie. Traveling with carry-on is so much better than waiting for suitcases, isn’t it?

    I’m dying to check out Zara. Hubby and I checked out its Rome store back in 2005 and picked up some great stuff. At the time I thought it would be great if Oz had a similar store. Yay!

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  8. yay to you NIkki – you did it. and I bet you felt better just jumping off that plane straight into a cab. More champagne time at Mrs Woog’s house. I did the same when I came over for the bloggers conference – hand luggage. What was I thinking? But I did it. Had a bit of trouble fitting in all the complimentary tubes of toothpastes on the way home though!

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      I was thinking of you as I was packing, Bianca. Don’t think I could have done Ausblogcon on just cabin baggage. Even with normal luggage I couldn’t fit all the goodie bag stuff in!

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