Sunday 17th December 2017
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Taking requests: A few things I never travel without

“Would love to see a post on what you wear and carry with you when you travel and what you pack for your stay/how you organize things,” writes a reader named MP. So let’s start with the one item that always goes in my carry-on no matter where I’m traveling: a silk-and-cashmere scarf from Chan Luu, because—and we can all say this together because I’ve said it so many times—it’s the perfect weight (nicely light), and airplanes can be temperature torture chambers and I chill easily.

I am committed being a carry-on person, even if I’m going to be away for a while, because it is my philosophy that we always wear the same few things on vacation, and it’s just a question of accurately predicting what those items are going to be. Right now I’m liking this suitcase from Away, which I got before my Miami trip over the winter. It’s relatively lightweight and you can cram  an awful lot into it.

A brand-new acquisition:this tote from my pal Fabiana Trosman of Not Rational. I like how the camo print is nice and dark—it doesn’t clash  if I’m wearing a print. And it was Fabiana’s idea to place a star next to my monogram, which I think it’s aces.

I can’t read anything too serious on vacation, and definitely not on the plane: Samantha Irby is stupidly hilarious, a little dark, and very smart. And her essays go down easy.

If the weather is warm where I’m headed, I always take along at least one of my Maria Cornejo silk jersey dresses. They are eminently cool and flattering and just so easy. Here’s my most recent acquisition.

If I’m going to be somebody’s houseguest or,  will be seeing people first thing in the morning before coffee (as was the case in Italy), I bring my Emerson Fry caftan, because it’s super-comfortable for sleeping and suitably modest.

As far as what I wear on the plane goes, I play it simple: for the trip to Italy I wore these Nili Lotan trousers.

And a sized-up striped button-down.

And clogs, because they’re so easy on, easy off at security (you do have to walk barefoot for a few feet, which is a little unsanitary-seeming, but I’ve gotten used to it).


Posted on August 9th, 2017 36 Comments

36 Responses

  1. y.k. says:

    that tote is perfection – the dark camo as you say, the font , the colors of the stripe&what appears to be the heavy weight of the leather. it’s on my short list of next birthday presents. er, for me.

  2. Mindy! says:

    Do you ever wear flight compression stockings on your long haul flights (4 hours or more) to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis? I do and my biggest problem is finding a cute outfit as I don’t like the look of trouser socks with shoes. Boots or booties work but I don’t usually need them at my destination. Not the biggest problem in the world I know, but the struggle is real!

    • Eloise says:

      Check these compression socks out – not high fashion, but at least a bit cheerier – and a bit easier to get on!! (I usually wait till I get on the plane to put them on- not a pretty sight, but these are easier!)

    • Nicole says:

      I do! I’m a distance runner, and I bring my CEP socks and slip them on right before I get on the flight. I just went to India, and had no issues (total travel time with layover was 26 hours each way). I usually wear Lulu joggers and slip on sneakers to fly. The socks are a non issue. I take them off just before I land.

    • Viajera says:

      I like compression socks, and I wish I could find mine. I got them I think at a drugstore and they worked really well.

      Do you-all keep them on for so little time because you find them uncomfortable? Just curious. I admit it has been a while but I don’t remember them being annoying, though I could be wrong. Sometimes I wear them shopping. Mine were plain black which may be why I can’t find them – they blend!

      I am in the market for some to give as a gift. I tried to go high-end at an outdoor equipment store but the salespeople were all too young to know anything about them, plus they ended up being the wrong size. I need plain ones because they are for a male relative. Maybe it will be back to the drugstore.

  3. suz says:

    Surprised clogs aren’t on the TSA “no” list 🙂
    These are great picks, particularly that dress and the scarf/wrap.

    Getting the book now.

  4. Kimberly says:

    That caftan is beautiful! (But at 5 foot it would probably dwarf me)

    • c.w. says:

      Kimberly, I purchased the Emerson Fry caftan and it is beautiful, but at 5’2″ it now belongs to my 5’9″ daughter. (sigh)

      • Christine says:

        I’m 5’2 and have been hemming and hawing about that Emerson Fry caftan for years ever since seeing it on the first time on this blog, so thanks for the petite feedback!

  5. M.E. says:

    I love this. I’m reading this on a layover. I’ve got my cashmere scarf, my fave. I also love noise canceling headphones, lavender oil, and throw in a cashmere beanie if it gets super chilly. My headphones are a bit worn out, and I’m hoping to get the Cocoon ones soon. 💗

    • Amy says:

      Yes!!! to noise cancelling headphones, always! I’m a longtime Bose user but will check out Kokoon, thanks…..also a fan of compression sox for long hauls. And just tried a new tip: fill a lightweight toilet kit or pouch with in-flight necessities and hang from tray top or seat in front: no more awkward rummaging during the flight! Finally, I also pack tons of herban essentials or EO towelettes to wipe down tray table,etc.

  6. DeDe says:

    That tote! I am in awe of it. Also, I got that very suitcase for a trip after you recommended it a few months back and you’re right – a girl can get a truly impressive amount of shit in there. Twentyhundred Chan Luu scarves, even, should that ever be necessary.

    Sam Irby’s book is on my short list right now – I’ve been a fan of her blog for years and am thrilled for her that she’s got an NYT bestseller with this one (and a TV show in development, apparently?!?! With Ilana Glazer?!?!?!? No amount of punctuation can adequately express my glee!!!!!!!!!).

  7. Eloise says:

    That tote is droolworthy. Unfortunately, so is the price tag. Sigh.

  8. Susanna says:

    I love my Emerson Fry caftan, too, though it’s never occurred to me to sleep in it. But I would like to know whether you, Kim, and others consider the caftan appropriate as street attire (as opposed to beach/loungewear), even though EF seems to bill them as such. On a steamy NYC summer afternoon, it’s so tempting–but I don’t know whether I can get away with it.

    • Leslie says:

      Yes — at least, this woman looks incredible:

      the high-end accessories help — and the attitude.

      • Christine says:

        That looks like a Pero caftan. I love their stuff, and they seem to work for a shorty such as myself, but they never go on sale, alas!!

    • Tara says:

      I am so glad to see some real-life insights–I love the look of the EF caftan, seen first on this blog when Kim featured it…but as a non supermodel I didn’t know if it would just be a rather spendy sack. I have almost pulled the trigger so many times, maybe I should just go for it and see!

    • Debra K says:

      The caftan look works for me if it hits above the ankle and isn’t too billowy, see through or super brighly patterned. More towards Moroccan and less towards Palm Beach seems to be the sweet spot.

  9. Alexa says:

    That tote is absolutely fabulous.
    And out of my league, price-wise. Still, it’s nice to have something to fantasize about.

  10. E says:

    Good Morning
    Is your tote the Mini? Looks more square with shorter handles than what comes up in your link. Can you wear on your shoulder. Thank you

  11. Suzanne says:

    Great post! I’m a flight attendant & live out of my carry on. Yes to the big scarf, closed toe shoes are a good idea, have a small kit with meds/decongestant/lozenges just in case you have troubles with your ears and baggies to contain product leaks. Remember to drink water! Safe travels!

    • Heather says:

      Great reminder re water. I always bring my mini-Nalgene empty, and fill once I get through security. (My local airport has a water bottle filling station.) I resent paying $6 or wjhatever for bottled water.

  12. SC says:

    Just got back from travel – packed light – missed all my good clothes and want to burn everything I’ve been wearing over and over.

  13. Velma says:

    I was in No.6’s neighborhood yesterday, so I popped in and bought a pair of Old School in clover suede; they are the most divine green. White jeans now, anything autumnal later. I have always avoided clogs: narrow foot and they always felt too heavy. But, now I might be converted and become a No. 6 devotee too.

  14. Elle says:

    Love these comments!

    • Jenny says:

      Me too! For an upcoming trip to Italy, I bought compression socks and (gulp) two giant, nubbly, woolly scarves for the plane on these recommendations ( is my preference — durable, not-itchy, snag-resistant with a bouncy texture). And I’m about to pull the trigger on Kokoon headphones! I may have to stop reading the blog while my bank account recovers.

  15. Tara says:

    One more tip that is totally Captain Obvious yet I fall prey more frequently than I should: Don’t pack at the last minute! We just got back from the trip of a lifetime–5 weeks mostly in Italy with some time in Switzerland, France, England and Iceland. I was proud of getting everything in my smallish carry-on bag but it was so jam-packed it was a pain in the neck. Granted we needed clothes for heat and cold so that made it trickier but I definitely could have been a better editor/purger and not had to wrestle with that darn bag (again MY fault, not the bag!) every time we moved from point A to point B! Leave some space for a cool travel find–there were sales all over Italy in July but I didn’t even look as there was no way I could cram anything else in my bag. Happy travels.

  16. Heather says:

    Just wanted to tell you that I’ve now bought THREE things from Fabiana at NOT RATIONAL! A “straight” glasses case, a customized glasses case and now — she is making a tote for me with artwork I supplied.

    She’s wonderful!