The Recap

Getting dressed from a small carry-on bag for three days shows me just how few clothes we need. If the pieces are simple, classic, and comfortable, it is easy to create lots of looks from only a few items. Using accessories to personalize the combinations takes them to another level.

On the second day of our getaway, we explored Highlands’ village and drove around to see more waterfalls and vistas. Truthfully, I asked to ride through neighborhoods looking for bears. They are a common sight in Highlands, but sadly, I did not get to see one. I wore a simple white blouse from Express and half-tucked it into the white jeans by Ralph Lauren. I added the silk scarf folded on the bias to cut all that white. The flat silver sandals are by Aerosole. I bought them at Ross about three years ago. That is a BCBG bag from T.J.Maxx, also a few years old.

The styling trick of tucking in only the front of a shirt somewhat hides the lack of a behind and keeps the shirt from looking like a tent. The tent effect is a common problem for busty women, so I wear a belt or layer in such a way that it defines my waist at least partially in front.

Getting up before dawn is my habit, even when I am on vacation. I enjoyed having the whole town to myself when I took a long walk through the village as the sun was coming up. I wore the Bandolino jeans with the white Chico’s tank top and the Cali and York cotton cardigan from a couple of years ago. The sunglasses are by Tory Burch.

We stopped at Bridal Veil Falls to snap the photo above. There are countless waterfalls in the area.

On our way home, we stopped at the Biltmore Estate for lunch, where we saw this display from the Chihuly Exhibit. I plan to return for another day to see the whole exhibit. It is breathtaking!

On the travel home day, I wore the navy crepe pieces again with the flat sandals and the white cardigan tied around my neck. We were so tired we forgot to take a picture of that look.

Here’s another tip: When I pulled the items I wanted to take, I made sure they were the same colors found in the scarf.

  1. I must have read your mind as I was trying an all white look yesterday too! I wore a white shirt with white jeans and added navy sandals and a navy necklace. I really like how you added a scarf for interest.

  2. Susan, you are totally a classic and timeless woman. You belong in the list with Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Chanel and others that knew what dressing is truly all about. You stand out in the crowd because your outfit isn’t a flashing siren from accross the room or on the latest trends magazine cover.
    Thank You for your unselfishness in sharing your insights.

  3. I always pick up a tip or learn something new. I really appreciated the side/back view. I often need the entire picture. Thanks!

  4. On our way to Biltmore and Chihuly this morning, dinner at the Inn and then to the gardens for the evening lighted display – so excited! Will go again tomorrow for daytime viewing.

  5. I was enjoying your post until I came to the part about the Biltmore and the Chihuly exhibit; then I turned green with envy. What a delight that must have been. Hope we see more photos.
    The purse you have is similar to one I own, but mine is blue and not as useful, I think. Sure holds a lot of things. Great for travel.

  6. I saw the Chihuly Garden in Seattle, and highly recommend it. It was amazing. Enjoy your return trip to Biltmore.

  7. How do you deal with ‘different’ shades of white. I don’t seem to be bothered with this as much when I wear black pieces. I recently bought a white Chicos tank from TJMaxx, but it is a bright white and all of my white pants are not quite as bright. I had planned to wear a lacy royal blue cardigan over it.

  8. How do your prevent wrinkling when you pack all clothing items in a small bag? I’m not a fan of wearing wrinkled clothing. We loved Highlands. Thanks for sharing.

      1. I followed your suggestions in the video on a recent week trip to New York and was amazed how well it worked! The other three ladies with me could hardly believe I only took a carry-on and a purse. I carried one extra pair of shoes (not 2) and wore my blazer on the plane. Thank you, Susan! Mix and match works the magic!

        1. Just want to second Cheryl’s comment. In the summer we usually travel by motorcycle & everything has to go into the saddlebags or tied on behind the pillion — no room on even a big Harley for a suitcase! And while I’ve always been pretty good about packing small, I adjusted some of my techniques after watching Susan’s video & can attest that it works. I’m always short one outfit on the bike because when we’re doing highway riding we wear denim jeans, long-sleeve shirts, sturdy boots & leather chaps & jackets for safety, which protect us from wind & low-speed falls but aren’t really suitable for off-bike activities. But I can still get a week’s worth of nice clothing & accessories packed without too much trouble. I’m still guilty of trying to jam in “one more pair” of shoes, but that’s not Susan’s fault. If you haven’t watched the video, I recommend it.

  9. I always freeze when knowing I need to pack for an overnight or week stay. This freezing even stops me from going away for more than a day. Thank you very much for this post – it’s a keeper.

  10. Love the packing suggestions. Do you have any ideas for one pair of closed toed walking shoes to replace the sandals? Most walking shoes look boxy not chic, but I must have closed toes.
    Thanks for all you do to help us look elegant.

  11. We saw the Chihully exhibit at Christal Bridges in Arkansas. It was gorgeous. Well worth the trip.

  12. I am learning so much from your posts over the last couple of months! You put things together so well and so many great tips. Thanks for the packing video above too! Love your style!

  13. I love the huge scarves that you wear. I can never seem to find such wonderfully big ones.

  14. Susan, what a great trip. Hope you both enjoyed the Birthday celebration. I have got to get up there and visit those beautiful spots. As always great packing tips. I always wear white jeans but when I put on the white top, it reminds me when I was a Nursing assistant in High School. I must put on a sweater or jacket. You bring up the great idea of a scarf. Something I have not tried…. Thanks!!

  15. Susan, you are beautiful no matter what you wear, and quite obviously have a lovely complexion that does not require much at all. Most of us do not have that luxury and I’m sorry that you are often advocating no makeup other than a little lipstick and eye shadow. A light foundation does so much for most of us and I see so many women whose beauty would be greatly enhanced with makeup. Certainly we all need to scale back some from our younger years and leave those metallics and colorful eyeshadows for the 20 year olds, but makeup can help all of us look our best, even if it’s no more than a tinted moisturizer.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.