What Did You Pack?

Each time I go on a trip, I get lots of questions about how I packed, what I took, what type of luggage I use, and how I fit it in the allowed space. Today I am sharing all that with you from our wine country trip.

I wear the bulkiest items while traveling to save space in my luggage. The white linen Nine West jacket was found on a sale rack at Stein Mart a couple of years ago. I never buy anything on sale unless I would have purchased it at full price. Impulse purchases made only because they were at a low price were too often mistakes. I rarely wore them, so they added to my stress. Never purchase anything you have to talk yourself into buying. When we settle for “just OK” repeatedly, we end up with a closet full of things we don’t love. Wait until you find that perfect item that looks great on you and works with your lifestyle. We don’t need a lot of clothes, but we can always look sharp if we make wise choices.

The black and white striped Travelers tank was from Chico’s last year. Stripes are almost the only print I wear now. The jeans are from J.Jill a couple of years ago. They were a good investment because I have worn them many times. They are lightweight and very comfortable.

The sold-out top above is by Clara Sunwoo, but there are similar styles at My Fair Lady. I love the color and the flirty little ruffle at the sleeve. When it is too hot for layers, I wear a simple top with a long necklace and lightweight white pants with a wide, smooth waistband. The jeans are by the Liverpool Jeans Co. The orange crossbody bag, worn as a clutch, is by Dooney & Bourke. The shoes are by Ralph Lauren.

I wore the white jeans again for a few hours on the second day with a navy crepe knit top. That is the same Dooney & Bourke orange bag worn as a shoulder bag. Since we would be doing lots more walking in the sun, I wore the flat Born sandals and a Scala straw hat.

Hampton Inn hotels offer a free breakfast every morning. When I went down to the lobby to get more coffee or tea and as we enjoyed our oatmeal and fruit breakfast, I wore the jeans, one of the tank tops, and one of the cardigans with a silk scarf since I am often too cold in air-conditioned spaces. All of the tank tops I took on this trip are from Chico’s. The gray cashmere sweater is old from J.Jill.

On Saturday evening, we had a beautiful meal at the Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards. I wore the white linen jacket with navy crepe knit pants and a matching top.

On the way home from Dobson, we stopped in Blowing Rock to enjoy a scoop of ice cream while relaxing on a bench in the shade.

On our return travel day, I wore the lightweight navy cardigan I found on sale at Chico’s last year with the gray tank top and the white jeans. The salmon color Dooney & Bourke tote is the Pebble Grain Small Lexington Shopper. The bras I wear every day are either the Ultimate or the long Tankee from Shapeez.com. The only colors of underwear I buy are nude or black. White always shows through your clothes. The Soma vanishing edge panties here are so comfortable, and they never show under my clothes. My favorite pajamas are the flannel back satin from Miss Elaine here.

When you find your best style and know what looks good on your shape, getting dressed each day is effortless. I am certainly not a professional, but I share what I have learned in the hopes that it helps to simplify and improve your life. My fashion goals are to look my best, dress appropriately, and be comfortable. The latest trends mean nothing to me, and I rarely shop for anything new.

The video below shows you how I packed for the trip. (Never use felted hangers that don’t swivel in a video.) Have a beautiful day!


  1. Love your style and all the information you have shared. You are so inspiring. Thank you!
    My 68th birthday is coming up and everything I have learned from you keeps me looking stylish and feeling young.

  2. A great lineup of looks for home or travel and polished which is a travel challenge. Another great trip!

  3. Always informative Susan! These are great tips for travel. I am in the process of packing for two weeks in France with a carry on only so find this very helpful. Thank you.

  4. Bravo! Great informative post. The link you provided described the white jeans as super skinny? I thought perhaps you bought the Meredith style white jeans rather than the Sienna.

  5. This was so helpful, Susan. I will be packing this weekend for a one week trip to our favorite beach in New Jersey and then at the beginning of October we have planned a 2 week trip to New England. Your tips and tricks have really helped me to take less clothing and mix and match outfits. I used to take so many clothes and never wore half of them! You have taught me so much about style and I really appreciated the “unpacking” video. Thanks!

  6. How do you take care of your white jacket? I have one but I’m scared to take it to the cleaners because I’m afraid it’ll come back dingy. Thanks

    1. I used to take my white jackets to the cleaners a couple of times a year. After a while, I noticed the dingy you mention. Now I air them out after each wearing, spot clean as needed and use Fabreez when necessary. I rarely visit the Dry Cleaners.

  7. I have been following your blog for about 5 years. I have enjoyed your style journey through the years. I am 67 now and partially retired. I became a master gardener and Deputy Voter Registrar so I stay busy. I foster rescue dogs too for Texas Sporting Breeds Rescue. I find we share a similar taste in clothes. I shop at Nordstrom and Chico’s mostly. My favorite outfit that you wore was the J Jill cashmere sweater and the jeans and scarf. I find that I have bought many of the same clothes that you purchased. I have 5 Dooney & Bourke bags and they never show wear and are always in style. (I have a handbag and shoe fetish!) thank you for always brightening my day. BTW, we took a trip in our convertible last fall from Texas to North Carolina . I thought of you when we toured the Biltmore and sampled their wines. And we were enchanted with the Smoky Mountains and Nashville area. Have you been to Arrington Vineyards?

  8. Lovely outfits- I can duplicate the stripe top outfit in a flash, with clothes I already own! Can I add that I truly appreciate that when you show things you’ve bought, that they are not super expensive ‘designer’ clothes? Those of us who would rather direct our dollars elsewhere but still want to look nice and classy love that! There’s no way I can justify spending $180.00 on a pair of crepe pants that I can buy elsewhere for 80.00. If well cared for, they last as long. So thank you for showing that simple solid colors, accessorized well, are classics.

  9. Hi Susan, thank you for this post and video. I have a problem with tanks tops riding up. Do you ever encounter this? BTW, I’m asking because my shape and size is almost exactly yours. The problem is worse when using tanks as a bottom layer in the winter. Hope you have some ideas. Thanks.

    1. I have been known to tuck my tank tops into my undies when they are the bottom layer to stay warm. I don’t have the same issue when wearing them under a jacket with jeans.

  10. Thank you so much for this helpful post. Can you please address how you would handle laundry that needs to be washed or dry cleaned when travelling by air with one piece of luggage and you want to keep it separate from other items such as accessories, books, glasses, etc.

    1. I am cautious as I wear the items and only wear them for about three or four hours at a time. As soon as I get back to the hotel, I hang them up to air out and so that they don’t wrinkle. I always turn jackets inside out and let them rest on the back of a chair for the night. If I get a spot, I use a cold, wet washcloth to spot clean and hang the item to dry. If clothing becomes wrinkled, I hang them on the back of the door while I take a shower. (My showers are hot enough to steam the wrinkles out of an elephant since that is the only time I am warm for the whole winter.)

  11. I love these posts and videos because it also serves as a capsule wardrobe for a week. Your site has been the most helpful as I have been trying to find my style and new lifestyle wardrobe and stay stylish and comfortable.
    Thank you for doing this.

  12. Love those Ralph Lauren shoes but they didn’t have my size left. We’re going for a quick trip to Galveston for our anniversary. I’m going to use your hints when I pack.

  13. I find that when I fly I pack with great care and planning. However, when the trip is by car I tend to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Chico’s tanks are the best and I try to stock up when they are on sale. Loved this blog, thank you.

  14. Great video. Loved the idea of an “unpacking” vlog. Your tips about keeping a small and coordinating color palette are what I need to remember for my trips.

  15. Hi Susan,
    I’m going to my 50th High School Reunion in late October.
    The dress is casual – not cocktail. Please send me some ideas of what to wear.
    I’m 5’4″ and usually wear a size 6.

    1. Wear something that you have found to be comfortable that makes you feel very confident. Limit your look to no more than two solid colors, add a beautiful necklace with small stud earrings, wear a good watch with a complementary bracelet and your wedding jewelry only. Carry a structured handbag, wear good shoes, have fun!

  16. I know navy and black can be worn together but I do not feel comfortable combining them. I would wear a navy striped top with the navy outfit. I am 75 and live year round in the hot southwest but our winters are cool enough for the jackets and cardigans. I have revamped my closet, hair and makeup thanks to you. I am enjoying my age.

  17. Hi Susan. I have an odd (maybe personal) question…do you find the Shapeez bra to be hot? I am quite intrigued by them, but hesitate to order since it is quite warm in my area.
    On another note, have you ever eaten at Harvest Table in Meadowview, Virginia? If not, you should check it out!!
    Thanks so much,

    1. I have not noticed the Shapeez bra any more than other bras. If anything the long smooth back is less hot than the banded versions. I have eaten at the Harvest Table several times and I always find it to be delightful.

  18. You are so well organized. The blue top is my favourite. Thanks for your both buying and packing tips.
    Seize the day,

  19. Great tips and think the comparison photos as well as the video is a brilliant way to show your dressing method. Looking forward to more like this.

    You briefly mentioned wearing crystal studs with a statement necklace – would you also do this with a silver stud for more casual moments ?
    What could you wear as an alternative to the Breton stripe top ? I have seen a vertical stripe soft draping pop over style blouse (so no buttons a bust level ) which I think might work – as I don’t wear horizontal stripes.
    As regards small travel toiletries, you mentioned eye make up remover. Which type do you use… Oil, cream or one you can wash off for your face as well.
    Thanks again.

    1. The studs can be any simple style you like. I only wear them to cover the piercing in my ear. Your vertical stripe top would be a good alternative. I don’t wear horizontal stripes without a jacket or cardigan. I use oil at the moment to remove eye makeup, but I always wash my face as the last step. I end with splashes of hot water followed by cold water.

  20. Yea! I loved the video! More videos, please, Susan! I know they are probably super time-consuming to make, but I love to listen to your tips, as well as seeing you style the items, in person! You have a wonderful presentation and I look forward to new videos all the time…as well as re-watching the older ones frequently! Thank you! This video would have helped me earlier in the summer, when I packed way too many items! 🙂

  21. Wonderful ideas…and I’m packing now for two weeks in New Mexico. My trip covers the gammit from Four Seasons Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe to a mountain cabin in Cloudcroft at 9000 feet above stress level. So glad I have my scarfs and knit pieces from you. I enjoy your advice….September first I leave the sixties and will enter my seventies. I intend to stay fashionable. Please think up something cute for your blog name for 70’s ladies when you get here!

  22. Susan, I really enjoy your videos. Being out of your comfort zone is why they are so real and “unsterilized “ like so many other fashion videos. It’s like I am right there in your home and you are casually showing me ways you deal with packing, fashion, makeup and hair. Keep those coming. It’s like going to a 1960’s Tupperware party. You should serve refreshments.

  23. Oh Susan…love your videos…I feel like my kids when they were little and someone visited and they were curious about “what’s inside her purse”! Like you I’m always cold in air conditioning…I’ve added to my collection of on sale chicos tanks…now I need to work on my purse collection! Thanks so much!

  24. Do you have any suggestions on what to pack for Athens & the Greek Islands? I have been reading everything I can get my hands on as far as etiquette & what to wear but the suggestions for clothing are just far too young looking as I have just turned seventy four. I am also worried about shoes as there is a tremendous amount of walking and I dislike wearing athletic shoes.
    Thank you so much for your articles! I have been following you for years. You are amazing!

    1. I would take dark trousers and a dark skirt if you like to wear them and several lightweight tops that are a style that you can layer a cardigan or jacket over. The goal would be to take ten or so pieces that you can layer and mix and match as the weather or the event require. Any shoes that you know are comfortable for you, will be a good choice. Traveling is not the time to break in anything new. Take the shoes and clothes you know work for you. Take a couple of different scarves to elevate or change your looks. Take a rain jacket so that you don’t have to buy one of those plastic ones on the street if you do get a rainy day. My friend Susan visits Europe often and shares her packing tips. Her blog is here.

  25. What is the brand of the travel tote you show in the unpacking video? You seem to be able to fit a lot of stuff in there! Love your tips and style for us women over 60.

  26. Love what you do with scarves! I have a smallish head and never feel like they look right on me.

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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.