Meet Diana LoMonaco, designer of the 6-piece capsule collection, Classic Six. She set out to solve the problem faced by many busy urbanites who love fashion, but hate to shop. Every season, Classic Six will be helping you edit your closet by bringing you 6 timeless pieces essential for any wardrobe, styled to create a months worth of looks. Not basics. Classics. Today, she is helping us to think less, pack less, and look even more styled. Her philosophy is generally “less is more,” so as I get ready to take off on another trip (on which I will only bring a carry-on suitcase), I of course wanted to know how she translates this philosophy from her everyday life to packing and travel!
Let’s start with your secret packing tip. Do you have one?
I often decide on my shoes first and plan my outfits around them. This may sound weird because I’m sure it is the opposite of how you would get dressed when you are home, but shoes take up the most room. Whenever I am trying to pack light, I try to plan outfits that all work with the same few pairs of shoes…usually a day shoe, a night shoe, and shoe that I just cant leave without.
What is your preferred packing method?
My luggage is not even in sight when I “pack.” I don’t put things into my bag as I am deciding what to bring. Instead, I figure out how many days and nights I will be traveling; what I could potentially be doing on these days; and then plan an outfit for each. Each day is laid out in its own pile of outfits. If you are going away for 5 days, you will have 5 piles. This includes jewelry, shoes and even underwear, all added to your separate outfit piles. Once I have a plan for each day, I then divide into categories. My accessories go into one small bag, my shoes go in shoe bags (this is a must!) and undies go in another bag like this. I then make one stack of bottoms and one stack of tops.
This is now the point in which I get my luggage out. The accessories and underwear go into my under-seat carry-on with my toiletries and makeup. The shoe bags go into the non-clothes side of my overhead carry-on with any hair care that I am taking (blowdryer, brush, etc.). All clothes go in the clothes-side of the luggage, and I am done!
Is there a luggage you prefer?
Ah, yes! AWAY! I am obsessed. Every time I travel I find a new reason to love it. It fits in every overhead. It keeps me incredible organized. Plus, a two-sided luggage is the way to go, as I mentioned above! One side for clothes, and the other for everything else!
How do you pack light but still looking styled everyday?
Bring just the classics and pack your favorite accessories!
Speaking of, what is your go-to travel accessory?
A clutch with an attachable cross body strap. I have this great little straw flap clutch that I bring on every warm weather trip. It looks similar to this. It is my go-to because it goes with everything. On my travel day, I put my wallet, passport, lip blam, and phone in it. I slide the clutch into my under-seat bag and it is easily accessible for when I need things out of it, plus my wallet and balm is not floating around in a large bag, impossible to find when I need. When I am to my destination, I use it during the day with a gold chain strap and at night as a clutch.
If you were going away for just a weekend, can you give us any idea of what you would pack?
I would probably pack my uniform…A classic white blouse because there are just so many ways you can wear it, and a great pair of distressed worn-in jeans (white jeans for a warmer weather trip). Wear these with flats during the day and heels at night, and you have a totally transitional look. I also would probably bring a light sweater that I can layer, but also wear solo. Maybe it has a sexier neckline, like a wider v so you can wear it out to dinner with nothing underneath, but then during the day you can throw over your blouse or even a bikini if it gets chilly. To layer, I would probably bring my favorite blazer and a few tees. Perfect for day or night depending on weather! Lastly, I would usually add a silk scarf or two to accessorize either in my hair, as a belt, on my wrist (the options are endless and they fold up so small). Toss in that heel, a chic flat, and whatever accessory I am swooning over at the moment, and I’m set!
What is one travel piece that could easily transition from day to night?
A blazer. And it’s not just a piece to transition from day to night. A blazer is a perfect travel-day layering piece, so you don’t even need to pack it!
That brings me to my next question. Travel Day. What is your best piece of advice for day-of-travel dressing?
Slip on shoes! I like to either wear a slip on sneaker, a loafer, a smoking slipper, or my most recent purchase, a mule loafer ala Gucci. I went back and forth with the idea of buying a Gucci mule for years because of the price tag, but now that I have them I wish I had bought them sooner. They are totally CLASSIC and PERFECT for travel. There is nothing worse than be rushed by TSA as you awkwardly try to balance tying your shoes and watching your bags at the same time. Or worse, being asked to walk barefoot to a place where you aren’t in the way to put your shoes on.
One last bit of advice…leave a spot in the first tray that goes through the X-ray machine for your shoes, so they are the first thing that comes off the line. Your shoes will be the last thing to take off (because you can throw them in that first tray right before you hop through security) and the first thing you are able to put back on.
Lastly, is there a piece that no matter where you are going, you always bring?
I have this gorgeous blush pink alpaca scarf (similar here). It’s extra large so I often use as a blanket on a flight, but it’s a very thin, soft knit so I can tie if around my neck when I’m chilly without it looking too bulky. I always feel so luxurious to have it on. I’ve even been know to sleep with it when I am away!