Jet-setting soon? Use these stylist’s packing tips

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/23/17

Summer is almost here, which means the much-coveted time for beach getaways, family vacations and exotic retreats has arrived. However, before you hop on that plane, you need to fly over one final roadblock — packing.

For those of us with a penchant for overpacking, overplanning and overshopping, packing can be a real pain — especially with airline luggage fees continuing to skyrocket. Nevertheless, with some thoughtful preparation, you can open your suitcase upon arrival and actually be happy with what you’ve packed.

Tiffany Pinero, fashion and brand stylist based in Scotch Plains, is known throughout the tristate area for her personal wardrobe styling, personal shopping and ability to help those getting ready to embark on a trip pack their bags with her Pack Light Pack Right service, which stemmed from her own experience as an overpacker.

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“I remember being 17 years old and our family was going to Las Vegas,” she said. “My suitcase was too heavy, so I had to empty it out in front of everyone and put some of my many items in my brother’s suitcase. All my dad could say was, ‘Why would you pack so many belts?’”

In order to avoid overpacking, Pinero suggests that people try on every outfit that they have packed because they may realize it doesn’t coordinate the way that they thought it would or they may notice that the item is dirty — and it’s not like laundry services are prevalent or cheap on vacation.

“Fifty pounds is not a lot,” Pinero said about many average suitcase limits on flights. “A lot of people just throw things in that they think will look great and then when they get there, they think, ‘Why did I pack this?’ Every piece that you pack is valuable real estate.”

~Photo courtesy of Tiffany Pinero

Pinero also suggests that people who are extremely organized or are going away for more than just a few days should photograph their planned outfits so that they don’t forget the outfit combinations that they assembled. She also recommends that this can be helpful when packing for children.

If you are struggling to find multiple uses for one item that you want to pack, such as a pair of white jeans or a specific style of shoes, Pinero advises that travelers enlist Pinterest for inspiration to help create fresh combinations.

In Pinero’s experience with helping her clients pack, she said that one of the biggest mistakes that she sees is when people use too much space for packing multiple items that can be reworn.

~Photo courtesy of Tiffany Pinero

“A few pairs of gym clothes are fine, but let’s be realistic — you’re not going to go to the gym seven days in a row on vacation,” she said. “Instead, bring two pairs and then air them out if you end up going more than that. The same goes for pajamas — don’t take up prime real estate in your suitcase with these kinds of items.”

Pinero said that shoes and accessories are the most important items to pack since they make an outfit versatile, so travelers should leave room for three or four pairs of shoes — such as a walking sneaker, a sandal (for warm-weather trips) and a dressier shoe.

Another mistake that Pinero said she sees people make are not thinking about what undergarments work for an outfit, which is why female travelers should try on what outfits they plan to pack and always pack a nude strapless bra.

~Photo courtesy of Tiffany Pinero

They should also always pack a great pair of jeans, since jeans can be dressed up or down and work if the weather is colder than they planned for. Men should make sure that they have brought proper footwear required for all sorts of weather as well as formal dining.

Depending on the weather, Pinero said that people should pack a versatile piece of outerwear, such as a jean jacket, since no one wants to have to go out and buy an expensive item that they could have gotten cheaper at home if the weather isn’t cooperating.

Women should also pack lighter items, like a kimono top or a maxi skirt, that can pose as a stylish cover up and be worn later as street wear.

Of course, travelers should also not only think about what would have utility on vacation but also what would look great.

~Photo courtesy of Tiffany Pinero

“Make sure you bring something that would look wonderful in a photograph, like a statement piece that you would never be able to wear at home,” she said. “I have a photo of my husband and I on vacation where I am wearing a great fringe dress that really brought in both the fashion and the fun feel of the trip.”

Lately, Pinero said she has noticed that people are utilizing hats more often to not only look fashionable, but also to travel with and protect themselves from the sun.

Plus, she said that she has been seeing people dress up tote bags with adornments such as fringe and pom-poms, which allow them to be repurposed as beach bags and also gives them a fun, travel theme.

If you’re heading out on a trip soon, you’re probably booming with excitement, but packing, as well as realizing you forgot something important or packed too much, can be stressful. Utilize these tips to ensure a photo-worthy and relaxing vacation this summer.

If you’re interested in Tiffany Pinero’s personal wardrobe styling, personal shopping or Pack Light Pack Right services, which all range from $200 to $399, you can learn more by visiting tiffanypinerostyle.com or emailing tiffanypinerostyle@gmail.com.

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