For a trip to California, the author filled a standard-sized carry-on with a tightly edited collection of basics meant to be mixed, matched and worn more than once.


Pants: three pairs ( jeans, yoga, capri)

Tops: two camisoles, four T-shirts, one sports style

Sweater: one cardigan

Skirts: two maxi styles

Dress: one printed shift

Shoes: sneakers, ballet flats, sandals

Scarves: two

Jackets: denim, leather

Other: PJs, underwear, socks and jewelry


• Pack more tops than anything else, since they're easy to put on with the same pants several days in a row.

• Bring a glittery bag or a top, and you can fancy up almost anything.

•  A maxi skirt can be so versatile: it can be casual or formal, or pulled up to become a strapless dress.

 A dress is an outfit unto itself, so putting at least one in your bag assures you'll look chic on a dinner date with that handsome stranger. Just make sure it matches the shoes you pack.

• Think of a scarf as your travel BFF, a multi-use piece that works as a mini-blanket on a cold airplane, a shawl over a bare dress for a night out, or a French-girl-cool accessory to change up a plain black dress.