Sometimes the process of packing for a summery excursion can get a little overwhelming. How many shoes should you bring? Do you really need a blow dryer? And how many jackets are necessary?
Relax, stylish travelers. We've called in the experts for "Packed Up," our new series in which top NYC stylists weigh in on the trips they take, the outfits they pack, and the gear that's best left at home.
NYC stylist and image consultant Kate Schelter is taking two sunny trips this summer—to the Cape and Italy. Her less-is-more packing philosophy will extend to both suitcases.
What trips will you take this summer?
"Cape Cod, Mass. and Amalfi Coast, Italy."
Describe your perfect traveling ensemble:
"Mexican sundress, Panama hat, sunglasses (Tom Ford or Ray-Ban), Toms shoes, and lots of sunscreen. In the summer I love mini sundresses but when traveling I like a length that hits below the knee to protect from train or plane seats.
I always have a cashmere sweater to throw on top because air conditioning can be freezing. I'm not a bag person, so in the summer I carry a French basket with leather handles to the farmers market or the beach, or a cotton John Derian Hugo Guinness tote.
Another necessity for long plane trips is a Flight 001 inflatable neck pillow. It comes with a cotton pillow case you can wash. This summer, I'm obsessed with wearing white head to toe—white eyelet blouse with white jean skirt with a fray, or cotton voile eyelet dresses, white Panama hat."
What's your packing philosophy?
"Less is more—as long as you chose the right key pieces. I pack the outfit I'm wearing while I pack since I always need something comfortable. Then I chose one fabulous item—a dress, sandals, bag, jewelry—and build everything around that so everything goes with everything else. Then Dopp kit, two swimsuits, longsleeved 50 SPF turtleneck (surfing rash guard), two pareos, two beach coverups, a nightgown and done.
I always picture what I'd like to put on once I'm there. I get really into what characters would wear in the movies or how I would dress someone in a photo shoot for that location. I believe in dressing 'when in Rome,' as in, letting the location inspire the look. The benefit of careful editing while packing is you arrive at your destination and you don't have to think about what you wear. For work trips, I always pack dresses on hangers in garment bags so everything is ready to go when I arrive."
What piece are you most excited to bring along?
"Bathing suits! They take up little room in my bag. They can be so stylish and comfortable paired with a chic cover up, pareo or mens buttondown shirt. J.Crew string bikinis and Agent Provacateur tanks with a very low cut neckline. Steven Alan men's buttondowns.
I always pack a Kindle with all my favorite books since it's lightweight and small, and my watercolor paints, paper and brushes since I do a lot of painting on holiday."
What do you wish you could bring, but will probably have to leave home?
"My dog, Bear, comes everywhere I can possibly bring him. But sometimes he can't come. Also, I am always conflicted about bringing all my dresses and fashion-y pieces, but in the end practicality wins."
What beauty products are you packing?
"Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 80, because as much as I wince at the feeling of sunscreen it's absolutely necessary for my fair skin. Bumble and Bumble Prep and also the Tonic because they're the best for my long fine hair after the beach and sun."
When it comes to footwear, how many options are really necessary?
"Three pairs of sneakers—walking, tennis, rainy weather—flat sandals for day and night, flip flops for boat trips."
How about accessories?
"I wear the same jewelry every day: gold bangle from my husband, silver cuff from my mom, engagement and wedding rings. Sunscreen is not great for jewelry and neither is swimming (if something falls off). But at night I will wear tribal, colored earrings and necklaces. I also pack a handkerchief as a head scarf to keep the hair out of my face when I'm on the water."
What's the one thing you always seem to forget on the road?
"iPhone chargers, but it's not a problem since I'm notorious for unplugging on holiday."