The Good Ick #8: Packing Style VS Outfits
The Good Ick #8: Packing Style VS Outfits

Packing anxiety is real. I know it from your DM’s. And I’ve personally lived it myself, years traveling to many places around the world juggling business, leisure, toddlers or angry teens. Regardless of locale, reason for trip, or needy (but good) family members, it sucks if you find yourself in a panic packing and it sucks even more if you land in your destination not feeling and looking like the person you wanted to be. And what I mean by “wanted to be” is that sometimes locations can make us want to be a bit “more” of something. More relaxed (Bali), more chic (Paris), more carefree (Ibiza), more one with the outdoors (Montana). You get my point. So how do you lean into the codes of a locale without losing yourself or dragging two large bags with you, 80% of which you leave folded for the duration of the trip?

I’ll break this down for you. Let’s go to St. Barths.

illustration of woman traveling to st barths

St. Barths, one of my favorite locales. The myriad beaches to choose from, the food is amazing, and it’s really easy to get around. It’s the place where you want to feel effortless but considered. Current but not trendy. Refined but not stuffy. In other words, chill, modern and classic. But with a St. Barths twist. When I travel I lean into my adjectives - they’re my foundation. But my modifier? The extra element that helps communicate who I am? When I’m traveling, that modifier often becomes something distinct about where I’m visiting. In this case, it takes on a more carefree beachy vibe.

My core packing essentials looks something like this:

illustration of top, bikini, pants, long sleeve, button down, bodysuit, skirt

The goal for packing is that the key items in your bag don’t overlap….too much. The button down long sleeve shirt that is a bit crispy, the top with a high neck that still manages to be easy; the slim bodysuit that is perfect for day and even more perfect for evening, and a sleeveless knit - bonus if its a hoodie. 4 tops, distinctly different, but all primed for lots of usage. When they all work back with a handful of bottoms, it’s packing nirvana.

As you can see, all those pieces that work in your real life, work on vacation too. And if you don’t overly clutter your bag, and your mind, then you leave room to lean into the vibe of your vacation spot - to pick up a few items without losing your identity. Yourself. This is how I separate in my head what I’ll bring from my closet, what I’ll buy ahead of time for the trip, and what I’ll buy locally.

illustration of hats, sunglasses, tops, shoes, earrings, shirt

All the good tops in the bag deserve really easy bottoms that work super hard. Obviously, the sporty nylon skirt is the perfect weight that you wear all the time in the city but is just right at a beach vacay:

illustration of four women in the same skirt

And then the athletic knit pull on pant. Wholly different from the skirt but works with each top all the same.

illustration of four women in the same pants

So if you approach your packing like this, you’ll avoid that sinking feeling when you land in a place and look around at your surroundings. Like you don’t belong. Items that you may live in back home feel wholly off in your new locale. I live in baseball caps, 90s specs and penny loafers. But when I go to a beach locale like St. Barths, tropical and refined, then some of my lived in standbys have to stay back at home. When what you’ve brought works with what you’ve bought, then you will always look like you. I always stop at Mademoiselle Hortense for that top that you won’t find me in at the office, but here it feels really special. Everything is made locally, you don’t break the bank, you take home a memory. I always stop at Clic for a hat or a pair of sandals made with ribbons. Then I stop. I mix everything with what I brought. I feel like myself. Only my St. Barth’s vacation self. Not bringing too much. Not buying too much. Just sun, hiking, family dining (I forgot to mention La Petite Colombe bakery for the world's best chocolate croissants. My opinion).

Happy travels.

Explore Tibi.