A Lesson in Packing

Because I’m taking a carry-on–that’s not a metaphor. (Fine, yes it is.)


When I was single, I wholly believed that traveling with a carry-on signaled my lack of, you know, baggage. And after a brief dalliance shared sage advice care of his mother with me: “all girls have baggage, you’ve just got to pick the one who travel with carry-ons,” I knew I’d been right. So for years, I had this teetering-on-compulsive tendency to fit whatever I needed to take with me anywhere inside a carry-on bag. (This proved wildly difficult when I went abroad, but I digress.) The jig is up now, though, but old habits die hard and with a trip to L.A. on the immediate horizon, I found myself falling back into that familiar hollow hole.

While I was packing at the ass-crack of dawn this morning, I didn’t so much think that I ought to fit my clothes into a carry-on so much as I wanted to challenge myself to this really fun game I’d made up called, take two outfits on a 5-day trip and combat the inevitability that everything will smell. (It’s great in that the name explains the entire game but not many people play it because pronouncing it takes effort, includes more syllables than most people are comfortable with, and perhaps most jarringly–a lot of people are funny about hygiene.)

For the purposes of the series of collage-o-lages formatted above, some of the items in question are fabricated and/or enhanced by the immeasurably, erm, better offerings of the world wide web. The game and total number of garments and accessories coming with me remain the same. And, no, I didn’t pack shampoo.

The details: slide #1 includes the total amount of clothing packed.

Slide #2 includes a T by Alexander Wang blazer and matching suit shorts which I anticipate wearing during the day time with those red converse high tops and the matching grey Acne tee positioned by the suit’s center right.

I am also not above tying that mens blouse from Mr. Porter by Saturday’s Surf around my waist, nor am I disinterested in wearing it as a shirt with the shorts and those plastic Givenchy sandals photographed at bottom right. (Slide #3)

There are a number of fun-ass features re that Etoile Isabel Marant white romper. 1. If and when you unsnap it, it turns into a dress. 2. If and when you don’t, it offers the illusion of a violent drop crotch slash diarrhea ass. 3. It’s more or less see-through so I hope you haven’t waxed! and 4. it fits like a glove if gloves were loose and sucked at keeping your fingers warm.

I plan to wear that freak as a dress with the plaid blouse and blazer layered over it, (slide #4). I’ll also wear those three gold Jennifer Fisher charm necklaces and maybe even hold that Lulu Guinness clutch made of–fun fact–human lips. Kidding, they’re not human, but can any one of you chalk up your connection to this clutch by remembering your deceased land line and the lips phone that drove it?

Slide #5 should suggest that I also anticipate wearing it as a romper with the plaid shirt over my shoulders and the red high tops on my feet. I’ll likely add a red lip for good measure but I also might not, (don’t want to mislead you.)

I may–here’s the finale–tuck the romper into the shorts and wear it as a blouse with one sneaker and one heel and prove to humanity that balance is overrated. And after I can successfully do that, who really cares what I’m wearing, right?

Oh! Another thought: blazer as blouse–no bra–anyone? Also, the ASOS sunglasses are interchangeable and effectively work with any outfit lest they see the dark of night. In that instance, you’re on your own. Okay now, your turn. Gauge your baggage.

Get more Shopping ?
  • I love the idea of packing everything in a carry-on bag. It’s way cheaper, and forces us to really consider if we need a different pair of shoes for each day. Unfortunately, I have never been able to put this into practice on a flight, since most of my trips are 1+ weeks, but maybe someday I’ll figure it out. For now, I often apply this strict paring down whenever I make weekend trips home – one small bag is pretty much all any of us needs for a proper weekend away!

    Have fun on your trip, and I can’t wait to see how you pull off one sneaker and one heel. I’d break my ankle…but I have a feeling you’ll do just fine. 🙂

  • Belén Cavas Hernández

    Really good ideas. Love yellow trends.



  • Belén Cavas Hernández
  • I need to start packing like this more often… Seriously, why take more?

  • amelia

    Living in a city which is basically a glorified stopover, i travel alot, and whilst my toiletries and shoes are streamlined, i can NEVER acurately gauge the amount of clothes i’ll wear; i always pack either too little, or too much. It’s a rare, and invaluable, skill.

  • ni ni

    I want to wear the plaid shirt as a dress by wearing it like a tube dress (I like how the collars wrap around my chest) and then tie the sleeves at the back to make it nice and fitted around the boob/waist section. Then wear the Wang jacket over it. I don’t know why I do this with all my over sized shirts.

  • uyti

    These Isabel Marant Sneakers are exceptional for specialized female who need an exceptional boots to put on under trousers. Welcome to http://www.isabelmarantforever.com choose your favorite isabel marant shoes with competitive prices!

  • rhodawong

    well i love how you are able to work things in and out of all these looks! thanks!


  • Bonnie, Clyde + Marni

    Love it all!!

  • Saakshi

    BALANCE IS OVERRATED. AMEN TO THAT. loveyouloveyouloveyouloveyou

  • Allison

    I actually wrote a post on traveling with a carry-on a few weeks ago. http://asimplestatement.com/2013/03/07/how-to-travel-with-just-a-carry-on/
    It’s the only way I travel and it’s a lot easier than people think! Why pay a ridiculous amount in baggage fees? That money I save goes straight to my shoe fund.


  • Andrew

    A reoccurring stress dream of mine is arriving at the airport and finding out my luggage is overweight. Then suddenly I’m being yelled at by an airport employee and before I know it I have to throw out my favorite H&M crew neck sweater- so I always pack extremely light.


  • my strategy is usually a few basic neutrals, usually in cream or black, and then copious, to the point of ludicrous, amount of bombastic jewelry…. so far, this has served me well.

    depending on length and fit, you could also just layer the tee over the white dress, pair with the sandals, whimsical!

  • cherypie160

    to combat the smell, pack a sheet of fabric softener in your luggage (i put it in a ziploc bag just in case for extra freshness)!

  • Iliyana Licheva

    i can’t pack small – i need everything! I mean everything really….


  • Local & Opulent

    Minimal basics and fun accessories always fit in a carry on!

    A new outfit post/Photo Diary of World MasterCard Fashion Week is up on Local & Opulent.


  • i’m a one bag underpacker for life. granted there have been times when i’ve wished i had one of those mary poppins style bottomless duffles that could fit lamps and balenciaga buckle boots, but i’ll take any excuse to shop once i get there.


  • monkeyshines
  • I’ve been traveling with one carry-on for a while. It is difficult, but it can be done like you described above. You have to re-wear things and style them in different ways. Have fun in L.A.!


  • Riley Nelson

    Efficiency at it’s finest. This is something an over-packing addict like myself can really respect.


  • Chelsea Mac

    Over-packing was my mark in my early life, but now I like to think that despite some smelliness at the end of a trip, I’m a pretty efficient packer! Great tips!

  • Sara Burggraf

    I’m all for this and admire the pyramid of innovation. I’d like to think I could do it too but I can’t even finishing this sentence without taking it back because no, no I can’t. But hey back to that, even if I could make it to the airport with just my carry-on, Manny would grab my ear at the gate (it would definitely be a Manny) and have the elastic stringed ticket wrapped around my handle before I could even say BUT YOU KNOW I’M SINGLE RIGHT?! Then I’d laugh, because I’m so laid back (no I’m not). And I would then praise myself for being so adaptable as find my (probably) aisle seat (I really wanted a window) and now everyone is looking at the neurotic princess who will never really know how to pack. Are you going to be with the same people the whole time in LA? That’s really all I was getting at.

  • Domonique

    Give me a carry on case any day! Leave the baggage at home that’s what I say.


  • Jennifer

    I have a love hate relationship with packing. I love trying to remix everything I bring but I hate that I don’t have full access to my closet lol

    xo Jennifer


  • Amalie Espeland

    yeahhh i hate packing.

  • Cassandra Gentile

    Winter version = Canada Goose Snowsuit and Sorels with the possibility of some long johns…?

  • rachelmeetsrachel.blogspot.com

    GREAT post! Super funny, as per usual, and great advice!!!!

  • Rachel
  • I’ve always thought a well dressed girl with just a carry on was quite chic-it shows she knows what she likes and sticks to it, thus lack of massive suitcase and baggage.

  • I had to really learn how to pack once the started to charge for acrry-ons and loosing my luggage.
    I take two shoes: Dress/Casual (double as a gym shoe)
    1 Denim 1 Slack
    Stuff underwear in shoes
    Bag accessories
    Fold and roll all shirts together. Wear blazer or jacket on the flight.

  • I usually only travel with a carry on. I try to pack the most lightweight clothes since a bulk of my baggage is reserved for my hair and beauty products 😛 Oh! and i also pack every single outfit into separate ziplocks to eliminate the travel smell. My baggage ends up looking like a scene in Dexter after he chops up his victims and packs their individual parts. My friends always comments that my baggage looks like one of a serial killer. lol


  • Wow. This is amazing, haha!

  • OMG! This is a timely post as I have to fly from London to Edinburgh in two weeks with only a carry on! EEK – I’m freaking out, not about what I take but about what I might bring back – what if I go shopping and have to have 2 suit cases on the way home? #white_girl_problems.
    I’m loving the idea of a blazer as a blouse – very le smoking non?

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.

  • Ayelet

    I dont know, maybe it’s just me but I feel like the content of your blog is going down (In my OWN opinion). What happen to the crazy but yet funny stories I love and can somewhat relate to? Now when I read your blog what I usually get are after thoughts on “Girls” (A show I don’t even watch), brief summarizations on your current man-repelling outfits, and what your packing before a trip. And When the funny creative stories I like are written, it’s usually by guest writers like Mattie Khan. Where’s the old Leandra? Cause I sure do miss her.

    • Bianca C

      I agree with the about comment. This blog has been my favorite for a long time. But content is changing a lot. Too much writing and not that many good personal posts. I miss the other blog too!

    • Sabah A

      It saddens me to agree with because I really adore Leandra and I can see her vision in making MR bigger than just her but a cultural hub and because of this will support any direction MR goes, but please less of the GIRLS analysis. x

    • amylewis12

      It seems to be a common theme with blogs once they go big – it’s
      fantastic for the bloggers because it affords them to blog full time
      (which I think many of them wanted), but terrible for the readers. The
      quality and content of the blog goes downhill, something many of the
      newer readers usually don’t realize because they didn’t actually start
      reading the blog until it was mainstream.

      I’ve seen it happen with Into the Gloss (used to read it RELIGIOUSLY and now don’t even look at it – it’s all about their sponsored posts and I don’t feel I can trust what I read on the site anymore) and Garance Dore (she writes maybe 2 posts per month now) just to name a few. On the bright side it provides the opportunity for new bloggers to come out that readers feel they can relate to more so because their opinions and content aren’t skewed by sponsors.

    • AmyLewis012

      It seems to be a common theme with blogs once they go big – it’s
      fantastic for the bloggers because it affords them to blog full time
      (which I think many of them wanted), but terrible for the readers. The
      quality and content of the blog goes downhill, something many of the
      newer readers usually don’t realize because they didn’t actually start
      reading the blog until it was mainstream.

      I’ve seen it happen with Into the Gloss (used to read it RELIGIOUSLY
      and now don’t even look at it – it’s all about their sponsored posts
      and I don’t feel I can trust what I read on the site anymore) and
      Garance Dore (she writes maybe 2 posts per month now) just to name a
      few. On the bright side it provides the opportunity for new bloggers to
      come out that readers feel they can relate to more so because their
      opinions and content aren’t skewed by sponsors.

    • Annabelle

      I love your blog, Leandra but I also miss your outfit posts! This blog keeps on biggering and biggering, but it doesnt feel as personal anymore 🙁 I don’t like guest writers and I don’t really care for biweekly fashion collages or TV analysis either, I want to see fashion and funny stories. This blog has become all about designer stuff, like trends on the red carpet and stuff like that, but I cannot really relate to that. I miss the old blog also. You’re still awesome though.

      • VanessaHay

        I agree. I miss the outfit posts-they used to be daily, and now I have to go to Instagram to see what you’re wearing. #GoodOleDays

    • Leandra Medine

      Ayelet–thank you so much for sharing this opinion with me. I really appreciate your willingness to express what you like/dislike about the site in a non offensive way in trying to let the site evolve and have it reflect the evolution of both my motivations and sense of self, this is precisely the sort of feedback I look for. Frankly, I just never want the content to feel stale.

      • Yes! Feel the same about the outfit posts! Although I do also share your love for Girls!

      • A Mans Point of View

        Although 17 hrs too late (I’m in the UK) I always commend the fact that you read (some of) your comments, and reply to them. This shows that you are still human and haven’t fallen down the egotistical rabbit hole (cough, cough Bryan Boy cough) I understand that the popularity of your blog has awarded you more opportunities/endorsements in life , but don’t lose the you that attracted the us.

        • Joana Suazo

          yeaa I totally miss the man getter to man repeller post! so funny.

  • Reptilia

    I hate packing!! great advices!



  • Time to start packing with spreadsheets!

  • Sartorial Revenge

    Spot on! I always thought that travelling with a carry-on would make me look like I am easy-going, not too uptight or fussed about my looks, casual, effortless. Even though, of course, said carry-on would be stuffed to the brim with makeup, clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, sunglasses that have been carefully selected days before the actual trip because guess what? I’m not that effortless and easy-going as I look


  • i love this little collection of items! i want the shoes, the grey jacket, the lipstick…


  • Leila Daiana Llunez

    Great post! The Trend Upsetter

  • Mariah

    I seriously need this for college because I’m gonna need some inspiration for my seriously downsized closet!

  • SA

    Jfhenfjgheb I’m so excited to see that you are a part of the travel with a carry on club and have been for some time. I feel like whenever I tell people I prefer not to have to check a bag they get all butt hurt and blah blah blah you’ll wrinkle your clothes. But, okay, that’s what the iron in the hotel is for and checking a bag doesn’t insure non-wrinklage. Dumb story, but just happy to see a prominent figure in the fashion world vindicating my travel choices.


  • sarah

    Hell, I’m, in LA right now with a carryon and I smell. Hurray! Let’s hang out in fuckin Abbott-Kinney! People will think we’re artistic!

  • mckenna

    wahoo! way to rock the Saturdays MR

    sincerely, intern you met at the shop/dallas

  • indianapolis electrician

    Really when ever we are tour my Hubby only do packing, b’coz iam very bad in doing it, thanks for the advice which will help me in doing packing..
    indianapolis electrician

  • indianapolis electrician

    yes, i hate packing. hvac indianapolis

  • Ideal Cheese

    I love this concept and I wish I could have the foresight and wherewithal to choose interchangeable pieces like this. I always attempt to pack creatively, but inevitably I end up with an incoherent mess of beautiful clothes that don’t make sense together. And what do you do if you get a massive stain on, say the shorts? Half of your outfits are screwed.

  • kirbybee

    While I appreciate your sage advice, and I can certainly see the benefits to this carry on only style. I’m fairly sure I’ll stick to my ridiculous style of packing, which basically amounts to taking half of my wardrobe with me on any trip regardless of time. Overnight equals at least two bags and three pairs of shoes.

    I like to think of myself as not so much a crazy person but more of a boy scout, you know always prepared.

  • sarim

    Nice post.I like these advices so much.Thanks for sharing such a great and useful information here.

    braided hairstyles

  • Traveling is an exceptional challenge; you wear interchangeable pieces while remaining mindful of the weight of the fabric whilst the effect it will have on your overall load. Converses pack flat, smart thinking. After all, we end up shopping wherever we go anyway

  • Haha I love how you mixed these up. And I vote a big yes to the blazer a blouse idea.



  • The Style Engineer

    I love this! I love the outfits you’ve put together. I’m definitely trying this on my next vacation!


  • chantelle

    I have yet to bring only a carry-on on flights. I just shell out the money for a large suitcase & my sanity. One day though… one day I will downsize.

  • Carol Sabbagh

    Your blog and writing is really inspiring and amazing

  • rachel

    love the white romper! i want to get something like that for my honeymoon in October!


  • Morvarid

    Thanks for addressing an ongoing concern of mine. This is a constant source of friction between me (lifelong heavy packer) and my boyfriend (minimal-to-the-point-of-absurd packer). He puts tremendous pressure on me before the trip to scale down my luggage, and then complains if I have to shop on the trip for an item I left behind. We’re leaving soon for 3 weeks in Central Europe, and I’m know what’s coming….arrgh. Can this relationship survive?

  • YES! YES! Love this. And the best part about carry-ons is you can get to the airport super last minute. Travelling with nothing but a carry-on is such a luxury!

  • I can make it work with two pairs of shoes (one flat and one heel), one jean, two or three blouses/sweater/tee and one blazer.

    Do you pack any toiletries? I’m trying to figure out how to fit the clothes and other things in a carry-on.

  • Fabita Punk

    this is real fashion

  • Raquel

    LOVE! thanks for helping! you pack all essentials + more! 🙂

    xx raquel http://fashiongrill.wordpress.com

  • Magda McCann

    A little late on the commenting, but this is why I read your blog: “perhaps most jarringly–a lot of people are funny about hygiene”. Hilarious (the whole bit, but esp. that part). Because it’s true.