Even though my travel plans this year have been on pause, I'm still always reevaluating my packing skills. Knowing what to throw in a carry-on versus what to keep at home is a valuable organizational tool I still use once it's time for my big end of year closet cleanouts. As a former chronic over-packer, learning to travel light definitely took some time. If you're like me, a study that Trunk Club (Nordstrom's personal styling company) recently conducted will probably pique your interest. The study examined the travel and packing habits of Americans and found that a whopping 62% of those surveyed admitted to overpacking when traveling, which the study attributed to the fact that most started packing 24 hours before leaving. They also voted that packing is more stressful than the trip itself. Suddenly staying at home doesn't sound so bad.
The study found that "nearly a quarter of the average suitcase [is] left untouched when traveling," which is a shame when we could all use that extra space for things we'll actually wear, or even swap out our suitcase for a smaller one. So what are the most common items that people always pack but never wear? Jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and socks. (This tidbit might be handy to keep in mind the next time traveling becomes a thing again.) Maggie Mee, the head of merchandising at Trunk Club, advises, "To avoid overpacking, consider using versatile items that can be repurposed for multiple outfits and occasions." Translation: Narrow it down to one jacket, two long-sleeve shirts, and only enough socks to cover the days when wearing shoes that actually require socks.
Read the survey for even more findings from the study, and scroll to shop some of the versatile items I learned to always pack.
Levi's Ex-Boyfriend Trucker Jacket ($98)
No matter what season it is, I always have a denim jacket in my suitcase.
The Reformation Aspen Dress ($118)
I gravitate toward subtle dresses that no one will notice if I wear more than once.
Goldie Ribbed Elbow Sleeve T-Shirt ($80)
A slim-fitting, ribbed tee in both black and white is a must.
These are comfortable and polished enough to wear all day in even the chicest of cities.
J Brand Teagan High-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans ($230)
This J Brand style is insanely soft, and the wash is perfectly versatile.
Réalisation The Naomi Skirt in Romance ($180)
Sure, the leopard version of this skirt is a cult classic, but the black one is ideal for travel.
Wsly Rivington Ribbed Tank ($68)
A layering piece that takes up minimal space.
Gucci Jordaan Leather Loafers ($730)
I've packed these on more trips than I can count.
Everlane The Wide Leg Crop Pant ($68)
One pair of wide-leg pants and one pair of jeans may suffice for a short trip.
Hunting Season The Saddle Large Leather Shoulder Bag ($537)
This bag is the perfect size for trips, and it's so versatile.
Ninety Percent Laura Oversized Organic Cotton-Jersey Hoodie ($145)
I always pack a lightweight hoodie—even during summer.
Misaya Travel Jewelry Organizer ($16)
The cutest jewelry travel case that ever was.
Vince Ribbed Wool and Cashmere-Blend Sweater ($395)
A simple sweater that easily coordinates with any bottoms.
Frankie Shop Vanessa Track Pants ($185)
You'll want to stay comfy walking around all day.
Paravel Set of Two Nylon and Tpu Packing Cubes ($75)
Packing skincare and other toiletries have never been easier.
H&M Knit Cardigan ($20)
One cardigan is all you need to wear alone or on top as an extra layer.
H&M Fine-Knit Cashmere Pants ($129)
These cashmere pants can easily transition from day to night with the right top and shoes.
& Other Stories Chelsea-Boots (179)
Boots are a bulkier item so take one pair that's not too big and super versatile.
& Other Stories Voluminous Belted Coat ($279)
A coat is a necessity, so don't leave it at home! Stick with something formal enough to wear with fancier attire, but lowkey enough to wear with jeans.
Frame Les Second Medium Embossed Leather Tote ($430)
A sturdy tote bag is a travel must-have.
Mango Ribbed Bodysuit ($80)
The neckline adds visual interest should you spontaneously need an elegant top.
Mango Denim Jumpsuit ($100)
A jumpsuit is the ultimate travel time-saver. It also eliminates the need for packing two separate pieces to create an outfit.
Everlane The Day Ballet Flat ($118)
A sophisticated shoe your feet will thank you for. Also bonus points for easy packability.
Mango Ruffle Printed Dress ($80)
Dress it down with sneakers or jazz it up with ballet flats.
Fellow Carter Everywhere Travel Mug ($27)
A reusable mug is not only eco-conscious, but it also eliminates the need for multiple water bottles taking up space in your tote bag.
This post was published previously and has since been updated.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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