Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CorpGoth Travel Wardrobe

My husband & I love to travel -- we've set foot on all seven continents, including Antarctica. We try to make one international trip every year or every other year. In addition, I travel occasionally for business & I often go to costume conventions & conferences throughout the year. So I'm pretty experienced at packing my gear to go.

Last week, my husband & I returned from 10 days in Spain, & I made a point of photographing my outfits so I could share my travel wardrobe tips here. Here's some of my packing philosophy...

1. Check your luggage and avoid the carry-on bag hassle
I know, I know, airlines charge to check a bag, but budget that into the cost of travel. Whatever you "save" on airfare, you pay on stress & time spent in the security line & fighting for overhead bin space.

More importantly, when you only have carry-on bags, you can't pack cutlery or a corkscrew. This means you won't be able to shop at markets for fresh, delicious, & less expensive local food at your destination. Wherever I travel, I plan for picnics (even in our hotel room) made from local breads, cheeses, meats, sweets, & a bottle of wine. You'll need a pocketknife with a corkscrew, which can only be packed in checked luggage.

My suitcase measures about 21" x 15" x 8" -- it's not huge by any means, & I can easily lift it up three flights of narrow B&B stairs. It has wheels & can expand as needed. This photo shows it packed for Spain with all my clothes, toiletries, & even my TempurPedic neck pillow (because I get horrible neck aches from standard hotel pillows).

2. Keep a toiletries bag packed and always ready to go
I love my Eagle Creek Wallaby toiletries bag. It's roomy & secure, with pockets for all my bottles of hair care & skin care products, brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, you name it. I keep this packed year-round, so whenever I travel, I can just grab it. All I have to do is occasionally check to see that all the bottles are topped up (& it takes a surprisingly long time to use up a 3-ounce bottle of shampoo).

3. Plan an interchangeable wardrobe around two or three colors
While every trip will have different priorities, when I travel, I want to focus on the trip more than my wardrobe -- which is definitely different than how I think when I'm at home! On the road, I do not want to fuss with clothes; I want outfits that are simple, comfortable, & minimally stylish.

If I'm traveling for business, of course, I'll want to project a more CorpGoth image, & if I'm going to a costume event, then I'll pack tons of crazy costume gear. Travel to the tropics requires swimsuits, & travel in winter requires sweaters, coats, & boots. But in general, my travel wardrobe is a very stripped-down & basic version of my home wardrobe.

Every item I pack must be able to be mixed & matched with at least two other items I pack. This is absolutely mandatory! Ideally, every single item will go with each other. My main color is, duh, black, but then I pick one or two other colors & try to add in at least one pattern for variety. I always pack two or three pairs of shoes for a week-long trip or more -- it's more comfortable on your feet that way

4. Do laundry on the road
I pack a small bottle of liquid laundry detergent & a small bottle of Febreeze. At the end of each day, I spritz any stinky garments with the Febreeze (also good for shoes). And about every 5 days, I wash socks, tights,  & undies in the hotel sink with the detergent. They usually take 24 hours to dry, so plan ahead!

What I wore in Spain and my packing list:

What I packed:
Black knit military-style jacket, Macy's
Black knit dress, Target
Black leggings, American Apparel
Grey corduroy skirt, Newport News
Black & white plaid skirt, H&M
Black jeans, Levis
Black 3/4-sleeve knit top, NY & Company
Grey pinstripe long-sleeve knit top, Old Navy
Purple short-sleeve knit top, Target
Burgundy cardigan, Chadwicks
Tall black boots, Clarks
Low black buckle boots, Aldo
Black T-strap flats, Aldo
Black & white stripey scarf, H&M
Black & white polka-dot scarf, Old Navy
A couple necklaces, earrings, & a couple flower hair pins
Sephora travel eye makeup kit & brushes & 3 lipsticks

Another good example is this packing list for a one-week business trip from Kasmira of What I Wore 2Day.


  1. I'm heading back to the U.S. for two months for Christmas so this was handy. Packing around 2-3 colors is a brilliant idea!

  2. Good to know you like the Eagle Creek bag for when my kit needs replacing. Bought one of their folders, compression bags, and mesh bags. Love the compression bags. The big poofy skirt O'doom that was shipped to Steamcon went back as a thin flat bag with L.

  3. Hexotica - Happy to help!

    Old Fashion Halloween - I love most every Eagle Creek travel thingy I've tried :-)

  4. Great timing on this post! I am sitting around waiting until my laundry is done before packing for 11 days in Europe. I try and do much the same thing that you do.

    I find I can actually pack more if I avoid the T-shirt and jeans, since even my heavy skirts compress down much better than anything made of denim. It also has the advantage of keeping me from getting lazy.

    I also try and slip in some workout clothes, so that I have no excuse not to get some exercise in on the road.

  5. I'm not sure I can travel totally without jeans but I definitely limit them -- too heavy. Also, most hotels have an iron so many skirts can be worn 2 or 3 days with just a touch-up in between. I expect to walk a lot so good shoes are a must.

    I used to share your sentiments about checking luggage, but given the higher baggage fees and inconvenience of getting said bags, I've started doing carry-on for any jaunt less than 4 days. I actually think it's less aggravating than checking bags, but YMMV.

  6. Kyna Foster - Have a great trip! I usually take one pair of pants, & unfortunately the only ones that fit right now are jeans (at least they're skinny, so they didn't take up more room than my sweater ;-)

    lazysubculturalgirl - Definitely check bags for trips over 4 days. When I travel for business, that tends to be shorter trips, so I prob. won't check a bag (altho' I'm so short that I have to ask for help to hoist a bag into the overhead bins!).

  7. I hope you had a good time in my country :D. In these days the weather is pretty good n_n.

  8. Madame Macabre - The weather was great! A touch of rain in Madrid, but sunny everywhere else :-)

  9. LOVE this post - you looked fabulous in every outfit - you're a pro!

  10. Those are all great outfits! I like that you can take a fairly plain purple t-shirt, add the right accessories, and you've got corpgoth! I'm going to have to try that.