Fashion From the Depths of My Gym Bag

Over the course of four months, I’ll be flying from Florida to New York, Las Vegas, Michigan, California (for our retreat — will I see you there?) and Italy (by way of London). And, while it’s not unusual for me to travel a fair bit each year, this definitely exceeds my typical time above 10,000 feet … as well as the number of times I’ll be packing and repacking my bags.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m refusing to check a bag for any of these flights? Yep. So, my packing game has gotta be on point, which can be tricky because for most of these trips, I have at least one event where I need to look … nice. Not, like, athleisurely nice (because that’s a piece of cake for me!), but more on the dressed up end of the spectrum. Meaning a dress, and nice shoes and no wrinkles — which is tough because the only iron I wield with any competence is that of the curling variety. Well, and I guess also the iron you pump. But you get the idea.


Happily, the universe seemed to hear my call and I’ve had a couple of super stylish product cross my desk in recent weeks — and you guys? They make packing so much easier. Get ready to fall a little bit in love with the two newest additions to my closet (and an oldie but goodie that I purchased years ago but can’t help but share here).

I love, love, love a wrap dress, but have historically had a tough time finding one that works for me — something about my broad shoulders and bust size generally leads to a lot more being on display than I intend. But this dress is a faux wrap, and while the v-neck comes low, after numerous wears, it’s never even hinted at showing my bra. And that’s not even the best thing about it. This dress is legitimately wrinkle-free. No, really. It was in a ball at the bottom of my bag, I pulled it out, put it on, and five minutes later went on a date with my husband where multiple people stopped me to compliment me on or ask me about my dress.

My thought is that, if you’re wearing a lovely dress in a bright color or bold print, you rarely need much more in terms of accessories, which is why I think the “perfect” part of this dress’ name is super accurate. Leota sent me the Alhambra Fern print, which I adore, but the brand is known for its bold prints that are hand-painted in house. If wrap dresses aren’t your jam, they have sheaths, rompers, caftans, maxis, shirt dresses, cocktail dresses and more (including maternity and styles designed for fuller figures). Also, if you’re on a budget, be sure to check the sale section — there are some pretty sweet options in there for an awesome deal.

Nobody gets more use than I do out of those cheap drawstring backpacks you get at races. I use them all the time. And when I’m not using one of those, I generally have either my backpack (because laptop = life) or just my small wallet, which, now that I have a big ol’ phone, just barely holds the essentials. If I need an extra lipstick or something? Totes out of luck. Which is why having a cool clutch is ideal (and if you need inspiration, here you go!). The one that Neely and Chloe sent me — No. 23 The Large Clutch Suede — is compact enough to fit in my backpack (or my suitcase without taking up much space) but has enough space to carry just about anything I might need for an evening or an event. This particular style has nice, sleek lines, so it’s dressy enough for a big night, but it’s not over the top, so it can easily be paired with jeans and a tee. And if I’m spending my money on something other than running shoes, I need it to be multi-purpose, you know?

And speaking of spending money on shoes …

In theory, I love a super high heel. But when it comes to me actually having to walk anywhere — or even stand on my feet for any period of time — I just can’t do it. Between my creaky knees and weak ankles, spending an evening solely in stilettos is a disaster waiting to happen. Plus, big heels take up a lot of space, so with the packing challenges I’m staring down, they’re just out. But what’s not out? Foldable flats, and happily, I invested in a pair of Tieks a few years ago — a move for which I’ve thanked myself over and over again. Now, these are a little on the high-end side, but I’d worn through so many pairs of lower quality foldy flats already that I felt it was money well-spent. These shoes are made to be comfortable and durable, and they come in 58 prints and colors, so you can opt for bright, neutral or shiny shiny (which I believe goes with everything — Metallic Pewter has yet to let me down).

What’s your biggest packing struggle? Overpacking? Forgetting things? I find overpacking incredibly easy to do, but I’m really working minimizing! Kristen

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