June 25 2015
Packing Light

I’ve learned two things about packing light after my one month escapade in Asia with a carry-on. One: you always pack more than you need. Two: your reach out for your most comfortable item over and over again (in my case, it was my ripped denim shorts). Now, I keep these two things in mind when it comes to packing light.

I managed to pack my things in a backpack for Cuba where we’ll be spending 2 weeks moving around different cities and then fly to Montreal for a week. Two different countries. Two different climates. Narrowing down what to bring drove me crazy. My challenge was to pack clothes that can work for both countries and that are stylish enough to wear at the beach in Varadero and to a fancy restaurant in Montreal.

I still use this packing technique and was able to stay stylish by following these guidelines:


Basic essentials are the base to packing light. It’s the ‘wear with anything and looks good with everything’ type of items in neutral colors. My essentials for this trip are denim shorts, striped t-shirt, day-to-night dress, loose shirt, and comfortable culottes.


This is when Karen ‘the mean edit machine’ came out. I reassessed each piece and planned outfits around it and took photos for record. The idea is to come up with at least 3 different looks for a particular item. If I could not, I’d toss the item back to my closet. Taking the time to take photos of my looks will also help me when I’ll have “I don’t know what to wear” moments during my holiday.

Here’s an example:

packing light


Making sure everything goes together is important to packing light. Going for a color palette that will expand your wardrobe and make getting dressed in the morning a lot easier. I also went with a specific style but mainly they’re all simple and classic.

To make things more interesting, I selected different fabrics like linen, cotton or silk to add dimension to my outfits. It’s not just a striped t-shirt, it’s a cashmere blend t-shirt. This tip alone elevates an outfit from basic to stylish.


Sticking to a specific uniform is not about being restrictive but it forces me to assess my style and stick an outfit I know I look good in.

One styling tip I started implementing is my 3-item rule: never leave without 3 items on you (accessories excluding shoes and bags). For example, if I wear a t-shirt and shorts my 3rd item can be a belt, scarf or a panama hat. If I wear a dress, my 2nd item is a necklace, and 3rd item is a shirt that I can wear over or tie to my waist.


I stick to basic bag and footwear when I travel, opting for one day bag and one evening bag and three pairs of shoes only, in neutral colors. Jewelry and accessories are a great way to add color in my vacation wardrobe and it doesn’t add bulk to my carry-on.

You can see me wear these outfits on Instagram so follow me for vacation outfit ideas.

Hope you like this tips on how to pack light and hope you’ll give it a go. Traveling in a carry-on makes traveling a million times easier – you’ll be a fast convert!

If you have other packing tips, share them along in the comment section below.

Happy summer travels.


  • Awesome post! Your stuff are amazing and everything is matching with all of the rest items. Well done!!