Packing Tips: Dressing up for the Evening without Overpacking




Row One – One, Two, Three, Four

Row Two – One, Two, Three, Four

Row Three – One, Two, Three, Four

Row Four & Five – One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine

Row Six – One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven

Packing clothes for dressing up on your trip without overpacking can be done! With a simple formula and a unifying colour, your nights out will have you looking stylish and pulled together on your trip!

First things first. Think over what you’ll be doing at night. Whether it’s fancy work dinners, casual drinks with friends, late nights with your girlfriends at the club, or a romantic sunset dinner on the beach, make sure you have a good idea what the plans are.

Next you need to decide on a colour scheme. The picture above sticks with black, white, and gold colours so everything will easily mix and match.

Once you do that, your packing will be as easy as 1-2-3. Here’s how…


For a weekend away I lay out the clothes I plan to bring and use a 1-2-3 rule to make sure that I don’t over pack.


1 x bag

1 x shoes

1 x outerwear


2 x dresses or two/three separates


3 x accessories



If I’m going to be gone for one or even two weeks, I usually bump my number system up from 1-2-3 to 1-3-5.


1 x bag

1 x shoes

1 x outerwear


3 x dresses or three/four separates


5 x accessories

Clutch – It’s nice to have a clutch to hold your phone, money, and lip gloss. A crossbody bag works great for going out dancing and doesn’t take up much room in your bag.

Shoes – This is the most important item to show a little personal restraint when packing! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE shoes and I’m always tempted to tuck extra pairs in the corners of my luggage, but it’s really not worth it. They are bulky, heavy, and you just don’t need them, plus how often do your shoes end up in pictures from your trip? Bring a pair you’ve tested out, make sure you can walk long distances in them, and make sure they go with everything you’re packing–black is typically a good option.

*If you’re on a longer trip, I do find that wearing the same shoes every night can get repetitive or even start hurting your feet, so I like to pack a flat or wedge that can work for day or evening, so I have another option.

Outerwear  – It’s nice to have something to throw on over your outfit at night just in case the temperature cools off. Make sure it isn’t too bulky. If it’s a warm climate a shawl or pashmina works great, and they come in handy if you are visiting ancient sites or churches where you need to have your shoulders covered.

Clothes – Dresses, tanks, skirts, and rompers are great for summer and pack up small. You can’t beat black because it goes with everything, but you don’t need to shy away from color if you plan your shoes and accessories accordingly.

Accessories – Jewelry, scarves, belts, or even lipstick can make one outfit look like several without taking up much space in your bag.

What are your tricks? We’d love to hear!

Jenny Dolphin hails from across the pond in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. While Minnesota will always be home, she has spent the last 10 years bouncing around the world living in Australia, California, New York, Colorado, Italy, Rhode Island, and Florida. She has travelled to 40+ countries, visited nearly all the States, and worked as a flight attendant based out of San Francisco. Having to pack for multiple climates in one small carry-on as a flight attendant taught her a few things about packing smart.


  • July 10, 2015

    How helpful! I seriously suck at packing, even after living abroad for five years. I always end up overpacking, and still forgetting even the simplest things. #Lifegoals 😉

  • July 11, 2015

    Great post, Jenny! I’m terrible for overpacking so this will definitely come in handy for my next trip 🙂

  • July 12, 2015

    Great tips Jenny!
    Love how you kept your picks neutral so a statement piece can be added.
    Sarah Lynn

  • July 12, 2015

    Jenny, men’s life is simpler ))) Man always can only have card while he is traveling and buy all necessary things right in the place where he is ))

  • July 13, 2015

    Great tips! The shoes are definitely an issue, but I’m starting to get better at sticking to one color theme and making it work. This a big help!

  • July 17, 2015

    Very helpful article! I’m leaving for an extended trip next week with some events that requiring dressing up, so I will keep these tips in mind.

    • July 20, 2015

      So glad to hear that, Melissa! Enjoy your extended trip!:)

  • July 20, 2015

    I have become much better at packing simply because I am always on the train and once I have packed my laptop, IPAD and work accessories, I would break my back if I got too carried away. I have built a capsule wardrobe to allow me to mix and match but have no gold in my wardrobe and really love some of these items. I wonder – are they all your outfits?

  • October 18, 2015

    If anything is true in my life, it’s this post. I recently went to Spain for a weekend and took a duffle bag (without wheels). I don’t think I’ve ever felt pain like that in my shoulders before! I took way too many shoes. 3 pairs, not counting the ones on my feet. I wish I saw this post sooner! I think I’ll stick to the 1-2-3 rule on my next adventure.


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