I Just Got Off the Phone With Gigi Hadid—Her Packing Tips Are Life Changing


(Image credit: H&M)

"You don't have to be serving looks on a trip," Gigi Hadid told me during our chat. As I'm the girl who consistently has an overweight suitcase, you can imagine the wheels turning in my head during this moment. I've personally reached the point where I have the negotiation process of getting through the airport with a 60-pound suitcase down to a science. After hearing from the most stylish frequent flyer I've ever spoken to, I'm starting to consider changing my ways.

Hadid knows how to vacation, so it only makes sense that she would be the host of H&M's latest launch, Hôtel Hennes. The fictional destination boasts a cast of characters who make the idea of going on a tropical getaway even more alluring. After watching the campaign video, all I can think about (and shop for) are vacation essentials. Every look you'll see screams "high-fashion luxury getaway," yet they all come from H&M at a totally accessible price point. You have to see the video for yourself to know what I mean.

The opening scene had been living in my mind rent-free ever since I first laid eyes on it, so I called Hadid up myself to get the scoop. We chatted about her vacation and work travel memories, but as a fashion person, I had to ask, How does someone who travels so often pack? She gave me tips that I think might actually change the consistently overpacked girl that I am. Read on to change your travel life forever.

What is one of your favorite vacation memories? 

Wakeboarding in Tahiti is the best. [The water] is literally a bath—so warm and beautiful—so even if you fall, it doesn't matter. I loved that.

What do you wear when wakeboarding?

When I'm doing water sports, I'm not going to go there with the outfit. I would rather be comfortable while wakeboarding. Usually a one-piece or a rashguard or at least bottoms that don't tie. 

I'm sure you have packing down to a science with how often you travel for work. Do you have any tips for the less experienced traveler?

Oh, I'm known for it. I always show up for a four- or five-day job with a carry-on, and everyone's like, "How did you do that?" My tips are to know your basics. You don't have to be serving looks on a work trip especially, but even on a vacation, know your basics. Have your favorite bikini shape in a few colors. Bring a lot of accessories so you can wear your favorite bikini for a few days with something thin like a throw-on. Make it more about mixing the pieces you have into a few different outfits. Then, you're just going to have a more pleasant time.

Are there any packing mishaps you've had that have taught you lessons?

My equation works if I remember all the pieces, but when you get there and you don't have the cashmere sweats and that was one of the staple pants that you were going to bring, it can get tough. If you're going to have an equation for the minimal packing, you have to have all of it. You can't forget.

How has motherhood impacted your experience when packing and traveling?

I am a super organizer/list-maker, so when I'm traveling with Khai, it's all about packing and double-checking the lists. Now when I travel alone, I feel like I'm forgetting something because I forget how easy it is to just pack for yourself. I don't know if it's made me different. It just brought out more of my organization because I'd rather forget something for myself than for her. I already was list obsessed and organized. It just made me more of a control freak probably.

If you had to choose one color scheme to revolve your vacation wardrobe around, what would it be?

My favorite color is yellow. I would say yellow. White is pretty on vacation or a tan, some sort of neutral, and then maybe pink or lavender. Something girly.

Now, tell us your travel capsule wardrobe.

For work, it's work pants, a white tee, a black tee, a cashmere sweater, sneakers, boots, and maybe a scarf—things that are versatile. And then, maybe something fun is thrown in there, whatever that season you're loving. If it's something super fun that season, then bring one fun thing and the rest like basics and stuff that you can style a bunch of different ways. There's no reason you can't wear the same pairs of pants with two different T-shirts to the airport.


(Image credit: @gigihadid)

Shop Gigi Hadid's suitcase:

If you had to build a capsule wardrobe for a trip to, say, Hôtel Hennes and could only pack five things, what would you bring?

I would bring a few bikinis. I would bring a pool dress that can also be styled for dinner, whether that means opening it during the day and then you close it at night and belt it. I always need sweatpants, even if I'm going to a warm place. I feel like once you get inside from the sun and it's nighttime, you're going to feel cold anyway. So cozy sweats and a hoodie or short sweats and a hoodie, some sort of denim—either shorts or ripped jeans—and then your favorite tees and one shoe that's fancier and one that's a flip-flop that you can wear around all day.


(Image credit: @gigihadid)

Shop Gigi Hadid's suitcase:

What is your go-to uniform right now for a typical spring day? 

I'm really into business or workwear pants that are more low waist and baggier and then keeping the top a tighter crop T-shirt and then super-fun jewelry and sneakers.


(Image credit: @gigihadid)

Shop Gigi Hadid's spring wardrobe:

We're so close to summer! Do you have any favorite trends you're excited to break out as soon as the temperatures rise?

I mean, I guess I'm excited to have fun with hats. I'm having fun with hats all season, but besides that, what other trends are happening? Maybe I'm having a lot of fun with mixing prints and bright colors. Sometimes, that's a bit awkward in the winter, so maybe I'll have more fun with that as it gets warmer.

If you were doing a closet clean-out right now, what trends would you say are feeling outdated to you?

The standard bucket hat. The bucket hats that I'm keeping are the ones that are a little bit out-there or bigger shaped or like a beanie. I'm just not falling in between, but maybe this summer I'll do a cowboy hat or one of those dad fisher hats. It's almost as if we're going to go into the dad-sneaker hat but the soccer-dad sun hat that you can buy at Walmart.


(Image credit: @gigihadid)

Shop Gigi Hadid's favorite summer trend:

On the topic of accessories, are there any that you think are super important for summer since it's part of your packing list? 

I am not a bracelet person. I like a ring sometimes, but not really on vacation. I'm like a necklace person. I can do a fun earring, but if you're on vacation, go for the really cool, young designers that do beaded stuff. I think to have more fun with it—not necessary that the jewelry has to be luxurious.


(Image credit: @gigihadid)

Shop Gigi Hadid's favorite vacation accessory:

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Associate Editor

Sierra Mayhew was always destined to work in fashion, but she didn't know it at first. Growing up with no choice but to wear a rotation of school uniforms and activewear, her love for fashion really blossomed when she moved away for college and was able to finally define her very own personal style. Shortly thereafter, she interned at Elle magazine and instantly knew that editorial was for her. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she worked for ShopBazaar, contributing regularly to Bazaar.com, and finally made her way to Who What Wear, where she is an associate editor. When she’s not working, you can catch her always trying to catch a flight, rollerblading through New York City traffic, or exploring the latest luxury vintage boutique.