Earning the status of a "perfect packer" shows one's mastery of a true art form. It can take years of trial and error to build out the ideal carry-on that's filled with just enough essentials to last an entire trip. Often, starting the packing process with a capsule wardrobe in mind is a good strategy. The idea is to have an edited assortment of items that are versatile and can mix and match to create a range of looks. Given that we routinely turn to industry creatives and experts for sartorial guidance, we thought learning about essentials from a travel pro could be of interest to address any upcoming packing needs.
And that's where Janessa Leoné enters the chat. After launching her eponymous celeb-favorite line in 2013 (her hats have quite the cult following), she's created a luxury lifestyle brand at the forefront of regenerative and sustainable fashion (note the new Réciproque collection). As she's at the helm of her own wildly successful company, she travels frequently for business (as well as for pleasure). Leoné estimates that she takes between 20 and 30 trips per year. Given the frequency over the years, she has developed a well-curated travel wardrobe comprised of useful must-haves. There are eight items that are always in her carry-on along with other seasonal basics to ensure she can create easy, chic looks for travel.
Below, you'll find Leoné's eight travel essentials, complete with styling and shopping inspiration.
"I think an oversize button-down shirt is the most versatile piece in any wardrobe. It can be used as a bathing suit cover-up or worn with a suit. I usually travel with several variations of men's shirts."
"I love the ease of a classic ballcap. It's the hat that I wear most on the flight itself. It makes me feel a little less exposed and perfectly creates an effortless look while traveling."
"It's pretty rare if you see me in something different than a blazer and jeans. I love the relaxed ease of a blazer. The clean tailoring of a blazer keeps an outfit elevated while being such a simple thing to throw on."
"I usually only travel with three shoes: black boots, running shoes, and sandals. Between black boots and an elevated sandal, all occasions are covered."
"I spend a lot of time on airplanes, and I bring this blanket scarf on mostly every trip. It makes flights more comfortable and transforms hotel rooms into a home environment."
"I'm a minimalist when it comes to makeup. I rarely wear any makeup at all, but I always travel with this easy-to-apply red lip. My go-to look for an event is a clean face and a red lip."
"A classic black boot is an essential part of my wardrobe. I only pack essentials when I travel and usually only carry on a suitcase, so shoe space is limited. A black boot can be worn day and night, leaving room in the suitcase for clothes."
"I am very careful about sun protection for my face, which forces me to travel with a sun hat on almost every trip. I always bring a hat carrier with me to hook onto my purse, which creates a hands-free traveling experience."
Hey, there. Bobby here. I've been working as a fashion writer in the industry for over a decade, contributing to various websites and brands such as Refinery29, Men's Health, and of course, Who What Wear. I've spent many years at Who What Wear, currently acting as the senior market editor where I source the coolest and chicest items at our favorite stores to help you, dear readers, build your version of the perfect wardrobe. While I lived in NYC and L.A. for a while, I actually now live in Boston. Sure, I've changed locations, but my fashion perspective remains the same, as I tend to reach for those classic basics with a twist (think slouchy moto jackets, trendy joggers, and the like). When I'm not writing or talking about fashion, you can often find me catching up on my favorite Bravo shows (Vanderpump Rules and The Real Houswives of New York City are my favorites) or sipping my signature cocktail—a vodka martini with a splash of cranberry and a twist.