clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Frank's Guide to Holiday Weekend Packing

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


Way too much stuff, but the luggage is just perfect: Louis Vuitton for the Darjeeling Limited.

Dear Holiday Takers and Long Weekenders,

Happy Independence Day Weekend!

You've got to love summer if for no other reason than those healing holiday weekends: July 4th book-ended by Memorial Day and Labor Day. Especially considering that bank holiday dry spell that is February through Memorial Day—it's a season that can never come too soon.

And, granted, this Independence Day is not ideal. Who wants a Wednesday, and only a Wednesday, off? Especially for the 4th—a day reserved for beer swilling (or, you know, consuming bottles of $13 vodka as pumped through and steeped in whole watermelons?)

Hopefully you have ample vacation time or a sympathetic employer; hopefully you're getting a holiday week out of it. Either way—it amounts to sort of a long weekend and it's always one of the most fun holidays to boot; what with the burgers and fireworks and the star-spangled red, white, and blue outfit options.

But I digress—perhaps you're spending the weekend away? A weekend away means packing for said weekend away. And, while weekends away are obviously great; packing for a night or two or three is less so. I find it more challenging than packing for a full-fledged vacation.

Especially when you have so much cute stuff and you just want to bring, like, all your greatest hits and/or every item that falls into the thematic look you have going for the season.

Let's start with the bag. You're not going away for days and days; you might not even be flying. Leave your cheeseball rolling carry-on suitcase at home. You're packing what amounts to two outfits. This does not require a set of wheels and a retractable handle. Keep it chic and polished: Get a canvas or leather weekender or small duffle with a shoulder strap. J.Crew consistently has cute and relatively affordable options; and there's always L.L.Bean and Target. Or, splurge on something a little whimsical by Kate Spade or Jack Spade. Girls: You can carry a Jack—I love that! Guys: Don't carry a Kate Spade bag.

(Hint: It's really rather easy to score a bag for 25 to 40 percent off at Kate Spade or Jack Spade at the end of any given season—a.k.a. right now. Who cares if your weekender isn't current season? Also, these brands are on Gilt, like, all the time, with deeper discounts still.)

Now, what to put in it: I like making sure everything in my bag matches. So if you're having a brown moment, you don't end up stuck with some black something mucking up all your potential brown-based harmonizing.

I also—and maybe this is just me—tend to match up my colors, prints, and underlying themes to the particular weekend or my destination. This weekend: Red, white, and blue Americana. Somewhere woodsy: Plaids and workhorse denim. Miami: My version of Eurotrash party gear, which is really just shorter shorts and a selection of garishly printed shirts by Moschino and Margiela.

It's also important not to over pack. Don't go crazy with bottoms: They're heavy and suck up space. They're also generally neutral—you can wear the same jeans twice (unless they're coral). Also, avoid bringing more than two or so secondary items that all sort of do the same thing. There's no real need for multiple sweaters, a hoodie, a light jacket, and a heavier jacket. Learn to layer (you'll never look back), and suddenly all you need is a sweater (okay, maybe two) and that light jacket. Plus, you'll look so put together and styled. And, as everything in your bag matches, any such combination should effortlessly sing.

These secondary items need to be versatile. Day to night, dressed up or dressed down—they should work. For the standard weekend away you're not going to need high evening; but you may end up at a party or on the town. In which case, your nubby, moth-eaten Sunday sweater isn't going to cut it. Don't even bring that sweater (just get rid of that sweater)—you and your weekend deserve better.

If you're feeling boxed in by small luggage and conservative packing, you shouldn't. Finishing up is the fun part! Bring two scarves! Bring three pairs of sunglasses! Wear way too much jewelry getting there so once you arrive you can mix and match it any damn way you please. All those accessories can transform a look completely. And! That stuff is all little; weighing a lot less than a pair of extra pants. In other words: You can bring all of it.

So, bon voyage! Have a fantastic trip, a fabulous 4th and have fun getting dressed.

· Love, Frank [Racked]