Since this is a lolita blog carnival post, I’m going to assume that a lot of people are going to post about this topic today and most of them are going to have these great ideas like putting necklaces through boba straws.
I’m going to be frankly honest, I know all these great packing tips from reading lolita blogs, and I never use any of them, because I’m a lazy, procrastinating packer. Yeah, I’m the person who starts packing at 10pm and finishes at 3am the night before a 5am flight. So, for all the other last minute, lazy packing lolita out there, this one is for you.
First, I’m going to assume you probably haven’t planned out your coordinates. Maybe you have a vague idea what dress you want to wear and how many days you are going to be on this trip. If so, that’s great. Go get the first dress and lay it out on the bed short ways (we want to fit as many dresses as possible side-by-side down the length of the bed), repeat this process until you have enough dresses laid out. If you aren’t sure about a dress, grab one or two others that you might replace it with. I can usually fit 6 dresses down the bed as long as the skirts aren’t spread out much. (note: anywhere I say dress, you can substitute skirt)
Now stop, wait a minute,
get your glass put… no, wait, sorry, wrong thing. Do you own more than one style of petticoat? Do you know offhand what petticoat works with what dress? If not, this is the point where you throw each dress on one by one and decide what petticoat goes with which dress. Make a list if you think you might forget. (If it’s past 11pm, you probably will. Make the list on your smart phone if you have one; harder to lose that when you are tired). Put extra petticoats away. If that’s not in the cards for right now, at least put petticoats in two piles; “yes” and “no”. If you need to check compatibility of blouses or socks with any of the dresses, hold off on the petticoat trying on until you have grabbed blouses and/or socks so you can do it all at once.
Next, lay the matching blouse/cardigan/bolero/15th century beaded shawl/etc on top of each dress that needs one or more of those things. If something goes with more than one coord and you aren’t certain about all of them yet, lay it ontop of the one that is most likely to be kept.
Next, grab leg wear and set it on each dress. (There is a pattern here, see? However, if you are thinking “yes, it’s gingham!”, then sadly, you are wrong.) I always throw an extra pair of solid tights in white, cream, black or brown based on my major coords as well in case a pair of socks ends up looking off, or I buy a dress while I’m out.
Now grab shoes. Again, if shoes go with more than one coord (recommended to save space!), put them on the floor under the strongest one. Now, if you put the shoes in a shoe box they take up a lot of space, and if you pack them plain, they have the potential of getting your clothes dirty. Blogs I read suggest cheap plastic shower caps to cover shoes, which is great. But I don’t have shower caps in my home, and I’m betting most other last minute packers don’t either. So! we just need plastic bags. Like plastic grocery bags. If your grocery store has the lovely habit of printing brightly colored slogans or logos on their bags, grab 2x the number of bags as shoes. Turn one bag inside out so the logo faces in. Inside of that place a bag right-side out, so the logo faces out. Basically, you want to sandwich the logos between the plastic so that they aren’t going to touch your shoes or your clothes. Why? They melt when they get hot, and can rub off. Place the shoes in, and tuck the excess bag into them like it’s tissue paper to help them keep their shape.
Now it’s time to accessorize. Grab purses and place them on top of each coord. Try to re-use bags between multiple coords, again to save space. If you aren’t traveling in lolita, pick your most fragile bag, or your most normal looking. This is your carry-on purse, pick your non-lolita travel clothes to go with it, and save yourself some room. If you can wear a pair of your lolita shoes to travel (classic girls with your plain neutral mary-janes, I’m looking at you), it also helps. (Note: While you can totally fly in Vivienne 3 strap heels (I do), I wouldn’t drive in them. So do be safe and pick appropriate shoes if you are driving or walking)
Now, you just have to go down the line adding head wear and other accessories. I sort mine into boxes by color to store them, so I basically just pick up the boxes one by one and drop anything that matches over the appropriate dress. I end up with more accessories than I want on top of each coord. When I’m done, I stand over each dress, look at the options, and put the rest away. (It’s 1am, remember, so I really just shove all the rejects into whatever box is most empty and sort it out when I get home and go to put things away.).
If you wear wigs, get them and your wig caps and any other wig care essentials. If you need to try any on, do so now.
Grab some bloomers, undergarments, pajamas and any non-lolita clothing you want to bring. Place on bed.
Ok, so now, you need to identify if anything is breakable or smashable. Pick all that stuff up and put it together on a table or the floor. Can these things be safely packed together? If so, find a cardboard, plastic or metal box in your home (or if one of your purses is hard plastic/wood/etc you can sometimes use that). You want the closest size possible, with the lowest weight. Small, thick, corrugated cardboard boxes, while not cute often are most practical. Those little kid’s tin lunch boxes work well too, but again, we are assuming it’s past a reasonable hour to go buying anything. Pack the breakable and smashable things into the box. If you need to wrap anything, wrap it in a sock, not tissue paper (seriously, saves you some space and lolita socks are great packing material; nice and springy. Just remember you did it. Actually better add that to your phone list.).
If anything is too breakable even for that, reconsider bringing it, wear it to travel in, or put it very gently in a carry on that you will keep on your person.
If there is extra space, add socks, or non breakable, lightweight accessories like pin on bows and floral clips to fill the spare room so stuff won’t wiggle around. Remember, if you are flying this whole box might tip upside down. Now, close the box / container. Don’t tape it closed. We aren’t bringing packing tape with us for the way home! Tie it with some gift curling ribbon (in a bow! not a knot! Curling the ends is optional, and it’s a poor use of your time. I always do.), or use a rubberband, sting, etc.
Now it’s time to stuff your purses. Put the accessories that match each coord (heabow included) in the matching purse. If there is spare room, put your undergarments, socks, and/or bloomers into the purses too. If you still have accessories left, grab a ziplock bag from the kitchen and fill it up with the rest. If not, grab a ziplock bag from the kitchen anyways, because when you are in your hotel room and you have to empty a purse you want something to shove accessories in so they don’t get lost.
Your bed should now look like your closet sneezed on it. (Also it’s blocked so you can’t fall asleep without finishing your packing. Shake your fist at your past self for this, as needed).
Now it’s time to get everything else you need. Makeup case, travel toiletries, brush/comb, travel steamer, snacks, bobby pins, nail polish, double-sided fashion tape (for holding up socks, and keeping JSK straps in place!). If you are packing a carry on, take a moment to make sure you are following the rules for liquids. If not, go ahead an put all your liquids that aren’t already in a bag into a ziplock bag. I throw my bobby pins and fashion tape in with accessories or makeup.
Now the suitcase. Does your suitcase have a handle? If so, when you feel the bottom of your suitcase, it’s probably lumpy. So, we want to fill in the valleys between the lumps before we put in anything rigid. Roll your socks, underwear, PJs, casual clothing, etc into rolls and fill in the bottom of your suitcase. Fold or roll your blouses and boleros and tuck them in as well. Only put in enough to flatten out the surface. Put other items to the side.
Now, for dresses, if you buy nice, light classic dresses, you can often fold them up easily, but if you are an AP girl, your probably already know it’s hard to fold an AP dress (especially one with a huge non-detachable bow on the front.) If you dress has a big bow sewn on the bodice, lay it out face down. Spread out the skirt. Fold one outer edge of the skit in to the middle, then the other (we are basically folding the outer 1/3 of the skirt into the middle. Fold the top 2/3 of the boddice of the dress up to the middle, then fold the hem of the skirt up over that. Adjust your folds so that the bow isn’t pulling anywhere, and you aren’t creasing any built-in hard-tulle petticoats. Lay the folded dresses in your suitcase however they fit best. Now, arrange your puzzle of purses, shoes, toiletries, wigs and that box of accessories on top. Try to fit things as safely and efficiently as possible. Fill in the holes between things with the remaining rolled items. All that should be left unpacked is your petticoats.
If your suitcase has a zipper pocket, and your petticoats are not made of hard tulle, shove them in the zipper pocket. Now, you never put anything valuable in outer zipper pockets. Never. Because people can steal those things, or the zipper can break and then they might fall out. Petticoats aren’t going to fall out. Petticoats are going to be wedged in there so tight that if someone tries to steal them they are going to reach in, get a handfull of soft net, be super confused and move on to someone who put something better in theirs. Inner zipper pockets work fine as well. If your suitcase doesn’t have zipper pockets, or you prefer to put something else in them, go get more grocery bags. do the same double bagging we did for the shoes to keep printed parts from touching the petticoat or your other stuff and shove one petticoat in per bag and tie the handles (you know how when you make a knot, it’s two steps, first you cross and pull tight, then you cross and pull tight again? Only cross and pull tight once. The friction of the bags should keep it mostly closed.) Hug the air out of it, and wiggle it a space in your suitcase.
Zip up your suitcase and weigh it if you have a suitcase scale and your mode of transportation has a weight limit (pretty much all airlines do. Amtrack trains in the USA on the east coast on the other hand, never weigh or measures my bags so I don’t bother). If you don’t, get on your bathroom scale if you have one and weigh yourself. Now look in the mirror and tell yourself you look great (I’m serious about that, by the way). Then get on the scale with your suitcase, and subtract your weight from your weight with the suitcase. Check this against the limits. If you are over, take something out and put it in a carry on if you can. Usually, for me, my jewelry is very heavy.
A few things to keep in mind:
- If you wear your petticoat to fly, there is a 50/50 chance it will set off the scanners. I don’t know why, but some of mine do. If the idea of being patted down upsets you, wiggle out of it and send it through the x-ray machine in a bin.
- Blouses (and dresses and ribbon trim) with metallic threads set off the security metal scanners at some air ports. It’s better to wear non-metallic items.
- If you have a long flight and want to sew, I’ve taken sewing needles and blunt children’s scissors in my carry on without trouble before (and their website indicated this was ok), but of course, pack ones you wouldn’t be devastated about having to surrender if they deem it appropriate.