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Thompson Hotels NYC Influencers X Catherine Smith

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Looking to amp up your travel style? We asked Catherine Smith, Founder & Fashion Director of Plan de Ville in Tribeca, NYC for her best tips, essentials, and rules for packing the perfect suitcase. 

Travel Style Tips

The art of packing a weekend getaway bag is not mastered overnight, but there are a few key styling tips that can take you from the office on Friday all the way through a weekend out of town – or in my case, a local staycation in one of my favorite hotels – Smyth Tribeca.

Start with the Essentials – and Leave your Wallet at Home

Before you even open that suitcase, identify a great travel tote (think durable, unique, and lightweight – I love Dillon des Près Co.’s natural leather totes) and a versatile evening bag that you’ll carry with you in the tote (like my favorite L’Afshar clutch in grey marble). I edit down to one or two essential credit cards, my ID, and a few business cards, and use a card case by Sofia Fima, rather than traveling with my whole wallet. It’s safer, and more streamlined.

Stick to the 3 Shoe Rule

A weekend carry-on should have no more than three pairs of shoes, and I find that a comfortable cruising shoe (either a polished sneaker or your favorite running shoes, if a workout is on your agenda), a ladylike (walkable!) pump, and a statement heel is the perfect mix. Always use shoe bags to keep things organized, especially if you have to open your carry-on at airport security. No time for rogue heels when you’re trying to get to the gate! Shoe bags are also perfect for organizing swimsuits and undergarments.

Edit your beauty products to your favorite essentials – no need to compromise for size.

Hotels usually always have a hairdryer, but they don’t always have conditioner which suits your hair texture. One of my favorite tricks is bringing sample sizes of my favorite products, especially shampoo and conditioner. Turn to Sephora and the Internet to score mini Oribe products, ands stock up on high quality samples, rather than playing roulette with a hotel’s options if you have specific hair preferences or needs. Can’t find a sample size? Decant a bit of your favorite into a mini bottle, and use a label maker to note which product is which. That may seem like organizational overkill, but I’ve found that its saved me time when packing, not to mention many a bad hair day! Some of my favorite beauty products also come in small packages – Glossier’s range is perfectly sized for travel.

Focus on layering pieces, and evening looks that travel as well as you do.

My favorite weekend style focuses around a luxe bodysuit (like this one by Alix NYC), a lace top, and a wrinkle-free dress. While I often travel with a mini steamer (key for looking polished if you can squeeze one in – but for domestic travel only.  Tip: don’t plug an American steamer into a European outlet!) I prefer to choose fabrics that don’t wrinkle. My new favorite is this knit dress by my friend Timo Weiland. With a great pair of jeans and a bodysuit, your look can go from airport to cocktails simply by adding a chic scarf and your statement heels, and you’re ready for a night on the town. Have I mentioned how delicious the cuisine is at Little Park?

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