Gucci Westman with her vacation travel bags

“For years as a professional makeup artist, I traveled every week for work. And while I try to be at home more now, I’ve been to Sydney, Paris, Los Angeles, Milan and Hamburg in the past few months alone, so I’ve had to get pretty good at packing efficiently. I have a few really nice suitcases that I rely on: a sturdy Rimowa roller, which can fit a lot, and a beautiful ivory Bottega Veneta one with a leather handle that I’ve had for 18 years.

For the cities I travel to often, I like to stay in the same hotel. When you have to leave your kids, your family, and your routine, it’s nice to have a familiar place to come back to. I love Chiltern Firehouse in London, La Reserve in Paris, and the Château Marmont in L.A. They know me, so I feel comfortable asking for little things, and I’m familiar with what they have on hand or close to the hotel, which means a lighter suitcase and less stress. These are the five rules that have saved me when packing for any trip.” 

MY FAVORITE TRAVEL WARDROBE IS A UNIFORM. 

“I try to be realistic and pack just the amount of clothes I’ll actually need as opposed to the ones I fantasize about wearing, so I always dress in a uniform. I bring two favorite pairs of jeans that I alternate, a few blazers that can be casual or dressy, a few button downs and 45rpm T-shirts, and my favorite PJs. And obviously sweaters; you can always use a sweater. Everything works together.  If I’m traveling for a week and I want to work out, I bring a few pairs of pants (TRYST makes really nice ones that fit well), sports bras by ALO, and workout tops that I can re-wear.”

TWO PAIRS OF SHOES AND TWO BAGS ARE MY LIMIT.

“I bring two pairs of shoes to work in: Sneakers or flats, depending on the destination, and something with a little bit of a heel as long as it’s comfortable. I like the low Gucci loafers, and I have little Totême heels that are cute and easy to wear. The same idea goes for bags. I limit myself to one big brown leather bucket style (a favorite Loewe that fits so many things!) and a Chanel envelope cross-body bag for the evening.”

THE BEST TRAVEL MAKEUP BAG FEELS LIKE AN OLD FRIEND.

“I like to bring my own products instead of using the hotel amenities so I feel at home wherever I’m going but I keep it simple. My essentials are: Grown Alchemist’s body cream, Rahua's travel-sized Color Treated shampoo and conditioner, and La Roche-Posay Anthelios's mineral broad spectrum tinted sunscreen for my face. I bring my Westman Atelier makeup range because I want to have options but it’s still really edited—plus, everything is a compact or a stick so things stay neat and organized. I also bring a brown eye shadow and eyeliner from Chanel.”   

THERE'S A PLACE—AND A POUCH—FOR EVERYTHING.

“I try to pack with purpose. I always start by putting the heavier items like my shoes at the bottom of the suitcase, so they don’t end up creasing my clothes. It’s the same for my beauty products: I put all fluids in recyclable double Ziploc bags so I can see what’s inside easily. I also use a few little Bonpoint bags for non-fluid products, like my hairbrush. Then I use lightweight mesh bags to organize my T-shirts and workout clothes. That way, when I arrive, things aren’t all over the place. Also, if you fasten the top button on a button-down shirt and then fold it with tissue paper and pack it last, it doesn't get creased. Grace Coddington taught me that!”

HEALTHY SNACKS & SUPPLEMENTS ARE THE BEST JET LAG CURE.  

“At home, I make shakes every day, but when I travel I don’t have a kitchen. Instead, I bring frozen gluten-free bread with me, which I ask the hotel to toast for me, and my own almond butter. It makes me happy to have my own things and I feel the difference in my energy levels and my digestion. By the time I leave, it’s gone, so that's one less thing to carry. For supplements, I pack a small pouch with The Nue Co.’s Sleep Drops, Skin Food powder, and probiotic capsules, plus wheatgrass powder and flax in case I have stomach issues. If I’m catching a long haul flight, I always have Nuun electrolyte tablets on hand. I take them on the plane and again as soon as I get off. They don’t take up much space but they’re crucial!” 

THERE'S ALWAYS SUITCASE SPACE FOR UNEXPECTED TREASURES.

When I’m going somewhere that I’ll want to shop, I bring a slightly bigger suitcase that’s not packed all the way. I’ve learned that’s a must. In LA, I tend to go to the Erewhon grocery stores and stock up on nice, natural treats that I can’t get in New York. I actually buy gluten-free bread there and freeze it when I get home. In London, I go to Petit Bateau for panties and bras and the Little White Company to get linens and pajamas for my kids. And then there are those little unexpected things you come across and want to give as gifts—to friends or to yourself. This might not make your bag lighter but it makes your trip better—discovering new things is part of the adventure.”