As an overpacker, I have to try really hard to pack sensibly. I have to be brutal with my shoes and dresses. And perfume. I collect all three rather voraciously. Anyway, when it comes to packing a suitcase (an act I love, deeply) I must concede there are basics and then there are indulgences and, largely speaking, a good selection of quality basics should cover you for most occasions.  I recently went on a Cotton On spree because everything was ridiculously cheap and I love their basic pieces – if you can bear Supre for the amount of time it takes to snatch five singlets off the rack, then that’s also an option and Country Road do great things as well – that last, and last and last. If online is more your thing, then Ciao Bella Travel is a mecca.


No self respecting suitcase dares call itself a suitcase unless it contains at least one singlet in each neutral colour/tone. Completely necessary for layering in the cooler climates, beaching in the warmer, pyjamas (if, like me, you always forget them) and excellent for popping under transparent dresses, should the need be.

For underwear, keep them taut, stretchy and relatively long (midriffs are so uncomfortable). For outer-wear, embrace the drape and go long. Cotton On and Country Road do some great singlets, and I love the Lowes man singlets as well. Brilliant with leggings.

Pictured: Cotton On long singlets, $2 each on sale

Tee Shirts

A slouchy tee shirt is an excellent travelling companion. They work as summer dresses by themselves (with a pair of flats) or over leggings in cooler weather with some boots. For smaller tees, I’m a huge fan of Sosume tee shirts – so soft, so comfortable, so lightweight. They were made for travelling.

Pictured: Cotton On long, scoop neck tee shirt


Excellent for layering, comfortable as in-flight garb, the soft, long cardigan is a staple.

Pictured: 1. Cotton On cardigans and 2. Mossee pleated cardi from Ciao Bella

The Black Dress

A black dress is the simplest way to dress across the day and night. A casual fabric and design goes beautifully with flats/thongs/gladiators for sightseeing in the summer, or over leggings and boots for touring by winter. Then, come nightfall, add a pair of heels and you are good to go to dinner, drinks or the theatre.

Pictured: Cotton On for $10 on the sales rack – I also snapped up a purple dress of the same design

The White Dress 

I wear a lot of white which can be a pain to travel with in terms of keeping it clean. But if you can find a lightweight white dress that doesn’t crush (and have access to cold washes) then you have a very versatile item at your disposal. White is particularly lovely if you’re travelling somewhere hot and not just visually. There’s nothing quite like the coolness of white cotton on skin.

Pictured: an old favourite



No explanation needed. One can, if one feels the need, branch out into the yoga/pilates pant arena, like the ones below. I personally am happy with the humble legging – cheap, comfortable, versatile. What more could you need?

Pictured: Abi and Joseph Pilates Pant, Ciao Bella