How To Pack Like A Pro

Few are more experienced at packing for New York Fashion Week than our very own Rachel Zoe. If the mere sight of luggage sends you into a slight panic attack, fear not: Rachel has let us in on her tried-and-true traveling tips that will school you in everything from how to protect delicate, embellished pieces to how to maintain the shape of your fave wide-brimmed hat. Follow these 7 steps to get your packing game on point. And yes, in case you were wondering, all of the following images are actually from Rachel’s own wardrobe as she got ready for Fashion Week. Prepare for a fashion fiesta.

Step 1: Pull Everything Out Of Your Closet

No matter how small your closet is, it's easy to forget about things buried in the back or hidden high on a shelf. The best way to get organized is to pull everything out (even though this creates a temporary disaster). Operate on the theory that if it isn't visible, it doesn't exist. Buy a pop-up rack and use it as an expansion of your closet so it's easy to see and edit your clothes and create the best and most practical outfits.

Photos: Dylan Bartolini-Volk

Step 2: Wrap Accessories In Duster Bags

Since your hard-earned money often gets splurged on accessories, be sure to take an extra couple of minutes to protect them. There is nothing more aggravating than seeing a giant scratch across pristine leather. High heels can cause serious damage, so pack each shoe separately in its own duster bag. For delicate or embellished sandals, stuff the inside and toes with tissue paper to hold the shape and keep them from getting crushed inside your luggage.

Step 3: Photograph All Jewelry

Whether you have one prized family heirloom, a unique collection of costume jewelry or a treasure trove of diamonds, make sure to always photograph the jewelry you pack so you don't drive yourself crazy trying to remember what you had should something go missing. And because materials like gold and resin scratch easily, be sure to pack each piece individually. Of course always also make sure to pack jewelry in your carry-on—never risk checking anything you can't bear to lose.

Step 4: Pack Everything On Hangers

Significantly reduce packing and unpacking time by placing all of your clothing in the suitcase on razor-thin hangers. Pack a cluster of 3-6 hangers by folding the bottoms of the garments into the bag, alternating the side of the suitcase the hangers end up on.

Step 5: Protect Embellished Pieces

Pay special attention to sequins, crystals, chains, tweed, knit, tulle and anything white. Next time you are at the dry cleaner, stock up on several fresh plastic bags that you can use to cover your most precious pieces and prevent them from getting snagged. Bonus: The slippery texture of the bags acts as a barrier against wrinkles.

Step 6: Build Around Your Hats

Pack hats in the center of your suitcase with layers of scarves, socks and knit hats around them to help protect the shape. Be sure to place them in luggage before everything else goes in—the worst place to put hats is on top where they inevitably get squished.

Step 7: Carry On The Important Things

Pack anything you can't live without in your carry-on. For example, if you're going to a wedding keep your dress and best accessories on hand in case your luggage doesn't make it—especially if you're in the wedding party. Also always pack your computer, important documents and (as we already mentioned) your jewelry in your carry-on to save yourself from unnecessary grief.