(Packed To Perfection)

Verena Von Pfetten’s Greece Vacation Wardrobe Makes A Case For Overpacking

She brought 14 bikinis, no less.

TZR; Courtesy of Verena Von Pfetten
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In our Packed To Perfection series, TZR follows industry tastemakers to local haunts and far-flung destinations alike to see — and shop! — what they’re wearing while out and about in the world.

There are some types of getaways in which you haphazardly throw a bikini, sundress, and sandals into a carry-on and kind of hope for the best. Gossamer co-founder Verena Von Pfetten’s recent jaunt over to Kea was definitely not that kind of vacation.

“Honestly, I sort of felt like I’d been subconsciously shopping for this trip my entire life and I wasn’t going to be able to leave anything behind,” says Von Pfetten, who was traveling to the small Greek island to celebrate her best friend Peter’s 40th birthday shortly after becoming a quadragenarian herself. Beyond generally being an important milestone, the occasion held special meaning for the two, who made a My Best Friend’s Wedding-inspired pact as teenagers to get married if neither of them was romantically attached by their fifth decade. (Spoiler alert: The festivities didn’t include a surprise wedding.)

Von Pfetten’s main focus for packing? “I knew we’d have a lot of big, celebratory dinners for which I’d want to dress up,” she details. “That’s really what I focused on — in addition to about 14 bathing suits, no joke.” A lifelong beach obsessive, the writer and editor wanted to make sure she had a clean and dry swimwear option for every mood and moment. (For fans of her newsletter This Is Cute, which she creates with longtime friends Jenna Gottlieb and Jayna Maleri, this story checks out — the writer and editor takes her shopping very seriously.) From there, the suitcase strategy was all about filling in the gaps with essentials.

courtesy of Verena Von Pfetten
Verena with her friend Peter.

“Footwear was easy, mostly because I’m pretty low-maintenance when it comes to shoes,” Von Pfetten continues. “I packed a pair of maroon-ish Adidas slides, which go with almost anything, as far as I’m concerned, a dressier pair for his big party, and my trusty Converse, in case I needed something closed-toe. I also threw in a few of my favorite oversized button-downs, which do double duty as beach cover ups and evening layers.”

Below, Von Pfetten shares everything she wore while frolicking around the Mediterranean locale, including a last-minute party look switch-up and a breezily styled sports bra look worth trying this summer. Consider it a crash course in excellent wardrobe planning, which should always include room for spontaneous creative changes.

Double Duty Dressing


“We flew overnight from NYC to Athens, landing at 8 a.m., and then had a full day of birthday errands (and a little sightseeing) before catching a 6:30 p.m. ferry to Kea from the port. I picked my airplane outfit carefully, since I knew it had to last me more than 24 hours and survive both a plane ride and a day of running around a city. Plus, I don’t like wearing things on the plane that I can’t also wear on the trip. I wore a yellow pair of Adidas x Wales Bonner track pants, with a cream linen shirt by Uzi, which felt both practical and airy enough for an Athenian summer day. For the plane, I had my Tibi origami sweater, which is super oversized and comes in this nice lightweight wool that makes it perfect for travel. I wore my trusty Adidas slides (with socks for the plane) and my favorite baseball hat from Caputo’s — the best Italian market in Brooklyn.”

Long Skirt Story

“One of my go-to hot weather styling tricks is breezy, high-waisted skirts with comfy cotton sports bras. This one is by La DoubleJ and I borrowed it from my friend Jayna, along with the sports bra, which is from Madewell — I wore both for the first big group dinner of the trip. I paired them with my Adidas slides (again), an oversized (XXL) men’s button down from J.Crew as a late-night, outdoor dinner layering option, and a white purse from Herbert Frère Soeur, which is the only purse I packed for the trip and basically goes with everything. For my birthday, my sisters gave me a gold and lab-grown white sapphire necklace from Dorsey, which I basically put on immediately and have yet to take off. I feel like it gives even the most basic and casual of looks a little bit of elevated flair, and I love it so, so much.”

Easy & Breezy (Literally)

“Another big group dinner featuring copious amounts of seafood, wine, and ocean breezes —another skirt and sports bra combo. The skirt is vintage; I got it at a shop in Austin probably 10 years ago. It rolls up into the tiniest little ball, weighs nothing, has an elastic waist, and is made of the most wrinkle-forgiving crinkly silk. I’ve packed — and worn it — on every single warm-weather trip I’ve taken since. The same Adidas slides (you sick of them yet? I’m not!), a vintage beaded necklace, and I was ready for the night, which, as it turns out, involved multiple bottles of champagne and ended at 4:30 a.m.”

Comfort Objects

“So, the only big mistake I made in packing for this trip was [forgetting] layers. Our first four days in Greece, the evenings were actually quite chilly. In a panic, I asked my friend Jen [who was coming later] to bring me an extra layer in her suitcase for me, which ended up being a sweatshirt from my friend Jayna (also of the skirt and sports bras). This was my last night on Kea and I was both sad and tired, and wanted to be extra cozy. The dress is a navy cotton jaquard number by Rachel Comey that has the most flattering empire waist and raw hem. I live in it all summer and, I swear, even in NYC when I have access to my entire closet, almost always pair it with Adidas slides.

Thank goodness for Jayna’s extremely chic Gucci x Chateau Marmont sweater and the same Herbert Frere Soeur bag. Also, if you’re wondering why I have sunglasses on in every single picture on this trip, it’s because I have this weird eye quirk where my pupils are basically permanently dilated, which means I have to wear sunglasses in any sort of bright light. I packed two different shades of these cheapies from Aire and I can’t recommend them enough. They are super flattering on everyone who has tried them, [provide] great sun protection, [and are] not so expensive that I panic if I break or lose them.”

Smooth Operators


“This was the big night! We started with an outdoor dinner on the beach at this incredible family-run taverna, before moving to a bar for dancing and karaoke. I bought myself this set from Silk Laundry, after tracking it down in my size (the pants run small) at their store in Montreal, to wear to my birthday, and ended up wearing it to Peter’s as well. The dress code for his party was “Late Stage Cycladic Discotheque,” with an emphasis on “sequins, jumpsuits, and casual glamour.” I’d originally built an outfit around this Jenna Lyons-era peach sequin J.Crew skirt I have, but decided day-of to do a repeat-with-a-twist. To Greece-ify it a little bit, I wore it unbuttoned with a string bikini top underneath and a pair of Dries Van Noten platform sandals that my friends surprised me with for my birthday. Oh, I also packed four pots of multi-color glitter from Tood, which I tend to do for most fun trips, because who doesn’t love a little glitter moment? My mirrored Rachel Comey earrings paired were appropriately disco-y, and worked with my silver and gold Clare V. clutch. Oops, just realized I guess I did pack two bags! If you’re looking for a workhorse purse, you cannot go wrong with this pouch. The silver and gold combo means it goes with almost every outfit and makes it dressier than a pouch might ordinarily be. The best part of this outfit was ditching the shirt late night, and just dancing around in my bikini top, because — when in Greece!”