Packing - Traveling Tips

By Stefia Satoh

with Carollyn Olson
Packing/Traveling Tips

We’ve had a number of friends ask us how we manage to pack outfits for boy and girl mode into a single carry-on bag (and shoulder bag) for a mixed business and pleasure trip. So this is the perfect format for us to share our packing list and tricks with you.

We typically pack clothes for 2-5 days which can cover most situations and takes up about half of our carry on bag. All items are synthetic, wrinkle free and light weight and many of the Suddenly Fem fashions fit the bill and take up very little room in a small suitcase or travel bag.

Mixing and matching is the important. Key colors are black, tan, brown and one bright complementary color (purple, fuchsia or blue). White and silver can be accents. Everything must have the possibility of being worn at least twice, but in different combinations.

For makeup, transfer cream foundation and other items in to 2-inch diameter x ½-inch high screw top containers. For liquids, use tiny ¼-inch cylindrical screw top vials. And buy small 1-inch square containers of eye shadow colors for blush, bronzer, and highlighter (for contouring).

For eyes, a small four color eye shadow kit is perfect. A tube of lipstick the same color as your beard tint is invaluable. Cut long lip liner, eyeliner and brow pencils in half and use combination sharpener/liner caps. A small lipstick sized tube of Vaseline works as makeup remover, skin moisturizer and lip gloss. A small capped blush brush, combo eye shadow swab and brush, and 3-inch powder compact with mirror are the tools you need. Buy the smallest possible lipstick and mascara you can find at the drugstore.

A makeup kit fits into a zipper pouch the size of a grade school pencil pouch. And bring along a Handi-wipe in a Ziploc bag to keep the hotel towels clean – the Handi-wipe can be washed, wrung out and dries quickly. 

Also carry a small battery operated razor. If you dab rather than slide the razor, you can trim stubble without removing foundation. When done shaving, all you will need is a light touch up of beard tint, foundation and powder.

Buy a black canvas purse that folds flat and can carry a tablet or extra clothes. We both have a black trench coat that is a short and light weight; it's a water resistant treated fabric that works for all occasions and all weather. Stefia paired it with a cardigan and scarf on a cold and wet day sightseeing in Boston and stayed plenty warm.  
We both prefer skirts to dresses since one can vary the hem length, from daring to conservative, and a skirt is more versatile. In addition one can put the flats, skirt and hose in the large purse to give you options during the day.

Finally, use foam pads for body contouring since they are not an issue if you have them in a carry-on (silicone is a gel, so it prompts a hand inspection at an airport).

For both modes, try wearing a pair of women's black lace up shoes (that are androgynous) to stay comfy while walking. Complete your ensemble with a black fold up umbrella. 

Extra Points (More Traveling Tips):

Tip 1: Mock Boots –We both love wearing boots but since we travel with both male and female wardrobes for a trip in one carry on bag, we can't justify the space for boots. Instead, pack or travel in a pair of black stacked heel shooties, then also pack a pair of black knit leg warmers (circa 1980's). Slide the leg warmers on and fold the top edge over once, then slip on a shootie and slide the warmer down over the top of the shootie - this visually has a similar effect to boots.

Tip 2: Adjustable chain for a pendant. Always skip a few zip ties (cable ties) into your luggage, so you can zip tie your bag shut if you choose to check it at the airport. That same zip tie is great to make a loop of excess chain on a pendant so it hangs at the optimal “one thumb length above the neckline.” Make sure the loop of chain and zip tie are next to the clasp, so your hair over the back of your neck will cover the clasp and loop. Use nail clippers to cut the excess zip tie off. A small rubber band also works well.

Tip 3 -- A wig container and stand.

A wig will look better and maybe last a bit longer if you take special care in packing it and storing it while traveling. Cut a sturdy poster board into quarters.  It's helpful to have a couple large paper clips too.

For traveling, put some soft compressible clothes like nylons and panties in the wig cap, to prevent the cap from creasing, then slide the wig into a clean plastic grocery bag or better yet wrap it in a smooth silky scarf, being careful to ensure all the hair lays as naturally as possible. Then, roll the poster board around the wrapped wig to create a tube (the paper clips can be used to keep the poster board shaped like a tube). Pack the tube amongst your clothes to act as a cushion (away from my heels!)

At your hotel room, prop the curled poster board on end and use it as a wig stand. If you wish you can use the paper clips to make a sturdier column. And if you travel en femme and wear your wig, the poster board can be laid flat in the bottom of your luggage.

Here’s what we typically pack:

Black scoop neck t-shirt
Tan long sleeve v neck tunic top
One bright colored top
Black skirt
Black or tan patterned ankle pants
Black tights/leggings
Large White Rayon Scarf
Tan or black or patterned cardigan (use on plane too)
Nude hose
Black 2” pumps or sandals
Black folding flats
Foam Breast Forms
Foam Hip Forms
Jewelry-one set
Makeup and Polish Remover Pads
Wig & Comb (stuff with clothes and fold in scarf, then plastic shopping bag)
Women’s Wallet
Canvas Travel Purse/Tote (with top closure to keep pickpockets out)
Black nylon folding grocery bag (size of a racquetball)
Light weight unlined short trench coat 
Folding umbrella

There you go; a compact travel kit. We hope this will be helpful or at least interesting and help you when traveling!

Stefia Satoh passed away in mid-2015. She will be missed, but her excellent travel tips will last forever.

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