I am quite good at packing suitcases.
My boyfriend Joey Ramone is not be be blamed for his incredulousness. I am fairly certain that the words, “Gosh, that Lipstick Lamarr sure is organized!” have never been uttered. Unless the utterer was being sarcastic. Or was drunk. My home is a Pinterest enthusiast’s nightmare, because I will often wander through places like Ikea and see all the adorable storage bins and buy a couple, thinking to myself, “Oh, joy! Finally, my home will look like an adult who does laundry regularly, and therefore has lots of things to wear other than her prom dress from 1997, lives there!” Except then I get my adorable storage bins home and find out that I have way too much shit to be contained in said storage bins, which means I will have to go buy more to complete the project, but Ikea’s kind of far away, and that shit’s expensive, and I have burlesque costumes to buy, so…you know. But I can, and do, pack a mean suitcase.
This is how good I am at packing suitcases: I could probably have my own reality show, which would be called something like “Lipstick Packs It in.” Each week, I would step in to help hapless travelers create capsule wardrobes that fit neatly and easily into a small suitcase that will go seamlessly into the overhead bin of any commercial airplane. My sweeps week episode would probably feature a celebrity – not a good celebrity, but maybe somebody like Courtney Stodden. The big drama would be something like she neglected to tell me she would also be going to a state dinner honoring, I don’t know, the President of Kyrgyzstan or something. There would be an interview portion featuring me sitting in a tastefully lit room with some potted palms behind me and I would say something like, “Our casual central Asian sightseeing concept has just been blown completely out of the water. We’re going to have to find a way to make a rhinestone encrusted minidress and fifteen pound platform shoes mesh with the khaki theme of the capsule wardrobe, AND get it to fit into the Hello Kitty train case Courtney’s using as a suitcase. This one’s going to come down to the wire.” And then there would be a montage of unexplained running and me ordering an assistant with a blurred out face to “Go, go go!” while dramatic music vamps in the background.
“Lipstick Packs It In” probably isn’t up to TLC caliber, but it would be a minor hit on We or Oxygen or one of those channels. I know I’d watch four episodes on an afternoon when I was avoiding doing laundry.
And today is your lucky day, because I am going to spill my suitcase packing secrets, most of which I learned at modeling/finishing school. The story of how and why I wound up at modeling/finishing school in the first place will have to wait for another day.
I’ve just finished packing for a short trip Patrick and I are taking to Chicago. Most trips will have special challenges and things that need to be taken under consideration, and this one is no different. It’s very easy to get a little overwhelmed when you’re trying to take into consideration things like weather, activities, what-happens-if-I-accidentally-fall-into-a-salad-bar-and-destroy-my-pants-I’d-better-take-four-extras; however, packing without a plan leads to panicking and throwing stuff like cowboy boots and that tie dyed T-shirt that says “I Had a Hippy Dippy Time at Amy’s Bat Mitzvah!” into a GAP drawstring bag to take to a conference of nuclear physicists that is being held in Duluth in February. So the first thing to do is to consider where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Here, for me, is challenge #1.
It is a truth more or less universally acknowledged that a lot of girls who tend towards the goth or punk in their teen years tend to veer off into vintage lady territory in later life. I think that’s mostly true. But then there are the girls like me, who spend the rest of their lives running suicide drills back and forth between the two. This is why my wardrobe looks like I raided Joey Ramone’s closet and then hit up Joan Crawford’s estate sale on the way home. And that’s how you wind up trying to pack for a trip in which you will be attending both a performance of Dita von Teese’s “Strip Strip Hooray!” show and a three day punk rock festival. In addition, when I return to the East Coast, I am going to have to go straight from the airport to a board meeting at work, at which I will be making a presentation.
I also refuse to check luggage, because I am both cheap and paranoid, so this is all going to have to fit into a carryon.
I would like to mention here that I would normally take about half this amount of stuff; however, the Air BnB we’re staying at does not have laundry facilities, so I’ve had to pack a bit more than usual. All the same, everything I have chosen is versatile, can be dressed up or dressed down with accessories or a jacket, and all of the patterns/colors coordinate with each other. So how am I going to conquer challenge #2: getting all of this to fit into my carryon suitcase?
Packing cubes are FANTASTIC. If you roll your clothes, you can really cram them all into the cube, and, as a bonus, they won’t wrinkle since there aren’t any hard creases. I fit two pairs of jeans, a cardigan, a dress, and a waist cincher into my large cube; six tops and a pair of shorts into the medium cube; five pairs of underwear and two bras into the small cube; and two pairs of shoes, five pairs of socks, and a pair of stockings into the shoe bag. This carryon and packing cube system is the UPPTACKA line from Ikea, and I paid about $60 for everything. I also used this system to travel to South Africa in January for three weeks without having to check a bag – I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I am going to to do my best to regularly update the goings on at RiotFest, so check back here for updates. I will continue this as long as my increasingly feeble old person brain will allow, or until I succumb to the dread of what I might be walking into when I return to work, which ever comes first.