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The M Dash

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How to Pack for Your Spring Trip in a Carry-On

Eight easy outfits for work, play, and everything in between.

By Madeleine Kim

Every other month, I travel from Austin, where I live, to M.M.LaFleur’s headquarters in New York City. I love the chance to see my team in-person, touch fabrics from upcoming collections, and spend time with my family in New Jersey. But when I first started making these journeys, I found the packing of it all quite overwhelming. I’d spend hours trying to find that just-right combination of pieces that would prepare me to dress for any situation, without requiring me to check a bag, and I usually spent the night before my flight tossing and turning, wondering if I’d forgotten some key item that somehow had the ability to make or break my trip. (Yes, I’m an anxious person.)

Luckily, I’ve been making this back-and-forth trip for a while now, and I’m proud to say that I’ve mastered my packing-list formula.

Spring packing list formula

I first shared this formula on the M Dash a couple years ago, and our readers found it so helpful, I decided to publish seasonal updates. I’ve missed a few here and there, but today, I’m back with a packing list that’s just right for this time of year, when the weather is anything but predictable. This selection adheres to all my travel criteria:


  • Everything is wrinkle-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about ironing or steaming on the road.
  • Each item fits into a cohesive color palette, so you can mix and match to maximize your outfit options. The majority of the pieces are neutral, but there are a couple of statement styles to keep things interesting.
  • All the pieces are extremely comfortable—easy, soft, and stretchy enough that you won’t feel restricted no matter how many tacos you eat.

Below, find a few ways you can style these pieces to maximize your on-the-go outfit options.

Outfit 1

The cardinal-red Jett tank is an easy way to add a unique element to your look. Here, I’ve paired it with the lightweight Chadwick sweater, the swishy Elena culottes, and the ultra-cool Frankie trench. This is an ideal ensemble for when you’re out and about in the city all day and need to be able to adapt to various temperatures. Here, I’ve modeled it with both sneakers and loafers to show a casual and more formal option.

Outfit 2

I never travel without a button-down—one of the most versatile styling tools out there—and this pebble-crepe version of the Lagarde shirt might be my new go-to. The fabric feels super soft against my skin, and it doesn’t wrinkle in my suitcase. Here, I’ve styled it as a middle layer between the Jett tank and the Nicky jacket in our new made-for-travel Everyday Crepe.

Outfit 3

The Cassandra dress is the perfect travel piece—not only because it’s made from packable OrigamiTech, but also because it doubles as a trench vest. I love the unexpectedness of pairing red and green—in a way that doesn’t read as “Christmas.”

Outfit 4

For an alternate version of the look above, lose the turtleneck and button only the top half of the Cassandra dress. Admittedly, I stepped outside my two-shoe limit for this one, but this outfit would also work well with the sneakers or loafers.

Outfit 5

Of course, you could also wear the Cassandra dress as, well, a dress. I love it paired with loafers and the Frankie trench for a sharp yet easy look, but you could also wear it with strappy sandals for a more classic, dressy vibe.

Outfit 6

This is, by far, the outfit I wear the most: a relaxed button-down shirt + Milo jeans. This all-white version with a pop of print feels summery while still offering full coverage. The belt and loafers elevate it, but you could also wear it with slide sandals for a more casual look.

Outfit 7

The Nicky jacket in Everyday Crepe is one of those sneakily useful pieces: It’s casual enough to stand in for a denim jacket, but polished enough to sub for a blazer. Plus, I love how the contrast stitching and top button give it a distinct sense of identity.

Outfit 8

Last but certainly not least, the Jeannine dress is another unexpected styling powerhouse. You could wear it to the office, out to dinner, or to a Broadway show—and it’s so soft and stretchy, you could even sport it for the plane ride home.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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