Travel Beautifully · Perform Confidently
Travel Beautifully · Perform Confidently

Style in a suitcase with Deborah Brett

The Fashion Editor-at-Large of Wardrobe Icons and contributing editor of Red Magazine, Deborah Brett, on the art of packing, the importance of accessorising and her love affair with cashmere tracksuits.

How I pack definitely depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing…

“When I go for short breaks or a mini trip of 3 to 4 days, I tend to pack really succinctly. Depending on where I’m going, I whittle things down to a one-tone colour palette and become an expert minimalist where everything works together with lots of mix ‘n’ matching.

However, when it comes to a longer break of anything more than a week, I suddenly want to take everything with me. As a fashion editor, I always want to wear all my new additions and old treasures.”

I’ve had every permutation of suitcase…

“I went through a phase travelling with my family with these very lightweight nylon duffel bags because it meant we could pack as much as we could for the kg allowance. But loaded up with five duffel bags and no trolleys to be found, my husband and I often resembled pack mules. So last year we invested in cases from Rimowa. We have the Classic Cabin S $950 and the Check-in L $1220 both in aluminium. I stroke them I love them so much. I thought I’d get upset when they got battered but they still look beautiful.”

deborah brett travel style rimowa suitcase
Deborah has invested in a set of Rimowa suitcases
I take packing very seriously…

“People think the job of fashion editor and stylist is incredibly glamorous but in fact you are just a glorified packer.

So much of what goes on behind a fashion shoot is thinking about what clothes you’re taking, how you’re going to put them together, and the things you’re going to really need. Then you take them away on location and dress a gorgeous model on a beautiful boat up a canyon. So with so many years of that training it’s invariably filtered into my own life.

I tend to lay my clothes and the clothes of my children on the floor in front of the cupboards and I leave them there for about four days. Slowly I add bits to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.”

I’m definitely a flat clothes packer…

“I always feel that works best for me, especially in my Rimowa cases. They get compressed with the panel inside that flattens them down and holds everything in place.

I pack my socks and underwear in all the gaps and I always put my shoes in shoe bags.”

I always pack for my destination…

“Wherever I’m going it’s like I’m styling myself for a photo shoot there. For example, if I go to Ibiza my clothes tend to be more colourful and hippy like. However, if I’m going to New York they tend to be more elegant, and if I’m going on a winter ski holiday I will take Nordic knits, velvets and lumberjack shirts.”

I adore accessories – I’m definitely a maximalist…

“I take all my costume jewellery away with me – favourites include my Forte beads by Carolina Bucci, Marte Frisnes new bamboo bangles, my rings, Tilly Sveaas Gold Curb Link necklaces, and Dana Levy evil eyes. I love to wear rings on every finger, earrings, and bracelets as I feel they definitely make my outfits.

I also love shoes although when packing I do try to keep them to a minimum. In the summer I take a few clutches on holiday and use a basket by Rae feather as my carry on and a velvet cross body by Meli Melo in the winter. My current obsession with hairbands by Born in the Sun means that my number of accessories in my suitcase is on the rise!”

deborah brett style maximalist accessories
Deborah is a self confessed maximalist. Image
I try and limit my shoes when packing…

“In the summer I love a simple pair of neutral sandals by Ancient Greek sandals which go with everything. I also have a great pair of flats by Nupie. I got them from Koi Bird and I love the fact that they come with different fabric ribbons so suddenly you have three or four different pairs of shoes. I tend to take one pair of heels with me –  I love my Jimmy Choo strappy sandals –  and for winter I make sure to take a stack heeled boot from Isabel Marant as well as my Golden Goose shearling lined trainers which means I have a soft comfortable pair of shoes to walk around town in.”

For an important meeting I would pack a great dynamic coat…

“…and an elegant expensive bag. First impressions always count.”

I have curated a collection of eveningwear over the years…

“…some fantastic Stella McCartney and Preen dresses. But one of my favourite pieces is a black velvet jumpsuit by DVF with a satin band that ties around the waist. It’s very sleek, simple, sexy and cool.”

I don’t know what I did before the cashmere tracksuit…

“…which is my favourite thing to travel in. I have a lightweight striped version by Chinti and Parker and I also have just designed a Nordic knit cashmere tracksuit for Wyse. They’re so comfortable and they look elegant as well as being cosy. I then wear them with my shearling slipper shoes by Gucci.

Finally I wear a very lightweight cashmere baseball jacket by Zoe Jordan for an added layer of warmth and comfort.”

deborah brett style cashmere tracksuit
Deborah has a love affair with cashmere tracksuits. This one is fro Chinti & Parker
I wouldn’t travel without…

“…a wonderful lightweight cashmere shawl, which can double up as a blanket on the plane, or to wrap a child in on a long car journey.”

I always travel with…

“My customised denim jacket from The Jacket Bar in the summer, otherwise an eye mask from Bodas and earplugs to sleep in.”

When it comes to coats I have a wonderful khaki long sweeping trenchcoat…

“…lined in red and a black lumberjack check from Preen that is reversible that I love to take for cities. If I’m going somewhere cold I adore my Preen shearling lined biker jacket it has these panels of shearling that zip on and off which means it can transform from something lightweight to something warmer quickly.”

I remember the first time I came to Ibiza…

“I was told that the island (Deborah now has a house there) was so low-key and relaxed that I wouldn’t really need any heels or fancy dresses and that we would be going from beach to dinner in a kaftan and flip-flops.

However, on our first night we bumped into Tamara Mellon who at the time owned Jimmy Choo. We got invited to her party with Valentino and model Yasmin Le Bon. Everyone was wearing Valentino, YSL and Jimmy Choo and I turned up barefoot in my beach dress.

Ever since I have never listened to someone else’s packing advice and I always make sure I have one great party dress and a pair of heels with me.”

Follow Deborah at @deborahbrett on Instagram.

Jen Rubio, Co-Founder of Away

The luggage entrepreneur talks in-flight facials, the benefits of aisle seats, and jet lag breakfasts.With Jen Rubio, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, Away

The luggage entrepreneur talks inflight facials, creativity in the air and jet lag breakfasts.


What luggage and hand luggage do you travel with? Why do you like it?

“I’m usually reaching for Away’s Bigger Carry-On in Navy paired with The Everywhere Bag in Black Leather. I avoid checking my bags whenever possible, so this is the perfect duo. I’m able to pack for nearly two weeks of travel and comfortably carry everything I need.”

jen rubio away luggage
The Away Bigger Carry-on in Navy, $245
What’s your approach to skincare when travelling and flying? Which beauty products do you take?

“Packing the skin care products I love eliminates some of the stress that inevitably comes along with shaking up my routine while on the road, so I always pack travel-sized minis of my must-haves. My favorites are Aesop’s Fabulous Face Cleanser, $49.00, Glycelene Seatox Face Mist $70, IGK Dry Shampoo, and Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum $216.37.

I also always have a reusable water bottle—hydration is always crucial, but even more so when you’re travelling.”

How do you approach your wardrobe on the road?

“I’m usually traveling for both business and fun out of one carry-on, so I tend to gravitate towards items that are comfortable and versatile, can easily be dressed up or down, and in neutral tones that I can easily mix and match.

For me, that’s a black slip dress, my Chanel loafers, stretchy yet tailored trousers, woven tops and sweaters that won’t wrinkle in transit, and a vintage leather jacket. I keep accessories to a minimum so that they’re one less thing to think about, and only bring my most cherished jewellery.”

What’s in your carry-on / hand luggage that you never leave home without?

“I never fly without my noise-cancelling headphones and a Slip silk eye mask. They’re the two things that guarantee I can comfortably get some rest on long flights.”

jen rubio slip silk eye mask
Jen is never without her Slip Eyemask, $61.82
Do you have any in-flight routines? Are you a nervous flier?

“Luckily, I’ve never been a nervous flier. I actually enjoy my time in the air the most – it’s when I’m completely unplugged from the world that I’m able to do some of my most creative and concentrated thinking.”

What do you read, listen to and/or watch in flight?

“Usually I’ll use flights to catch up on my favorite podcasts or journal about some of the ideas my team and I have for Away.”

“I also love doing a mini inflight facial—I’ve gotten some strange looks while wearing a facial mask on the plane, but the air inside the cabin is so dehydrating so I’ll sacrifice some dignity if it means I can land with skin that’s glowing. Lately I’ve been loving the Estee Lauder Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask $85.”

What is your seat preference and why? 

“I’m always in the aisle seat. I like to be able to get up and stretch my legs during a long flight to keep the circulation going without disturbing my seatmates, so you’ll rarely catch me with a window seat.”


What is the best experience you have had travelling for work and where was it?

“We recently launched Away in Australia, and to introduce the brand, we hosted Origin: Away, a campaign and experiential pop-up in Sydney to celebrate the country’s love of travel and its entrepreneurial spirit. It was all about highlighting local entrepreneurs whose travels had led them to build successful businesses abroad, and we brought them back home to Sydney to share their stories with the local community. I always love hearing how travel has transformed the way people live their lives, so it was such an incredible and fulfilling experience.”

What was a terrible travel experience that wasn’t funny then, but is now?

“It’s so ironic because it was awful at the time but it’s also what sparked the genesis of Away – my suitcase broke at the airport while I was traveling, and I literally had to use duct tape to get it back together before my flight. My clothes were everywhere. It was so embarrassing.

I was determined to find the perfect suitcase so that something like that would never happen again, but it turns out the perfect suitcase didn’t exist, so we created it.”

What do you do before a trip to ensure life at home runs smoothly whilst you are away?

“I’m on the road more often than I’m home these days, so I start by embracing the things won’t always run smoothly and I can’t control the inevitable bumps that will come up. Instead, I try to focus on the fact that everything will be okay.”

“I have a packing routine that makes last-minute trips feel less daunting, and an incredibly talented team that I trust to make great decisions for Away and our community while I’m not in the office. I know the company is in great hands even when I’m traveling or completely off the grid.”

How do you keep connected to loved ones whilst on the road?

“I make it a point to call at least one person I love before I go to bed. It’s a little routine I adopted years ago when I started traveling more often, and it’s something small that makes me feel grounded after a long day, and grateful for all the great people in my life.”

How do you make your hotel room feel like home?

“I travel with a few items from home that make any hotel or Airbnb instantly feel familiar and warm—that’s usually a sound machine to drown out any unfamiliar noises and help me fall (and stay!) asleep, and a travel-size candle in the same scent that I burn at home (Cire Trudon’s Balmoral is my favorite).”

hotel room candle cire trudon
How do you manage your wellbeing when away? 

I use apps like Glo so I can take a yoga class no matter where I am in the world, and I try to go for lots of walks to explore and unwind while I’m traveling rather than opting for a car. They’re small, easy ways for me to carve out time for myself that also keep me active and in the mindset for being truly present.”

“I’m also really mindful about eating nutritious meals when I’m travelling. Sometimes I find myself working straight through lunch, so I’ll make sure I have a big breakfast, like porridge with bananas and almonds, or eggs on avocado toast.”

“Being on-the-go can wreak havoc on your immune system, but staying active and eating well are things you can control.”

What are your tips for combating jet lag?

“Keep moving and eat breakfast. Once I arrive at my hotel, I’ll head outside for a walk or do a short yoga session at the hotel – something to keep my energy going before I can properly rest. And eating breakfast (or whatever meal is associated with the local time when you land) is a small but effective way to signal to your body that you’re shifting to a new time zone.”