Packing Pettis: Traveling with Lolita Fashion *Updated* - Photo Heavy!

The folks over at Pretty Princess Club invited me to attend Royal Vegas Retreat right before the pandemic shook the world. After postponing last year's event for the safety of each attendee, the in-person convention is finally happening, which means I'm back with an updated packing post! I bought some new suitcases and a few more travel accessories, and I can't wait to share them all with you. 

I'm also going to walk you through my packing process, and show you exactly how I got everything into my 25" roller, along with my expandable underseat carryon bag. I have a lot to cover and more than enough photos, so let's just get right into it!

The Gear

Triforce Luggage set.

I found this Triforce Luggage Set of 3 Spinner Luggage in Avignon on QVC, and as soon as I saw the navy and gold, I had to have it! I appreciate these suitcases because the wheels are super smooth, each suitcase expands to fit more stuff in, and they all come with TSA-approved locks for security. 



My next fantastic find is my Lucas Convertible Under Seat Carry on Luggage. This is a 15" soft rolling suitcase that can fit under the seat on most planes. On top of that, it can expand vertically into a 22" carryon bag for the overhead bin! While I do have other carryon bags, specifically travel backpacks (my flavor of the month is my Calpak Luka Laptop Backpack in Iron), I have no idea what I'm going to buy during this trip, so I want to save the extra 7" of space in my underseater for purchases.

The next two items are honestly the biggest game-changers in my packing technique, and they're incredibly helpful for when I'm packing something as poofy as Lolita clothes. First up: packing cubes!

If you read my last packing post (click here to take a look), then you know how much I love these. Truly, packing cubes have helped me become so much more organized when I travel, even when I'm not taking trips for Lolita.

Packing cube stock photo!


But the newest star of the show was something that I found with lots of help from my amazing Mama! I tried to find some vacuum-sealing travel bags on Amazon, and they were much too small for what I needed. Instead, my Mom grabbed these Hefty SHRINK-PAK Travel Bags for me, which are much larger than the Amazon ones, and can really contain all my poof. She had a variety pack at home, so the sizes may vary based on what you're able to find.

Combo Shrink Pak bags!

The beauty of these bags is that they can be compressed with, or without, a vacuum! They're super easy to use too -- just pack, seal, and press all the air out. Ta-da! Instant compression and everything is super flat.

Now that we've looked at the items needed to get the packing done, let's get down to business!

Planning Your Coords

My JSKs and OPs.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again -- you've got to plan your coords before a trip. Even if it's as simple as packing a single JSK that you can wear multiple ways, it really makes packing much easier when you know what to pack. Since my entire Lolita wardrobe is planned around one color scheme, I can plan multiple coords with a few essential items.

I made a post on my blog's Facebook page (are you following me there? You should be following me there, XP) to ask my lovely readers what they'd like to know when it comes to traveling with Lolita. Here's the first question from LK: "How many coordinates can you pack in a carry on sized luggage bag? Challenge mode: no reusing pieces between coords besides petticoats." Thank you, LK!

As shown in the picture, I originally packed a total of five full coords with five different dresses in my suitcase. Later, I decided to take out my Haenuli St. Vitus dress, along with the blouse I packed in with it, and swapped that dress for another blouse instead. That puts me at a total of four main pieces, but I still have five full coords made up of three Jumperskirts (AP Diner Doll not pictured) and an OP.

I'll admit that a 25" bag is definitely sized for a checked bag, but I'm sure if I packed just coords, without "civilian" clothes, I'd have more than enough room in a 21" or 22" carryon. Another thing to keep in mind is that most airline carriers only allow up to 21" carryon bags in the overhead bin, so if you have anything larger than that, you'll need to check it anyway. I won't be able to do things in hard mode (and I don't recommend you do that either) because omg, the weight of a single suitcase with 5 pairs of Lolita shoes is too much.

So far, the best packing advice I can give is to pack multiple items you can use in different ways. This is even true outside of Lolita fashion. If you want to take three dresses, but actually wear six outfits, then you need to plan to bring more blouses, legwear, and accessories to switch things up.

My blouses.

I have another overdress that may or may not make it to my house in time to get added into my suitcase (PLEAAAASSSEEEEE, please, make it time, pretty please), so that puts me at a total of four blouses and a single overdress. All that's left is to gather wigs, accessories, legwear, and pack it all up!

My original plan (before my amazing Mama brought over the compression bags) was to group each coord together in a separate bag. I keep all the bags from my Taobao orders, but plain ol' gallon Ziplock bags will work too!

The issue with this plan was obvious -- the more items I tried to stuff in these bags, the bulkier everything got. After trying, (and failing) to get a JSK, the corresponding blouse, and my intended legwear in a single bag, I just folded each blouse inside of the respective JSK I wanted to wear with it and put it in these clear bags. Now, when everything is packaged together like this, you can go ahead and throw it all into your suitcase, or, you can move on to the next step.



When my fabulous Mama arrived with the compression bags, it was so easy to take each "bundle" and fit them all into a single compression bag. I used the XL bag, compressed it, and then folded it in half to drop it into my suitcase. And there's our first row!

Bottom of the zipper compartment.

To summarize, this one compression bag contains:

- Angelic Pretty Star Night Theater JSK
- Angelic Pretty Diner Doll
- Enchantlic Enchantilly Queen of the Rose Garden OP
- Metamorphose Temps De Filles Dreamy Egg JSK
- 4 blouses
- 1 overdress

For the next bag, I put in all of my "civilian" clothes for this trip (about 5 outfits), my PJs, and a few tank tops and camisoles. I also put excess legwear for the pieces that I just couldn't decide on. There are some pretty bulky items in here too, including a turtleneck and a sweater dress. This layer goes on top of my first compression bag.

The second layer!


In case you haven't noticed, I didn't use my packing cubes yet! Here's where they come in. I packed 5 wigs into my biggest zipper bag, then followed that up with the smallest zipper bag, which will be home to earrings, rings, lashes, and other bits and bobs. I used another shipping bag to pack ALL my accessories. The wig bag was too bulky for this size of the suitcase, so the jewelry bag, and the accessory bag goes on this side. I also snuck in the last of my I Heart Revolution Chocolate Banana face powder so I can use that up while I'm gone, XP


The top layer of the zipper compartment.

Now that the zippered compartment is full, we're moving on to the other side! I've got all my main pieces, and accessories packed, but you can't wear Lolita without the petticoat. I had one compression bag left, which was absolutely perfect for my legwear, OTKs and a petticoat. I laid this compression bag on the bottom of my suitcase and started filling it up.

Petticoat, legwear, undergarment bag, and shoe bag.

Since the petticoat bag was small enough, I took one of my shoe bags and placed it beside the legwear + petticoat bag. On top of that, I placed my packing cube of undergarments, and in front of it (not pictured), I placed the wig bag that I had packed up earlier.

In total, I'm taking 3 pairs of shoes, but my sax shoes don't quite fill in the shoe bag. That gave me room to place my other two pairs of shoes on top, which forms the second layer of items for this side. I topped it all off with a flat bonnet, which is perfect for trips because you can just set them on top!

Finally finished!

Let's take a look at the number of items on this side! I've got:

- 3 pairs of Lolita shoes (sax, gold, and black)
- 5 wigs
- 1 petticoat
- 1 bonnet
- 4 pairs of tights, 2 pairs of OTKS
- Undergarments for a 5-day trip

If I was really keen on making my suitcase a smidge lighter, I could replace the sax and gold shoes for my white shoes with detachable bows. With the addition of both sax and gold shoe clips, I can lighten the load just a bit, and still wear my planned coords. Since I'm checking this bag though, I'm not going to worry about it, haha.

So, my suitcase is all done, and it's time to move on to my makeup bag. In my original packing post, I split this part up, but since I'm on a roll, I might as well cover everything!

I refuse to check my makeup because I know that out of everything I'm bringing with me, my makeup is most likely to break. My rule of thumb is to never pack makeup that should stay at home. Your Pat McGrath palettes? Leave them at home. Your $130 bottle of La Mer foundation? Don't even think about dropping it into your suitcase! 

For that reason, I have two (most times three, let's be real) sets of my entire makeup routine. I also take this time to use up any and all travel-sized items I've gotten from Ipsy or Sephora. Not only do you get to try some new stuff, but once it's gone, you can just toss it and make room in your travel bag for more things later! 

My makeup!

Don't forget the 3-1-1- rule for carrying liquids onboard! If you don't know what that is, I talked about it on my original packing post here.

Since liquids are regulated, and solids aren't my travel-sized cleansing balm, all my powders, makeup brushes, and my beauty blender are going to go in another bag. I'm bringing my Fast Face palette from The Lip Bar (an absolute MUST for travel makeup, seriously) and another blush quad so I can diversify my makeup looks, but that can fit in the back of my liquids bag. My circle lenses will go in this bag too, however, I try to wait until the day before to officially pack those. That's everything in this bag. Let's take a look.

Liquids bag.

The back compartment of my liquids bag.


Last, but certainly not least is my underseater. The last time I traveled internationally, I packed it completely full, and just traveled with it fully expanded. This time, I don't think I'll need to do all that, so for now, it'll stay compressed unless I buy more things at the convention. 

This bag has ample room, and it opens up in a way that gives you full access to every item at one time. It also has a laptop sleeve for my Chromebook, YAY! I took my smallest mesh packing cube and packed four headpieces inside of it, then placed it in the underseater. As you can see, I placed the beret at the very top of the cube, since it has the most flexibility. Speaking of headpieces, my bestie Goth Bae has our packing question! Goth Bae asked me, "What is the best way to pack bulky things like large hats, without having to wear them to the airport?" Thank you, Goth Bae!

An underseater is a great solution to this issue depending on your hat size. Originally, I had intended to wear a vintage-style top hat with one of my coord, and it fits right into my underseater with no troubles at all. To make sure that hat wasn't crushed, I filled the inside with clean socks, that way it would maintain the shape.

My top hat is on the left side. I decided to go with a bonnet instead.

Another idea is to pack all your headpieces into a hatbox and carry that onboard as your personal item. I would only recommend this if you have more than one bulky hat, or if you have a hatbox that you can really fill with items to avoid losing out on all that space.

Since I wanted to make better use of the space in my underseater, I eventually opted to wear a bonnet instead of the top hat, but I think this is a great solution if you need ideas. 

Next to the headpieces, I placed an adorable bag that I was given as a freebie, and lastly, my makeup bag. The piggy-bunny bag is a bit long, so I unzipped the lining that separates the main body from the expanding portion, to give him a little wiggle room.

The first layer in my underseater.

In total, I'm bringing 3 purses, but I purposefully packed some clutch bags (except for piggy bunny) to help me switch it up without sacrificing space. My gold clutch bag goes on top of the makeup bag, followed by my brush and beauty blender bag, and I'll be carrying my black clutch purse (it goes with two of my coords and ALL my "civilian" clothes) as my personal item.


Layer two in my underseater... and look, there's STILL room.

At this point, if you still need space, I would suggest bringing a backpack or duffle bag as a personal item, since most airlines allow you to bring both a carryon and a personal item onboard. I may drop a foldable backpack (my super sweet friend gifted me one that's sorta like this) in this bag, as a just-in-case measure, but again, I don't think I'll need it.

Finally, we're done! I'll pack my Chromebook, chargers, headphones, and tripod on the day I fly out, but after all of that, we're completely finished!

All packed up and ready to go!

Before I go, I wanted to answer one more question! JL asked, "What do you do when you get to your destination and realize you forgot something?" That's a great question that I wanted to answer before I end this! Thank you, JL, <3

Even after showing y'all how I pack, I know I'm bound to forget something. Depending on what you need, I would take full advantage of Amazon Prime and the availability of Amazon Lockers, or even get packages delivered directly to your hotel with 1 or 2-day shipping. If you're attending an event with a Swap Meet or a Dealer's/Vendor's Hall, even better! You're already attending the convention, and if you're a Lolita that's reading this, you most certainly know how to shop. Plus, I have no doubt that the vendors will appreciate the sales, :)

For basic items like toiletries or socks, you can probably grab those from Amazon too, or if there's a drugstore in your area, make a quick run to CVS or Walgreens. If these options still don't fix the issue, don't beat yourself up about it, and just go without. We're all human, and it's actually hard to keep track of 50 different items.

I'm so excited to be able to attend a Lolita event after such a crazy year. Special shoutout to the folks at Pretty Princess Club for the invite, and for allowing me to cover their first in-person event for my blog. I'm so excited, and I can't wait to see everyone! If you see me walking around, please say hi! 

I'll probably wait a while to post my feedback and review of the event, but I still have more posts coming your way. I'll be wearing my circle lenses during the convention, so stay tuned for a MASSIVE review on my Lensvillage haul, and if my overdress comes in on time, I might be able to write a couple of reviews on some Indie brands as well! I can't wait to see you all online or in person. Until next time, my wonderful readers!

Stay beautiful, stay true,
~J

Comments

  1. You know, I've been looking for a new set of suitcases and googled the one that you have in hopes to find it in the UK. You always learn something new because apparently there is a QVC UK, which I never knew about, AND I seem to have found it on sale right now as well. So thank you once again for sharing all your tips and tricks, they do come in useful - and now I need to decide whether to get the burgungy set or the rose gold one.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for always reading and commenting! I'm so glad this post was helpful. I had no idea there was a QVC in the UK either, so we both learned something new lol.

      PS: my vote is for the burgandy set, :)

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