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Lisa Wilkinson: My Secret To Packing Light But Still Having The Perfect Holiday Wardrobe

I have always been a shocking packer. Travel-wardrobe packer that is. Until recently I ALWAYS over-packed.

For years I’d pored over those magazine stories of jet-setting fashionistas and their 10 Essential Pieces For The Perfect Mix And Match Holiday Wardrobe.

Colour palettes, mix and match separates, black and white basics, jeans, trainers, the perfect heel and, hey presto! -- 30 different outfits all contained in one cute little compact case of carry-on.

Sure, I’d always done well STARTING with those 10 Essentials but it was my 'just-in-case' pieces I always added that got me into over-packing trouble.

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Just in case it’s cold. Just in case I’m invited somewhere REALLY special. Oh look, there’s that top I’ve never worn, why don’t I take that too, just in case. Oh and that cute jacket. I can throw that one over my shoulders, just in case.

Before you know it, hello baggage carousel nightmare.  Not to mention, hi there pissed-off pack-horse husband. That was, until I discovered the real secret to both packing light AND the perfect holiday wardrobe.

And it was one simple word: dresses.

I never used to be much of a fan of the dress.  I loved them on others, but somehow to me, they just felt like a lot more effort than my favourite pair of jeans and a top.

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Wrong. And it was a chance conversation I had last year with my friend, author, and beauty industry queen, the fabulous Zoe Foster Blake, just as she, husband Hamish, and their two small children were about to head off on a huge three-month adventure OS, that convinced me once and for all of the wisdom of the holiday dress.

What a nightmare packing job I first found myself saying... clearly ignoring the joy, the spirit, the what-ze-‘eck of such a fabulous European adventure.  The simple answer for Zoe? Just pack dresses.

They’re light, most of them scrunch up into a ball, but most importantly you don’t have to think about any of that mixy-matchy stuff.  Dress on? Done.

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Well, Zoe was right. And I think a lot of my followers on Instagram reckon so too after I followed Zoe’s advice while on holidays in Italy this month. (Like how that just rolled off the tongue? “Holidays in Italy, yessssssss!!!!” is what I really meant to say).

Anyway, I was inundated with requests for info on the dresses I wore in all my posts.... so here you go, fashionistas.  I’ll see your mix-matchy 10 Essentials, and raise you, the dress!! Too easy.

Red Patterned Maxi Dress

From @DianeVonFurstenburg at @DavidJonesStore.

Blue Patterned Maxi Dress

From @LoveShackFancy at @JanineEdwards_Boutique, @PacificFair, Gold Coast.

White Linen Dress

From @Gioia_Bini at @MatchesFashion online store.

Navy Blue Dress

From @Zara.

Black Open Shoulder Dress and Vintage Cross Body Bag

From @OneFrenchSummer at Mosman, NSW, and @Courreges vintage bag bought on @ebay for 10 bucks 10 years ago. Best investment ever!

Orange Maxi Dress

From @MaisonRabihKayrouz at Recycled Designer store @di_nuovo_paddington, NSW.

Sustainable Straw Hat and Sunglasses

From @mayaneumann.millinery with clever loopy bit at the back for your ponytail, available from various markets around the country and online and @GentleMonster, available online.

(Please note: not all dresses are current season, but hope this helps!)

Featured image: Supplied