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With New York Fashion Week officially behind us, the circus is hopping across the pond for fashion month's European leg, which kicks off in London on Friday. From there, it advances to Milan for seven days of Italian moda before heading the 500-odd miles north to Paris for the final stretch. While we at Fashionista are, of course, right there in the thick of it covering the collections as they come down the runway, we tend to alternate who is traveling where so no one editor is living out of a suitcase for more than a week. Many publications, however, send entire teams overseas to cover London, Milan and Paris all in one go — which, in strictly packing terms, is something of a herculean exercise.

On a basic level, fashion month is about clothes, and the pieces you see on catwalks or in showrooms (debatably) take precedence over what you yourself may wear. But as with any industry, aesthetics are important. So, how does one go about packing nearly a month's worth of London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week-approved looks without grossly violating their airline's baggage restrictions? We asked four industry veterans — The Cut's Rebecca Ramsey, Paper's Mickey Boardman, InStyle's Eric Wilson and Refinery29's Connie Wang — to fill us in on how they get their goods to Europe.

Plan out your outfits in advance — and be meticulous about it

For a trip as long and involved as this, you can't just toss what you think you'll need into a suitcase and hope for the best. It pays to get organized well before you bust out the luggage.

"It usually takes me two hours, and it's the same process every time," said Wang, senior features writer at Refinery29. "I count the number of days that I'll be attending shows and make enough outfits for just that — no more, no less." She takes out her "hero" items, or those pieces she knows she'll want to wear during the week, and splays them out on her bed with Post-It notes according to date. From there, she'll complete the outfits with as few pieces as possible so there's maximum overlap. "The entire time, I'll wear the shoes I'm considering bringing, so I know that if they're bothering me while I'm just stomping around my bedroom and trying on outfits, there's no way in hell I'll be able to make it during fashion week," she added.

Ramsey, The Cut's fashion director, follows a similar protocol, keeping her outfits to a minimum of however many days she'll be away with a few extra blouses throw in, as well as a couple extra options for the evenings. "I feel like there are more parties that sneak up now in Europe," she said. "Also, dinner's so late in Paris that sometimes it's nice to refresh your outfit for the night so you don't feel so tired."

Limit yourself to one (very large) suitcase and, if needed, a carry-on bag

Wang told me that though she typically prides herself on being a light packer — she even did a month-long trip with just one carry-on suitcase — she hasn't found that skill to be applicable to fashion month travel. Instead, she'll travel with a "gigantic" Tumi suitcase and a half-full duffel bag "with empty room for inevitable purchases."

Boardman, Paper's editorial director, is on the same page, limiting himself to one checked suitcase and a carry-on, though that changes depending on the season. "Lately, I've been not even taking a carry-on and just bringing a big Stella McCartney Falabella bag on the plane with my computer, books and magazines," he said.

Do not shy away from re-wearing pieces — unless you're Anna Dello Russo

The editors to whom we spoke for this piece mentioned that because they're not the kind of showgoers to attract a bevy of street style attention, getting dressed carries little, if any, pressure. "I'm a fashion addict, but I'm not a street style-type, so it doesn't matter what I wear the way it does for someone like Anna Dello Russo," said Boardman, who will typically attend the London and Paris shows and fly back to New York between them.

Wang, too, doesn’t shy away from re-wearing pieces. "I have no qualms about people seeing me in the same thing multiple times — and I get that that is not helpful advice," she said. "But, I always consider neutral tones — black, gray, white — as visual empty spaces, so I never bring more than one pair of black pants or one white shirt because no one will remember that you've worn them before." The same is true for Ramsey, who loads up on certain basics to wear again and again. "I tend to bring pieces that are built for layering," she said. "The turtleneck is my best friend; I'll wear that by itself or under a jacket or a sweater, or a sleeveless turtleneck in the warm weather."

As fashion news director at InStyle, Wilson's packing list includes two suits, two blazers, two or three additional pants and six dress pants, but it's tees that he finds himself reaching for again and again. "T-shirts have added a huge amount of versatility to what I pack," he said. "You pair that with a tailored suit and it's a great formal look that's completely acceptable in any of these fashion situations."

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Consider saving different items for different cities

Stereotypically speaking, London is much more practical, Milan, dramatic and Paris, romantic — so do the characteristics of the cities themselves play a role in what editors wear during each week?

"I do save my more peacock-y pieces for Milan and Paris, but that's because it's fun to dress up, and it can be a big pick-me-up towards the end of the season when you start to feel completely depleted," said Wang. But she's found that the real difference between cities comes down to shoes. "London is wet (waterproof boots), Milan is full of cobblestones and not enough taxis (flatforms) and Paris is easier, transportation-wise (anything!)."

For Boardman, London is a bit more about parties: "I do bring more sparkly stuff for that — always lots of Ashish!" He allocates more room in his suitcase to bring more out-there pieces to London, "like some old Lanvin glitter tops or my Chloé tracksuit — that I might not wear but am happy to have in case the mood strikes me."

If you can, do laundry

If you find that you're able to make all your socks and underthings last your full trip without having to do laundry, then congratulations. That's amazing. If you're anything like Boardman, you don't need to — especially if you find yourself in close proximity to a laundry machine. "I stay in a gorgeous apartment in Paris that has a washer and dryer and it's a dream come true," he said. "It's such a luxury."

If that's not the case for your accommodations, he offers an alternative. "In a pinch, I do get laundry done at a hotel," he said. "It's expensive, but there's nothing more glamorous than getting your underwear laundered at a luxury hotel!" It can be worth the expense if you don't have the time to seek out a laundromat yourself.

Ramsey relies on an item that's a bit more wallet-friendly: a $30 travel steamer, which she said helps give pieces a little bit of a juj.

Finally, find your own way to keep your clothing feeling fresh

"This might sound depressing, but towards the end of the trip, what I'm wearing can be the last thing I’m thinking about," said Wang, who found that pre-planning outfits can give her a boost in the final stretch of the trip. "It's one less thing I have to stress about, and 10 more minutes of sleep." She also takes sartorial advantage of any free time she finds in her schedule. "I'll go to thrift stores and pound shops where I'll buy something cheap and cheerful that would work with the other things I brought with me," she said. "Some of my favorite fashion week outfits have come from that."

But beware a slippery slope, warned Ramsey: "You're looking at brand-new clothes on the runways. You're looking at fabulously dressed people wearing brand-new clothes. It's really easy to be like, I want brand-new clothes, too! You don't have a lot of time, thank goodness, otherwise you'd come back broke."

Wilson has learned to look at his fashion month wardrobe differently. "In my case, having reached a certain age, you become less dependent on your clothes to excite you as to work for you," he said. "I would rather wear something that I know I look good in, I feel comfortable in, that is not going to stand out in a professional situation in a bad way. For me, it's not a question of finding what excites me. The things that excite me that I've acquired over the years are the clothes that fit the best."

Homepage photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

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