Style Counsel: Heidi Swanson's Travel Kit by

Issue 4 · The Rustic Life · January 27, 2012

Style Counsel: Heidi Swanson's Travel Kit

Issue 4 · The Rustic Life · January 27, 2012

We're delighted to introduce the first installment of Style Counsel, in which we solicit sartorial secrets from our friends in the design world. First up: Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.

I first got to know Swanson on a flight to Portland, OR, where she was heading to a book signing. She was decked out in a navy pea coat and riding boots; her hair was tied back and her luggage consisted of a single black valise on wheels. It was immediately apparent she'd worked out the art of traveling. Here, she shares with us her essential travel kit.

Photography by Heidi Swanson.

Above: Swanson strolls through the Place des Vosges. Photograph by Wayne Bremser.

Remodelista: How do you wrangle your luggage?

Heidi Swanson: I use a compact black Samsonite carry-on with wheels.

Swanson's go-to uniform is built around a Sofie d'Hoore dress from MAC (Modern Appeal Clothing) in San Francisco.

Above: Swanson's go-to uniform is built around a Sofie d'Hoore dress from MAC (Modern Appeal Clothing) in San Francisco.

Above: Instant evening outfit: a Sofie d'Hoore dress with gold sandals from the Gap and an Erica Tanov gold wallet.

RM: What's your approach to packing?

HS: I'm a big believer in the Russian Doll system—lots of bags within bags. I lay everything out on the bed and put together an outfit for each day. I'll make a sketch of what I'm going to wear beforehand; I flat-pack my outfits in clear bags from the Container Store with all the air squished out. It makes dressing on the road super easy.

RM: Wardrobe basics?

HS: I have a few key pieces, such as a pair of Riding Boots from Corso Como (this is my fifth pair, I've worn them forever and they've become my uniform). I always pack some fingerless gloves as well so I can shoot a camera, work an iPhone, and stay warm.

Above: I like to sketch out the outfits I'll be wearing each day; it takes away the guesswork.

RM: What's in your travel make-up bag?

HS: Rose and tuberose perfume in a rosewood case from Frazer Perfumes, Mulitplye Mascara from Tarte (a recent discovery at Sephora), a standard brown lipstick from MAC, a Nars Lipstick in jungle red, a Nars Lipstick in schiap, Bite Vitamin Gel, and clear Butter Nail Polish.

RM: Beauty essentials?

HS: I bring two small Malin + Goetz bottles of shampoo and carry a comb instead of a brush. I'm addicted to Korres Pomegranate Wipes; I use them to cleanse at the end of the day and to freshen up after a flight. Other essentials: Boots Face Renewal Creme from the Botanics line, Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal, and Welda Wild Rose Deodorant.

Above: I pack a vintage Bakelite bracelet and other simple pieces when I travel since I like to get through airport security quickly.

RM: Analog or digital?

HS: I bring a Kindle Fire in a felt pouch for reading and movies; I don't take my laptop unless I really have to. I love Moleskin notebooks for travel notes and recipes worth remembering. The pink diary is from J Crew—I still like to write down appointments. The Micron Pens are Japanese and have an extra-fine tip which I use for book signings, and the pink MT tape is my way of making sure they don't disappear.

Above: Heidi's pin board displays story ideas for her next book and photos from her travels.

RM: Favorite places to stay when you travel?

HS: Hotels are not so important to us; we’d rather spend the money on other things. We've tried out Airbnb a few times and had good experiences. Last time we were in Paris, we did a house-swap with Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini, which was great. We'll also rent if we are in a place for a while. We're pretty casual travelers.

RM: Airline food?

HS: Never. I always bring my own food in a DCI Collapsible Lunch Box. These Golden Pot Stickers are a favorite for long-haul journeys as they are full of protein. I also drink plenty of water on a flight, nothing else.

RM: Travel tip?

HS: My friend turned me on to a small Tumi Just In Case Tote that slides on the top of the suitcase handles and stays fixed in place. I'll wrap my cameras in a cloth and keep them there. It's fudging the carry-on but I've never been called on it yet.

RM: Next destination?

HS: Paris and Morocco. I want to go back to Tokyo soon, and India is on the list. I would love to go and cook there.



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