Packing Secrets from a Fair Harbor Expert
Gathering your gear for a summer getaway may seem simple, but there's always room for improvement. Fair Harbor's Creative Director and resident travel expert Durand Guion explains how to make any trip stylish and stress-free.
Durand Guion has seen more than a few airport lounges in his time. Fair Harbor's creative director and former Macy's executive traveled every month for work, sometimes for weeks. He'd venture everywhere from Paris and Milan to Tokyo when he wasn't roaming stateside to places like Miami and Los Angeles. In addition to frequent flier miles, Durand has also gathered plenty of insights into packing the perfect summer bag. Whether it's just a quick weekend getaway or a longer adventure, here's what you need to know.
What are your tricks for packing efficiently?
I try to keep it simple, nodding to my personal style. Sometimes I will work around a color scheme, with navy or gray as a base, as they are neutrals for me. As long as I generally stay in that scheme of 2-3 colors, I know everything I pack will work together seamlessly.
I also like incorporating something new into my wardrobe that I am excited to wear -- maybe it's a new pattern, color, or fit. Since starting at Fair Harbor, everything is new, so I've been wearing a lot of our pieces.
Since you mentioned them, what are your favorite Fair Harbor pieces to include?
The Casablanca Camp Shirt is my go-to for any trip because it's so light and comfortable. Plus, it's wrinkle-resistant and easy to dress up or down, depending on whether you pair it with shorts or chinos. And I can't wait to get every color of our new Ravello Terry Polo. It's effortless and soft, with a cool retro vibe.
As for shorts, I'm always partial to the comfort of the Nautilus Boardshort. It's modeled after a classic surf short, but the length and the pattern choices are great for even non-surfers like me. And the style makes it very easy to wear with a polo or a white shirt, so I feel very pulled together when I wear them. The Sextants are my quintessential trunk for the pool or the beach. The inseam is a little shorter than our other shorts, and there are a lot of fantastic prints and colors, so they’re very chic. You can wear them all day long and even into the evening.
How far in advance do you plan—and do you create a list?
I like to plan what I will pack three to five days in advance since a last-minute frenzy does not work for me. I make a mental list of the situations I'm going to be in every day and then think about what I'll wear for them. For instance, we were recently shooting our fall campaign in the Northeast, so I figured out the possible daily activities and what I could wear for each one. It's good to think about what you'll need to look put together and comfortable for the situation.
Are there any packing tricks you always use?
Shoes and heavy items are always on the bottom. I like to pack in order of what I am going to wear so I can easily remove it from my bags without disrupting the other layers.
What would your ideal packing list be for a summer weekend?
I am very passionate about clothes, so I usually pack a different look for day and evening. I also appreciate versatility, so I like using swimwear as all-day shorts. We have the best patterns at Fair Harbor, and I pair them with a solid polo or tee shirt. For the evening, I like linen shirts and white jeans because they always look fresh and feel just right for the season. No matter how warm the destination, I always pack a cotton or linen cardigan for the plane or if it gets cool in the evening. It's the ultimate versatile layering piece.
How many pairs of shoes do you usually bring along?
I try to pack shoes for multiple situations. I usually wear a pair of clean white sneakers on the plane since they are comfortable, versatile, and take up the most space in a bag. In my bag, I pack espadrilles for the beach, Birkenstocks as an easy slip-on, and a soft loafer for dressier occasions.
What about accessories?
I used to bring too many watches when I traveled, but I realized how impractical it was. So I suggest just bringing a casual one for wearing by the pool and a favorite good watch for going out. Bring some accessories, but not too many. Make sure you can wear the few you bring in multiple settings. I usually pack two pairs of glasses as well, since it's such an easy way to change your look.
How do you choose your toiletries?
I never unpack my toiletries. I always keep a fully-stocked toiletry kit for traveling that's always equipped with my toothbrush and favorite travel-size items. A great way to streamline what you need is to consider all-in-one options, like multi-purpose creams or washes. That way, you'll have more room in your bag if you buy something new on your trip.
What were some of your absolute musts when you travel beyond just clothing?
I never travel without a portable steamer. Wrinkled clothing is a distraction for me, and using a hotel iron can feel like a production. Also, my iPad is always downloaded with movies and TV shows for the plane and winding down from the day.