Everything you need to pack for the perfect winter weekend away

According to Joe Ottaway, Mr Porter's Client Relations manager, there's a very simple art to packing: "The motto you should have when packing: simple, relaxed and stylish. Works every time."

And Ottaway should know.

Sitting in a Sydney cafe, it's impossible to tell that the Englishman has been living out of a suitcase for the better part of a month before arriving in Australia to host Mr Porter's Style Council at luxury beach hideaway Halcyon House. But then he wouldn't, because he's clearly the perfect example of how to successfully pack for any trip – be it business or a sneaky weekend away from the rat race.

"The failsafe way is just to think ahead and think about how what you are packing will work in different situations," he adds. "All it takes is a little bit of organisation, and some creative thinking about where you're going – what's the climate going to be like and what you'll be doing socially."

Start with the basics

Keeping warm shouldn't just be about mindlessly piling on layers. You can rug up against the chill and still convey the same level of panache.

Start with a versatile sweater that will work in multiple situations. This doesn't necessarily mean staple greys or blues either – leave that for heavier outerwear such as a peacoat. Instead, opt for a statement piece you can team with either denim or trousers, such as Gucci's range of knit.

Your denim should reflect the fact you're no longer in the office, and a washed blue is ideal – pre-softened, comfortable and can be thrown into the washing machine if you happen to get them a bit grubby.

Lastly, the third and final item is some solid outerwear – thrown over your jumper or worn with just a shirt, it should be simple and refined. The minimalist approach to Private White V.C's hand-finished wool coat in charcoal should be your guide for great outerwear. Or, if you're prone to feel the cold, Prada's sleek nylon jacket in signature black.

The extra layers

Denim, sweater, coat – these three core items should be your anchor around which you can then build layers. The hard part is adding those extra layers that do the job intended – staying warm – while still looking schmick.


Sydney-based stylist Monique Moynihan suggests thinking about your outfit like Lego – it should all fit together and be easily interchangeable: "Avoid over-packing by only taking items you can pair with your basics – your sweater, coat and jeans.

"And stick to a mostly neutral colour palette. A sweater in a cool print or bright hues could help inject colour to your outfits, but everything else should be kept fairly neutral, apart from accessories."

"The failsafe way is just to think ahead and think about how what you are packing will work in different situations," explains Ottoway. "I have a quick edit of my wardrobe, chuck it all on the floor and then put it into my suitcase from there. It's essentially three stages - take it from the rack, lay it on the floor where I work out what's going to go with what and get as many alternative outfits or looks as possible while packing as minimal as I can."

Long-sleeve shirts can help bring a welcome extra layer if you're prone to feel the cold. Try a cotton wool-blend shirt, in a classic plaid like the kind from London label Folk.

The packing

Thrown it all down, sorted it out, now it's time to pack it all away.

"I find the trick to the art of packing is to actually roll my clothes instead of folding them," suggests Ottaway.

This is actually a great technique that also minimises creasing while still allowing for maximum storage simply roll each individual item up like was a burrito and pack it into your bag.

Moynihan also recommends wearing what you can't easily fold or roll.

"When travelling, especially on planes, it's best to wear your most bulky items to save on luggage space.

"You should be wearing your overcoat, jeans and your boots and pack your lighter more compact items.  Pack your belts, ties and small accessories into your shoes to save on space. And lightweight shoes such as trainers are easier to pack than your bulkier utility boots."

Check out the gallery above to see what to pack for the ultimate weekend getaway.

The author was a guest of Mr Porter at Halycon House.