This year we like to think we’ve really got your back—from gifts to buy, to what to wear, to how to make present wrapping not totally terrible. We’re sitting down with our team to glean a little pro advice to get you through the season with flying colors (blue being a nonnegotiable, of course). Next up is our friend, model and vintner Michele Ouellet. She divides her time between the East Coast (modeling) and the West (working for her family’s winery, Lorenza). So she knows a thing or two about schlepping from here to there. And not looking like she’s, you know, schlepping.

From now until New Year’s, we are literally on the go all day—and occasionally night—long. Flights, trains, Ubers…getting from here to there is December’s pervasive theme, much less festive than the other pervasive theme, which is you know what (ahem, the holidays). Michele Ouellet, who you probably recognize from our annual Gift Well Guide and our site, also happens to be an ace at the smart travel thing, since she divides her time between New York and California during the year. Does she have opinions, including what to pack, what to wear and what podcasts to stream? Obviously.

Packing—tell us everything you know.

Michele: [Laughs] Well, let me talk you through a few of my rules: carry-ons only. No heels ever, ever, ever. On the plane, wear your biggest, coziest thing…it’ll save weight and space in your luggage.

What are you bringing?

Michele: Two pairs of jeans: one black high-riser, one boyfriend (the comfiest you’ve got to wear on the plane). A leather jacket if it’s a little cold. Lots of T-shirts. An iPhone loaded up with podcasts—download many.

Your favorite podcast. Go.

Michele: Oh my god, comedy podcasts just change my life. Comedy Bang! Bang! by Scott Aukerman. So good.


Would you ever travel with silk? Like, fabrics that wrinkle easily and get a bad travel rep?

Michele: Oh, I would, if I have to go to a party or something. I’ll always bring a silk dress and wear it with a flat boot or even a sneaker.

We have to ask: workout gear. Do you bring that?

Michele: When I’m in California, I’ll go for a hike so I’ll bring sneakers—like, actual exercise ones. California is perfect for getting outside and being active. It’s actually ideal for growing wine which, you know, is good because that’s what we do.

What if you have to bring home gifts?

Michele: Ship them ahead of time. Always.


Any travel beauty tips?

Michele: I do that fancy but unnecessary spritz water thing. It feels so elegant. Otherwise, my routine is pretty simple. I have travel sizes of everything just ready to go. It cuts down on packing time and more importantly, stress. I have Oribe dry shampoo that I just cannot live without.

So, to confirm, travel outfit: boyfriend jeans, a T-shirt and the biggest jacket you’re bringing.

Michele: Exactly. Beanies too. Beanies are great in winter. They’re the layer that’s quickest to take off or add and probably change your outfit up the most in 15 seconds.

Thank you, Michele.

Want to shop Michele’s travel essentials for real? You’re in luck, she’s shared them with us in one happy shop-friendly spot, here.