my carry-on

What Condé Nast Traveler Editor Melinda Stevens Brings in Her Carry-on

Photo: Courtesy of Melinda Stevens

Getaway season is almost here, which means that you are going to need to bring some things with you. In a bag. To help us decide what to pack (and what to pack it in), we’ve enlisted some celebrities to tell us what they’re lugging. Today, the travel essentials of Melinda Stevens, editor of Condé Nast Traveler. Welcome to My Carry-on.

I never normally use beauty products. I just literally grab whatever is in the hotel or on my kids’ shelves. But this is properly amazing. I put it on before I get on the plane and it sounds dramatic, but it seems to take away all the roughness and the dryness and you just look incredibly fresh and healthy. You know when you go to the plane loo and you feel like despairing inside? This lets you look at yourself in the mirror and not have a panic attack.

Away is just so good. They’re so light. They’re so flexible. People always laugh at me because even if I’m going somewhere for 24 hours, I have a massive Away bag. I can’t help going for the massive Away suitcase because I just literally chuck everything in, but I have got all of the different sizes.

Firstly, these are just immensely cheery. And because I’m traveling so much, I never know which possible place I’m ending up in. It could be Berlin, or it could be Sudan, or it could be Bahrain. And I just think it’s brilliant to have something that you can go straight from the plane into any situation with and have a bit of joy attached to it.

These are a practical but still beautiful option. Tabitha is a friend of mine, and she’s the most charming, clever, gifted person. These flats remind me of shoes I used to wear when I was a teenager on King’s Road in Chelsea. And they’re just so comfy, but the patent leather makes it a bit cool and fun.

[Editor’s Note: While there are limited sizes available for the black patent Hermione flats, there are more sizes available in the black suede version, here.]

Whenever I arrive in a new city or I arrive in a new country, it’s always the smell that transports me. I’m not the kind of person who wears one perfume all through my life. I’m obsessed with perfume and I love a ton of smells. But roses for me smell of English country gardens and they smell of spring and they actually remind me of my dad. It’s often the case that I don’t even have time to change at the hotel, or I’m going straight from the plane to a meeting to lunch to a dinner, and I think smell is the easiest way of uplifting your own vibe and hopefully the people that you’re bumping into.

Bunch of Scrawlers is a feed that I came across on Instagram and I love the mash-ups that they do. They are, in fact, doing a mash-up for Condé Nast Traveler, but in the meantime, they make these hoodies. My teenager loves this stuff and so do I. I think that this is a good example of somebody who is doing something where I’m not too embarrassed to wear it because it’s too young and my daughter’s not embarrassed to wear it because it’s too old. It’s just super cool. And I want the option to have anonymity, so if you’re not feeling your best, you can put up that hood and then shrink down into it like E.T.

Jimmy Choo made a boot a while ago that I wore and people would literally stop me in the street about them. I drive a Vespa in London, so again, it was a question of me going from home, to work, to the plane. And then these boots that started off so smart got absolutely destroyed by love. And then luckily they came out with these. I find that I’m constantly buying the same stuff that I bought from 10 years ago and 20 years ago, my favorite stuff. I wear them with everything and they’re unbelievably comfortable.

Hermès was the first fashion show that I went to and they came out with this amazing show in which the kind of dynamic, or the mood that they had mainlined, was Amelia Earhart. And she was this incredibly spirited, adventurous, independent traveler, and Hermès, for me, therefore always symbolized that. There is no doubt that Hermès has that kind of high-end quality that’s difficult to argue with. And these blankets are exactly that. I wear it kind of swooshed over one shoulder and then you can just immediately cozy into it when you’re on your flight.

This is kind of like a New Wave snood. I’m obsessed with keeping my neck warm. There’s something quite vulnerable about the neck and when you’re flying, I feel like every part needs to be covered. So there’s the neck part of it and then there’s this breastplate, almost like a knight in shining armor, but made out of wool. But instead of wearing it inside, which I’m sure I’m supposed to, I wear it on top. But it is the softest, most delicious thing, and it’s just one of those things that makes you feel secure.

Zoë Jordan, who’s another buddy, does these very loose, relaxed tracksuits. I think she has a nice kind of high-low vibe. They’re super cozy and super comfy. But I think there’s a really fine line between looking too undone [and not]. I don’t want to look like I’ve just stepped out of bed. Yes, they’re cozy. But they’re also on-point.

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What Condé Nast Traveler Editor Melinda Stevens Travels With