Melissa Watson

In the Bag is a series of interviews that dive into the streamlined packing habits of travelers we think you should know about.

MWHeads turn when Melissa Watson walks into a room, her enthusiasm for life so contagious it creates a halo effect. It also extends into her approach as a creative–having worked for blue chip brands such as Club Monaco, Ralph Lauren and Theory, she recently left Faherty Brand, a startup for eco-friendly men and women’s beach clothing, striking out on her own as a free agent.

Melissa has developed two pattern lines for The McCall pattern company in partnership with her mother, Pati Palmer, a renowned publisher and fit expert, and is teaching and refining a new generation of home sewers via video series best practices for fit and sewing. Next up? Ensuring upcoming influencers in the business world are properly suited up and researching book ideas for millennials.

What type of trip is it?  Work, The Independent Publishers Group Annual summit

Destination? Chicago, Illinois

How many days? 3 days

Any travel buddies? Fiancé, Roland Ellis

Local weather is like… Perfect, Mid 60’s

What’s the packing strategy? Light, light, light, a few great outfits and some awesome skin care.


Great skin starts with taking good care of it–Brow pencil, CARMEX For Cold Sores Lip Balm, Cargo matte bronzer, Comme des Garcons Amazingreen scent, DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge rescue & protect facial cream, Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion skin exfoliant, Dr. Jart Premium BB Beauty Balm, eyeliner, Korres anti aging primer, MAC lipstick, MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Blush, Miracle worker miraculous anti-ageing retinoid eye repair, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, Revlon Grow Luscious Waterproof Mascara, and Sephora makeup brushes (2).

How many bags and suitcases? 1 roller bag and mid size shoulder bag.

Are you checking in or carrying on? Carrying on, no need to wait at baggage claim when we have such limited time there! We wanted to do a little city exploring too.

What’s in your carry-on? My journal/couple pen’s, laptop, sunglasses, emergency makeup, A novella I thought I’d have time (ha) to read!

When you’re in the airport, you… checked in going through Security and had digital boarding passes so went straight to security. We were at LGA for an 8am flight so it wasn’t busy!

At the gate? Not even a decent coffee shop at the gate in LGA–we settled for a banana and Auntie Annie’s coffee–leaving a lot to be desired. Good thing it was a quick (1.5 hours) flight! We saved our appetite for this new Chicago café – Publican Quality Meats, a must visit.

Before getting on a flight, you… Make sure to eat something, I get kind of dizzy on the plane!

Do you use any travel aids? Definitely bottled water, snacks (depending on the length of the flight) headphones, laptop (always, not depending on the length of the flight), a sweater (doubling up as a pillow, I don’t like toting a lot of stuff)

Any travel splurges? Those expensive gluten-free snacks!

Do you use any travel apps or checklists? Yelp.. all the time, all day long, so crucial in finding good restaurants/shopping/yoga classes in a foreign city and you can bookmark your faves to remember for when you go back.

The book you’re bringing is… “ Pafko at the Wall” best known as “The Shot Heard Round the World” (Roland turned me to it). Originally published as a folio in the October 1992 issue of Harper’s Magazine, it was later incorporated as the prologue in Don DeLillo’s novel, Underworld.

Are you a prep packer or last-minute type? Last Minute! Ugh… but I am a pro, I have two of everything, all my travel size bottles filled, and an extra Sonicare toothbrush ready to grab and go in a vanity kit.

Never leave home without… A black knit T-shirt, maybe two. Always chic and can put with any outfit, pants or tuck in a skirt. I have one from Theory that has a large pleat at the neck, which makes this normally casual item a little more versatile.


Strategy: Keep it light. Book, gym shorts and bra, jeans–one ripped, one sleek, , kimono open front print jacket, knit Jacquard jacket for layering, makeup kit, moto jacket for some edge, notebook, number tee, paisley silk skirt, pens (2), rings (2), shades, Theory pleat-front black tee, and yellow hairbrush. Not pictured: slip-on short boots.

Is there any type of tool/app/resource you’d wish was out there to make traveling easier? Not really, but I will tell you one that is great! Tripit- you send all your email confirmations of travel plans to it– be it plane tickets, hotel, or car service reservations and it organizes them chronologically and give you updates on what is coming up.

Any rituals or guilty pleasures you do? Guilty pleasures: binge watching movies on a long flight, and catching up on some sleep.

Have you ever missed a flight and why? I fell asleep in the Frankfurt airport and the plane was still there but they wouldn’t let me on!

Any tips for fellow travelers you find helpful? Plan (mentally) in advance, extra work you can get done on a long flight. My anxiety always comes from feeling like I should be doing something! I make sure to have everything I’m working on saved in Dropbox so I can get access to from my desktop or my laptop. I have all my adobe design programs installed on my laptop so I can work on my creative projects too!

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