It is just possible that we think about clothes too much. But there is, we believe, one day in the year when it pays to be slightly obsessive about clothes, and that is the day before you go on holiday. A good holiday starts with a well-packed suitcase.
Work in outfits
If it's a beach holiday, pull out your swimsuits and then work out three or four outfits that you can wear over them during the day. Stick to a few colours – say, navy, white and denim – so that you can mix the pieces up.
Take your nicest things
Those "special" things you save for high days and holidays? Take them. Don't get stuck in a rut of only packing old vests and shorts.
Start a travel drawer
This saves about half an hour and makes you less likely to forget anything. So start putting your travel adapters, keys for your case, passport, tickets etc all in one place as and when you stumble upon them from last year.
Two pairs of shoes, two cover-ups
Wear Converse or trainers for the plane and pack one nice pair of flat sandals and one pair of wedges. If you're going somewhere warm, take two light layers that can be worn together: a cashmere cardigan and a blazer, for instance. Then, if you leave or arrive on a chilly day, or if things get really unseasonable abroad, you can layer up.
If you take something you don't wear, you will waste time packing it, hanging it at your destination, then repacking it, and probably having to iron it again when you get home. Leave it where it is.
Wear favourite jeans on the plane
Jeans are not comfy enough for overnight but great on short flights: the pockets are handy, and they are the right temperature for planes.
Pile first, then pack
Don't put things straight in the suitcase: When you've got your pile on the bed or floor, flick through and remove anything you are not completely set on taking. Then pack in this order: shoes first, and washbags – both packed inside carrier bags, which you can use as laundry bags once you're away. Books, chargers, an evening bag – Put jewellery in here so it doesn't snag on your clothes – and a belt go next. Then swimwear and underwear in fabric bags. Next, anything else that doesn't need hanging up – fold it or roll it.
Never, ever go anywhere without a really nice dress and the right bra to wear with it. You never know who you might meet.