Keep Calm, Carry-On

After six seasons of getting my Fashion Week carry-on wrong, I have learned the hard way that even if you’re stuck with the same boyfriend jeans and literal man shirt, all will be forgiven if your clutch has a giant mouth on it.

I’m not going to lie: this is, by far, the earliest I’ve ever packed ahead of a flight. Despite the fact that I’ve only made it to my carry-on, and am not at all prepared to think about New York’s Summer in this Sydney Winter chill; despite the likelihood of me tipping the lot out tomorrow and starting again, and that all of my liquids will surely end up over 100mL unbeknownst to me until that blasted security check point (all the officers there now have the nicest skin, having confiscated at least twelve of my cleansers and moisturisers over my flying years – I really never learn). Despite all of that, I am, for once, in the right mindset to be taking off in 36 hours, doing my Evidence assignment on the plane, and getting straight to work as soon as I land – usually, I’m a sweaty and scrambling mess with too many bags, too many clothes, and no toothbrush.

To my credit though, I’ve never missed a flight. Touch wood.

As somebody who dresses based on mood and the weather, packing for the opposite season, where you want people to take you seriously 24/7 without looking like a snob, is disgustingly difficult. So often, I discover that I have packed (in the loosest meaning of the verb) what I felt like wearing that day, and it’s now twenty degrees hotter, and twice as cynical. After six seasons of getting it wrong, I have learned the hard way that even if you’re stuck with the same boyfriend jeans and literal man shirt, all will be forgiven if your clutch has a giant mouth on it. And, Fashion Week or not, all jewellery and accessories absolutely must come with you in your carry-on along with beauty products, documents, a 1.5L bottle, and all of your underwear (because, if your airline loses your luggage, at least you won’t feel as dirty as you look). The key visual here is to imagine yourself on the floor of your hotel room for three hours, trying to untangle your mess of fine chains and rings.

This has happened to me. Every season.

Not this time.

This time, I’m a day ahead of the game.

Tomorrow, I have a very exciting announcement to make.

Today, I just need to figure out how I’m going to fit my textbooks in with this crowd.

From top left to bottom right:

Chloé Drew Shoulder Bag

Balenciaga Slide Sandals

Givenchy Oversized Chain Bracelet

Lack of Color Silent Woods Hat

Balenciaga Le Dix Mini Tote

Larsson & Jennings Liten Watches in Black and Chainmail

Yazbukey Lips Box Clutch

Louis Vuitton Mon Monogram Passport Sleeve

Lanvin LOVE Necklace

Illesteva Claire Cat-Eye Sunglasses

Beats by Dre x Alexander Wang Headphones

Chloé Buckled Leather Mules

Prada Sunglasses

Michael Kors Watches

10 Magazine Australia

  • Did you really just brag about never missing a flight? Before catching a flight? Rookie mistake Margaret. [insert crying-so-much-I’m-laughing emoticon here.]

    You also say you won’t be untangling a mess of fine chains and rings this season – tell me your secret!

    Boy-oh-boy, how I cannot wait to see what you’re wearing this Fashion Week!

  • Avanti

    Love all the bits and bobs that you have photographed. Hope you enjoy NYFW. Can’t wait to see your pictures from Ny.


  • These pieces are so so so pretty!! Enjoy Fashion Week !!

  • jessica

    Amazing! Love this post and accessories are divine! Have fun at NYFW!!!!!! x

  • You amaze me with how you have such patience to organise all those beautiful items to take photos, when you have such a busy schedule with study and work and everything else in your life. I must learn your patience. Oh and thank you letting me realise I must have one of those Larsson and Jennings watches!!

  • Love the writing in this post. And I love the pieces in the photo


  • I am glad you are ahead of the game! I love hearing about people’s packing experiences. I have no idea why. I hate the entire process and when you have to bring your books for school as well it gets really tricky. There are too many restrictions and so much to remember. I hope you pack everything you need. Thinking about the opposite season is impossible for me most of the time.

  • Can’t wait for NYFW! The mouth clutch is really cool<3

  • Lovely selection of items you have there ! I can only imagine how many suitcases you packed ;)

  • fashion altitude

    Can’t wait to see your outfits and photos of NYFW!! By the way, I have been following your blog for a while and I have noticed we have the same taste in sunnies;-) !!! whatever… Before you make your announcement I am looking forward to reading tomorrow, let’s make mine first ;-) I just graduated an MBA in management of international purchases and very soon will land a job of purchaser in high end fashion. Just wanted to share… You are such a source of inspiration in so many ways.!!

  • Ugh, the untangling of jewellery gets me every time – even when it’s in my own home! I can’t wait to see your coverage of NYFW this season – exciting times ahead!

  • Nico

    What fab details!

    lb-lc fashion blog

  • I hate it when my necklaces get tangled together. Love everything that you’re bringing though!

    Diane ||

  • I hate it when my jewelry tangle together, I’m way to impatience to fix those stuff.

    Always love how you write your post, the details in the photo are very cool too!
    Can’t wait to see your looks of NYFW.

    Much Love, M

  • literally ditching time with my kindle every night to spend time reading through Shine By Three- all i need right now is a downloadable version for my kindle to last me through flights. Have a safe one! x

  • Beautiful picture! I love those rings! x

    Sophia |

  • Carry-on luggage is always the hardest to pack, I usually overpack it.
    It’s the most annoying thing when the confiscate your beauty products – I mean what would you do with them besides moisturize your skin?!
    Oh well, have a safe flight :)

    xx Cheyenne

  • The Chloé bag is amazing! You packed the best of the best.



  • I always have some underwears in my carry-on luggage,one day my luggage was lost but it was found 2 days after luckily i had my underwears with me.By the way ,i love your mouth clutch<3

  • Sophie

    I love that you also take your textbooks, it shows how much of a hard worker you are. Keep it up!


  • haha good luck!!! Hope you get your assessment done – I couldn’t imagine anything worse than doing work in a tiny space with all those free movies in front of me. You’ll be right though ;)


  • @liveshoptravel

    My carry on is usually bursting with beauty products for the plane. Especially moisturiser and rose water or the equivalent to make me feel refreshed. As for underwear, I am not sure I would pack ALL of it in my carry on. Lol xx

  • Caitlin

    Good luck and have a safe flight!

    Love your fedora!

  • Lucia

    What a beautiful set of items you have there, New York is going to be amazing for you – can’t wait to hear your big announcement! Good luck with your assignment too, you seem to balance things incredibly, it’s great to see someone work so hard too.

  • Elshakrist

    Sounds so hectic…but, all the best for the upcoming busy weeks, M!

    The Mad Shopper’s Dressing Room
    Follow me on Bloglovin

  • Tracy

    Love your packing essentials!

  • I raised eyebrows and questions for packing excessively for a few days trip. And till today, I still struggle to master the art of packing. I think Park and Cube does it well. She seems to do everything effortlessly and clean. Love your Larson and Jennings watch btw.

  • cliffhangersblog

    Hilarious ! So even the pro’s struggle with everyday things such as packing. Glad you’ve learned your lesson at last – and better the hard way than never, right?

  • Ever thought about publishing a photography book with your flatlays? Cause you can. And should. Like, now.



  • All looks so amazing!! Looks like you are all ready!


  • Winnie Chen

    Lots of new luxury handbags

  • Boo Hoo

    Those items are so cool!


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

For project enquiries
General enquiries