What to Pack for a Trip to India, with the Founders of MIRTH
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Some destinations are easy to pack for — like a weekend in Charleston or a city escape to New York. Others are not as straightforward, particularly if they’re across the world and for an extended period of time. Exciting, yes, but when it comes to figuring out what you’re going to wear, you may have some questions.
To create a packing list for India, one of those bucket-list trips, we enlisted the help of Erin Breen and Katie McClure, sisters and the cofounders of the clothing label MIRTH. The duo travels to India to meet with their artisan partners two to three times a year, so they have the packing job down pat.
“Our design process is very collaborative and an integral part of MIRTH. There is only so much you can do over email…” they told Just Packed. These trips to India are “incredibly influential” in landing on the final collections, they continued: “On these, trips we test new blockprints, experiment with colors and dyes, create designs for our woven fabrics, and we iterate again and again. We are also constantly inspired by India – the natural beauty, the cities, design and architecture, craft, colors, and people. All of these factors play a role in shaping our collections and keep us moving forward.”
A well-packed and prepared suitcase is also a factor in keeping these work trips running smoothly. And, given their roles as founders of an equally chic and comfortable clothing brand, you know their suitcases are filled with pieces you’ll want to replicate for your own journey to India.
Below, Katie and Erin share what to pack if you’re going to India for the first time.
Travel Style Questions with MIRTH’s Erin Breen and Katie McClure
My tried-and-true outfit to wear on a long flight is…
Katie: Our Mirth Pant with a monochrome sweatshirt, like the Fond from Rachel Comey, Le Bon Shoppe socks, and New Balance sneakers. I like to have a bandana somewhere, like this favorite one from Love Adorned, even tied on my bag, because it always comes in use in flight and in India.
Erin: Lately I’ve been wearing an oversized vintage chambray shirt over a Perfect White Tee (this one in grey is the best t-shirt ever made), these insanely comfy Live the Process ribbed pants (a little splurge-y but you will buy them in five colors, they are that good), and Birks.
My go-to bag to carry in India is…
Katie: The nice thing about owning a brand is you can design the exact thing you want and need! So we both truly love our canvas totes. We put lots of pockets in them, and they are washable, so I always carry one. I also love the Baggu cloud bag; it fits so. much. stuff. And it weighs nothing and can also be washed.
My favorite suitcase is…
Katie: I just got a Mono suitcase and love it.
Erin: I can’t not mention this new discovery: the Parallelle Traveller. They are a little pricey for a cosmetic bag, but let me tell you: worth every penny. They unfold in this unique way so you can see all of your products, and [there’s] a little pocket for everything. This find was a life-changer!
If I could only bring one pair of shoes with me, I’m packing these…
Katie: Emme Parsons Bari Sandal. We get a slew of DM’ every time we post wearing these – they go with everything and nicely toe the chunky-dainty trend line. And they are so comfy.
Erin: Birkenstocks. I never really stopped wearing them since the ‘90s…
What to Pack for a Trip to India
Katie swears by them when you feel you might have eaten something you shouldn’t have. Take two, then two more 30 minutes later, and it is said to minimize or prevent food poisoning.
This dress is lightweight, packs well, and is comfortable. The silhouette feels appropriate for daytime or dinner while also staying modestly dressed.
A big shawl/blanket
Use it on the plane, for car ride naps, as a wrap at dinner, to block the sun in the window on car rides, to cover up more when walking around — it’s a must for India. We get unbranded ones from a little shop in Jaipur, but Saint Frank makes something similar.
Both of our go-tos for a blouse to pair with jeans or pants. The lightweight cotton and flattering, easy fit make it a good one to bring on a trip when you need to be comfortable but professional.
Bags of Mini Twix
Hear us out. Twix are hard to come by in India, and everyone loves them. Handing them out makes everyone happy and is a nice treat — your driver, the hotel staff, the guy who gave you directions… makes everyone’s day and you get to share a little moment. India is full of little genuine moments with people — it’s hard to explain but you get it once you’ve been. We always wish we brought more.
We both discovered this independently and rate it a 10/10 for flights. Who wants germy hands rubbing in moisturizer after 22 hours of flying? (No, that bathroom water is not cleaning your hands well!) But you have to [moisturize], because your skin is so dry it hurts. Enter the serum stick; rub it everywhere you need some moisture. It glides on and truly works. It makes a visible difference in your skin and just feels good. You can even use it on your cuticles.
Standard-size pillow and travel case
Another weird but essential one! Regardless of airplane class, a normal-sized pillow is a must if you need to sleep on a flight. It will prop up your whole upper body for an actually comfortable way to rest your head in economy (get a window seat!) and adds a level of hominess and coziness to business that will allow you to find a comfortable position and stay asleep easily. Get the case washed as soon as you arrive in India and then you have a nice pillow for the trip, too. I stuff it into this plastic Amazon case to keep it clean and make it small in my carry-on. Makes a bigger difference than you’d expect on a long flight.
Staying healthy and energized can be tough in India, so we take a lot of proactive and preventative steps to do so since a day in bed isn’t an option with the amount of work we pack in... A daily dose of this has been great for feeling good all day; it has probiotics and greens, and helps with your gut, immunity, etc.