A celebrity stylist explains how to select a color palette when packing light for a trip

  • Personal stylist Kim Appelt explained how she selects a color palette when packing for a trip.

  • Appelt recommends considering the environment you're traveling to and your personal preferences.

  • Pack mostly neutrals and add a few versatile pieces with a pop of color, she said.

Meet Kim Appelt, a personal stylist who curates looks for celebrities, from red-carpet ensembles to travel fits.

The stylist in a pink blazer holds up her book, Style for Everybody, in front of a white backdrop
Kim Appelt is a personal stylist who works with celebrities.Paul Alexander/Corporature

When I got in touch with personal stylist Kim Appelt, I expected a typical interview. But it didn't take long before she was the one asking questions.

"What colors do you like to wear? Where is the last place you traveled to? Would you ever wear a white blazer?" Appelt wondered. And as I answered, she gave me custom tips for my own packing list.

Appelt has 12 years of experience in the fashion industry, and she told Insider that she styles celebrities for a variety of occasions, from red-carpet looks to travel wardrobes.

Earlier this year, Appelt released a book, "Style for Everybody," where she explains the basics of fashion and how to create custom looks depending on an individual's lifestyle, body type, and personal style.

Appelt says the key to packing for a trip is to consider your own personal style as well as the environment you're traveling to.

A woman stands behind an orange van. The left back door of the van is open with a rack of clothing inside.
Appelt travels with a wardrobe.Courtesy of Kim Appelt

When it comes to selecting a color palette for a trip, Appelt recommends considering three things: location, environment, and personal style.

For example, if you're going to a hot place, you may want to pack light-colored clothing to keep you cool, Appelt said, adding that you should also select pieces made of lightweight materials, like linen.

Consider the vibe of the location you're visiting too, Appelt said, using New York as an example.

"When I come to New York, I'm typically always in black. New York is a very edgy city," she said. "So I will wear my combat boots and my black jeans and throw on a blazer."

Last but not least, make sure you take your personal style into account and don't bring pieces that deviate from it.

"If you're someone, for example, who loves athletic wear, you're a very casual dresser," Appelt told Insider. "It is not the time to break out those pieces in your closet that are extremely feminine and full of flowers."


When selecting colors for your palette, Appelt says to start by thinking about what you look and feel best in.

Close-up of a white wardrobe with clothes. Modern dressing room, organization of space, reasonable consumption of things. Shirts, dresses and jackets are hung on hangers. T-shirts on the shelves. Three blue question marks overlayed
Think about your favorite colors to wear.Natallia Ramanouskaya/Getty Images

To figure out which colors you look best in, Appelt has two tips.

"If you hold up the garment to your face in front of a mirror and you feel like you look good, that's a good sign," she said, adding that it's important to make sure the room is well-lit.

For example, if you have a warm skin tone, like Appelt does, you may find that cool colors wash you out. "If I hold up a blue shirt to my face, I instantly do not like the feeling I get," she said.

Appelt shared an in-depth look at the tests she uses to determine the colors that will look best on you in a YouTube video.

She also suggests thinking about what articles of clothing you get the most compliments on.

"If you have an orange T-shirt that you wear and everyone compliments you when you wear it, that's a good signal that it works for you," she added.

When you know your colors, environment, and personal style, it's time to pack. Appelt recommends starting with neutrals.

Two photos of the stylist in neutral-colored outfits
Appelt wears neutrals.Courtesy of Kim Applelt/Courtesy of Ryan Emberly

When you start packing for your trip, Appelt says it's best to start with neutrals. This includes black, white, gray, tan, beige, navy, olive green, or even leopard print, she told Insider, adding that you can mix neutral colors as well.

According to Appelt, the majority of the clothing you pack for a trip should be neutral. Then, you can add pops of color with a few more articles.

With mostly neutrals in the bag, it's time to add some pops of color.

Right: The stylist wears a white shirt, a floral pink skirt, and black shoes outside in front of a pink wall. The stylist wears a short colorful skirt and a black top while standing outside on a pink street with colorful umbrellas hanging above.
Appelt wears pops of pink and purple.Courtesy of Kim Appelt

According to Appelt, a pop of color should be just that — a pop.

"My preference is that if you want to use a pop, you use it in a smaller place," she told Insider.

For example, if you're wearing a neutral blazer and neutral pants, you can add a pop of color with a tank top, shoes, a purse, a scarf, or a hair clip, Appelt said.

"The colorful piece should be something that you can pop on in many outfits," she added. "The key to having a wardrobe that is very flexible and that you can put together quickly is having pieces that work at least three different ways."

Then she gave me an example using my favorite color — orange.

"Imagine an orange scarf you can throw on with a pair of jeans and throw it on with either an army jacket or a jean jacket," she began. "Same thing with an orange tank top. You can layer that under a blazer or any type of coat with neutral pants or a skirt."

No matter what colors you choose for your next trip, the more flexible your pieces are, the easier it is to pack light without feeling like you're wearing the same thing every day.

Left: The stylist wears white pants, a white blazer, and black boots in front of a mirror with a rack of clothing in the background. Right: The stylist wears the same blazer with a white top and white shorts and black heels at night in front of a rooftop pool.
Appelt wears a white blazer in two different ways.Courtesy of Kim Appelt/George Pimentel

By the end of the interview, Appelt and I were scrolling through each other's Instagrams. And I noticed that while she repeated specific articles of clothing, like the white blazer above, her outfits looked completely different in every picture, thanks to their flexibility to be used in different ways.

This made me realize that I can pack lighter than I have been while traveling and still have a variety of looks, as long as I'm smart about the articles — and colors — I select.

Read the original article on Insider