Do Men And Women Pack Differently?

Illustration for article titled Do Men And Women Pack Differently?

It's summer, which means packing! Also, it is a day that ends in y, which means talking about how dudes and ladies do something differently. Today, we discuss whether "men pack for Mars, women for Venus."


That's the claim made by Andrew Bender in his Forbes blog post of the same name. He talks to luggage designer Barbara Barry, who says,

Men say ‘three shirts, two pair of pants, a couple pair of shoes and a jacket.' Women think outfits: ‘I'm going to this occasion, and this is what it should look like.' They think about it a lot. They think about it when they're sleeping.


I sort of wish I thought about packing while I was sleeping, instead of what I actually think about, which is getting devoured by killer whales. I think the appropriate outfit for that occasion would be a large metal cage. But I digress. Bender's takeaway message is "men, indeed, tend to group types of clothing, and women are more likely to group outfits."

Like the sleep comment, this is giving ladies a lot of credit. I've been known to plan outfits for a trip if I have a lot of time — if I don't, though, I just throw a whole bunch of shirts and underwear into my suitcase and hope for the best. Perhaps men just allocate less time to packing, hence their garment-focused approach? Or maybe they don't need to pay as much attention to outfits, because their clothing is more interchangeable. To the extent that I do plan for different occasions when I pack, I'm often addressing right-bra-for-this-dress issues, which don't come up for most dudes. Still, I'm not entirely convinced Bender's theory is correct — if guys are really paying attention to each type of clothing, why the hell aren't they packing more underwear?

Men Pack For Mars, Women Pack For Venus [Forbes]

Image via Robyn Mackenzie/

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I wonder what the results would be if you compared suitcases to examine overpacking? Because I overpack like a mofo. For instance I am taking the bus this evening to New York after work, to spend all of, like, 60 total hours in the city (my bus back is Sunday early afternoon) and I brought (aside from underpants, bras, and a shirt to sleep in):

4 shirts

1 pair of leggings

1 pair of shorts

1 pair of pants

1 skirt

3 pairs of shoes

4 dresses

1 pair of tights

7 items of jewelry

a cardigan

a blazer

two pairs of socks

a bathing suit

PLUS the clothes on my back right now. WHAT is wrong with me?

ETA: I am just visiting friends. No interviews or job/business/school-related anything will be happening this weekend.