We don’t know if it’s her incredible sense of style, or that charming British accent (we’re such a sucker for that sort of thing), but as soon as we saw Elle Strauss we decided we needed to know everything about her—especially the way she travels! Of course, the fact that she is the Fashion Director at ShopBop, one of our favorite places to lighten our wallets, is also a plus. Here, she talks with us about her must-have beauty essentials, room service favorites, and her most treasured family holiday.
How often do you travel?
Every other month. I travel for the shows and for market appointments, and also for photoshoots, with a few vacations sprinkled in here and there. I also go upstate most weekends to our house near Hudson, New York.
Favorite destinations to travel to?
My other home—London!
Where’s your “happy place” to visit?
Tulum! It’s so near—3 hours and you’re in heaven!
What brand of luggage do you use?
If I’m flying internationally I use Tumi. It’s a splurge but really this bag has thought of everything! There are so many pockets and compartments—it’s the most practical thing I own.
What about your carry-on bag?
For a carry-on I have a Herschel Supply Co. bag. I love their backpacks for their heritage aesthetic and it’s so great that they’re making wheelie cases now.
Do you bring a camera when you travel?
Sadly I just use my iPhone, although it fills up SO fast I’m constantly having to delete as I forget to download images.
Virgin Atlantic is the best! And it generally means I’m flying home to England, so that probably makes it a little more special.
What are your in-flight travel essentials?
I always bring cashmere socks from Brora, and my Kate Spade eye mask is a total essential—I freak out if I forget it!! I use Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute Soothing & Rehydrating Mask as a moisturizer—it’s wonderful at hydrating your skin. I also always travel with a large, black scarf by Acne that can double as a pillow and blanket! Lip balm is important when you’re flying so I always have Nuxe Reve De Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm. It has this amazing grainy texture that also exfoliates your lips so they’re left super smooth. I’m a huge fan of Nuxe products and always stock up when I’m in Paris.
Aisle or window?
Always the window—I hate people walking past me. Plus, I’m like a camel on flights (rarely peeing!).
Preferred in-flight beverage?
Water. I try to buy two bottles before I get on the plane.
What music is on your travel playlist?
Ok, don’t laugh, but you can’t beat a bit of Phil Collins. He always makes me smile.
Do you have any travel rituals or superstitions?
Before my flight, I always buy the same salmon and wasabi humus wrap from Cibo (haha!). But they recently discontinued it!!
How do you entertain yourself at 35,000 feet?
I just watched Four Weddings and a Funeral on the way back from the Paris shows. It made me super homesick but it was brilliant. I always watch light-hearted films on flights as one already gets so emotional at 30,000+ feet as it is. Typically though, I sleep. I have a little girl so if I’m traveling without her it’s a total luxury to catch up on the Zzzz’s. If I am with her then it’s all about keeping her occupied with lots of games, books, coloring projects, and of course the iPad!
What’s your go-to uniform for the plane?
I know people try to avoid sweatpants but I think they’re ok if they’re grey and cashmere?!! My favorite are from Derek Lam 10 Crosby. I pair them with a white tee from T by Alexander Wang. I keep a black sweater around my waist so it’s at the ready for when it gets chilly on the plane, and my trusty moto jacket from BLK DNM. Slip-on sneakers from Vince are great for ease during the security check.
What’s the one item you never leave town without?
After my phone then it’s got to be my iPad Mini, so I can Face-Time with my little girl.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I tend to eat my way through it!! And drink as much water as possible.
What’s your exercise routine when you’re on the road?
Oh gosh, nothing. I pack my work out gear every time I travel with the vague hope that I might work out…and to date I have never worked out!
Are you an over-packer or under-packer?
I think I’ve honed my packing skills over the years fairly well so I take a realistic amount. Like all girls though, I am prone to a last minute ‘throw-in’ panic.
Do you have a packing strategy?
I make lists on my subway commute. It cuts down on my packing time and prevents me from bringing items I’ve never worn (and are still totally never going to wear on vacay!). I also try to ‘roll’ instead of fold my clothing—it reduces wrinkles, plus you get more in.
One surprising thing you always pack?
Dry Shampoo—I cannot live without it! I like the one by the brand Psssst!. It’s the perfect way to make my blow out last, and it also adds great texture to newly washed hair.
What are your favorite items to travel with?
I try to stick to chic basics that can work for day and night. High waisted, skinny, blue Mother jeans, striped tops (which are always stylish and super comfy), a grey sweater from A.P.C., a white button-down from Acne, A few blue-colored button-downs from Victoria Beckham, Black jeans from Rag and Bone, a white tee and black tee from T by Alexander Wang. Black pointy pumps Alexander Wang are great, as are a good pair of black Converse. I also pack jewelry by Ariel Gordon and Pamela Love.
For summer vacays I love vintage dresses, denim cut-offs, and bikinis by Zimmermann and Marysia Swim (my fave is the leopard one-piece—my little girl has a matching one!). Ancient Greek Sandals are a must—I have several pairs—they’re so comfortable. I really like the pastel espadrilles from Soludos. A Lem Lem beach dress is the perfect thing for going from the beach to the bars. I also love flippy Isabel Marant minis that go with everything.
I normally travel with about 5 different pairs of sunglasses—I have an addiction! I always have my Ray-Ban Wayfarers, but I currently am loving a pair of leather-covered frames from Wonderland, and also a cat-eye style from Saint Laurent.
What beauty essentials do you travel with?
Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer—it really gives you a wonderful glow, even if you’re not feeling it. Benefit liquid eyeliner is brilliant because it doesn’t shift. CK One tint—I rub into my cheeks to fake health. Nars concealer in Custard—it’s an amazing new discovery that doesn’t dry my undereye skin. And I always bring my Nars red lip pencil in Dragon Girl. I love mascara, and buy them all the time, but my ultimate fav is a drugstore bargain brand NYC High Definition—it’s seriously so good!
Nuxe cleanser—it’s so lovely and gentle and takes all your makeup off without too much effort. Dermalogica moisturizer—I take it with me everywhere it’s the perfect balance because it’s not too heavy or too light. Boots No7 eye makeup remover—amazing!!!! Gets everything off. No7 wipes are also really fab on the plane for a quick refresh.
Psssst! Dry Shampoo is also a must for me. I’m also always on the lookout for the perfect serum for my hair (I’m constantly changing brands) and right now I’m loving Bumble & Bumble Defrizz. I bring a Sally Hershberger round brush because it’s awesome for taming frizz. I also pack vitamins (biosin and biotin) because I’m trying to make my hair grow! My wonderful colorist, Aura, at Sally Hershberger gave me a great pre-cleanse wash to protect my ‘bleached locks’…it really helps.
I bring Dove stick deodorant and for toothpaste I usually just bring whatever is in my cupboard—probably Colgate Total. My sunscreen is Nivea spray…I hate creams and lotions—spray is so much more convenient. My perfume is Le Labo Labdanum.
I bring Canyon Coral by Essie for any touch-ups on the toes.
I pack Advil for myself, and for my daughter Honor I always make sure to bring Disney Princess Band-Aids, Savlon (which is a UK version of Neosporin), and Calpol (which is a UK kids fever medicine), and .
Favorite item to order from room service?
Favorite item from the hotel mini-bar?
I have trained myself not to go near it…but probably the gummy bears.
Have you ever had a travel disaster?
I once lost my passport on a connecting flight in the Madrid airport. I had to spend the night in a hotel and wait until a nice lady in England rang to say they’d let me in without it! Lucky for me the UK is part of the EU.
If your luggage was lost, what are the 5 items you’d buy at the drugstore?
Only 5?! Bodywash, toothpaste, a toothbrush, mascara, tinted moisturizer, and deodorant (yes, I know that’s 6).
Do you have any favorite finds or souvenirs from your travels?
There’s the most amazing vintage clothes shop in Ibiza old town called Holala. It’s a must-visit! I found a leopard print car coat there years ago. It felt so random buying a coat in 90 degree weather but I still wear it to this day!
What’s your favorite childhood memory of traveling?
Driving to St Ives in Cornwall (where most of my family live) for our summer holiday with my mum, dad, sister, and our giant Old English Sheepdog named Bonnie. We were all stuffed into our Morris Minor. It’s a long drive from London to Cornwall and although I was really little I remember we were meant to stop for a picnic on the way. In true British style it absolutely peed down with rain so we had a “car picnic” and then my sis and I put on our wellies and went puddle jumping. Best start to a holiday ever!
What travel destinations on your bucket-list?
Tokyo, Bali, Vietnam (I’ve never really traveled east), and the Amalfi Coast (cannot believe I still haven’t been!).
Elle Strauss photographed in Tulum, Mexico