All products featured on Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Jen Rubio says she’s not a fashion person, but her closet—filled with elegant pieces from The Row, Dior, and Proenza Schouler—tells a different story. The Away cofounder doesn’t dress to make a statement on the street, however; she is an aesthete with a love of architecture and Carl Aub?ck who appreciates the artistry behind the clothes. “I’ve talked to a lot of friends about trying to use fashion as self-expression. They’re really into trends and what’s going on, and that’s just never resonated with me,” she said on the phone from Away’s New York offices. “I’m interested in how good design makes me feel.”

This focus on craft is reflected in Away’s core philosophy. The brand’s ubiquitous suitcases are now found in airports around the globe, thanks to their thoughtful construction and affordable price point. Additionally, the minimal design and wide range of color options echo Rubio’s personal taste and affinity for investment pieces. She carefully considers each purchase and gravitates toward styles that will last for decades. “Even when I first moved to New York and I had no money, I would find myself saving up for things,” says Rubio. “When we were first starting the company and I was eating ramen and sleeping on [Away cofounder] Steph [Korey]’s couch, I still wore quality pieces that I loved. It was just that I had two outfits and I alternated them!”

These days, Rubio has a lot more options but remains averse to the clutter that comes with holding onto excess. “I’m quick to get rid of things,” she admits. “My little sister has an amazing closet [filled with] everything I’ve ever loved before!” As an online entrepreneur with a love of brick-and-mortar shopping, Rubio also makes sure to bring home something special from each new destination. “I love for every piece to have a story,” she adds.

Here, the jet-setting founder shares five tips to packing like a pro and shopping everywhere from Madrid to Marrakech.

Plan to shop around each unique destination.
I basically only shop when I travel. On every PR trip, I come back with bags. One reason is that I travel a lot to Europe for work, and a lot of the investment pieces I have my eye on are cheaper in Europe. I’m the tax-free queen! When I’m home, I’m a total homebody, and I’m either stuck working or with friends, so I don’t really shop when I’m in New York.

One of the big things that I love about shopping is the experience. In Madrid, it’s so architecturally interesting, and I feel like all the things that I’m excited about, like design and architecture and art, are all present in those stores and fully integrated into my travel.

Photographed by Daniela Spector

La Ligne Funnel-Neck Sweater

NORDSTROM
$350
Shop Now

Prada Sablé Trousers With Rouching

PRADA
$960
Shop Now

Aquazzura + Sabine Getty Crystal-Embellished Suede And PVC Mules

net-a-porter
$620
Shop Now

Find the physical shops of your favorite online stores.
One thing I’ve started to do over the last year is I shop on 1stdibs, and then if I find like, home goods or furniture or something, I’ll make a note of who the seller is, and then the next time I’m in that city I go to their in-person store. That’s how I find myself in antique and vintage shops around the world. Those stores don’t always get a lot of PR; they’re not in every travel guide. I’ve found so many great things that way.

Advertisement
Photographed by Daniela Spector

Marques’Almeida Striped Ribbed Pullover

FARFETCH
$429
Shop Now

Tibi Pleat-Detail Leather Midi Skirt

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
$1,195
Shop Now

Laura Lombardi Curve Hoop Earrings

NEED SUPPLY
$105
Shop Now

Only buy pieces you’d take on the road.
Because I travel so much, I only buy stuff that I can go [travel] with. When people are like, ‘How do you pack?’ I’m like, I just take the stuff in my closet, and I put it in my suitcase. There is an anxiety people get around packing, it is like, how do I choose what to bring? Which of my things do I bring with me? I rarely buy stuff that I wouldn’t travel with. So my wardrobe on the road is my whole wardrobe at home, and it’s a big comfort thing. I gravitate toward comfortable clothes, neutral colors, pieces that really go well with each other, and having that mind-set of only buy what you can pack has helped me curate things.

When I want to look dressed up, I’ll do a matching set, so like a silk top and a silk skirt, or a full suit. It just seems like I tried, but I didn’t have to put this together, someone did the job for me. I don’t know why or how I stopped wearing jeans, but as with everything they have to be cut well and have an interesting detail. I have black pants where there is an overlay on top of them like a skirt, so it looks unique. Or there’s a pair of leggings I’m obsessed with from The Row that are just leggings, but they’re beautifully tailored. I’m always in black pants, a silk top, or a big sweater and then a pair of boots.

Once you find the perfect beauty product, just stick with it.
I think I have the same rules for fashion, beauty, and interior design. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what I like, then once I know what it is, I invest in it, and I stick to it until it doesn’t work. I become a slave to routine. I’ve tried hundreds of moisturizers, and then I found Vintner’s Daughter and I was like, this is it. And I will die patting that stuff onto my face! I love Tata Harper, when I do wear makeup, it’s mostly Hourglass. I find the brands and the products I like, and I stick to it, but there are certain things where it doesn’t apply. I don’t have a lip balm that I love yet, so I’ve had a different lip balm every week for like the last year!

Advertisement
Photographed by Daniela Spector

Camilla And Marc Etta Flare-Sleeve Shirt

CAMILLA AND MARC
$499
Shop Now

Victoria Beckham High-Waist Flare Wool Pants

NORDSTROM
$910
Shop Now

M.Gemi The Atto Pumps

M.GEMI
$278
Shop Now

Why not let your surroundings influence your next shopping spree?
The places I travel tend to influence everything in my life. I just went on a trip, and I started buying things as if I lived there, like bright orange linen dresses. I’m like, what’s wrong with me? I don’t actually live there. So I’m very influenced by where I travel, or like when I came back from Morocco and just like exclusively wore caftans and slippers, people were like okay, you look like you’re in a costume.

But I’m very influenced by the places I travel, even if I think about when I read Architectural Digest. That affects a lot of what I buy and how I dress. Someone pointed out the other day that I’ve started dressing like the things I’m buying for my home. I purchased these mustard-yellow velvet chairs in my apartment, and I just started buying like a yellow velvet blazer, or I got this floral pillow, and then I got that floral suit, so obviously the materials and things I’m attracted to translate into my wardrobe.

Photographed by Daniela Spector

Vince Tie-Front Shirtdress

NORDSTROM
$395
Shop Now

Young Frankk Layered Pendant Necklace

NEED SUPPLY
$88
Shop Now

Chloé Rylee Caged Pointy-Toe Boots

NORDSTROM
$1,390
Shop Now

No matter how global you get, it still comes back to that personal level.
Some of my favorite places to travel are places where there is no fashion scene. My favorite place in the world is this little surf town in Canada called Tofino. It’s in British Columbia, and its sole store sells raincoats. I think because of my job and my friends and the things I like to do, there’s a little bit of sensory overload on design and fashion. And it’s nice to get a break from that.

Advertisement

When I think about my favorite stores, it’s like The Webster or like Alex Eagle in London or The Line in L.A. What they have in common, it’s always that they’re owned by one person who is really creative and has a specific point of view, and that’s why I love those stores. Alex Eagle is a really cool woman, and she’s a great friend whose taste I trust. I walk into her store, and it’s like going into someone’s house and being able to pick out a lot of really lovely stuff.