Six Easy Pieces

Gap plaid scarf ($19.50).

Whether you're traveling to New York City or Newport for a summer weekend, less is more when it comes to luggage, particularly if you're boarding an airplane and want to avoid a checked-baggage fee. Since we're all prone to overpacking, we asked D.C.-based stylist Margaret Lilly of to come up with a pared-down list of essentials that we could easily fit in a carry-on.

A knit dress is a no-brainer; choose one in a solid color -- Lilly recommends brown or black -- and accessorize with gold or silver jewelry or an oversize scarf. Scarves come in handy because they can morph into a belt or cummerbund, and if large enough, a wrap.

Leave the linen at home, says Lilly; the same goes for stilettos. Opt instead for a leather sandal (Lilly likes Bernardos) or a wedge espadrille in a metallic tone, which will go with the dress. Pack a pair of Bermudas, cropped pants or black or white jeans. They can be casual or more formal, depending on whether you pair them with a T-shirt or tunic.

In any case, use accessories to change your look. If you're not into scarves, bring a belt and create a more tailored rather than a flowing look. Don't like wraps? Top your dress with a favorite cardigan or bolero.

For a splash of interest, wrap up in Gap's air, cheerful plaid scarf ($19.50), which comes in three colors - slumber blue, putty pink and earth brown.

Ralph Lauren's easy-to-pack, wrap V-neck jersey dress ($138) in black makes a perfect blank canvas to accessorize. Throw a sweater over it during the day for a more casual look; exchange the sweater for an airy wrap, scarf or necklace at night.

A hip sandal with a rope-wrapped wedge heel, the Dolce Vita Carley espadrille ($114.95) from Nordstrom, available in white, gold, black or silver, gives a lift to any ensemble.

This lightweight, blue-and-white-striped cotton layered top from Vince ($120) from Bloomingdales is a dream to pack and pair with white pants or Bermudas.

A summer staple, white cropped trousers, like these by Billy Blues ($126) from South Moon Under go with everything.

Banana Republic's jewelry collection wins our kudos for affordable accessories. This chainlink necklace ($44) from Banana Republic is a prime example.