Holly Andres doesn’t sleep in her van as much as she used to, but she’s still used to life on the road. A few summers ago, the photographer, based in Portland, Ore., scored her dream assignment: shooting a fashion portfolio across 15 cities in just over a month. She set out with her assistant and a van full of straight-off-the-runway clothes. They drove up to 12 hours a day. They shot in the near-lunar landscapes of Santa Fe that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe and shared an emotional lunch at a horse ranch with Standing Rock water protectors. They’d shoot until nightfall and then float around whatever city they were in until midnight. The next day, they’d head out again. “It was crazy,” says Andres. But what an adventure. Here are some of the style lessons she learned behind the wheel.


“If I’m road-tripping, then I’m more likely to let myself be a little more natural,” she says. “If I’m in an airport, then I’m a little more conscientious about making sure I look pulled together.” Andres reaches for bright lipstick when she wants to perk up her au naturel look for, say, an unexpectedly chic dinner stop.


Nothing is more key to a beauty regimen than a good night’s sleep, so don’t leave it to chance. “I remember I was doing Sasquatch! Music Festival and I parked my van right by the Red Bull tent only to find out that the concert [went really late],” says Andres. “Now I always travel with earplugs and an eye mask, since that’s the only effective way to get good sleep in unforgiving conditions.”


Though she tries to pack really light, she’s more apt to cut down on clothes than footwear—and for good reason. “I always bring two pairs of shoes because giving your feet a break during a long day by just switching shoes makes a huge difference.”


“There are certain ways that not washing your hair actually works in your favour if you just embrace it,” she explains. “Braiding your hair can help build some longevity between washes when water is scarce. Wear your hair braided one day and then sleep on the braids; the next day, you can pull them out and wear your hair wavy.”


“Set yourself up before you go because you don’t want to be bothered while you’re on the road,” says Andres, adding that she had visions of masking while holed up in a hotel at night but never made the time. That’s why, she explains, she always gets her hair cut and coloured before a trip.


“I have a travel bag with all my toiletries that I keep fully loaded and ready to go on very little notice,” says Andres.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.