The fact that you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to look like you left your sense of style at the bottom of your wine glass. You can still relax without looking like a hot mess. Here are a few tips to keep your cool and have a great time this summer, no matter where your travels take you.
When we start packing, we usually have a tendency to take everything but the kitchen sink. And you’ll really look like a crazed tourist when you’re struggling to heave that suitcase into the overhead bin on the plane. So before you even leave home, do some serious planning.
Do your research.
If your destination is unfamiliar to you, you definitely need to do your homework. There is plenty of information at your fingertips. It will pay off. Walking in heels on cobblestone streets is not a good look...and you do not want to be looking down at your feet instead of up at soaring cathedral ceilings. Check the weather, too. A lightweight rain jacket may be what you wear the most.
Write it down.
Making a list is critical. If you know your itinerary, then you can create a day-by-day wardrobe. This is especially helpful if you’ll be traveling a lot during your trip. Lounging at a remote beach will require a very different packing list than touring the south of France. Think beach bag versus backpack.
Keep it simple.
If you stick to one neutral base color as the foundation of your vacation wardrobe, then you can play with mixing and matching possibilities and make your clothes do double duty. For summer, black and white work well, accented by pops of bright-colored tops and tees. Denim is another classic neutral that goes the distance.
Layer it on.
You may be wearing your sweater when you leave home, but you’ll want to get rid of it the moment you step off the plane on that tropical island and the temperature is 90 degrees. Even better, take an oversized scarf to wear. It can double as a sarong over a swimsuit later. Tank tops and tees are other layering essentials that don’t take up too much room in your suitcase. Wear the bulkiest items like jackets or boots on the plane so you don’t have to pack them.
Edit, edit, edit.
You may plan on taking in the sights of a whole new country, but you don’t have to be a fashion faux pas that ends up on Facebook as a “Glamour” don’t. Leave the kitschy logo T-shirts, the short shorts, the jangling bangles and the see-through tops for those off-days at home. I know the neon colored athletic shoes are trendy now, but you may not always want to stand out in a crowd of tourists. There are plenty of sneakers and flats that are sleek and chic. And let’s face it, comfortable shoes are a must on any trip. Blisters can ruin a vacation faster than you can ask for a Band-Aid.
Make the most of accessories.
A pair of special earrings can transform an everyday outfit for dinner at a fancy restaurant. A crushable straw hat may be a lifesaver from searing sun. A colorful clutch can hold cosmetics or jewelry in your suitcase and double as an evening bag. Scarves, shawls and wraps are perfect wardrobe extenders. Roll them up and stuff them into the outside pockets of your luggage for easy access. Pare down the extras, especially shoes. Unless you are going to a wedding or have a special event to attend, pack shoes that go with most of your clothes. And if you’re beaching it, leave the high heels at home. Sinking ankle deep into sand is the ultimate tourist trap.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.