Whether you’re headed to experience the Northern Lights
or escaping to the tropics, packing for vacation can be a daunting task.
Before you start filling up that empty luggage for your big adventure,
here are some basic tips for traveling in style.
First of all, do a little planning. It’s tempting to try to throw everything from the closet into your suitcase. You tell yourself, “You never know what you might need! Might as well pack everything I can cram into my bag!” If you are guilty of this (and you know who you are, all you suitcase-sitters out there) then take a few minutes to plan, and even make a list if that helps. Do some thinking about exactly what you will be doing day by day. Then pack accordingly.
Rule No. 1: Make your clothes do double duty. Think about mixing and matching interchangeable pieces. Bottoms should go with several tops and vice versa. It’s easy to do the math.
Just start by thinking what you need from head to toe. Then rotate your separates.
The new “ath-leisure” trend can come in handy when traveling, too. Think about wearing those yoga pants on the plane. Then make them go the extra mile as pajama pants. A tunic dress is perfect to wear over a swimsuit for a lunch or casual dinner at the beach.
If you need dressy clothes, add them in. Hopefully, you can get a few wears from them also. Coordinating wraps, scarves and sweaters or jackets can transform a pair of basic trousers or a skirt into appropriate dressier outfits.
No, you don’t have to have a different outfit for each day. When you’re lugging that bag through the airport and paying extra fees, you’ll be glad you “edited” your wardrobe choices.
And while you’re choosing what to pack, picking one or two colors that match may save you hours (and pounds) of angst. Black and white are the easy choices for many seasoned travelers, especially those of us who love the ease of knit dressing that’s also wrinkle free. But then throw in one extra pop of color (pink and blue pastels are making fashion news right now) to refresh your vacation wardrobe.
Think about using T-shirts, tanks and turtlenecks as wardrobe “extenders.” Depending on whether you’re going to a sunny clime or a cold one, T-shirts, in all their variations, can give you plenty of layering options without adding a lot of bulk to your luggage. These are no-brainer companions to team with packable down vests or a pair of Bermuda shorts.
Always use accessories to your best advantage. Keep the jewelry to a minimum. Think neutral silver or gold earrings to go with everything you wear. Then add one statement necklace or cuff bracelet if you need to dress up during your trip. Otherwise, keeping up with tons of bling rattling around in your suitcase is exhausting. Tip: Try using plastic zip bags to contain small items like jewelry and makeup.
Carefully choose the handbag you take on your trip. There are lots of updated backpacks, structured totes and large cross-body bags with extra pockets and compartments that will accommodate sunglasses, travel documents, electronic gear and even an additional small purse.
Shoes are critical, too. And they can take up a lot of room in your luggage. Wear your heaviest shoes or boots on the plane if you can. It goes without saying that they have to be comfortable. Tight shoes or brand new shoes can be disastrous when traveling. There are lots of stylish and comfortable flats and sneakers available that will keep your feet happy. And happy feet make happy travelers.
Now go have adventures!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. Shown: Bisou Bisou floral sheath.