Pack It In
By: Sharon Mosley
Heading to the beach this summer? It’s never too early to start thinking about your packing “to-do” list. Put pencil to paper and come up with a plan. Get organized and create a vacation wardrobe with mix-and-match separates — plus a few great accessories — that will have you sipping margaritas when you reach paradise, not worrying about those fabulous gladiator sandals you left at home.
Here are some travel tips to help you start packing for your trip to Margaritaville:
— It sounds pretty basic, but unless you’ve been to your travel destination before, you need to do some homework. There’s no excuse not to “google” that out-of-the-way island that you plan to visit. And, of course, check the weather forecasts. You may need to stick in a sweater or two. I always call ahead to the hotel to make sure they have hair dryers, toiletries, etc. There’s no need to pack a bulky hair dryer if you don’t need it.
— Start a list. Weeks before I go on vacation, I often wake up in the middle of the night and make my mental lists. Now, I keep a notebook on the bedside table and jot down items to pack, even putting together outfits in my sleep. It works. Then I start putting things in my suitcase, so I don’t end up having to pack everything at the last minute. You can do a final edit later.
— Think outfits. This is the easiest way to make sure you don’t forget the white jeans that go with the black tunic that doubles as a swimsuit cover-up, etc. Plus, it’s always much easier to limit yourself to one or two neutral colors that you can mix and match. Black and white is my “go-to” color scheme, and it always seems to work.
— Pop in some color. If you’ve got your neutrals down in your basic pieces that you pack, then you can easily “pop” them with boldly colored accessories. I have a turquoise pashmina that works wonders with my black-and-white combos. Then I take some silver and turquoise jewelry that goes with every outfit. A crushable straw hat (Target has a great one in the “garden” section now) is another way to add some fun to your beach wardrobe and not take up valuable space.
— Limit your shoes. I know it’s tempting to take those fabulous Jimmy Choo high heels you just bought, but remember how much room shoes can take up in your suitcase. Stick to a pair of comfortable flats or sneakers that are comfortable for walking and maybe one pair of dressier shoes, like jeweled sandals, to wear at night. I need to have my Old Navy flip-flops. But don’t try to take a pair of shoes for every outfit. Been there, done that. And how much are we paying for the extra weight in our luggage? You shoe freaks out there … try to control yourself! After all, you’ll be barefooted most of the time, right?
— Dress for comfort: Cotton, linen, jersey. Think cotton sundresses, gauzy skirts, loose-fitting linen pants or shorts. Go easy on the stuff that wrinkles and choose ones that have Lycra blends. I’m a great fan of the “Travelers” collection at Chico’s. Everything can be rolled up and stuffed into your suitcase without worrying about what it will look like when you arrive in humidity-ville and you feel like a limp dishrag — at least you won’t look like one. Remember to make your clothes do double duty. That cotton tunic will come in handy as a swimsuit cover-up and can easily be dressed up with jeans for a casual evening for cocktails at the bar on the beach. I often pull on a long, gauzy skirt over my swimsuit and top it off with a lightweight cardigan sweater when I want to be a little more “dressed” for lunch by the pool.
— Layer, layer, layer. Yes, I know you’re headed to that tropical paradise and really don’t want to wear anything but your swimsuit (of course, there are some of us who would rather wear anything BUT a swimsuit), but if you’ll be in and out of restaurants and shops, you need to consider taking lots of lightweight “extras” to pull on and off, which will easily fit into a large tote bag. Beach towels do NOT make great cover-ups when you’re strolling down the beach. In fact, they are a definite what NOT to wear in Margaritaville.
COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM
Winter Getaways by: Sharon Mosley
Whether you’re headed for a few days of lounging on a tropical beach or skiing down the mountain slopes, looking good when you arrive at your destination is a fine art, says Andy Paige, style expert and author of “Style on a Shoestring” (McGraw Hill, $16.95, 2009).
“Packing your bag is just like building your wardrobe,” says Paige, who is also the star of TLC’s “Ten Years Younger.” She suggests starting with your wardrobe basics, and then adding tops and accessories that will do double duty when combined with your key pieces.
Here are some of Paige’s style tips on packing for a three-day getaway for fun in the sun:
— Choose a color story, such as white/khaki, black/red, turquoise/brown or gray/yellow, for all of your garments, so everything will coordinate and you can pack fewer shoes and accessories.
— Fabrics should be wash-and-wear, wrinkle-free options that can be hand- washed with a little baby shampoo if need be.
— Every garment packed should serve a dual purpose or be able to be dressed up and dressed down. For example, a flirty skirt should function as a casual skirt with a tank and flip-flops for souvenir shopping as well as a dressier dinner option with heels and a sexy top. A colorful wrap should serve as a sarong for your bathing suit, a nighttime wrap for sun-kissed shoulders and a blankie on the plane. Bermuda shorts should be worn with walking shoes and tanks for sightseeing, then later with strappy heels and a flirty top for a night out.
— Allow yourself three pairs of shoes max. You should travel in a modern feminine walking shoe; pack a strappy heel for night and a sophisticated non-rubber flip- flop for relaxing daytime activities.
— Pack hair accessories, such as a modern headband and/or scarf, to maintain an easy, stylish look that will limit primp time and optimize playtime.
— Choose a refined tankini swimsuit, so you can wear the top with coordinating cropped pants or a skirt.
— Choose strategic accessories like a statement watch, hoop earrings, sunglasses and a coordinating tote bag that will dictate the mood of your outfit.
For a winter getaway, Paige has the following style tips:
— A fitted leather jacket is the foundation of this wardrobe. Choose a feminine style that is sexy, tough, fashionable and functional.
— Choose a solid-color heavy wrap that looks great on top of your jacket. This will add another layer of warmth, and you can also use it on the plane.
— Committing to a color story is a great timesaver. Winter scarves are a good place to start when choosing your getaway wardrobe colors, because they are the perfect fashion topper for all of your weekend looks.
— Choose lightweight layering tops, as opposed to a sack of bulky sweaters. Body-hugging, long-sleeved tees with scoop necklines and thin body-loving turtlenecks offer more warmth and femininity when layered rather than one big sweater.
— Sophisticated jeans play a big part in a wintertime getaway. Choose a dark boot-cut jean that can be dressed up with high-heeled boots and tucked into casual boots for day.
— A button-up cardigan, hoodie or versatile sweater jacket that zips is essential. These pieces are much better for layering than a pullover sweater.
— A slinky, matte jersey dress that falls above the knee is the perfect choice for a wrinkle-free evening out when added to opaque tights, sexy knee-high boots and long, layered necklaces. The shorter length then makes the dress a fun, fashionable statement when worn over a paper-thin turtleneck with heavy leggings and casual boots for day.
— Don’t forget the lace! A lace cami with warm leggings gives you something nice and cozy to sleep in, allowing you to layer under your nighttime looks.
— Choose a great beret or cute knit hat to add more style. Then round out your accessories with statement earrings, a color-complementing watch, a larger evening clutch and long, layering necklaces.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM