It’s almost time for vacation.

This weekend kicks off the unofficial start of summer.  Soon the kids are out of school, which means it’s time to think about that summer getaway.  So what can you do to make the escape easier on you from start to finish? Pre-planning and packing light.

If you are going by car with endless room you may not worry about it, but if you are flying, packing can be a challenge.  I always want to take things I usually don’t wear at home; you know that cute pair of shorts you bought on your last tropical outing that are bit on the wild side for wearing out to a casual dinner at home. Let’s see if we can squeeze them in.

Let’s start with the pre-planning. How many days are you away and how many outfits can you realistically wear? Do you plan on an outfit for day and change for the evening? Think back, did that really happen the last time? If you are in a bathing suit all day are you really going to get dressed for dinner and is your destination going to require something more than a casual outfit? These are the questions to ask yourself. If you are not going to the beach, is it a climate that might need a heavier layer than a t-shirt? With these answers we move on to selecting what to bring. This is where creating your own travel checklist can help. I started one several years ago and tweak it every time we come back from vacation.

First pick a neutral shade as your base color. You can do this for either the tops or bottoms, but I would suggest it be your bottoms for the most flexibility.  According to where you are going that may include jeans (dark is preferable as they can go dressy or casual), a skirt  (maxi would be great) and a pair of slacks  (maybe a pair of the trendy soft pants or an ankle pant). In tropical locations, I always bring a denim skirt and opt for sun dresses over shorts for comfort. And remember, neutral does not always mean black and tan. Gray and navy work really well to maximize your options. I always use the fewer bottoms to tops ratio when packing and if you are going to a warm destination, always consider that you will only wear the top once (unless it’s a layering piece).

Select tops to add color and interest to your outfit.  If you brought along a pattern bottom, you can opt for a solid top or you can really go trendy and use another pattern as long as both patterns have the same dominant color.  No matter what tops you select be sure that each top goes with at least 2 bottoms to give you maximum options and there should be tops that can be layered.

Now add the accessories.  Scarves and jewelry can change the feel of an outfit from casual to dressy in an instant.  Patterns in a lightweight scarf can pull together a great outfit that has a solid top and bottom. For jewelry, I would recommend taking only one metal color.  Because the beach can be harsh on metals,  bring your costume jewelry and leave the good stuff at home. A metal belt is a great way to accentuate the waist and dress up jeans for an evening out.  Now on to footwear.  I have made the mistake of not taking sneakers on a trip; never again.  I always wear them on the plane and pack a pair of flip flops (good for the pool and as slippers in the room) and another pair of casual shoes based on my destination.  For my upcoming cruise to Alaska that will be a pair to black patent flats, for a beach resort it would be a pair of dressy sandals.

Did you remember a small purse for evening and shopping? And don’t forget your pashmina for the plane, train and evenings out.

There is plenty of debate on the best way to pack all those clothes; fold, roll, bundle or investing in wrinkle resistant clothing. I have used  an envelope packing system such as the one from Eagle Creek for years. It keeps your clothes neatly folded,  maximizes space and makes it easy to pick out items without unpacking the entire suitcase; handy when you are on a multi-location trip.  You can find other versions on Amazon and at Target and Walmart.

Put jewelry inside your shoes so you use every inch of space.  Swap out the jewelry for dirty clothes on the way home.  And if at all possible, wear the bulky item on the plane. Avoid the urge to throw in one more thing as you are about to walk out the door with your suitcase in hand.  Trust me on a long trip the only people that will notice that you wore those same jeans 4 times is you because you had tops and accessories to make it look like a totally new outfit every time.

What outfits are hiding in your suitcase?

Flower Power

 It’s not surprising that floral patterns are everywhere given the 70’s influence in this season’s fashions.  But are you thinking outside the box when it comes to adding a floral to your outfit?  Sure, adding a flowered skirt or blouse to your outfit will bring in that touch of spring we are all yearning for.  Enough of the cold, I want warm breezes and flowers.  Maybe you don’t like to invest in a patterned item because it limits your ability to mix and match, or maybe you can’t find the right size floral patterned style that speaks to you; remember a floral pattern should always take into account your body type.

How about a flower as an accessory.  No I’m not talking about in your hair, but on your blouse, over your pashmina or on the lapel of your jacket.  I have found them inexpensively in craft store or you can easily make your own from a floral stem with some wire cutters, a hot glue gun and safety pin (or even a magnet strip).  That’s the easiest way to find the perfect match.

I have several floral pins.  I once used a large hot pink flower pin at the waist of a black chiffon halter dress, or I have used a large white flower on a white ruana for additional texture.

 But one of my favorite styling tips is shown below.

Polyvore - spring flowers

You have this great print bottom (it could be a skirt or even pants).  It’s cold in your office or it’s just to chilly outside to think about going without sleeves, so you put on the jacket from that skirt suit you have hanging in the closet.  It’s ok, but people will get stuck looking at the skirt/pant and not see the rest of your outfit, or that great smile you have.  Add a flower to the lapel and it will immediately force eyes to travel around your entire outfit, not just the bottoms you are wearing.  An easy accessory that won’t break the bank.  This is a great way to balance color in you outfit by pulling some of the color from a dominant piece to the other half; whether it be with a pin, scarf or flower.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

What will be “in” for Spring/Summer 2016

It seems that mother nature doesn’t want to let us forget who’s boss when it comes to the weather, but we are inching closer to those days when we’ll be wearing those new colors for 2016 I talked about a few weeks ago and sandals instead of close toed shoes. So what are the newest styles you’ll see in stores now and in the coming months? Here’s a rundown of some of the trends and how you might incorporate it into your wardrobe.

Spring 16 styles

1 – Victorian influence – The trends of this era can be seen in many styles, from the high neckline and ruffles, to subtle floral prints. Interpret this trend with a floral print dress with a ruffled neckline.

polyvore - victorian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 – Lightweight Denim  This is a classic, whether your go-to style is a dress, pants or a skirt. Lightweight denim skirts are a great alternative to shorts in spring and summer.

polyvore - denim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – X-factor  This is a combo of a halter top look with the off the shoulder look.

4 – Fringe – It looks like this is a trend that is here to stay.

5 – Paper bag waist – Not the easiest style to wear, this style pairs this easiest effect with wide-leg pants and loose skirts.

6 – Pleats  Gone are the wide car-wash pleats of the fall. Spring styles are showing much smaller knife pleats.

7 – White shirt That staple that everyone should have in the closet had a makeover for this season.

8 – Spanish influence – This will feature a lot of red (which was not one of the predicted colors from Pantone) to styles that remind you of flamenco dancers with flounces and full sleeves.

9 – 70’s inspired suede  This era continues to have an influence in fashion.  For those of us who remember the original, it may be something you want to pass on, but combining it with suede?  This one is simply a personal preference that has no boundaries by body type. Why not get your 70’s look along with a fringe statement with accessories.

polyvore - 70s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, every trend is not for everyone. For example, the woman with a little extra in the middle should not even think about wearing a paper bag waist style. And of course you need to look in your closet first. You may very well have something with fringe (maybe a scarf) and have that light denim shirtdress stuck in the back of the closet.

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

Are you seeing red (or scarlet or fuchsia or blush)?

Not only is Valentine’s Day coming up, but February is Heart Health month.  What better time to wear your favorite shade of this primary color to represent these important events in February.  Whether you are looking for an outfit for dinner, to wear to the office or just hang out in, you can surely find something in your closet that will help you celebrate.

With the price of clothing and to be attuned to creating multiple looks, the items selected will fit many occasions.  These dresses can go from dinner out to the office with the addition of a jacket or sweater.  And don’t forget that a change of accessories, scarf, belt, earrings and/or necklace, can also change the dress from dinner appropriate to office appropriate.  Pairing sweaters and jeans are a given, but a sweater also looks great with the correct pant (for your body type) or skirt, particularly the pencil skirt.  And why can’t you wear a blouse with hearts throughout the year?

If these colors are not ones you usually wear, might I suggest a scarf in multiple colors with a hint of red or pink or a silk flower pin?  Last year, on my box of Godiva chocolates (yum) was a rose ribbon pin that looked great on a leopard jacket.

So check out what’s in your closet.  What better reason to wear red, then to support women’s heart health and love!

Polyvore - valentine

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?