Vacation Closet Postscript

 

If you have been following my posts in the month of January, you know that I was away in a much warmer climate; Apache Junction, Arizona which is east of Phoenix.  During that time I shared what I packed in my suitcase and the outfits I created from those items for the month.  Now that I’m back I decided to do a review of what worked well, what didn’t and things to consider for the next time.

The temperatures were predicted to be in the 40s at night and upper 60s to low 70s during the day which was pretty close to true with a few mornings being a little colder and a few days being upper 70s to low 80s. This is a place where you can be busy all day, or just sit by the pool and read.  My husband and I chose the former.

As a reminder, these were the items in “my vacation closet.”

Here is the suitcase (25” hard side) I used. I also carried a backpack on the plane and a cross-body purse.

 

In addition to all the clothing pictured above, I packed in there 5 days worth of undergarments, 2 bathing suits, a hooded sweatshirt, lounge PJs and the items pictured below.

 

For just about all my travel (plane, train or car) I always layer an outfit and wear leggings, for this trip it meant black leggings, bronze colored tank top, denim shirt and a cashmere wrap.  I also always wear my sneakers on the plane as they are bulky to pack and no matter what, they always come with me; experience has taught me that.

When I packed, I chose colors that were versatile enough to mix and match just about everything in “my vacation closet.”  As you could tell from photos, there was a lot of mixing and matching and although I brought several scarves to add patterns and upper interest to my outfits, it just wasn’t that dressy of a place to use them.  I had anticipated eating out maybe once a week, but instead we rotated fixing dinner among 3 couples and only had dinner out once.  But we did have a dance once a week and a concert once a week, so that was considered the evening casual looks.

I got it right items:

Daytime Tops – All of the casual cotton short sleeve tops, top and center left in the “My Suitcase” collage, along with the black/white top center bottom worked well either alone or, if it was a little cooler, layered with my hooded sweatshirt or the denim shirt.

Daytime and Evening Bottoms – All of the bottoms worked well, from the casual gray shorts, beige capris to the 2 different weight leggings, skinny Chico’s pant and jeans.  The jeans, Chico’s pant and heavier weight leggings were good for the cooler days and evenings as this is a place that has very little humidity so as soon as the sun goes down, so does the temperature.  A tip for your leggings, they can do duel duty as capris if you pull them up to create a “seam” just below the knee as I did in bottom left picture of the “Mix and Match” collage in the Facebook post.

Evening Tops – Here is where the mix and match came into play a lot.  The tops in the center and bottom right of the “My Suitcase” collage were my staples along with the cashmere wrap.  I used these a lot, both alone and layered with a camisole underneath.

What I didn’t use:

I got very little use out of the 3 tank tops.  It was a little too cool to wear alone during the day and only used a cotton one once as a layer under the denim shirt for a very casual evening.

I also didn’t need the pair of bronze colored flats.  If I needed shoes, the short boots worked fine.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t get much use out of the scarves, but I would continue to pack scarves in the future as they take up very little space and add interest to your outfit.  This was true for the belt as well.

In lieu of the purple long sleeve top pictured in the “My Suitcase” collage, I would have packed a different top as it would have been more versatile.

What did I need but not pack:

I originally had a denim skirt out to pack but changed my mind.  Go with your first instinct, I should have brought it.

I also would have gotten use out of additional leggings to go with the burnt orange tops and denim shirt.  I did purchase 2  pair from LuLaRoe  when we went shopping at Mesa Market Place Swap Meet (great place to go if you ever get out that way),  They are a nice pattern, go with both tops and are oh so comfortable.

As I mentioned earlier, I should have packed another long sleeve tunic length top (to take the place of the purple top) that would have given me more options with leggings (butts covered please).

All in all, the amount and type of clothing worked well, but there is always room to refine the selection.  I will admit I like a lot of variety in what I wear so towards the end of the trip I got a little board with my options.  The addition of the LuLaRoe leggings was a nice boost.

Remember, pick either a pattern for your tops or bottoms to give you the most possibilities to mix and match, always bring your sneakers, pack some accessories (belt and scarves in addition to jewelry) and go with your first instincts when pulling clothes for a trip.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

You look thin. Did you lose weight?

Aren’t those the words every women loves to hear?  If you did drop a few pounds;
congratulations on the hard work!  But if, like me, you are still a work in progress, there
are a few things you can do to look thinner without hitting the gym more often or passing on some of your favorite foods.   No matter whether it’s the time of year for your spring/summer or fall/winter outfits, as you have heard me say many times, the goal of the perfect outfit is to give you the hourglass figure.  This could be in reality, if you are one of the lucky 7% of the population, or by illusion by balancing your natural figure.  But you can also look thinner by illusion.  Below are tips and tricks on putting together outfits that will make you look taller thus thinner.

Vertical Pattern – using a fabric with stripes, lines or a vertical pattern makes the eye
travel up and down, thus making you look thinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monochromatic Outfit – using one color family for your entire outfit does the same
thing as a vertical pattern.  It creates a unified look making the eye travel vertically
creating a visually unbroken line.  And it’s not just about wearing black.  Any
monochromatic outfit will make you look thinner.  Pick a color that makes your skin
glow and you can count on getting compliments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hemlines – you may not think the position of your hem has an impact on how you look,
but it does.  It could be the difference between  looking slender or adding attention where you don’t really want it.  The rule of thumb should be: the skirt hem should hit at the slimmest part of the leg.  For most women, that is either just above or just below the knee. If you are wearing a midi length skirt or capris, it should be just under the heaviest part of the calf.

Accessorize– heels or flats with a pointy toe and a sharp crease in your pants are other tricks to have in your style toolbox, but accessories also play a role.  Chandelier earrings and/or long chain necklaces (particularly the current trend of multiple strands) make you look taller.  Adding a color to your neckline (necklace or scarf) that coordinates with your skirt or pants will help the eye move around your outfit.   Are you on the petite side?  Smaller bags can help you avoid visually overwhelming your frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

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?