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?

What colors will you be wearing for Spring 2017

Pantone’s spring colors for 2017 have been described as bright and vivid yet with a feel of earthiness.  These colors were very prevalent in the styles showcased in the New York Fashion Week shows presented last September.  This translates to the colors you will see in ready-to-wear for spring/summer 2017.

The first group of colors are those that are found in awakening of the coming season.  Primrose Yellow reminds you of a sunny day, and Kale reflects the desire to get outdoors after a long dreary (and not so cold) winter.  Another outdoor color is Greenery.  Its yellow-green brings to mind the shades we see when leap buds start to form on trees that have been dark and gray for the winter.  Another color that reminds you of the entrance of spring is Pale Dogwood.  The pale pink shade is great for many skin types as a primary or accent color to add a feeling of tranquility.  Rounding out this group is Hazelnut as the anchor neutral of the season.  It is a color that can bridge many seasons.

Continuing the outdoor theme in the form of tropicals for this season is Island Paradise; who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a wardrobe piece that reminds you of a warm inviting sea.  Pink Yarrow is bright and sassy to spark fun for your wardrobe.  Flame is another color, with its red-based orange to add a fiery touch, particularly as an accent color.

No season palette is complete without a shade or two of blue.  Front and center is Niagara.  It is a classic denim-like color that will be the most prevalent color for spring, and speaks of a desire for ease and relaxation.  And finally Lapis Blue, which unlike Niagara will energize any outfit and exude confidence.

So as you start to pull out those spring/summer wardrobe, organize your closet by color.  Do you have pieces in these colors?  Is there a shade or two from Pantone’s list that you might want to add to freshen up your look?

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

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?

THE colors of Spring/Summer 2016

spring-2016-color-report-pantone 2

 

Just when you think spring is around the the corner, they are predicting wet snow in the next few days.  But think positive and keep looking forward, we are closer to spring then not.   This spring, the color palette from Pantone Color Institute, the people who forecast color trends, will help you envision a calm, tranquil environment with a mix of pastels and brights,  There is something for everyone.

Rose Quartz and Serenity, announced as the colors of the year for 2016, are light and airy. Orange has been a strong color for many seasons, so it’s not surprising to find Peach Echo, a pastel of the orange family, stepping into the scene to continue consumer’s love for orange. Limpet Shell, a shade of Aqua, rounds out the pastel palette of colors for women’s fashions this season.

Every season needs neutrals and this season is no exception, with softer versions of navy, brown and gray.  Snorkel blue conjures up a warm sunny beach and relaxation. Lilac Gray puts a new twist on basic gray with a hint of lilac and Iced Coffee is a great transitional color that can carry you from spring to fall.

For those who’s skin and hair color need more bright fabrics in their closet, there are several to consider this season.  The brilliant shade of Green Flash, brings a touch of the outdoors to your wardrobe. It reminds me of the newly budding trees of spring.  Fiesta is bright and fun and would be a great combination with the sunny feel of Buttercup.

I just love this use of Green Flash, Limpet Shell and Fiesta in this design by Nicole Miller.

Nicole Miller Spring 2016

Nicole Miller

 

Whether you prefer bright colors or pastels, there are many ways to mix and match this season with each other and with the help of the new neutrals. Experiment by first looking in your closet!

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?