I’m ready to get away!

Summer officially starts on Thursday and in this area the kids will finally be out of school today! That means a summer getaway is probably not far behind.  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 maxi-dress you bought on your last tropical outing that’s a bit on the wild side for wearing out to dinner at home. Let’s see if we can squeeze it in.

Let’s start with the pre-planning. How many days 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 the location you are 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. Also think about creating your own travel checklist.  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 or dress and a pair of slacks (again 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), particularly in the summer..

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.

Now add the accessories.  Scarves and jewelry can change the feel of an outfit from casual to dressy in an instant.  I would recommend gold over silver jewelry if going to the beach to avoid damage to the silver, but whichever you choose, only take one metal color. Or opt to bring your costume jewelry and leave the good stuff at home.  Patterns in a lightweight scarf can pull together a great outfit that has a solid top and bottom. A belt in either silver or gold is a great way to accentuate the waist and dress up jeans for an evening out.

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.  A recent article I read suggests the best method is a combo and I would agree.  I started using packing envelopes over 10 years ago and just loved them particularly for a trip that moved around a lot.  Then 2 years ago I was given a set of packing cubes by the tour company we were using to go to Europe.  These were even better.  I had one for undergarments, sleepwear and scarves and another for dresses, pants, shorts and tops (in this one I rolled the bottoms and folded the tops). It keeps your clothes neatly folded, maximizes space and you really don’t need to unpack.

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. 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.

Enjoy!!

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

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?

Do’s and Don’t’s of Denim

Here are a few tips for keeping your jeans (and any denim) looking like new.

  • Yes you can launder your jeans, but you don’t need to wash every time you wear them.  Every three to five wears should do, unless you’ve been playing in the mud!
  • The best way to keep those dark washed jeans dark is to skip the heat. Always wash in cold water and in a laundry bag as the less heat and agitation the better.
  • When picking out a skinny pair of jeans, look for ones that have Lycra in the fabric content.  It helps jeans keep their shape longer and form fits to you.
  • Are you looking at a new pair with some bling?  I really don’t like to hand wash as I just don’t think they get as clean.  So when it’s time to wash I turn them inside out and again, so to my mesh laundry bag.  I wash on delicate cycle and they never go in the dryer.
  • And remember, heat is the worst thing you can do to your denim, no matter if it’s a shirt, skirt, jacket or jeans.  Always hang to dry.  This is a must to prevent shrinkage.

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again

Growing up I would hear this from my parents when I tried to do something and it didn’t go as planned.  I use these same words when working with a client.  We may have to get a few misses before we hit a home run with a great style that’s right for you.  Today, I’m going to make it personal and talk about my recent shopping experience.  We’re going to talk about cardigans.

  Twin Sweater set1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I first have to admit, this was never a staple in my closet.  I tend to lean towards a contemporary, almost eclectic wardrobe, particularly since I got out of the rat race of being a Federal employee.  Even in the days of my “former career” I was never a suit person; optioning to show my more artistic side in my fashion selections.  But last year I decided I needed to add a cardigan to my wardrobe to wear with capri pants or my favorite denim skirt (indigo, white and hot pink).  I failed miserably.  Maybe I ran out of energy or patience, but I ended my hunt. Yes, me the person who is supposed to be a pro at this.  Determined that I still wanted this look (I have a secret desire to put together an Audrey Hepburn look for my travels later this year) I set out again to the mall.  I headed into a store known for their classic looks.  Success!!!  I have picked out this great sweater that will mix and match with a multitude of pants, skirts and shorts in my closet.  Isn’t that what it’s all about, being able to create at least 3 new outfits from one purchase?

Classic Cardigan

 

 

 

 

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?