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?

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?