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There are plenty of worldly, wise and wonderful people who overpack or take all the wrong items when preparing for a trip. This has nothing to do with having the right suitcase, a stack of compression cubes or knowing when to roll or fold your clothes — though all do help. The real problem is the inevitable “What was I thinking !?” moment on arrival. As a fashion editor I’ve spent decades traveling for photo shoots and vacations with just a carry-on and the right clothes for every situation. Here’s how you can too:
1. Dress up for the plane, airport and arrival
A “go” outfit that’s pulled together can help you snag an upgrade or better service at resorts, hotels, inns and restaurants. Pull-on pants, a tee, light sweater or stylish sweatshirt and loafers or slip-on sneakers may seem casual but in neutral colors with a relaxed blazer thrown on top it becomes an elevated look that offers climate control in icy planes and terminals and during flight delays. Be sure to select colors that are in sync with your packed items to extend the vacation wardrobe. Some items are better packed than worn en route, such as leggings (too sporty for authority), dresses, skirts and sandals (you’ll be cold on the plane and they make dashing for the gate or hefting bags tough) and trendy multi-pocket cargo pants (these always seem to get a TSA pat down).
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2. Create a color theme
Limiting your packed items to one or two rich neutrals like black, navy, brown or khaki plus white is a foolproof formula. However, those who want more color can add one bright hue to the mix. For example, navy, white and red may work for you or brown, khaki, white and yellow. The big mistake is trying to add all the colorful pieces and prints in your closet to engineer a more festive look. Color restriction creates a tighter but more versatile capsule wardrobe for maximum wear from the least amount of clothing. It’s a strategy that designers, retailers and stylists use to create a “look.” Copy that.
3. Choose pieces that pivot day to night
Contemporary jumpsuits and midi/maxi dresses work equally well for sightseeing in Charleston or Paris, a wine-tasting foodie trip to the Napa Valley or a fancy resort in Miami. Their one-and-done appeal is irresistible and can reduce the number of separates you need to pack. Be selective. The ultimate multitasking styles won’t have super-low necklines or backs, lots of frills and ruffles, peekaboo cutouts or be clingy. For a destination wedding or party, a one-shoulder midi or maxi dress in cotton is a great choice and can be repurposed for real-life wear and summer days/nights long after the event. Here are some examples that spin from urban to dressy to beachside perfect.
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