As we (that’s the editorial “we” because unfortunately I’m not going anyplace) continue to pack and prepare for sunny escapes, let’s be practical for a moment.
Apart from choosing wardrobe items that will meld and multiply with panache, one wants to travel light. If the airline restrictions about size and weight for our luggage have taught us nothing else, it’s that “yes we can” travel light with style. As with anything done well, packing for winter vacations takes intelligence and creativity.
With that in mind, a few “rules” to remember:
1.) Wear, as you are traveling, the more cumbersome pieces of clothing you feel you can absolutely not live without. Maybe it’s a linen pantsuit — or another material if you worry about wrinkling, personally I love linen — sling a cardigan over your shoulders and toss a shawl, which will double for an evening cover-up, into your handbag.
(You know, if I were traveling in this seersucker pantsuit it would be either navy or charcoal striped.)
2.) This is just me, but I always travel with a super large bag, like this one from Tory Burch. It’s smaller than a tote, but I assure you, it can tote plenty of stuff. It’s where I usually stow another sweater, a small handbag (which doesn’t travel empty either btw, in fact nothing does including shoes packed in my check-in bag) and the usual: Kindle, notebook, pens, small make-up bag, agenda, large bottle of water, effervescent vitamin C, flip-flops etc.
3.) In the suitcase, there must be absolutely nothing that doesn’t multiply the possibilities of something else. Otherwise, it stays home. A suitcase is not a closet.
4.) Since sun is the destination, it’s best to think layers. Two light sweaters instead of a single heavy one. Peel off or pile on as necessary.
5.) You know the three shoe rule: one pair on your feet, two in the suitcase. (If you really want an extra pair of flat sandals, for evening let’s say, they take up absolutely no room in your tote/handbag or carry-on.)
Wouldn’t these Chanel ballerinas be sweet with the suit I wouldn’t be caught dead in? (Or, for you grammarians: The suit in which I wouldn’t be caught dead.)
6.) Wear clothes you know are comfortable, your good friends. If you shop for something special specifically for your trip, make sure you’re not going completely off your style personality. You might force yourself to wear it on vacation — after all, you won’t see these people again — but it will no doubt languish in your closet upon your return.
7.) Only you know the fabrics you like. I like linen, seersucker and cotton. Not cotton pants or skirts with the exception of the long number from yesterday, but a collection of T-shirts and, yes, my white shirt would be an essential for me. Both look great with a pareo, the shirt tied at the waist, the pareo as a skirt.
Imagine the possibilities of this adorable seersucker waistcoat — skirts, pants, in all their incarnations, bare or over a T-shirt or shirt.
Depending upon the length and proportions of a sun dress, a shirt (again tied at the waist) or a cardigan can make it appear like separates.
8.) Cotton knits, if you like them, pack beautifully.
9.) Your style dictates capris, crops, bermudas, jeans or trousers. This is your call. Wear or pack at least one pair of trousers though, they add a certain polish you may be happy to have in reserve.
10.) Since it has been a long winter in many parts of the world, think of how much fun it would be to slip into a dress — long or short — and/or a skirt.
11.) A few things you already know (but if I didn’t mention them, you might think I didn’t know):
- Grooming, grooming, grooming before departure.
- Pedicure in some wonderful color.
- Major SPF products.
- A fountain pen to write REAL postcards.
- Serious, nasty ray filtering sunglasses.
- If you have light skin, a self-tanner on your legs before you leave will put you in the mood.
- Whatever you can’t live without no matter where you are.
Now is probably not the time to pack serious jewelry unless you are staying in a five star resort hotel with a vault or chez un ami. Think fake, think fun, think color, think sun, sea, sand — shells, beads, etc.
Finally, as with all precision dressing, build your vacation wardrobe around a central color like black (I can’t help it), navy or brown for example. Of course you’ll be packing some white, but it might be dangerous, unless you never spill your tropical cocktails, to have an all white base.
Btw, please don’t send me a “wish you were here” postcard, because I do wish I were there. And I’m not.