Travel Tips: My packing basics

Here are a sample of my stylish ‘must-haves’ when I travel…

I wish I could count myself as one of those uber fashionable travelers that look ever so chic catwalking down airport lounges in well put together outfits while traveling. I really try, but given the amount of walking I do when on trips, and limited packing space there is only so much a girl can do when on the road. Yet I am not one of those back-packing, wear only two outfits girl either. I like to look put together, especially for city travel. This means I pack some modern basic pieces that are classic in style but at the same time dashing and comfortable. I want to look good when I am on tour.

Pick your base colour – I tend to stick to black as it doesn’t show dirt, but if you prefer navy blue, beige, or white, by all means use that as your ‘base’ and work around that. So I have basic pieces in black and work a travel wardrobe with those basics.

Stylish Coat or Jacket – If there is one piece of clothing that should make a statement it should be your outerwear.  A leather jacket, a wool coat in winter or a lightweight jacket in Spring is a must. A knee length wool coat can go day to night, and a classic Mac jacket works perfectly in any situation.

Cashmere –  A classic crew neck with jeans or trousers is one of the most timeless looks around. It can take you day to night, casual to elegant. And a cardigan, even in summer makes a lightweight item to pack and wear on the overly air conditioned plane flights.

Scarf – Takes up no room and can transform your look and change your base outfit with a dash of colour. I like to take at least two of different sizes and wear one on the plane so to have added warmth but also it makes you look a bit more put together at airport check in.

Wrap – On a recent trip to Capri where the locals are very chic islanders I noticed every woman wore a stunning wrap in the evening. It gave the ladies a very dressy edge to even the simplest of outfits. I went straight to Missoni and picked up one of their bright, multi-coloured wraps to enhance my travel wardrobe.

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Missoni knits

Say ‘no’ to shorts in the city – Unless you are on the beach, on a boat, or by the pool, wearing shorts even when it is hot makes you stand out like a tourist. Not only that, going into some places such as churches is not allowed in shorts (and skimpy tops). Even if you are young and having fun, you do better wearing skirts of all lengths to keep cool. City shorts are fine if they are dapper, but skirts are still better.

Long skirt – Especially in the warmer months, I find this a more elegant and fresher look then trousers or jeans. It is nice to have a feminine touch and very easy to pair with a t-shirt for a comfortable day look. Can double for an evening look when paired with a silk top.

Shoes – Thankfully in the autumn and winter months I can get by with some flat, simple leather ankle boots that go with just about everything. In the warmer months this can prove more challenging if you are trying to find something with support to walk endlessly, yet look fashion forward. I cannot pull off the chunky sneakers, so I resort to a pair of athletic ballerina slippers or espadrilles and a pair of low heeled sandals. I’ll also take a pair of Capri sandals but those are for destinations by the sea. For evening I do love Aquazzura shoes as they have some embellished styles on lower heels. I do love their low block heel sandals in a variety of fun finished like coloured pom-poms or fringed suede. I can easily walk around in the evenings while still being au courant fashion wise. For colder destinations, again it is much easier with a pair of lower heeled boots. A pair of classic pumps always work well no matter where or what season.

15741043_1209219402494966_7591364200863473177_nAquazurra Wild Things sandals

Accessories – Always pack an umbrella! As a matter of fact I have a small, collapsible umbrella I just leave in my suitcase ready to go when I travel. Purses take up a lot of space so while I like to have choices I might prefer to leave room for some shopping in my suitcase. I take a tote or larger bag for day, that way I can throw my camera, and any small items I might buy along the way. For evening a simple embellished envelope clutch packs well and looks elegant for evening, or a small evening bag that you can throw a credit card, lipstick, and go.

Evening – While I tend to do ‘smart-casual’ for most of my restaurant choices, meaning a lively but popular brasserie, or a trendy trattoria, I still take one piece for that possible nicer night out. My rule of thumb is to take a couple pair of black trousers, and around 4-5 silk tops that I can rotate with the trousers, one of those tops a bit more embellished for the possible fine dining evening. All easy to put on if you are rushing to dinner after a day of sight seeing, and easy to pack. I also tend to have a polished black on black ensemble, of a classic top such as a sleeveless simple silk tunic, button down shirt, or vest, with slim black jeans or trousers. Can be worn more than once, changed up with a scarf and will always look chic.

That perfect travel handbag – After years of searching I have found the perfect bag to suit my needs when I travel. It is a black leather Hogan bag big enough to throw my ipad and book in, and four large zipper pockets on the outside for my passport and ticket, iphone, and compact. It is city chic cool, has a strap to wear cross body, and handles if you want to carry it. Had it for years and is my biggest go-to item when I travel.

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Hogan bag

No matter the destination do check the weather the day before you leave. Even the warmest of destinations can suffer from cold fronts and you don’t want to spend your travel time shopping around for warmer clothing. Also, I always pack an extra top or one outfit and an extra pair of knickers in my carry on just in case my suitcases are delayed somewhere. That way I have a change of clothes. And don’t forget to pack knickers and pajamas!

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