summer travel capsule

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Summer is drawing near, and with the fabulous weather comes opportunity for travel. Whether it be to visit family nearby or to explore other parts of the world, it’s ideal to be able to travel light and still have plenty of choices for outfits that are comfortable and you feel great wearing.

The concept of seasonal “wardrobe capsules” has been all over the style and women’s blogs lately. The idea is to put together a set of several tops, bottoms, shoes, and a few accessories that all coordinate with each other to create 10-15 outfits – a minimalist, hassle-free approach to dressing by putting thought in up front to create a set of outfits so that you don’t have to each day.

Clothing capsules particularly lend themselves to travel. They provide many options with relatively few items, preparing you for weather changes and different circumstances. The capsule above provides enough outfit choices for a two-week trip that includes dressing for evenings out and warm or cooler weather.

the basics

When traveling, wearing items multiple times becomes a necessity, but can be done in a way that feels like you aren’t wearing the same outfit every day. The key is that all the tops can be paired with all of the bottoms. The shoes also go with everything and are used to change the level of dress of the outfit. Just a few simple, inexpensive accessories that can be added to any combination of tops and bottoms polish off the ensembles without adding a lot of extra bulk to your bag or creating worry about theft or losing them.

Several lightweight tops – two knit tees and a dressier textured sleeveless shirt here – and a summer sweater to wear on its own or for layering if it gets chilly are sufficient (add another tee, if you worry there aren’t enough) to match with a couple of skirts, a pair of dressier jeans, and a pair of ankle length chinos. White-on-white ensembles with white denim are very contemporary, and bright-colored slim fit ankle pants are a polished alternative. Half-tuck the front of the knit tees or the sweater for a little body definition and to highlight a bright-colored belt.

A knee-length skirt is a more sophisticated way to stay cool rather than shorts and is just as comfortable, if not more so. A knit maxi skirt is an excellent option for a long flight – soft, non-binding at the waist, and coverage for your legs – and serves well if the day is chilly or more modest clothing is required for the day’s activities.

Bring one dress for an evening or two out and to wear to museums or sightseeing during the day. Pack it inside a dry-cleaner bag before folding it for the suitcase, which will reduce wrinkling.  The skirts can also be dressed up for evenings out with shoe pairings and adding the scarf.

A denim jacket is a perfect travel jacket-of-all-trades (forgive the pun – I couldn’t resist!). It goes with every outfit and is easily dressed up or down for a cool day or an evening out. And it’s a great layer for air travel.

 

footwear

When traveling abroad, it’s essential to have comfortable shoes for walking. Classic white leather tennis shoes are all the rage right now here and in Europe – think Adidas, Tretorns, etc. Wear them with jeans, ankle pants, and short or maxi skirts (sockless or with low-cut footies), and you will be both stylish and ready to walk all day!

Comfort sandals and ballerina flats are cooler for hot days and provide a fun pop of color and polish while still providing support for your feet. Throw in a pair of wedge sandals, which can be surprisingly comfortable for walking (the Minnetonka pair above are lightweight and very stable), and some ankle strap dress flats, and you are set for dressing things up a bit.

 

essential accessories

A single large, rectangular scarf is a really handy item for travel. It adds a pop of color to outfits and is easily stowed in your bag. It can also be used as a shawl wrap when the evening gets cool or when your shoulders need to be covered for entering a church or temple (many European religious institutions ask for no shorts and no exposed shoulders) or a highly air-conditioned museum. I’ve been known to use a scarf as a blanket on airplanes as well – even if it is sheer, it adds warmth!

A cross-body purse is essential – it puts less strain on the shoulders and back, is less prone to pickpocketing, and is easy to access when you need something. The bag I included above is Fossil brand, which I particularly like. Fossil bags are well-constructed and durable, and they typically have lots of zippered pockets inside and out, which are great for safely organizing things like passports, phones, money, cameras, sunglasses, an umbrella, and other travel sundries.

have fun

Feeling comfortable and knowing that whatever you pull out of your suitcase will work well together and look polished makes traveling all the more fun, as does traveling light. Wherever your journeys take you this summer, savor every moment.

Bon Voyage!

fresh for spring (yes, SPRING!)

Spring arrives slowly here in Minnesota. We’ve been getting a taste of spring the past few days, and it is delicious. It never lasts in March, but we enjoy every moment when it’s here. And it puts me in the mood to think about warm weather wear.

Spring is all about newness; it makes you want to throw off the woolens and down coat and look fresh and bright, just like what’s beginning outside. It’s a time to look with clear eyes at your warm weather wardrobe and ask, “Does it make me feel great? Does it reflect what I want my personal style to be?”

Pairing items from your existing wardrobe in new ways and adding just one or two new key items or accessories can make outfits feel brand new and exciting to wear. Two trends for spring this year to try are denim all over and floral prints. Neither of these are new things, but how they’re presented this season feels contemporary and fresh. And they are classic, which appeals to me and to many of my clients – I want to feel current, but not buy a bunch of clothes that will be out of style in a year. And these may be items you already have in your wardrobe.

Spring Denim

First the denims. For a long time, it was passé to wear denim with denim – you were considered a cowboy wannabe. Now it’s all about the denim on denim! To avoid the cowboy look, pair two different washes together, like a dark wash jacket with a lighter jean, or a chambray shirt with a dark wash jean. Or pair any blue wash with another color denim jean – white is a particularly lovely contrast.

Add a bright accessory – a silk or faux-silk square scarf in a classic wrap-and-knot tie around the neck peeking out from a collared shirt or a lightweight gauzy long scarf with a denim jacket. They add color and a little warmth while the temps are still brisk. Ankle booties in lighter colors are a great transition shoe as well, and as the weather gets warmer, switch to a bold print flat or fun sneakers.

Spring Florals

Florals, particularly vintage-style bold patterns, are making a comeback. I’m starting to get past the slight shudder I have whenever I remember the many upholstery-like floral dresses I owned in the 80s and early 90s. Seeing floral fabrics in contemporary cuts is helping. A bold floral pencil skirt feels very sophisticated rather than like being swallowed in draperies, as does a pretty floral classic-cut A-line or shift dress that falls right above the knee.

Sheer peasant, or “boho” (short for bohemian), blouses are feminine and fun. These prints tend to be a little less bold and are great paired with jeans for a casual, polished look. Floral tunic-style blouses in heavier weight fabrics (not sheer) paired with narrow-leg ankle trousers or pants and flats or low heels make a great spring outfit for work. With both of these styles, it’s important to pair the loose, flowy top with a more tailored, close-fitting pant to add structure to the outfit.

When wearing floral prints, choose only one statement piece. Too many florals together gets too busy – one on its own stands out and shines. Or try pairing a large, bold floral with a smaller stripe – look for a common color, like navy, in the two prints that pulls them together. And add a floral bag, scarf, or flats to a denim on denim ensemble!

Consignment stores are a great place to find one or two new to you pieces to freshen your spring wardrobe. In the Twin Cities, Nu Look in Minneapolis and Elite Repeat in St. Paul are great places for finding designer denim pieces at a fraction of the retail cost. They both have great selections of scarves as well, as does Turnstyle (various locations) where you can also find many beautiful handbags. For high-end fun, try Fashion Avenue in Edina.