Hassle Free Travel

Don’t we all remember when people traveled like this!

With airline imposing more and more stringent restrictions and charging for checked baggage, we may want to rethink how to pack for a trip.   Adding insult to injury, there is an increasing chance for theft with checked luggage.  One recent article described the aircraft baggage area as “flea markets” for baggage handlers with free access to “shop” unimpeded.  JFK was sited as particularly problematic.  One should never place electronics, jewelry or other highly prized items in their checked luggage.  A few years ago, I placed my designer sunglasses in my suitcase to avoid adding more bulk to my purse.  Bad idea.  They did not arrive with my luggage.

So, what is a traveler to do?

Travel with a roll-on whenever possible.  For travel of a week or less, this is not an issue.  If the trip is longer, it may be necessary to check luggage but let’s just take a hypothetical weeklong trip.
Review each day of travel and daily planned activities.

Will you need walking shoes, heels, other?

Do you need an evening handbag?


Let’s assume that you are going to New York for a week.  You have a three-day conference and are going to add two days for shopping, museums, theatre and sightseeing.

If I were making this trip, I might pack the following:  Note:  I am more a summer palette with softer shades of cool tones.

Dark gray simple sheath dress (gray is my “black”)

Navy and gray slacks or skirts

3 tops – combination of shells and blouse (white, light blue and light gray)

1 jacket and 1 sweater  (red jacket – worn for travel and deep pink sweater)

2 pair shoes – pewter heels, navy walking shoes

2 scarves – one with red, white and blue and another multi-color w/bright pink

For travel, I would wear dark-washed, pressed jeans, with a washable blouse, my red suede jacket and comfortable shoes.

This core wardrobe will make sixteen different combinations without including travel clothes or the addition of a scarf or jewelry.  That is more three different outfits per day!  That should be sufficient for even the most discerning travelers.

Can you make more combinations?  Would this work for you?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Olympic Uniforms

Did Ralph Lauren Blow it?  I have always admired Ralph Lauren and his incredible ability to read the public and provide great options that his customers will love.  They all seem to personify the American style.  But have you carefully looked at the Olympic uniforms?

Of course, there was the flack about having them manufactured in China.  One article I read said it would have added one billion dollars to the US economy.   That is with  “B”.  I have no idea if that is accurate or not but think about it.  Our US team proudly marches into the opening ceremony with “Made in China” tags.   That is sad.

The style of the uniforms is even more problematic.  This country is known for Stetsons, baseball caps, and golf caps just to name a few.   Berets?  When was the last time you encountered anyone in a beret?  Americans are known for blue jeans, khakis, shorts and workout clothes.   Double breasted navy blazers with white slacks looks more like a Swiss boarding school.  And what’s with the white shirt with the rounded collar?  That is certainly not a wardrobe staple.  Red, white and blue are about the only elements of these uniforms that say, “America”.  But, of course, other countries use those same colors.  These uniforms might better announce the entry of the French team in their blu, blanc, rouge.

Our athletes spend years in grueling practice preparing to go to these games.  They miss parties, vacations and other activities that are a part of most young people’s formative lives.   They will make us proud as we cheer them to medals and heroic efforts.  How much more effective it would have been had we chosen “Made in American” and styles that say “Here comes America”.

Your Face Takes the Spotlight

I recently read a blog by Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, in which he talked about the importance of keeping attention on the face.  He tells of having grown up observing his mother and grandmother in front of the mirror asking the proverbial, “Does this dress make me look fat?”  Entering the fashion industry, this mantra was expanded to, “My hips are too big”, “My bust is too small”, “These dressing room lights do nothing for me”, and on and on.  Early in his career at Neiman’s, he assisted famous Hollywood designer, Bob Mackie, on one of his runway shows.  Mackie made a grand gesture around the model’s face and stated, “It all happens around the face, and the rest gets lost in the folds.”

Sage advise.  Downing goes on to promote the use of necklaces and earrings to bring attention to the face.  Unfortunately, in some of the catalogues that I receive from Neiman’s, there is often no attention paid to scale or harmony with the neckline of the dress.  Let’s look at some examples from Neiman’s web site.

The key detail of this brown dress is the asymmetric neckline.  Any necklace is going to fight with this detail so I would choose earrings – not too big and not too small but in proportion with the face of the wearer.  Voila!  You have an accent drawing attention to your face without detracting from the dress design.

Why do you want the attention on your face you may ask?  Ideally, anyone you encounter notes your face first then scans down your body, the shoes relate to your hair drawing the eye back to your face.  How can anyone focus on a conversation with you if they are observing everything but your face?

This floral dress makes a statement with the print but could be accented with medium earrings and a chain nestled inside the dress neckline.

These necklaces are shown on the same dress but the effect is strikingly different. Notice how the choker adds sparkle around the face without competing with the neckline.  In the other example, this necklace overpowers the simple, sleek design of the dress and would be too large a scale for most wearers.  Notice the disharmony between the necklace and the dress.   The necklace is strong and bold – comprised of circles.  The dress is simple elegance with straight lines and angles.  Of course, they do not complement each other!


My husband bought his first Hawaiian shirt shortly after we were married 26 years ago.  These are his go-to shirts for hot summer days.    Just mention pool party or bar-b-q and out comes the flowered shirt.

I have always puzzled at where this style originated and why it has endured for as long as I can remember.  The Hawaiian shirt or “Aloha” shirt, as they were known in Hawaii, were introduced to the United States when men brought them back from the Pacific islands and Asia at the end of World War II.   The postwar South Seas island craze remained until Hawaii took the spotlight as a new state in 1959.   Hawaii became the vacation destination of choice and, naturally, what better souvenir than a Hawaiian  “flowerdy” shirt.  (to quote Ray Stevens)

My husband, who is the quintessential traditional dresser, refusing to wear anything too trendy or fashion-forward, takes delight in his exotic flowers.  (He reminded me that he doesn’t go for bright but chooses softer colors.)

Now, famous designers have gotten into the act featuring a wide range of Hawaiian print shirts.  Instead of the traditional rayon, they have chosen cotton or linen which has a softer appearance.  The slimmer cuts of these new shirts appeal to a more youthful crowd.  Dolce and Gabbana, Givenchy, and Prada are among the top designer who featured this updated shirt on their spring runways.

Tyler Thoreson, of Gilt Man and Park & Bond, warns that the tropical shirt is not appropriate for the office if one works in a conservative environment.   But he does suggest that in a more relaxed work environment, it can be a great look paired with linen trousers or a cotton and linen summer suit.  Suede loafers, worn with no socks give the perfect finishing touch.  So there you have it!  The shirt thought in the past to be for older, slightly over weight men, is now young and hip.

Special workshop!  In conjunction with the City Club of Buckhead, we are offering two Style Workshops at the special price of $20.  Dates are Tuesday, July 24, 7:30PM – 9:30PM and Saturday, August 4, 2:00PM -4:00PM.   Space is limited so call or email today to make your reservation.   Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-428-2527.