Bob and I have been housebound most of this year. After months of moving and making over our attic, we're ready to hit the road. We're planning treks to Napa Valley, New York City (to visit our one-and-only-son Cole!) and Gulf Shores, AL soon.
It'll be great fun ... once I get past packing. (Like many Boomer babes, I have real issues here.) I'll need the giant suitcase that Bob calls "too heavy to steal." It'll take HOURS to choose outfits and jewelry, not to mention shoes! And I'll probably still forget something.
That's why I was excited to hear from wardrobe specialist Carolyn Wang. As a personal stylist, Carolyn offers closet consultations to help women feel comfortable and confident in their clothing choices. And she shared her secrets for packing without pain.
Six Secrets to Stress-Free Packing
By Carolyn Wang
When it comes to packing, there can be some tough decisions to make. But I have a few tips that'll make the job easy, fun and fast ... no matter what the occasion!
Select Smart Separates
When beginning to pack for any trip, I strongly believe in pulling together your key wardrobe staples before selecting any other pieces to put in your suitcase. Whatever your destination, the goal is to always wear everything you pack. A good, multipurpose item is a black blazer. Aside from the sheer versatility black offers, you can instantly change your look from dressy to casual with the help of just a few accessories. Black pants are another great choice because you can dress them up or down.
Choose Travel-Friendly Fabrics
Be mindful of what your clothes are made of and only pack fabrics that travel easily. Three "musts" come to mind: comfortable, washable and wrinkle-free. Look for knit fabrics like 100% acrylic yarn, nylon, polyester and wool. Cotton/poly, cotton/Lycra and rayon blends also work well because they're often made with treatments that help keep your clothes looking just-pressed.
Don't be afraid of color! Try color-coordinating and laying out outfits before filling your suitcase. I definitely recommend staying with a color family because you never know what you'll feel like wearing at a specific time. You can mix and match easily if you base outfits around one neutral color, such as black or brown...with the most popular being black. Pack a few bottoms that you can repeat; say a jean, black pant and skirt that fit and flatter your figure. Then you'll have more room in your suitcase for adding colorful jackets and tanks.
Repeat the Basics and ACCESSORIZE
With the right key pieces, you can change looks so easily that even your best friend will think you packed more than you really did! A simple black sheath is a must because you can reinvent it every time you slip it on ... with the help of a few accessories. It can go from dressy to casual, for example, by changing pearls to a chunky, turquoise necklace, pumps to sandals and a silk scarf to a denim jacket. Belt the waist and add fun earrings, a neutral scarf and a killer handbag for yet another trendy look.
Choose your Shoes
It's easy to go overboard when packing shoes; after all, they are a girl's best friend! But my advice is to set a limit of three pairs: everyday, casual and dressy. This way, you'll have all your potential activities covered.
Think Daytime to Date Night
The final key to mastering the art of packing is being able to take your clothes from day to night. A crisp, white button-down shirt is a safe fashion "do" for any occasion. Wear it fitted, closed and tucked into a chic pair of black pants for work then change into jeans for happy hour with the girls. Or forget tucking and leave it open over a natural or colorful shell for a fresh new style.
You can also get some fantastic mileage out of a black, knee-length skirt. Slipping on a skirt is a fast way to appear polished, feminine and fashionable. For work, pair it with a sweater set. Change to a fun, flirty white tee, pearls and pumps and you're party-ready. Want a more casual look? Replace the pumps with flats and add a denim jacket.
Remember to keep it simple, practice repeating and restyling the basics, and use accessories to spice things up. And you'll not only remove the stress of packing, you could just have some fun along the way.
Carolyn Wang serves as Senior Merchandising Director for Ming Wang knits, and co-owns Fort Worth's Bridge Boutique. For the past four years, she has worked as a personal stylist offering closet consultations and wardrobe sessions to help women feel comfortable and confident in their clothing choices.
Growing up in Oswego, New York, Carolyn fell in love with fashion and design and began making her own clothing at an early age. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a major in Fashion Design, she began designing for Ming Wang.
In addition to design and styling, Carolyn plays an active role in the fashion community, organizing fashion shows and leading seminars throughout Texas to teach women how to "dress for success" and make trends work for their particular lifestyle.