To pack or not to pack? There is no question at all.
By Charlotte Tanager
I often get a kick out of those articles that suggest all a fashionable, well-traveled woman needs to pack for a week away is a non-descript black dress, black pants, two shirts, a bikini and a pair of flat sandals—all of which should be able to be dressed down enough to explore ancient Greek ruins by day, and be able to be dressed up enough to dine and dance the night away. Who is this young Bohemian who is satisfied with this sartorial arrangement? I imagine she is someone who stands in front of her hotel sink madly scrubbing at her rapidly fading black clothes with bar soap while desperately wishing she could stop wearing her bikini as underwear.
Such strict packing regimens do not make for good travel. They make for light luggage, but unless your goal is backpacking in some youthful rite of passage, for goodness sakes, check your baggage (and bring enough clean underwear to more than last your entire journey)! That being said, I know there are very few of us who have luggage wranglers at our beck and call, ready to heft and heave our portable wardrobes at a nod of our heads. Some small economies can be made in the packing department and definitely should be—no one needs to bring ten pairs of shoes but everybody does need to bring more than one. But no one who loves fashion should ever deprive themselves of at least a few wardrobe heavy hitters that will make them feel wonderful—especially when they are on holiday!
The publisher of Spoiled Splendid, Neil Salsbury, and I were out and about taking in the sales recently when we got into a conversation about how we chose items to buy. Neil suggested that he bought some pieces because he could just picture them in certain places, and I had to agree. Now, I don’t mean, “Oh, this dress will be entirely work appropriate,” or “These athletic socks will be smashing in my runners at the gym.” What I mean is “These feathered shoes will be parfait for lunch at L’Espadon at the newly refurbished Ritz Paris.”
You see, beautiful clothes and accessories have a potential, a destiny, if you will. And it is up to you to help them fulfil that destiny—even if you must take them to another country to help them do so. All of us fine followers of fashion have items that absolutely take our collective breath away but we have actually never worn because an occasion worthy of them has not yet presented itself. But vacations make all things possible, do they not?
For years I have had a Mary Frances wristlet sitting gently nestled in its dust bag. It’s truly an absurd thing, being a golden orb with various charms and beads dangling from it—but I loved it from the moment I saw it. I remember engaging in quite the bidding war on eBay to win it but I never felt the time was right to debut it until I attended her Majesty, the Queen of England’s 90th birthday celebration. If any event demands a touch of whimsy it is a British royal event! And as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, entered the royal enclosure, so vibrant and utterly graceful, I could feel the weight of the wristlet gently swinging from my arm, and I knew this little purse had achieved its destiny. Perhaps Kate espied a glint of gold or maybe she saw this odd mace-like object swinging from this gawking lady’s arm—who knows? The purse was just in the right place in the right time with the right person—me, of course.
So far I’ve mentioned some pretty uppity accessories: shoes that want to lunch at the Ritz and a purse vying for royal attention, but one’s possessions need not have such lofty aspirations. Consider a pair of Krewe’s hand-carved St. Louis frames in the Bengal-polarized finish. The sleekness of the design and the ultra-cool blue lenses yearn to make you look like the hippest of locals in any urban jungle you care to visit.
Or if you are visiting a locale that is even the tiniest bit chilly, Jocelyn’s fingerless Mandy plucked rabbit mittens will give you the perfect mix of cool-girl street cred and fluffy approachability that you’re bound to strike up a conversation with one or two interesting locals. Mandy Rabbit Mittens: www.shopjocelyn.com
Conversely, if you are on a sun-drenched patio, lakeside or, really, anywhere you feel confident in a wide-brimmed straw hat then it is also imperative that you have clothes that help you shout out to the world, “Today, I am a lady of leisure!” Certainly the breezy off-white, whisper-light unstructured Gayla skirt and the matching Carden camisole from Club Monaco would go very far in getting that message across.
My point is this: if you love fashion then fashion must travel with you. You simply must make some room in your luggage for it. Take some of your special items on vacation with you—the ones with which you can already visualize sharing a special holiday memory—because the trade-off for hefting around a little extra weight in your luggage is completely worth it. For some, an unfashionable holiday is no holiday at all.