Do I Need Formal Wear on a Cruise?

When it comes to cruising, everyone always has questions about formal wear.

 

Do you need it, or don’t you? That always seems to be the question. And the answer is easy: it’s entirely up to you. These days, most cruise lines know people want to tailor their vacations to their own unique tastes. For this reason, they give you plenty of options. Here’s what you can expect on most ships—from Carnival, NCL, and Royal Caribbean’s mega ships to Avalon and AMA Waterways river cruises.

The Norm

Most evenings on a cruise, you can wear whatever makes you most comfortable—within reason. Swimsuits, tank tops, and shorts are typically frowned upon in the main dining rooms and dance halls. But you can get away with wearing them at the buffet and more casual eateries. I find a pair of dark denim skinnies and a pretty blouse are plenty nice enough for just about any evening activity, from dinner to dancing.

Formal Night

Back in the day, when you booked a cruise, you would be told how many formal nights to expect on your cruise. Typically, on a seven night cruise, there would be at least one formal and one semi-formal event. For the most part, this holds true today, but they aren’t highly publicized. And you’re no longer expected to take part. You can if you want to, but if you don’t want to worry about anything other than relaxing on your vacation, then sit back and enjoy the ride. On the other hand, some people love to dress up. There’s nothing they’d rather do than spend the afternoon in the ship’s spa getting their hair, makeup, and nails done for the big event. The choice is yours. Do whatever your heart desires.

Some people go all out on formal night. Many women wear ball gowns, while men wear tuxedos. But this is pretty rare these days. For the most part, wear a simple cocktail dress or nice slacks at best. Men typically don dress pants and a button down shirt. If you’re planning to eat in the main dining room or at one of the specialty restaurants on formal night, I recommend making at least a tiny bit of effort. But you don’t have to. If you’re comfortable in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, the servers won’t stop you from taking a seat. And they’ll treat you as though you’re dressed to the nines.

Alternatives

If you prefer to keep it casual but you don’t want to make a poor showing at one of the more upscale restaurants, have dinner at the buffet instead. There are no formal wear expectations in the dining hall and chances are you’ll find the exact same fare that’s been served in the main dining room. I’m a fan of putting on something a little spiffier than my day wear after the sun goes don’t often bring anything dressy enough for formal night.

Packing Tips

I don’t mind putting on a pretty dress every now and then, but I almost exclusively travel with only a carry-on suitcase. It’s nearly impossible to fit anything too fancy inside and still get in the necessities. When packing for a seven night cruise, I take two dresses, one pair of dark wash or white jeans, and three or four pretty tops. This leaves me plenty of room for all of my more comfy day wear but also gives me lots of options for creating fashionable combinations at night. I’m never at a loss for something to wear that works for every occasion. Statement necklaces and scarves are a great way to spruce up any outfit, and they don’t take up a ton of space in your bag. I take just three pairs of shoes for my entire trip—sandals, sneakers, and something a bit flashier to go with my evening wear.

Now that you know what to expect, are you excited to dress up, or do you prefer to go casual? Share your ideas with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

Layer Up: Packing for the Transition Season

The transition season can be a packing nightmare. The only way to go is to layer up.

 

As we move from summer to fall, we start to see cooler mornings and evenings. But the afternoons are often still sunny and warm. And if you’re on a road trip or cruise where you start in one place and finish in another, you may experience many climate shifts throughout your vacation. For example, on an autumn cruise up the east coast from NYC to the Canadian Maritimes, temperatures can range from 50 to 85 degrees, depending on the location and time of day. What’s a girl to do?

You don’t want to lug around a lot of heavy cold-weather gear, but you do need to stay warm. Here are some stylish ways to layer up for your transition season travels.

layer up

Kimonos and Capes

Even in warmer places, there’s a nip in the air in the very early or late hours of an autumn day. Pack a lightweight kimono or cape sweater in a neutral color to keep out the chill. Paired with skinny jeans or leggings and a super-soft tee, you’ll look great and feel good. Not to mention, you won’t have to worry about lugging around a heavy jacket when the weather warms up later in the day. Kimonos and capes fold up pretty small and should fit nicely in your purse.

Layer Up Kimono

Sweatshirts

These days, sweatshirts are about as stylish as they come. Whether you prefer something casual with a punny slogan or one with some embellishments, there’s something for every taste. From lace to beads to embroidery, there are so many styles to choose from. Throw one of these on over top of a chambray shirt, white button down blouse, or plaid shirt, and you’ll look adorable in your layers. When the sun comes out, simply tie your sweatshirt around your waist, and you’re ready to go.

Layer Up Sweatshirt

Vests

Vests add a bit of pizzazz to any outfit. They look amazing with skinnies and ankle boots, and don’t even get me started on how they look popped over a cute little jersey dress. For the perfect neutral, toss a military-style, olive-green vest into your suitcase. That color and cut will go with just about anything you can think of.

If you’re planning of a lot of morning or evening walks, a puffy, down vest will do the trick. The best thing about a vest is that it’s not bulky. Your arms aren’t bogged down by the weight of a full jacket, so you can take pictures more easily and shop for souvenirs without the fear of knocking knickknacks of the shelves with your bulky sleeves.

Layer Up Vest

Jackets

Sometimes, you simply can’t avoid taking along a jacket. The east coast cruise vacation is a perfect example. Some days will simply be too cold not to have something with a little extra heft to keep warm. Luckily, there are a lot of options. A denim jacket is a classic that goes with everything. These days, you can even wear it with your favorite pair of jeans.

A black or brown moto jacket is also a good option, especially if you’ll be going for a night on the town. It’s a bit edgier and can be dressed up in a way a jean jacket can’t be. Like the vest, a lightweight, military-style, olive-green jacket is a nice neutral. It will likely have a bit more length than the other jackets, giving you a some added warmth.

A personal favorite is a down jacket that folds into a travel pouch. They are ultra lightweight and fit nicely inside your purse. I used one of these on a spring vacation in Spain, and it was the perfect antidote to transition-season climate changes.

Layer Up Jackets

These are just a few of the ways you can layer up during the transition season. Use the #wanderlustwayfarer on Instagram to share your wardrobe ideas.

Transition Season Travel Shoes

It’s hard not to pack 10 pairs of shoes during transition season.

 

With a cool chill in the autumn air, it’s tempting to pack everything from flip-flops to winter boots. Finding the balance can be a bit of a nightmare. Pack one of each of these four types of footwear, and you’ll have your bases covered for a transition season trip.

Transition Season Travel Shoes

Sandals

After Labor Day, it’s time to put away bright whites and summery styles. It’s okay to still wear sandals, but make sure they’re autumn appropriate. Keep it simple with dark or warm neutrals. And make sure you’ve got a little more coverage. Strappy, tan, gladiator sandals might work well when the sun is high in the sky, but they’ll seem out-of-place in the early morning when the temperatures are low.

Transition Season TRavel Shoes Sandals

Walking Shoes

Depending on your plans, a good pair of walking shoes will mean different things to different people. For typical tourist activities, like hop on hop off buses or shopping, a pair of canvas sneakers should do the trick. Think Converse or Toms. If you’ll be on your feet for hours at a time, you may want to consider something with a little extra support. Skechers Go walks will make you feel like you’re walking on clouds. If you’re thinking of climbing mountains or chasing waterfalls, a good pair of hikers is in order.

Transition Season TRavel Shoes Walking

Pro Tip: If you’re going someplace where it’s expected to get a little wet, you may want to swap out your sandals for something a little more practical, like a pair of wellies or duck boots.

Flats

You can’t go wrong with a good pair of flats. They don’t take up much room in your bag, and you can wear them a lot of different ways. For a casual shopping day, they’re a great way to dress up jeans and a tee. And they look great with shorts or even a cocktail dress. If you’re not into black, try a jewel tone for fall. Dark green, for example, is a great alternative to a neutral color. For a flirty look, choose a flat that has a little glitter or a funky pattern. Yosi Samra makes an amazing array of flats that fold up so you can take them with you wherever you go.

Transition Season TRavel Shoes Flats

Fancy Feet

To cover all of your bases, pack one pair of dressy shoes. As with the sandals, for the transition season, darker or neutral colors with more coverage work best. But it’s okay to have a little fun still. A pair of black, lace-up, block heels or a burgundy peep-toe ankle boot will spruce up any fall outfit. And, of course, you’re always safe sticking with a traditional pointy-toe black or champagne pump.

Transition Season TRavel Shoes Fancy

Pro Tip: Wear your biggest pair of shoes on the plane to save space in your bag. This may be your hiking books or a pair of heels. Cheat a bit, and toss a pair of $2 flip-flops in your purse as your fifth pair of shoes. You can slide them on for comfort once you’re seated on the plane. (And they can double as your pool shoes later in the trip.)

These four styles of footwear will keep you looking good through the transition season. Tag your travel shoe pictures on Instagram with #wanderlustwayfarer to share your ideas.

 

Swimwear: What to Wear Poolside on Vacation

Choosing the right swimwear for a week away is a daunting task.

 

No matter how much you work out or how body-confident you are, everyone gets anxiety over swimwear. Amplify this anxiety tenfold when you go on a beach vacation. Follow these easy tips to know just what you need to pack for a week anywhere there’s water.

swiwear

  1. Lazy Days

Will you be spending most of your vacation on the beach or poolside on a cruise ship? Then, swimwear should feature prominently in your suitcase. You’ll need several swimsuits in various styles. For a lazy week sunning yourself, it’s completely reasonable to pack three to five swimsuits. Keep in mind you can change-up the look by adding accessories, such as fun flip-flops, statement necklaces and cute kimonos, to a few neutral swimwear styles.

swimwear kimono

2. Bikini Babe

What’s your personal style? Are you at home exposing a little extra skin? Go for it! Just be sure to consider your surroundings when deciding how much skin to bare. If you’re on a family beach, opt for swimwear with a little more coverage. Try a brief-like bottom and fuller bra top. But if you’re on a beach in Rio, anything goes. Break out the thong, and have a blast.

swimwear bikini

3. Pretty One-Piece

At one time, one-pieces were considered a major faux pas. But not anymore. These days, comfort is king, so if you feel at home a little more covered up, fear not. There are so many options available, it’s almost impossible not to find one that flatters your figure. Fifties vintage swimsuits are adorable, but you can also get super sexy styles with cut outs and plunging necklines.

1 piece swimwear

4. Keep It Covered

Regardless of where you are, most places want you to cover up inside eateries. All this means is that you’ll need to shop for a few cute cover ups to throw over top of your swimwear. There are dozens of styles, from kimonos and muumuus to rompers and tunics. For evenings consider something with a little sparkle. Glittery stripes or an embellished neckline are a nice touch.

Keep in mind that cover ups offer a big benefit. Under the scorching sun, they add an extra layer of protection. Not to mention, if you’re feeling self-conscious about being half-naked in front of strangers, they can help you feel a bit more relaxed.swimwear coverup

5. Other Options

Not everyone wants to wear a swimsuit around the pool. And that’s okay. There are plenty of other outfits you can sport. Leggings and an oversized tee, cutoffs and a tank, or a flirty skirt with a cold-shoulder blouse are just a few fun options. The key is to be comfortable in whatever you wear.

swimwear shorts

Regardless of what you wear by the pool, your best accessories are sunscreen, a hat, and a trashy magazine. It’s all about finding your style and having fun with it. Do you have more swimwear advice? Use #wanderlustwayfarer to share your pictures on Instagram.

Cruise Wear Tips for Getting on the Ship

Cruise wear is a fashion phenomenon all its own.

 

The cruise wear you choose for embarkation day depends on several factors. Here are four things you need to consider when putting together the perfect outfit to get on board the ship.

  1. Say Cheese

cruise wear

After checking in at the cruise terminal, you’ll begin your trek on board the ship. But before you get too far, photographers from the cruise line will be waiting to take your picture. You can skip the photo queue, but they won’t make it easy. If you plan to document every moment of your travels, you may want to choose cruise wear that is photo ready.

2. Cruise Line

cruise wear

Depending on the cruise line, you’ll want to dress up…or down. I try to look nice when I first get on the ship. I like to make a good first impression, but on a recent Carnival sailing out of California, even a striped jersey dress was a bit too upscale for embarkation day. Jeans or leggings and a t-shirt would suffice for a Carnival cruise ship. NCL, MSC, and Royal Caribbean are also quite casual, but most people put in a little more effort. That same striped jersey dress would be the perfect choice. Jeans or leggings with a flowy blouse and a scarf or necklace to give it a bit of pizzazz are also good options. For higher-end cruise lines, proper slacks or a pretty sundress are definitely in order.

3. Points A and B

cruise wear

If you’re setting sail from a climate that is quite different from the one you’re sailing to, there’s fine line to walk when choosing your cruise wear. You want to wear something that speaks to your destination, but you also want to look appropriate for the current climate. For example, if you’re headed to the Caribbean in January, shorts and a tank might seem like a great idea. But if your sailing out of New Orleans, it might be a bit chilly. A t-shirt dress and a kimono wrap will give you a lightweight look with the extra warmth you need for the cool chill at your starting point.

4. Activities

cruise wear

Sometimes, you’re luggage doesn’t arrive at your room until after you’ve set sail. This means you’ll be wearing the same thing all day—possibly even to dinner. When choosing your embarkation cruise wear, consider the activities you’ll be doing throughout the day. If you arrive on board early, you may want to spend some time sunning yourself on the Lido deck. Wearing a swimsuit under your outfit may be a good idea. Or, perhaps you’ve booked a dinner in one of the more refined restaurants. While most cruise lines are more lenient about dress codes on the first day, typically you would try to look a bit nicer for your special meal.

Selecting the perfect cruise wear for getting on the ship can be stressful. But follow these helpful tips, and you’ll look just right when you set sail. Have other tips for what to wear when you get on board the ship? Tag your Instagram photos with #wanderlustwayfarer to share your ideas.

Travel Tips to Help You Dress Like a Local

One of the best travel tips I can offer is to do what you can to avoid looking like a tourist when you’re in other parts of the world.

 

It’s a simple safety precaution. The less touristy you appear, the less likely you are to stand out to pickpockets and other shady characters. Besides, I always think it’s super flattering when someone in another part of the world asks me for directions. I usually assume it means they think I look like I’ve walked those streets before. Or they might be trying to figure out if they should mug me. It’s a crapshoot, really.

The reality is, there are a lot of pros to not looking like a tourist. These travel tips will help keep you from doing anything to stand out on foreign ground.

Look Like a Tourist

1. Be Season Savvy

Just because it’s winter back home and you’re heading someplace with a warmer climate doesn’t mean your Hawaiian shirt is appropriate attire for your vacation. Let’s take Barcelona, for example. It can be quite warm in the middle of March. If you’re from a colder climate, it may even be shorts weather for you. But the locals will likely still be wearing heavy sweaters and light coats. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb in a sundress and flip-flops. Consider a shirt dress in a dark color and ballerina flats instead. Toss a cardigan over top, and you’ll have all the advantages of a lightweight outfit without looking out-of-place.

Look Like a Tourist

2. Accessorize Appropriately

You know that giant camera bag you’re wearing? It screams mug me. And if you think you’ve outwitted the bad guys by wearing a money belt, think again. Those flip-flops you’re wearing in the middle of February long ago gave you away. I think money belts are great, but there’s no point in being discrete with your accessories if your outfit makes you look like a tourist. Consider a fashion-forward hidden pocket scarf to stash your cash. Or carry a trendy travel-friendly cross-body bag with special security features, like slash-proof straps.

Other things that give you away include pulling out a map in the middle of the street and carrying a giant SLR camera. I know, some things are hard to avoid, but if possible, step into a coffee shop if you need to pinpoint your location on a map. And unless you need manual focus or to hand-pick your F stops, you should be able to take pretty good pics with a point and shoot camera or even your smart phone.

Travel Tips

3. Consider the Culture

If you’re in an ultra-conservative country, like Israel, be sure to dress in a way that won’t offend the locals. You may want to skip the daisy dukes or crop tops if your walking the streets of Jerusalem. On the other hand, long pants and a heavy sweater would be extraordinarily out-of-place in more liberal cities like Rio de Janeiro or Miami, for example.

But considering the culture goes beyond simply understanding what the locals wear on a daily basis. You need to also know if there are wardrobe restrictions or dress codes at area attractions, such as sacred sites. In some places, like the Vatican, you need to have your shoulders and knees covered. An easy fix if you keep a scarf or two in your bag. You can wrap one around your waist like a sarong and the other over your shoulders. But things get a bit more complicated at a place like Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Here, it’s not enough to cover your shoulders with a scarf. Your top needs to have sleeves. My loose-fitting kimono was called into question until I showed the guide it had armholes.

Travel Tips

These are just a few of the things you can do to keep yourself safe and aligned with local customs while on vacation. What travel tips do you have for people who don’t want to dress like a tourist. Use the #wanderlustwayfarer on your Instagram photos to show off your vacation looks.

Putting Together the Perfect Airplane Outfit

You want to look good and feel great in your airplane outfit.

 

I remember a time when going on a plane was a bit of a big deal. You would dress up in your Sunday best. But these days, flying is pretty common place, and no one wants to sit on a flight in a stiff pair of slacks. Still, the idea of at least looking reasonably presentable is stuck in my head.

It’s always the same dilemma every time you travel. You want to be comfortable without sacrificing style, but it’s a hard balance to find. If you’re headed someplace hot, you may want to wear shorts, for example. But there’s always the possibility your legs will stick to the vinyl seats on the plane or there will be a nip in the manufactured air. Bundling up means you’ve got to carry around bulky clothes you won’t need for the rest of your trip.

Here are a few ideas for airplane outfits that straddle the line between looking good and feeling great.

Airplane Outfit Option 1

A relaxed-fit yoga pant or leggings made from a soft fabric is a great option. They’ve got lots of give so you can move around easily. You could substitute paper-thin boyfriend jeans for a more finished look. Pair them with a soft tee and a chunky sweater for a cute layered look. A plaid or chambray shirt also works well in place of the sweater.

For warm-weather travel, flip flops make for great footwear, or you can wear a pair of Toms if you want to cover up a bit more. To add a bit of extra flair, throw on a mala necklace and a few beaded bracelets, and you’re ready to fly. I always choose this option if I have a long flight since it’s quite cozy and I feel like I can curl up for a nap without crumpling my clothes.

Airplane Outfit Option 1

Airplane Outfit Option 2

If you like a bit of a dressier look but still want to be comfortable in your airplane outfit, try pairing a jersey dress with a colorful kimono. Make sure the dress is at least knee-length so you don’t accidentally expose yourself to anyone while trying to cross your legs on the plane (you know how awkward things can get in those tiny seats). The jersey fabric of the dress will bend and stretch with you, giving you a bit of freedom in the cramped airplane quarters.

Toss on a necklace and a pair of flip-flops or ankle boots, and you’ve got yourself a super stylish—yet still super comfy—airplane outfit. This is a great look if you need to dash off to an event or appointment as soon as you get off the plane.

Airplane Outfit Option 2

These are some of my favorite looks for airplane outfits that look good and feel great. I usually wear the same outfit both flying to my vacation destination and back home. This saves me from going through the dilemma over what to wear more than once. For ideas about which types of bags are right to accessorize your look and carry all of your travel necessities, check out our post on choosing the right travel bag.

What are some of your favorite travel clothes or airplane outfits? Share your picks with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group or tag @wanderlustwayfarer in your Instagram photos.

Autumn Camping Essentials: Packing for the Season

Autumn is a time of transition, which can wreak havoc with your wardrobe. You need to pack certain camping essentials to get you through the season.

 

I know, I know. No one wants to think about the end of summer just yet, but whether you’re ready or not, Mother Nature has her own ideas. If you’re an early riser or a night owl, you’ve likely started to notice the weather gets quite a bit cooler when the mid-day sun is not shining above you.

For those of us who spend the better part of our summers enjoying the great outdoors in a tent or RV, the change of season can make it hard to know what to wear. And the last thing you want to be on a camping trip is that girl…you know, the one who packs her entire closet. All you need are these camping essentials to get you through.

camping essentials

Tops

When the mercury starts to dip, layering is an absolute must. But comfort is king when you’re camping. I like to start with a super-soft, lightweight tee as a base. If I know the temps are going to hit a high later in the day, I substitute a tank instead. And I can’t get enough of fun slogans, like the ones from Thug Life Shirts. Next, layer an oversized, plaid flannel or chambray shirt on top of your tee.

If it’s extra cool in the early morning, I like to throw on a sweatshirt or sweater as well. Camp Brand Goods has lots of fleece styles that are perfect for the occasion. And I simply can’t get enough of the ultra cozy ionic cape from Aritzia. You could also substitute a military-style or puffy vest. Throughout the day, peel off layers as the weather warms or even just rearrange their order as needed.

For brisk nights that even a campfire can’t heat up, you may need a little something more. A classic denim jacket is always a stylish and practical choice. An utility jacket is also a great option. Either one is durable, easy to clean, and not overly bulky, which is perfect for this time of year.

camping essentials

Bottoms

There’s nothing quite like an old pair of jeans. You know the ones. They have real holes in the knees and not perfectly placed store-bought tears. They’re rugged and soft. Those are the perfect camping pants. But if you cut off all of your jeans into shorts at the start of the season, don’t sweat it. A pair of basic black leggings will serve you just as well. For an added layer of warmth, be sure to pack a pair of sweatpants. You can’t go wrong with Roots Originals, for example.

Accessories

It’s not too early to think about packing a knit beanie and gloves. In some places, like the mountains, temperatures can drop to the 50s. Not cool…well, except that it’s actually cool. Love or hate the look, you’ll likely want to toss on a pair of wool socks with your Birkenstocks, too. And don’t forget to wrap a thin scarf around your neck. You can use it to jazz up your outfit in the afternoon and add a bit of extra warmth when the temps dip.

But perhaps the number one accessory for this time of year is a good travel mug. Make sure it’s insulated and has a vacuum seal to keep your beverages extra hot. I like to use mine to keep my hands warm on a long walk. And hey, if you want to add a little something extra to your hot chocolate, who am I to judge? Whatever it takes to keep you warm on those cool August nights.

camping essentials

With these camping essentials, you’ll have everything you need to get you through the brisk August mornings and evenings. Have more suggestions for autumn camping essentials? Join the conversation in the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

 

Packing Light: 5 Easy Outfits for a Night Out

Packing light is always a challenge, especially when you’re cruising. Every woman wants to look good, even when she’s working with limited resources.

 

Cruises have a lot going on at night. Formal dinners, live shows, bars, pool parties—the options are endless. But most of us don’t have enough room in even our biggest suitcase to pack a different outfit every night. Not to mention you may not know the types of events you’ll be dressing for.

If you’re planning on packing light, you need some easy outfits to take you from belle of the ball to dancing diva. The good news is that there are plenty of options. And the even better news is that none of them have to break the bank.

Devine Dark Denim

packing light

It’s simply not practical to take a lot dresses and skirts when you’re packing light. So every woman needs a good pair of jeans. And by good, I don’t necessarily mean the kind that cost $200 a pair. I mean they should fit you like a second skin, hugging all of your curves and accentuating your femininity.

It doesn’t matter if they are slim, skinny, or boot cut. They just need to make you feel good. And they need to be the darkest wash you can find without being black. This is key if you’re going to make them work as evening wear. Unless it’s between Easter and Labor Day. Then you could get away with substituting white jeans.

Personally, I look my best in a pair of $40 Levi’s. They’re classic, fit like a glove, and make me look 5 pounds lighter. What more can a girl ask for? And there are many other affordable jeans brands that can make you feel like a million bucks. Lee Rider and Joe Fresh are just a few options.

Dark denim is my number one can’t live without evening wear item for cruising, especially if I’m planning on packing light. I use a pair of dark jeans as the base for nearly every outfit I wear out at night, whether it’s to dinner or dancing. Most cruise lines offer a huge variety of dining options, and very few have a formal dress code. In my experience, most women are casting aside their cocktail dresses in favor of more versatile attire. On my most recent cruise, I didn’t see a single evening gown.

There are a million ways to wear a good pair of dark jeans, which is great news for ladies who want to create a fresh look every night. Ships are like small towns—even though there are thousands of people onboard, you always run into the same ones. My wardrobe stands out—people will notice if I’m wearing the same thing every night. Maybe I shouldn’t care, but I do anyway.

Beautiful Blouses

packing light

You can create countless looks by simply pairing a beautiful blouse with your dark denim. Typically, I pack one pair of jeans and one “top” for each night of the cruise. Sometimes, I pack a few less if one or two of my blouses are neutral and can be paired with other items to give them a different look. A white poplin blouse is a perfect example for packing light. You can wear it with a chunky necklace and heels one night, and two nights later, you can pair it with a scarf and flats. No one will know it’s the same shirt worn two ways.

Fluttery, loose-fitting tops look fantastic with skinny and slim fit jeans. For a more tailored look, consider a peplum to accentuate a narrow waist and shapely hips. If you’re a boot cut kinda gal, a form-fitting top balances out the wider width at the ankle.

My favorite tops to take with me are elegant and timeless, but they pack a lot of punch. HD in Paris makes lovely lacy tops with a subtle twist. My favorite is the Lily Lace Blouse. They make a new version of it each year. It’s perfect for any season and looks great with jeans.

Abundant Accessories

packing light

Often when we travel, we forget to bring along the little things. We think no one will notice or that it’s not worth the effort. But it is if you want to look good with less. You’re packing light. You’ve got one pair of pants and a handful of tops to work with. Your accessories are going to make or break your look.

There are few things I love more than a statement necklace. A good necklace can take a t-shirt and jeans from typical to terrific with the simple click of a clasp. Remember that white poplin blouse? Well, add a long pendant necklace for a low-key look one night and recycle it three or four nights later by pairing it with an oversized bib necklace. No one will know it’s the same top because it will look so different. Pull it out a third time by accessorizing with a blazer or cardigan and a scarf. One top three ways thanks to a few simple accessories.

You can even repurpose some of your day wear by adding the right pieces. I have a black jersey jumpsuit that I wear for lounging in the afternoon. At night, I add a belt to cinch in the waist and a big necklace. It’s the perfect outfit for a poolside party.

To keep your style diverse, be sure to pack belts, necklaces, bracelets, scarves, and earrings that complement your outfits and create different looks. Accessories are small and much easier to cram into the empty spaces in your bag than more clothes. They’re key for packing light.

Hair Affair

packing light

Long or short, your hair is one of the first things people notice about you. And it’s one of your best accessories. I know the way I wear my hair impacts my look overall. If I showed up at the gym with my long waves wrapped in a chignon, people would think I’d lost my marbles. Well the same would be true if I was to wear messy topknot with a ball gown.

If you’ve got short hair, consider using a few embellished bobby pins or a glittery headband to add some extra pizzazz. For ladies with long tresses, you can wear your hair up or down, straight, wavy, or curly. You can add some sparkle or keep it simple. Regardless of length or cut, it’s important not to overdo your look.

If you’re wearing a top with a lot of beading and embroidery or a necklace that makes a big statement, there’s no need to add any extra adornments to your hair. I tone down my hair, leaving it loose waves or in a simple bun.

You can have more fun with your hair if your outfit is less likely to make a statement on its own. For example, if you’ve got on a simple white blouse, you might style your hair in a Bohemian up do. You can carefully place a few pearls between strands for a subtle and soft look that will turn heads.

 If the Shoe Fits

packing light

Every woman wonders how many shoes are too many to take on vacation, especially if she’s packing light. I try to take no more than four pairs—five if I don’t include heels. Sometimes, this means sacrificing a fan favorite for a more versatile option or going with second best for a certain look. The goal is to find a few pairs that work well with every outfit. But don’t forget comfort is king for day wear, so you need to find a balance.

Stick to a single pair of heels. This may mean a strappy sandal if you’re sailing the Caribbean, an ankle boot for European adventures, or a nude pump if places like New York or Dubai are on your itinerary. Each of these will work well with your dark denim, and if you play your cards right, any dresses you may have packed as well. I love ankle boots with a Boho swing dress—super stylish and dual purpose.

Pack at least one pair of flats. You know you’ll be sorry if you don’t. Choose a neutral color that complements the rest of your wardrobe. I wear a lot of ivory and pale pinks, so I have a blush ballet flat that I take everywhere I go. If you wear a lot of darker colors, you can’t go wrong with grey or black. For a little fun, you can try a metallic. Silver or gold are great neutrals and add a bit of spice to your look.

The other two pairs of shoes I take are dedicated to my daytime activities. I usually take a pair of Toms or Soludos because they’re both stylish and comfortable. I also toss in a pair of Skechers Go Walks if I know I’ll be spending more time on my feet. These can double as workout shoes if you want to do some light weightlifting. Lastly, a pair of flat sandals—flip flops or Birkenstocks—are in order if you’re headed someplace warm. They’re also perfect for poolside lounging.

These tips have served me well over the past few years and have helped make packing light a much easier task. I used to take countless dresses, tops, and bottoms on every trip, but now I stick to the simplest combinations I can put together.

Check out the Wanderlust Wayfarer Pinterest page for more outfit inspiration. Then, head over to the Facebook group and post your own outfit ideas.