What to Pack – Weekend Away

Holiday. Weekend. Trip.

Three amazingly awesome words which can lead to three of the most scary words known to woman: WHAT to PACK?

Grab a piece of paper or whatever you take quick notes on because we are going to make it easy. Answer a few questions and you will be making your own personalized pack list to check against.

Travel Day 1: How are you getting to where you are going? Airplane or road trip?

This also determines your luggage. But for a weekend away it should be about the same amount of wardrobe. cosmetic & accessory items. Avoid overpacking, your back will thank you.

Vacation Day 2-3: What activities are you planning on doing based on your location.

Really think this through for a few minutes. You know yourself and if you are traveling with anyone else, what they are up for. (If this is your first trip together, ask them what they want to do just as an idea. It will help.) Visualize your day – before breakfast walk on the beach, breakfast, morning sight-seeing, lunch on a terrace, afternoon museum trip, pre-dinner swim, nice restaurant and dancing after dinner. You are not committing to these activities to schedule out every nano second of your trip, but you are allowing yourself to think of the possibilities which will allow you to plan your packing. Make sure you think about each vacation day to make sure you have what you want and need.

Travel Day 2: Voyage home.

Ok. Now go deeper. Start with Travel Day 1. What are you comfortable flying or driving in? List out those items, including foot wear and underwear.

  • Flying: Comfortable jeans, lightweight  T-shirt and jacket, scarf, slip-on shoes, purse.
  • Driving: Shorts, funky light-colored v-neck T, tennis shoes, purse.

Will you wear these same items on the journey home? Dupe them for now on Travel Day 2 list. We will tag them as we go and make notes.

Vacation Day 2 & 3:

List out tops/bottoms/dresses/footwear/underwear/swimwear/outerwear. If outfits are going all day, list them once and draw a line through the time period or “same”. This is about you and what you are comfortable wearing and relaxing in.

  • Morning
  • Afternoon
  • Evening

Okay, now you’ve got some basics listed out for each day. Here’s where you get creative, have fun and lighten your load.

What items do you want to repeat wear from one day to another? Look at shoes, outerwear, pants, jackets, dresses for repeating options. I “glow” too much to repeat tops from one day to the next unless I have access to freshen them up. They are so lightweight, I can always make room for them. Swimsuits are another item I do not repeat wear. Who wants to climb into a wet bathing suit? Try to make each item work at least twice on a trip. If you are wearing formal wear for a special occasion, plan to make all the other items you pack do double duty.

Now for the sparklies. Make notes on what jewelry you want to wear for each day by the outfits. Can a change in jewelry, shoes and outerwear transform your day look into evening? Can it jazz up your travel outfit to make it go for another look? Scarves and jewelry are easy ways to change up a look with minimal packing space.

EXAMPLE:

Travel Day 1. Flying to Miami South Beach

  • Day: Comfortable jeans, lightweight T-shirt and jacket, scarf, slip-on shoes, purse/tote, bra, underpants. No jewelry or belts.
  • Evening: Use scarf as shawl and take off jacket, add sparkly chandelier earrings, change to dancing shoes/sandals and smaller purse for evening.

Day 2: Walking around South Beach, sightseeing and feasting through lunch.

  • Day: Shorts, top, hat, sunglasses, bra, underpants, slip-on shoes, purse/tote (Travel Day 1).
  • Afternoon: Swimsuit, cover-up/maxi dress, sandals (evening Travel Day 1), no jewelry, purse/tote (Travel Day 1).
  • Evening: Wear cover-up/maxi dress over swimsuit, add simple earrings & necklace, purse/tote (Travel Day 1).

Day 3: Sleeping in, walk on beach, brunch, sight-seeing.

  • Day: Shorts, top, hat, sunglasses, bra, underpants, slip-on shoes, simple earrings (Day 2 evening), purse/tote (Travel Day 1).
  • Afternoon:  same
  • Evening: Maxi dress (Day 2) with jacket (Travel Day 1), dancing shoes/sandal (Travel Day 1 evening) sparkly chandelier earrings (evening Travel Day 1), small purse.

Travel Day 2. Flying home.

  • Day: Comfortable jeans (Travel Day 1) or shorts (Day 2), lightweight T-shirt and jacket (Travel Day 1), scarf (Travel Day 1), slip-on shoes (Travel Day 1), purse/tote (Travel Day 1), bra, underpants.

Don’t forget sleepwear, cosmetics and personal care items including sunscreen and medications. Take your chargers, headphones, batteries, memory cards for your electronics.

  • Wearing: jeans, t-shirt, jacket, scarf, slip-on shoes, purse/tote which fits inside carry-on, bra, underpants
  • Packing: shorts (2 ct), dancing shoes/sandals, day/knit top (3 ct), hat, swimsuit, cover up/maxi dress, 3 bras, 3 underpants, sparkly chandelier earrings, smaller evening purse, simple earrings/necklace

The trick is to tailor the list to YOU. If you need more of an item, take something out. Same when you go to quickly pack. If you have too much stuff and packing cubes are not helping, see what you can truly live without.

After you get back from the trip, make note of what you wish you would have had and add it to the list. Was there anything you took you didn’t need or wear. Make a note for the next time you didn’t use it and why. No need to carry extra stuff.

Enjoy your trip and comment on your tips to make the next trip more amazing…

Books to explore South Beach:

Red Carpet Wonders – Cannes Film Festival 2017

There are many fashion events spaced throughout the year with each being touted as “the Super Bowl” of fashion or fashion’s biggest night.

The Cannes Film Festival, held on the French Riviera, can be declared “Fashion’s Biggest Red Carpet Fortnight*.”

Cannes, France
Cannes, France

Imagine having to get ready for multiple red carpet looks on a daily basis for a week – some being all out formal and some more a little more relaxed depending on the occasion. The pampering must be epic…

Favorite looks from the many days of red carpet looks:

Rihanna
Rihanna
Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone

Books to explore the festival and the location.

If you are into collecting travel posters and graphics, check out the festival posters online.

*Ok, so a fortnight is two weeks and the festival this year is 12 days. What else do we call it?

Fortuny, Balenciaga and the Museum at FIT

Fashion truly is art. We are living in the golden age of new museums and exhibits being formed to preserve and archive these functional pieces for all to enjoy.

If you have never seen a couture garment up close, you have to see them in person at one of the many museums or traveling exhibits focusing on this art form.

(Yes, you can go visit one of the modern stores of the designers to see the work. Many of the staff are gracious and appreciative of the attention on the art forms they sell. But it is a STORE. Not all are willing to hear “just looking” and it kills the experience if you feel like the poor country cousin who’s lucky to make it to the big city.)

For international Museum Day, we wanted to focus on just three to start with.

First stop: New York City.

Besides the Costume Institute at the Met, there is an amazing FREE fashion museum at the Goodman Center. The Museum at FIT ( Fashion Institute of Technology) has three types of exhibit space in the museum: special exhibitions, a rotating display of items from the permanent collection, student and faculty shows. It has an amazing online archive to explore for when you cannot visit in person as well as a YouTube channel with 125 videos. New exhibit “Force of Nature” opens at the end of May exploring how nature has inspired fashion designers for centuries.

Museum at FIT
Museum at FIT

Now jumping over to Spain, visit the Balenciaga Museum in San Sebastian, Spain. Focusing only on the work of Cristobal Balenciaga, it uses permanent and special exhibitions to showcase the mastery of the designer. Current special exhibit focuses on the personal collection of Rachel (Bunny) L. Mellon. Site currently also has a digital exhibition in co-op with one of the fashion programs in the region.

Balenciaga Museum
Balenciaga Museum

Our last stop on this mini tour is in Venice, Italy to Palazzo Fortuny, home of Mariano Fortuny. designer of many turn of the century and early 20th century gowns of distinction. Includes his paintings, gowns, textiles and photographs. Wide range of exhibits from the region, covering all eras in addition to exhibits focusing on Fortuny’s own work. YouTube has about 1700 videos for armchair travel.

Palazzo Fortuny
Palazzo Fortuny

Books to explore the designers and the museum locations*:

*I LOVE the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides – great maps, info and depth to learn about a location in one book. You can enjoy it on many levels as they typically have great photos, illustrations and maps.

Fashion Illustrator – Andy Warhol

It’s National Drawing Day!!!

Perfect time to kick off our new feature on fashion illustration and the people who make them.

Today, we visit Andy Warhol’s work.

Although known prominently for his pop art portraits and Campbell Soup cans, he was also an amazing illustrator and got one of his early assignments drawing shoes for Glamour Magazine.

Whimsical and charming, he developed his own style of illustrating with a blotted line technique. He produced drawings of cats, dogs, fashion and other items as inspiration and art directors commissioned him to create during the 1950s.

He became so successful as an illustrator he took on assistants he trained in his style as his business expanded. Opportunities for exhibition of his personal work started to appear and Warhol took full advantage to build his reputation and connections, getting him more than his fifteen minutes of fame.

Books to explore both Andy Warhol’s life and work AND some to get you started drawing.

Online classes to learn about fashion illustration:

  • Brit & Co – Online class taught by Anum Tariq teaching how to draw a basic fashion illustration from the underlying structure to the finished look.
  • Fashion Illustration Tribe Free beginner class and resources with longer online classes.

Skillshare classes by Katie Rodgers, artist/illustrator of Paper Fashion.

Udemy. Skillshare and other online sites have multiple classes on learning to draw by subject and technique.

YouTube also has close to 400,000 online videos to watch about fashion illustration.

For further reading about Andy Warhol:

Style Icon – Katharine Hepburn

Who is a style icon? An individual who redefines the rules to live on their terms and ends up changing fashion.

Born on May 12, 1907, American movie and theatrical star Katharine Hepburn changed the accepted norms of fashion and we are ever so grateful.

Called “a pioneer of the American sportswear aesthetic,” Katharine went against cultural norms and wore pants whenever she could. During the rise of her early career in the 1930s, it was illegal for women to wear pants in public. Along with Garbo, Dietrich, Britton and Wray, she and her fellow Hollywood stars worked hard to change this practice.

Although many of the images of Katharine are due to photos shot on movie or theater sets, she worked closely with the costume designers to make sure the clothes met her standards of taste and character.

“One does not design for Miss Hepburn,” the Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head once said. “One designs with her. She’s a real professional, and she has very definite feelings about what things are right for her, whether it has to do with costumes, scripts, or her entire lifestyle.”

Kate used this same sense of style in her personal life. Clothes were tailored with structure and ease to allow her to move her tall thin frame with ease. Whether traveling or on the tennis court, she wanted to be able to move without constriction.

“I was never a victim of the times I lived in. In fact, I was a success because of the times I lived in. My style of personality became the style.” Katharine Hepburn

So true! Images shot over her lifetime could be clothes worn today.

But here’s what’s important.

Before Katharine Hepburn wore them in the public eye to make them accessible, none of these clothes were considered normal or classic. Her wearing them turned them into classics they are today.

Movies to watch:

Books:

For further reading:

The Greatist Gift

Welcome to the most terrifying time of the year – and I’m not talking about Halloween! It’s gift giving season.

Mother’s Day, graduations, Father’s Day, weddings.

Chances are you have one or all of these occasions to get ready for.

Christmas is easy – you have one target date of the year to hit and the calendar date NEVER changes. Not so with these other days- yeah, sure they hit on Sundays, but the dates shift each year.

So the only way to stay sane is to develop a gifting strategy as your guide to navigate these waters.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to make it through to summer time and chill.

1. Stay true to yourself and your budget.

2. Think about your recipient.

3. Play to your strengths.

Stay true to yourself.

Don’t give something as a gift you wouldn’t enjoy. If you do not believe in an activity related to the gift, don’t give it. (Example: If you are against hunting, don’t give a hunting-related gift for Father’s Day. There’s always another gift option.)

Stay true to your budget.

This can be hard to do, but think about what occasions you know you will be gifting for and try to budget accordingly. You can also get very creative with this depending on the gift you are going to give.

Think about your recipient.

This is your mom. This is your dad. Your best friend, sister or brother. What is special about them to you and the occasion you are gifting for? What do they love? Gifting an experience (fabulous meal, event tickets, a special activity, class) or consumables (candles, chocolates, flowers*, gift cards**) is a great way to commemorate the day while leaving a smaller footprint on the planet. Shameless plug: Jewelry makes a wonderful gift, but if you are unsure your recipient will appreciate it, give them an Etsy Gift card.

*Flowers: If you are giving flowers and the recipient has pets, do not give lilies, tulips or other bulb-type flowers. Poisonous to cats (even the pollen) and dogs.

**Gift cards: avoid the ones from Visa or other credit cards if they devalue over time. Check the fine print on the back. Better to just give cash or another kind of gift card which does not expire.

Play to your strengths.

Would your recipient appreciate you using your special talents to make their gift? If they will, May 14 is Mother’s Day and June 18 is Father’s Day. You know what you love to make. Paint, draw, photo, craft, grow, plant. Channel that love into making the perfect gift. If you run out of time, you can always print out a personal gift certificate and put it in a card as an IOU. (Link takes you to our sister site, theCreativeGoods.com.)

If you follow these tips, you should be able to enjoy these early summer months and relax, knowing you are ready for these special moments.

Video for Mom

Click image for our mini video tribute for moms.

A few ideas for the DIY, whether for you to make or as a gift.

May the 4-0 Be With You

It’s THAT day! The day when all us Star Wars fans celebrate the stories of a galaxy far far away…

Take the amazing vision of George Lucas, add in the music of John Williams and stir in the magical creation of thousands of set designers, costumer designers, visual effects artists, actors and more who came together to create these stories splashed across the big screen. (Everyone ever listed in the credits for any of these films and the families who support them – we salute you!)

Released in 1977, we have now experienced the Star Wars universe for FORTY years. 40. The big 4-0. That’s a huge cultural impact on the world.

Ranging from the high (queen, princess, lords, senators) to the low (farmers, drunken bar patrons) and everything in between, the costume designers and their teams worked to make functional expressions of the characters the actors brought so vividly to life.

Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Salo, Luke Skywalker, Queen Amidala, Rey – can you picture them in your mind’s eye? The clothes they wear are a part of the story.

Our hats are off to the creative genius of John Mollo (Star Wars 1 & 2), Aggie Guerard Rodgers (Star Wars 3), Trisha Biggar (Star Wars 4-6, the prequels), Michael Kaplan (Star Wars 7), David Crossman and Glynn Dillon (Rogue One).

Staying out of actually critiquing the story lines, the most elaborate of the costumes created so far have been the court gowns of Padme, Queen Amidala. Luckily for us, these were well documented during and after the creative process. Using haute couture techniques, these richly decorated gowns feel familiar and foreign to us at the same time. Using everything from ancient Japanese samurai to Celtic influences, the design team then added enough “other” elements to come up with something new and beautiful. If you want to learn more about it and have an amazing piece of the Star Wars universe, buy Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars by Trisha Biggar. There are two editions – both pricey. The special edition version of this includes a DVD and fabric swatches from the materials actually used in the costumes.

Although closed now, the Denver Art Museum staged an exhibit of over 70 costumes from the movies for several months. Check their site as they still have some sketches, photos and short film clips posted of the exhibit. (So wish I could have seen this in person.)

If you want to watch more clips, check out these available at YouTube.

Great fan site – Star Wars: Fit for a Queen which focuses primarily on all the amazing costumes created for the prequels, but does have images from some of the other films.

So geek out my friends and escape! If you run out of Star Wars content before the weekend ends, you are not trying hard enough.

May the Force be with you…

The movies:

Books to get inspired by:

 

Met Gala Madness

The Super Bowl of Fashion occurs tonight at the Met Gala in support of the Costume Institute. The new exhibit spotlights designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. She is the first living designer since Yves Saint Laurent to be honored with the exhibit. BIG STUFF.

So why should we mere mortals care about a fancy party we can’t attend happening in New York City?

Because believe it or not, it will be affecting our clothes, accessories, movies, music, homes and any other thing which intersects between design and entertainment over the next few years. (Lemon yellow.)

The theme is announced in the fall of the previous year to allow designers time to study the work being spotlighted in the upcoming exhibit and become inspired to make new creations for celebrity clients attending the party.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The designers can choose to be influenced by the theme OR they can choose to design clothing that is suitable for a red carpet occasion.

Regardless of which path is chosen, the designers all now have the theme rattling around in their minds whether they want it or not. Seeds planted. Remember that color “Lemon yellow” randomly added a few lines up in this post? That’s how it happens. You will see that color or be sensitive to it everywhere until another color takes precedence.

Why should it matter this year?

If you haven’t seen any of the Comme des Garcons looks throughout the years, imagine every outrageous avante grade look you’ve seen and multiply it by a factor of two. So this should be a very interesting red carpet to see who will wear looks Lady Gaga or Katy Perry (one of the chairs this year) would feel comfortable wearing for a performance.

How does entertainment fit into this? Because most of the invited guests are strategically seated to introduce new people to one another and cross-pollinate connections across the movie, music and fashion design industry to foster new collaborations and ideas.

So get ready for a wild ride. It can be a great thing to disrupt the status quo and see what comes.

Now I’m off to find some Lemon Meringue pie to eat after watching the red carpet shows…

Movies to stream to get a fashion fix:

Books to get inspired by:

Fashion Images from Vogue.com.

Image of Lemon Meringue pie from the Village Inn.

Luxe Looks from T by Alexander Wang

If you love body-skimming comfortable clothes made from rich fabrics, T by Alexander Wang is your designer of choice.

Transitional looks, some on sale, from various retailers.

Most of these pieces mix and match to give you multiple options and layering pieces for day or night.

Add the right shoes and bling, some of these could be worn for New Year’s.

Paperdolls3

 

Strappy Tank DressBiker Jacket in Grey

Strappy Camisole Wine Midi Dress, Shirt

Sleeveless Ponte Bandeau Black Midi Dress

Collarless Double-Breasted Blazer

Striped satin shirtSleeveless Velvet TopVelvet Maxi Skirt

Satin Cropped Tank, Black (Sold out)

Classic Biker JacketKnit Crisscross TankStraight Maxi Skirt

From our Instagram feed:

T_by_AlexanderWangA

SILK VELVET BRALETTE

Velvet triangle bralette with demi coverage and adjustable stretch grosgrain straps. Hook and eye closure at the back.

SILK VELVET BOMBER

Velvet lightly batted cropped bomber with center front closure and two side pockets. Garment is lined poly satin and hits at the high hip.

SILK VELVET WIDE LEG PANTS

Velvet wide leg palazzo pants with elastic trim waistband and side invisible zipper closure. Pants have two back welt pockets and are worn at the natural waist.

CASHWOOL KNIT OFF THE SHOULDER PULLOVER DRESS

Cashwool off the shoulder knit pullover dress that has a soft, luxurious hand feel and hits mid thigh or above the knee.

CHECKERED ASYMMETRICAL LONG SLEEVE WRAP BLOUSE

Long sleeve collared checkered wool gauze asymmetrical wrap blouse. Self tab attached to side seam that ties around back and baby snap closure at side seam.

SILK VELVET WIDE LEG PANTS

Velvet wide leg palazzo pants with elastic trim waistband and side invisible zipper closure. Pants have two back welt pockets and are worn at the natural waist.

T_by_AlexanderWangB

SHEER WOOLY RIB LONG SLEEVE TURTLENECK

Semi-sheer turtleneck long sleeve tee in a lightweight, delicate ribbed wool. Dress or top/skirt to come.

MERINO KNIT PULLOVER WITH VISCOSE COMBO

Scoop neck merino knit pullover with woven viscose shirttail back paneling. Garment hits at high hip in the front and below hips in the back. Pants to come.

Skirt and top to come.

Happy New Fashion Season!

Who doesn’t love fall?

The temperatures become reasonable, minds are ready to learn, there’s a new crop of looks to shop from and work into your wardrobe.

Here’s a perfect day-to-night look for this transitional season from Brooks Brothers.

BrooksBrothers

Take a wool, silk and cashmere pleat front sweater and add a high-waisted pencil skirt. For comfort and edge, wear short leather stacked heel booties. These will be great pieces to get you through your day. Add a little glam with the pearl Y necklace with flashes of emerald and matching stud earrings. All on sale at the Brooks Brothers web site – see links below.

Wool, Silk and Cashmere Pleat Front Sweater

High-Waisted Pencil Skirt

Short Leather Stacked Heel Booties

Pearl Y Necklace

Pearl Cluster Stud Earrings

And as soon as they’re available, will get links up for the new fall looks from Zac Posen for Brooks Brothers.

BrooksBrothers1 BrooksBrothers2