Thursday, June 20, 2013

What to pack for a trip?!

What if you have to live with only the things packed in your suitcase for 15 days to a month be it for a holiday trip, a work trip or just a relocation somewhere? How do you know what to pack and what to leave behind? Packing for a trip is stressful particularly for a person whose (one of her) biggest fear is to go somewhere and miss a dress or a scarf.
So what a girl to do? Well, get organized!

1- Do your research about where you are going:
Is it a warm place? Is it a cold place? Is it windy? Is it mushy? Learn about the temperatures from morning to dawn. Things get easier with the Internet; you can check the weather forecast for all cities around the world. If you are lucky enough to know some people who lived there, quiz them intensively about what you need to bring. Try to learn as much as possible about the dress code in the city you are going. For example, people tend to be more conservative in countries of the Middle East, so be mindful of what you are planning on wearing.

2- The things you take will differ completely whether you are going for business or for fun.  For business I recommend bringing suits that you can deconstruct with many shirts and blouses. Beautiful but discreet accessories will add the perfect touch to your ensemble. The way you mix and match them will take away the boredom of a typical suit. Take a nice dress in case you go for cocktails or a party in between meetings. It does not have to be too flashy though. After all you are a professional, not a hostest.

If you are going on a holiday in a beach resort, take easy to wear clothes such as dresses, shorts, sandals, sunglasses, chunky jewelry and hats. Think about fun and colorful attire. If you are going to ski, think about how to protect yourself against the cold; thermal undies are a safe bet along with knit caps, gloves and ski material.

If you are relocating to a new place, you will need to bring all the things that make you feel comfortable like a pair of ballet flats or your favorite scarf. Relocating to a new city is tough and with everything that you will have to plan for, you want your outfits to be the last thing on your mind. So plan ahead outfits that are easily styled, required as little ironing as possible and can be mix and remixed until all your belongings make it to port. 

3- You do not need to shop for a new wardrobe. What do I mean is that do not go out of your way purchasing new things just because you want to impress the people you will meet at your location. Plus even if your clothes seem old to you, they are new to whoever will see you at your new location. Unless you have been where you are going before, you have no idea of what or who is waiting for you there. I remember classmates who booked a holiday on an Island in Japan for a week. They went and bought new bathing suits, Chanel sunglasses, hats and all the glamorous things they thought they needed for a vacation at the beach. But when they arrived at the place, they realized that it was deserted island with not many tourists. Plus the town shut down at 6 PM so there were no bars or clubs to wear their fancy party dresses . My friends did not do their homework, they just assumed that since it was the beach and Summer, it was going to be packed with cute boys and great parties.

4- Know what you will be doing on your trip: If you are a social butterfly and you know that you will be invited to parties and lunches, pack for that. If you know that you will probably go trekking, pack your trekking shoes. And if really you feel like you are missing one item, go and purchase it where you are provided that you have time, and it is convenient. One year, I went to Australia in December aka during their summer. I did not pack cardigans because I assumed it was going to be hot. Sydney was fine but on a week end trip to Melbourne, the temperatures dropped. It was so cold I was forced to go to the nearest Target and buy a jumper. Actually it was so unusually cold that year in the city, that all the shops put out their winter clothes back on the racks. So you never know.

5- Do not overpack. Overpacking is not fun for numerous reasons: your suitcase is ready to pop and heavy at departure, you do not have extra room to add cute stuff that you bought at your destination, or you ended up not wearing all the clothes that you took with you. Take only the things that are necessary plus a little extra. That is all that you need. Become the queen of mixing your outfits and you will find that you can survive with far less than you think.

6- Learn about packing techniques. There are tons of packing techniques designed to give you more room in your suitcase. Some people roll all their clothes, others use extra folding measures. I am sure you can find many techniques on the Internet; check what is best for you.

As somebody who enjoys travelling and who relocates a lot, I learned about living with a suitcase. It was hard at the beginning but I think I am getting the hang of it. Almost gone are the days when I thought that I needed a new wardrobe every time my husband told me we were going on a holiday somewhere. Finished are the days I packed all my favorite clothes in my suitcase during a relocation, only to never wear them once I arrived because it was too hot, or too cold or I was getting bigger (as in a pregnancy). I can say that by using the tips I mentioned above I prepare easily for a trip even if that means I have to pack and repack  my suitcase up to five times.

For work:

Basic: 2 suits in solid color: 1 pant suit and 1 skirt suit  1 pair of jeans
Extra: colorful blouses - lightweight cardigan
Extra Extra: dress - tees
Accessories: necklaces, bracelets, watch, studs, scarf, bag
Shoes: pumps, sandals 

For vacation in the Sun: 

Basic: jeans, short, skirt, dress, tees, playsuit
Extra: cardigan, jacket
Accessories: funky jewelry, sunglass, hats, bags
Shoes: sandals, wedges, flip flops, closed toe comfy shoes

So are you ready to pack now?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Wardrobe revival (Tips on how to keep on wearing too tight clothes)

When you gain weight, one of the major things that suck is that you cannot fit in your clothes anymore. Dressing up is limited as there are few things in your closet that still fit. Lucky for me, I rarely buy tight fitting clothes because I know how my weight fluctuates and I am into modest clothing. Yet, there are a few things I own that cannot be worn right now. Although those items are not very expensive (cheap shopper here), I think it would be a waste to get rid of them and buy new ones. I am planning to loose those extra kg eventually but in the meantime, I came up with solutions for my problem. 

For tight jeans

I have skinny pants that I love. I have two pairs ( a versatile black and a fiery red one). I hesitated before purchasing them last year because they were tight but I gave in. And I wore them all along Fall and Winter with no problems at all. But now they do not zip up at the waist. I want to keep on wearing them so what I am to do?
Well, one thing I could do and it is about as easy as it gets, is to just wear them without zipping them up. I usually wear those pants with long blouses, tunics or shirts so these cover the zipper. Unless the wind blows, no one will be the wiser about the deception. And if ever you are super conscious, just get a belly hugger type thing. They are for pregnant ladies but who says we cannot enjoy them?It is kind of a elastic band that you put on top of your pants. Back in Japan, some lingerie shops made something similar  but they were designed to hide your butt when you wear low rise jeans. The Belly Belt is also very useful. It is a kind of belt you just add to the waist button of your pants to give your belly more room to grow. With them you can keep on wearing your tight jeans.
(Now if your pants are so tight that they cannot pass your knees, then I am sorry there is nothing I can do for you)

Belly Hugger

My pants are unzipped but you would not know it unless I tell you

For tight tunics (or shift dress)

When I gain weight, the lower part of my body suffers the most, which means that my butt, thighs get wider. Therefore I can no longer fit in those tunics or shift dress. One way to get around, is to give the tunics slits on the side. Your hips will finally have enough space to "breathe" and that tunic will find itself back in your dressing routine. If it is a shift dress, a side slit can also help. Or get a tailor to take them out if they have extra material. It will cost less than actually getting a new dress that fit. 

For dresses that do not zip

I have this favorite midi dress in Kente print that I love to death because it is so colorful (and I designed it). Just two days ago I wanted to wear it but surprise, surprise, the zip on the side would not go up. I could have forced it but I did not want to ruin it since I do not know how to replace a zipper. I am not going to let that good thing sit in my closet till I loose the back fat (GOD knows it may take a while). So I am leaving the zipper open and adding a light cardigan. Layering is really your best friend here. Winter is the best time but Summer can be hard. So stick to Summer cardigans, sleeveless vests (for zippers in the back), and cropped tops (in lace). Believe me they can do wonders.  

Oh no! It does not zip!

Cover it up!

For blouses

I like my blouses long and flowy so most of them still fit. Yet there are one or two that stops right at the waste and with a protruding belly, the look is not good. So it is best to tuck that blouse in a skirt or pants and belt it. I hate tucking in but I have to admit that it looks more polished and ladylike than letting the blouse flow. 

Blouse is too tight and no longer flowy

Tuck it in and add a belt!

I hope these tips have been helpful. I know they are going to help me. Now If I just can find an easy way to get back to my normal weight that does not involve dieting and exercising.....


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