Packing Tips from a Last Minute Packer

As much as I love to travel, there is one element about traveling that I could absolutely do without…packing! I’m definitely one of those night before/morning of packers. I always wait until the last minute, but I’ve created and learned a few tricks over the years that have helped me to efficiently pack for trips to Paris, London, Antigua and many other fabulous places. In fact, in a few days I’ll be packing for a cruise to Bermuda (woot, woot), so I thought this post could not only help me, but also guide you as you start planning your upcoming summer excursions.

1. Simple and complementary
Try packing clothes in simple, complementary colors. Consider a neutral or dark (hides stains) palette that you can infuse with colorful accessories (think bracelets and light scarves). Complementary colors and patterns allow you to mix and match pieces and helps you cut down on the number of articles of clothing you need to pack.

2. Wrinkle free is right for me
Jersey, lycra, spandex, polyester (yes, I said polyester) and cotton knit should be a staple in your luggage. They are ideal for traveling because the potential of them getting super wrinkled while crammed into your suitcase is minimal. Also, try rolling all of your clothes instead of folding them for even less wrinkles.

3. Three pairs of shoes are good, seriously
I don’t think you can ever have enough shoes. That is unless you are travelling. Let’s face it, shoes take up a lot of space in your suitcase and they can make your bag even heavier. Another advantage of wearing complementary colors (see the first tip) is that you can pack just a few pairs of shoes that go with all of your looks. You should have a daytime, casual shoe (think flats), activity shoes (think sneakers) and nighttime shoes, heeled or wedge sandals.

4. The great jewelry detangler
There’s nothing more frustrating than packing necklaces and bracelets that get all tangled up as they get shifted around in your luggage. Consider investing in a jewelry holder, like this cute one from Stella & Dot called Roll With It. When you arrive to your destination you won’t have to waste time untangling all of your precious jewels.

5. Ziploc Freezer Bags aren’t just for storing meat
I know it sounds odd, but this is something that I tried years ago and it made packing and figuring out what I’m going to wear each day super easy. Days before I leave for the trip or even dig out my suitcase from the guest room closet, I plan out what I’m going to wear each day. If I’m taking a long trip, I even write down on a piece of paper what I plan to wear each day. When I finally start to pack, I go to the kitchen and pull out a box of Ziploc Deep Freezer Bags. The number of freezer bags I use is dependent upon the number of days I’ll be away. I start with the outfit that I’m going to wear on the first day and roll up each of the articles of clothing and put them in the Ziploc bag. Then, I add the undergarments that I will wear that day along with the jewelery. I repeat the process for the rest of the days I will be away. You’ll be shocked at how organized your suitcase will be and how easy it will be to get dressed each day. After you wear the clothes, you can throw them back in the  Ziploc bag, which helps in separating your clean clothes from the dirty ones.

6. Mix and match wear
Try to pack items that can easily be paired with a lot of things, such as a white tank top, jean jacket or long skirt. You can get a lot of leverage out of those basic pieces and wear them more than once (if the clothing item remains clean). As I mentioned in the first point, if you pack mix and match pieces in complementary colors then you can cut down on the number of articles of clothing you’ll need to pack.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Please share with me some of the tricks you use while packing. I might be able to use them for my upcoming trip! Happy packing!

XOXO,
shannon b. 

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Why Would I Hire a Personal Stylist?

Even though I work in the public relations (PR) field (a pretty popular occupation), when people ask what I do, I still find myself having to explain exactly what PR is all about. Now, you can only imagine, when I say, “I’m also a personal stylist” how people’s minds start to go into overdrive. Leave it to me to select two somewhat ambigious career paths!

If you’re reading this blog, I’m pretty confident that you understand what I do as a personal stylist, but I’m not sure if you know all of the benefits a stylist provides. Our job is to make your life easy-peasy…rather you’re someone that breaks out in a rash when the word shopping is mentioned or you’re on the other end of the spectrum and break out into song and dance when it’s time to take a trip to the mall.

We don’t cure diseases, but we can help build self-esteem. We don’t solve hard math equations, but we can tell you where to invest your shopping dollars and where to save them. We’re not entertainers, but we make the time we spend with our clients fun.

So what else can a stylist do?

1. Save you time

Your time is valuable, so instead of spending a ridiculous amount of it in your closet trying to figure out what to wear, a stylist can revamp your closet so that you can cut that time in half. We can help you purge items that you’ve been holding onto for years, but actually never wear. Closet clutter can definitely slow you down if you’re trying to get dressed pretty quickly. We also save you time when shopping at your favorite retail store, because we typically arrive at the shop before you do. We scope out the merchandise and set aside items that we think would be a good fit for you. That way, when you arrive all you have to do is head to the dressing room and start trying on the clothes. No more fighting through the clothing racks.

2. Save your money

Who doesn’t want to save money? You may not realize this, but you actually waste money when you buy items that just sit in your closet. Even if it was on sale and you got a great deal, if it never sees the light of day, it was a waste of money. My job is to help you avoid making expensive mistakes and talking you off the ledge from buying those lime green snakeskin joggers that you will never wear. During a closet revamp, we also take inventory of what you already own so that when we go on a shopping date, you don’t buy more of what you already have in your closet. We also show you how to make better use of the clothes you already own and how to wear them in different ways, which helps cut down on unnecessary shopping trips.

3Save you from shopping indecision

Have you ever brought something and then days later regretted making the purchase because you either paid too much money, can’t find anthing else to wear with it or can’t decide if it’s the best look for you? It’s our job to be that sounding board you wish was with you in the closet every morning as you’re getting dressed or in the dressing room with you while you’re out shopping. A stylist is an expert in identifying current and future fashion trends and understanding what clothing pieces look best on our clients. It’s our job to be honest and make decisions that you sometimes don’t want to make.

So there you have it. Just a few benefits that come with hiring a personal stylist. Hopefully you’ll consider working with one, one day. Give us a try. We don’t bite!

XOXO,
shannon b. 

Down with Corporate Suits!

If you’ve ever read any of my #WorkWearWednesday posts, you already know of my serious disdain for black, grey, blue power suits or corporate attire in general. DISCLAIMER: In the next few lines I’m going to go into excrutiating detail about my contempt of corporate wear. Please feel free to skip to the third paragraph if you absolutely love suits. 

As I was saying, corporate attire makes my skin crawl. Okay, that was a bit extreme, but I’m just trying to paint the picture of how much it really irritates me. I feel like my creativity is stifled when pulling out a suit. I would even go as far to say that I feel like a caged bird (and I don’t even know why they sing), but you probably already think I’m crazy.

RANT OVER

Anywho, so what do you do when you work in a corporate environment and “conservative” wear is required? Welcome to my world!! Even though I’ve introduced myself to you as a women’s style consultant and blithering blogger, by day I am a public relations professional working in a very buttoned up industry and have for most of my career. As you can imagine, I have a lot of experience stretching the boundaries with my fashion choices. Below are a few wardrobe and accessory alternatives to incorporate into your ho-hum office look.

1. Colorful pencil skirts

Pencil skirts have quite the presence in my closet because of their versatility. For example, you can pair them with a sweater, silk blouse, t-shirt and blazer. Pencil skirts are still structured enough that you look professional, but in bright colors (think pink, green or cobalt blue) they add an element of fun to the entire look. Check out my barrage of bright pencil skirts below. Yes, that’s a yellow one. It’s one of my faves!  

2. Statement jewelry

Sometimes your jewelry is the star of the show. I’ve invested in several bright and beautiful pieces that add an additional umph to my work looks. I love pairing a chunky bright orange necklace with a navy blue shift dress. Check out some of my statement making pieces (and additional accessories) below. Could you see yourself adding something similar to your office look?

 
  

3. Anything but basic black pumps

I have to admit that sometimes the only shoe that will work is a black pump, BUT that’s not the case for every work outfit in your wardrobe. Experiment with different colors, textures and heel sizes. Try pairing oxfords with a jumper dress and white collar shirt or wear leopard print pumps with a black skirt and green silky top, like the picture below. What do you think? Are you brave enough?  

 

Hopefully these tips won’t make you feel that you’ve stepped too far out of the box. These are just baby steps to help you bring the boring suit quotient down to at least a two or three. 

Try incorporating these suggestions into your workwear over the next week and let me know how it goes. 

XOXO,

shannon b. 

P.S. I was seriously considering calling this blog Confessions of a Corporate Style Rebel. Maybe it’s not too late?