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5 Simple Rules for Building a Travel Wardrobe

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Joe & Gypsy's Actual Luggage
Joe & Gypsy's Actual Luggage

If you love to travel it is worth investing in a travel wardrobe even if you don’t travel frequently. The easier it is to prepare for a trip, the more often you will venture forth. The trick is it to have a sound purchasing strategy for growing your wardrobe. Here are a few simple rules to get you started.

Pick a few basic colors to build around. When I travel, I keep all of my anchor pieces and cover-ups black, beige or white. This includes slacks, shoes, sweaters and jackets. Traveling to colder climates I work with black and beige combinations. In hotter climates, I add in white. The strategy minimizes the number of pieces that I need to pack, and increases the number of combinations I can utilize. Then, I add in pops of color in the tops that I pack.

Buy pieces that are timeless for your body. What does this means? It means forget about what’s in style and buy pieces that you love. Once, I paid one hundred dollars for a shirt. Had I known how much the item cost prior to putting it on, it never would have made it into the dressing room. But once I had it on, I fell hard. It accentuated my curves and the color was perfect for my skin tone. Over the years, I have now worn that shirt on many trips. I can dress it up, or down. It expands and contracts when I gain or lose weight. It never goes out of style because I glow when I wear it. That’s a timeless piece. When you find one, grab it. And don’t wear it every day. Keep the love affair alive by saving it for you permanent travel wardrobe.

Buy the best travel fabrics that you can afford. Many companies offer clothing made of ‘travel’ fabrics. The best are durable and well-tailored, with strategic pockets and fabrics that don’t wrinkle. Visit stores to find the brands that you like best. Then, browse online and be ready to buy when items go on sale. Having clothes that you can pull out of an over-packed bag and throw on without steaming or ironing are worth every penny you pay.

Grow Your Travel Wardrobe
Grow Your Travel Wardrobe

Less is more. Buy multi-use pieces that you can wear with different outfits - and think about your luggage. Don’t over-complicate by buying too much. If you usually travel in one week increments, don’t buy more than a weeks-worth of clothing. Pack clothing and shoes that are mid-weight, and that can be worn in the day or evening. Coordinate colors and patterns, then mix and match. The goal is to bring the least amount of luggage as is possible. The ideal for Randy and I is one medium sized, rolling suitcase and a backpack style over-head bag. We find this combination gives us maximum portability and security in busy, unfamiliar airports.

Keep your clothes on the conservative side. When traveling, many religious and cultural sites require that shoulders and knees (for men and women) be covered. Especially overseas, many locations frown upon showing too much skin (arms, bellies, backs, thighs, and chests). It's also safer to buy clothing that doesn’t scream, “Look at me!” Try to blend in. Lose the bling. Leave the va-va-voom at home or in your hotel room.

Like all rules, these rules are made to be broken. Think of them as guide to build upon. Use them to get a conversation going in your head. Then, clean out a corner of the closet in your spare bedroom and get to work!

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