Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Road Warrior Glam

Not too long ago, I shared a post showcasing 7 ways to amp up your wardrobe. As I've been traveling throughout this spring, I've been on the lookout for even more ways to rock an outfit without sacrificing too much space in my carry on.

From air travel to road trips, traveling for business can make it difficult to only pack the necessities. At least, it's difficult for me as I'm a recovering over-packer trying to make it as a carry-on-only traveler. I know I'll need the slacks and blouse, but what about an outfit for the reception afterwards, or for a night spent relaxing at a low-key pub? What if I need comfy clothes for the long haul drive back home, or for getting a morning workout in? And don't even get me started on the jewelry.

Sure, I get that not everyone is this kind of traveler. But for me, dressing for success is part of what helps to inspire a rockstar attitude. If I love what I'm wearing, and feel comfortable in the outfit, I'm ready to take on a long day of meetings, presentations, or chat with students on campus all day.

So for today's #TravelTuesday inspiration, we're going to dive into some fashion tips for all the road warriors out there. The most important lesson to take away from these before we even get started: make them work for YOU. As unique as our style of travel may be, so are the ways we rock an outfit. Get creative, make it your own, and keeping on doing you, boo boo.

1. Stick with Forgiving Fabrics

No matter how far you're traveling, or the size of the suitcase you're using, there will be some wrinkling of clothes that happens. And when you want to look freshly pressed for that important meeting or big presentation, having forgiving fabrics on hand (those that don't wrinkle easily, or where the wrinkles are easily gotten rid of) is essential. I love lightweight silk or polyester shirts/dresses in this case. The funkier the pattern, the better. Not only are they super lightweight, but you can roll them in your suitcase to save space and shaking them out upon arrival to your destination can do the trick with wrinkling. They're also a great choice to layer under your blazer, as the fabric won't feel heavy and makes for a nice work-to-cocktail party transition when and if you shed the blazer. Worried about bringing these for winter travel? Worry not! The fact that they're lightweight still works in your favor, as you can "winterize" a summer dress with some thick tights, a cute sweater, scarf, and your favorite pair of knee high boots. 

If you're anything like me and insist on packing the collared blouses, despite how much they wrinkle in transit, Downy Wrinkle Release Spray is like magic in a bottle! No need for the hotel ironing board when you've got this miracle worker on board. A lot of my spring travel is done via road trip and staying in KOAs with the GoAbroad/STA Travel Bus, so this kind of thing saves the day every time for me. Bonus: You can purchase the regular size for long road trips, or the travel-friendly size for air travel.

2. Mix and Match Patterns

I've mentioned this in a previous post, but it bears repeating. Mix, match, and work with what you've got. I have a very tiny closet, and a very tiny budget so I can't always buy everything I see or want. This means standing in front of my closet, taking a look at what's there and seeing if there is anything I haven't paired together yet. 

Seriously, give it a try. I'm talking polka dots with stripes, leopard print with floral, and zig zags with lace. You never know what might work, and I've discovered some of my favorite ensembles using this system. Not to mention, it cuts down on how much you may spend on new clothes, as well as how much you end up packing. If you can find a blouse that works with those shoes, that will also work with that skirt, add it to the "must bring" pile. The weight of your luggage will thank you for this in the long run.

3. Give Business Casual an Edgy Flair

I understand not wanting to go overboard when it comes to dressing professionally, but don't be afraid to also take risks and throw in some boldness. If Doctor Who says bow ties are cool, I'm going to believe it. I'm also going to wear three jewel tones at once during my campus meeting. Or maybe I'll go with the polka dot blouse layered under a chunky sweater. Because, why not? If you're rocking it and loving it, that confidence is going to shine through in the professional sense.

Work on making a solid jewel tone the focus of an outfit, accessorizing with more neutral tones; or, consider sprinkling in a variety of colors with your necklace and bracelets over a neutral heavy outfit. Either way, the result is one that effectively blends business casual with your own flair of personality.

4. Layer Statement Necklaces

Cheap jewelry is a girl-who-travels best friend. With one, two, or three statement necklaces in your bag, they're sure to add some pizzazz to any outfit. One of my favorite ways to refresh a necklace I've had for awhile is to layer it with another bold necklace. In the same fashion as mixing patterns with your clothes, apply the same method to jewelry. Before you pack your bag, step back, take a look at what you have, and what you've yet to pair together. You might be surprised at how well they go together. You'll also have a few different ways to wear these when you're mixing and matching them on the go. See that? Over-packer syndrome slowly being overcome!

5. Bold Colors, Bold Blazers

Nothing takes a black, gray, or creme blazer to new heights like a punch of color. When I'm traveling for work, I'll typically pack one to two blazers and then throw in a handful of shirts (see tip #1 for the kind I'm referring to) that will consistently mix up the look. Consider the types of outfits you're pairing with your favorite blazer as well. I have a black blazer that nips in nicely at the waist and looks as great with a pair of dark wash jeans as it does over my ivory cocktail dress.

6. Spice Up Your (Flat) Footwear

I almost never pack heels for business travel. Is that sacrilege? No idea. All I know is that unhappy feet make for an unhappy Tiffany. High heels are often the cause of this for me. That being said, I'm a HUGE fan of wedges, particularly the kind that don't make you want to cut your feet off at the end of the day. If you know you're going to be doing the kind of work travel that requires you to be on your feet a large majority of the day, be kind to them and pack the right kind of footwear.

Sure, the high heels might make you taller but I feel just as amazing (if not better) when rocking my leopard print ballet flats or ruby red slip ons. When paired with some fancy tights or skinny fit trousers, both your feet and peace of mind will thank you. Did I mention that flats are often much easier to travel with, seeing as how they save more space? Enough said.

7. Bad Hair Day No More

Now, you may need to get creative with this depending on the length of your hair, but I've found a classic ballerina bun to be a lifesaver when on the go. Whether you like it a little messy or super sleek, this a a great way to avoid having to bring all those hair appliances. Or even if you don't have time to wash your hair. Been there, done that. 

For me, I travel quite a bit to humid temperatures and there is no way I can leave my hair down and have it look presentable. Seriously, it's just no good no matter how many cans of frizz-free hairspray I invest in. Slicking my hair into a high bun saves on time, and when paired with a bold red lip makes for a chic ensemble.

8. Nourish Your Skin

We all know how hard travel can be on our skin. Whether you're flying back and forth between locations or making a series of long road trips, you gotta make time to give your skin some TLC if you want to look your best. Besides drinking plenty of water, here are my three recommendations to better achieve this:

Number 1 - Always, always, always pack Neutrogena skin wipes (or another equivalent). These babies are a lifesaver when needing to clean or refresh your face on the go. Especially if you don't have immediate access to a shower. They'll keep the germs away, your skin hydrated, and your day in a much better place.

Number 2 - Have some kind of skin cream on hand. Pond's Dry Skin Cream is one of my favorites, especially with how dry my skin gets when traveling a lot. It's super moisturizing, but lightweight enough not to clog my pores. If you lean towards more oily skin, consider a cream that'll keep you refreshed but won't irritate your pores.

Number 3 - Invest in Rose Water Spray (or make your own!). One of my very good friends introduced me to this, and I ALWAYS have it when traveling - especially with air travel. It's great for skin hydration, and all you have to do is give yourself a spritz on your face (or whole body) if you're feeling dried out. What I typically do is have a large bottle at home, and then pour some into a travel-sized bottle to take with me.

9. Keep it Diverse, but Manageable

When it comes to packing for business travel, I almost always start with more than I need. It can be tricky depending on where you're going, how long you'll be gone, and what exactly the trip entails. The point is: keep it diverse enough to have enough to work with, but not so much that you're suitcase is bursting at the seams before you even leave home. I know, I know, I've been that person saying "I'm not sure I need it, but I mayyyyy."

The trick is in packing things you can re-wear, mix and match with another outfit, and is suitable to the weather you'll be experiencing. There's no one recipe for success and you'll eventually discover what works best for you.

I hope these tips help all you road warriors to spice up your own travel wardrobes! Feel free to check out my Everyday Ensembles board on Pinterest for more inspiration!

What are your own secrets/tips/advice to packing glam for business travel? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!