(BPT) - Summer vacation is here and with it, the frustration of packing a suitcase to cover a trip's worth of activities. But with careful planning and reuse of key items, it's easy to look fashionable no matter where your travels take you.
'First of all, don't fall into the trap of thinking that black has to be your neutral,' says Meagan Glasco, academic director of fashion at The Art Institute of Charlotte, a campus of South University. 'During the summer, pretty much any solid color can be the foundation for your vacation outfits, so plan to include your most flattering colors.'
* Make sure that every item you pack can be worn at least two different ways.
* Pack mostly solid color items with just one or two patterned or specialty items like a sequin top to ensure that all of your outfits will coordinate.
* Add a cardigan or blazer over a dress to create a look that works in almost any situation. Dresses take up the least amount of space in your luggage.
Kate Campbell, academic director of fashion at The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, recommends basing your packing list on the trip's activities. She says, 'Before your leave home, plan each day's outfits to match the day's activities.'
Campbell's additional tips:
* Plan one or two central pieces, such as a simple jacket, a fabulous sundress or the perfect jeans. Add a blouse to dress jeans up or a tee to dress them down.
* Bring three pairs of shoes: comfortable walking shoes, sandals, and dress shoes; and two handbags: a roomy classic bag for travel and a small bag to use at your destination. Don't fall for too many pockets in your bags - it may look organized, but it's impossible to find things.
* Use accessories like belts, jewelry or scarves to give the same outfit a completely different look.
Now that you've figured out what to take, what's the best way to pack it? Campbell and Glasco agree:
* Place shoes at the bottom, then heavier items such as jeans or a blazer next, and finally delicate items on top. You can either carefully fold and pack flat or you can roll items to avoid wrinkles. Unpack as soon as you reach your destination.
* Tuck smaller items of clothing, toiletry bags, flat-irons, belts, accessory bags, etc. around the edges or in the corners of your bag. Use Ziploc bags and make sure everything is sealed tight.
* Take only the essentials: ID, insurance, one or two credit cards, minimal cash, one great lipstick, a day's worth of mini-versions of grooming must-haves and medications in your carry-on bag. A small repair kit for sewing or fixing glasses, sunscreen and a small umbrella in your checked bag.
Good planning before you leave home means you can relax and enjoy yourself at your destination. And isn't that what a vacation is for?
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