Leave your sweats at home. Or better yet, grab your sweats and use them to hide and tuck away your gym shoes as far from your packing area as possible. Unless, of course, a bootcamp is your next travel destination.
In 2012, I made a very conscious effort to give my travel wardrobe just as much planning & TLC as the rest of the trip. There were 3 very simple reasons:
1. I wanted to dress better. This is a goal that’s actually not just specific to travel but meant for my overall dressing habits.
2. I wanted to experiment. I figured that if I were to try something different, I might as well do it in a place where nobody knows me.
3. I wanted the photos to look better. I first realized this in Cancun back in 2011. My husband took a photo of me walking on the beach whilst I was wearing a electric-burn-your-retinas pink dress. The photo composition turned out really well with the contrast of the white sand and the bright pink dress.
Here are my 12 favourite outfits of 2012, followed by a few tips on how you can jazz up your wardrobe, as well:
1. Let’s leave our gym gear at home. This includes sweats and running shoes. These pieces—also deemed as “comfort clothes”—wrongly lead us to laziness and before long, we’ll fall in the trap of being too lazy to wear moisturizer or lipstick. Et voilà, we’ll look like a zombie who just came from a workout in front of the Louvre. The truth is we all have pieces that are very comfortable and still stylish. We just need to take a closer look at our closet to find them. The same applies to men. Stealing a few lines from the movie Crazy Stupid Love:
Jacob: Are you the billionaire owner of Apple Computers?
Jacob: Oh, ok. In that case, you’ve got no right to wear New Balance sneakers, ever.
2. Wear colour. A lot of travel tips out there will tell us that khakis, browns, blacks and denims are absolute must-packs when travelling. I cannot disagree more. When we’re travelling, we’re usually full of energy and excitement and there’s no reason why our clothes should not reflect that. We don’t want to disappear in the crowd of khakis sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome. Let’s wear bright yellow, fuschia or even neon green! I have my husband to thank for this. Being Indian, he grew up surrounded with lots of colour. I’ve seen him don a turquoise shirt and red cargos ensemble and look amazing. So let’s make sure that as soon as we look at that photo of a gajillion people sitting on the Spanish Steps, we can easily find where we are—standing out from the neutrals and looking absolutely fab.
3. Get inspiration from your destination. When we went to Marrakech, I brought along the harem pants that have been sitting in my closet for months (third from top left in the image above). Not blessed with modelesque qualities, I’ve always been afraid that wearing them will simply accentuate my teapotesque traits (Sing with me: I’m a little teapot/ short and stout/). But I braved it out and wore them and felt pretty sexy when I did. So let us take cultural cues from our destinations and dare to play with our wardrobe.
4. For the ladies: Take a break from the jeans. In Turkey, a Muslim country, tourists are encouraged to cover up and not show a lot of skin. The default response to this is to grab our go-to jeans and call it a day. But what if we were to celebrate being women and acknowledge the fact that there’s a plethora of options out there for us apart from jeans? The possibilites are endless. So in a trip to Istanbul, I whipped out my maxi skirts and covered up in style (image above, fourth from top left).
5. Accessorize. Most of us don’t leave the house and go to work without our trinkets on—earrings, that chunky necklace, a nice purse, that brilliant briefcase. Why then do we leave them out when we go out to play? We all know how a beautiful scarf can add edge to what would be an ordinary outfit. Let’s pack it! The best part is that it will also actually keep you warm especially in places where it starts to get chilly as soon as the sun goes down. And let’s be smart in choosing our accessories. For women, I recommend leaving the valuables at home and having fun with the cheaper yet just-as-stylish pieces that we have. For guys, if you’re planning to bring a hoodie to keep you warm, why not bring that sport jacket or cardigan instead? These are options that will keep you warm and not make you look like you’re 17.
If you have favourite travel outfits that you want to share, please send them to me in Facebook and I’ll feature them here. Now, let’s get planning and packing!