Tag Archives: simons

Packing tips for trips

16 Jun

The flights and accommodations are booked, places of interest noted and organized, and list of fun activities already planned. Now you just have to pack — a somewhat tiresome but necessary task. The main idea is to pack smart so you don’t risk over-packing with things you never end up using, or realize an important item is missing by the time you’re at your destination. Make a list of items to bring at least a few days before you start packing for your trip. That way, you’ll never forget to bring something that is essential. Also check with your airline’s baggage regulations and the transportation authority of the countries you’re flying in and out of, especially rules for carry-on luggage. Then you can plan your travel bags accordingly and prevent any hassle at the airport.

Suitcases

For clothes to pack that will have you looking stylish in all your travel pictures, the key is versatility. Bring basic items that will go well with anything such as jeans, neutral tees, blouses and skirts. Pack pieces that are in a similar colour scheme so it’ll be easier to mix and match. Casual dresses are always great since they’re a comfortable, one-piece ensemble. Dresses can also be transformed into a different look by covering the top with a different blouse or the bottom half with a longer skirt layered over. Also pack layers such as cardigans, vests and thin sweaters so you’ll be ready for chilly nights or places that are heavily air conditioned. Of course, take into consideration the activities you’ll be doing during your trip, whether you’ll be attending a work meeting, hiking around scenic areas, spending time on a beach or dressing up for a night out. A dark blazer usually works to make a look more polished and dressed up.

Maxi dresses can take you from a casual breakfast to a fancy dinner.

Maxi dresses, such as this one from ASOS, can take you from a casual breakfast to a fancy dinner.

A must have for any trip are shoes that are comfortable to walk hours in and can go with most of your outfits. Low top Chuck Taylors are a popular option. Street stylish girls have been pairing the classic sneakers with anything from boyfriend jeans to miniskirts. As for bags, go with a cross-body purse, or at least one with a shoulder strap, for your travels so you’ll have both hands free to explore the town. If you do find it necessary to bring a lot of clothing, try using packing bags that you can compress in order to maximize available space. And for those going on a lengthy trip, there’s always the option of washing your clothes at your hotel, local Laundromat, or even hand-washing in the sink.

A simple white blouse like this one from Simons is perfect for any style of skirt, shorts or trousers.

A simple white blouse like this one from Simons is perfect for any style of skirt, shorts or trousers.

Try to bring items that are wrinkle-resistant — no one wants to take time out of their sightseeing schedule in order to iron. Usually manmade fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and lycra are wrinkle-free. Cotton blends, denim and knits can also go without ironing. Linen, a lightweight fabric great for hot weather, is supposed to be slightly wrinkled. So if you don’t mind an earthy, rumbled look, incorporate linen fabrics into your summer travel ensembles to keep cool.

Cross-body bags are a stylish and secure way to keep your hands free for all travels. (Source: Rebecca Minkoff)

Cross-body bags are a stylish and secure way to keep your hands free for all travels. (Source: Rebecca Minkoff)

For the actual packing process, whether you’re carrying a suitcase or a backpack, roll your clothes instead of completely folding them. It’ll create fewer wrinkles while saving more space. For shirts, align the sleeves together by folding the shirt in half lengthwise, tuck the sleeves onto the body, and then roll from the collar to the hem. For pants, bring the legs together and fold in half, and then roll from the open end to the crease. If you’re bringing formalwear, insert some tissue paper between each piece to prevent any creases and try to lay them flat at the top of the suitcase, or use a garment bag.

By not leaving packing until the last minute, planning ahead and preparing your luggage smartly, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free trip. Have a happy and safe journey!

[Article first appeared in the June 12 issue of Richmond Review.]

Emerald: 2013’s Colour of the Year

17 Jan

Take a page out of Kermit’s book and go green for your New Year’s fashion resolution. Emerald was selected as Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2013. A global leader in manufacturing colours, Pantone sets the standards for the design industry. A shade is chosen for Colour of the Year after observing trends in fashion, art and interior design.

Emerald lace trench coat at Burberry Prorsum’s spring show.

Emerald lace trench coat at Burberry Prorsum’s spring show.

Emerald made a splash at a number of recent spring collections. Burberry fashioned one of its illustrious trench coats using a lace version of the green hue. Stella McCartney sent a few of her models down the runway in sporty, oversized emerald outfits. And though the colour spectrum was fully embraced at the shows of Vera Wang and Akris, it was the emerald pieces that really stood out. The luxe shade was even included in a few of the pre-fall collections that were just revealed, such as at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Gucci and Oscar de la Renta.

These emerald wide leg trousers are definitely not for the shy.

These emerald wide leg trousers from Ruche are definitely not for the shy.

A vividly lush green, emerald represents renewal and growth — perfect for a fresh start to the year. Compared to previous Colour of the Year winners such as tangerine tango, a bright red-orange, and honeysuckle, a cheerful reddish pink, emerald is more versatile and easier to incorporate into daily ensembles. Emerald green is known as a universal colour, meaning it’s flattering towards all hair colours and skin tones. So break out those pieces usually reserved for St. Patrick’s Day and work them into your wardrobe rotation.

Depending on your love for the colour, emerald can be worn as an accent piece or layered with other green tones, such as the ever popular mint, for a bold trendy look. When it gets warmer, try an emerald skirt with a pale mint blouse for a cool outfit that screams springtime. To prevent going overboard with green layers and looking like a leprechaun, find printed or patterned pieces with green shades in them. It’ll help tie the look together without being a green overkill.

Turn some heads with this verdant embellished dress from TFNC.

Turn some heads with this verdant embellished dress from TFNC.

Jewel-tones such as emerald, ruby or sapphire, are always great options for evening outfits if you want to veer from the traditional black. To bring out the vibrancy, go for fabrics with sheen like silks, satins and velvets — emeralds will look more luminous. Just think of Keira Knightley’s slinky emerald silk dress in Atonement or Viola Davis’ green Vera Wang number at last year’s Oscars. For even more flash, opt for an emerald sequined piece.

Emerald will also go wonderfully with the neutrals that will be trendy for spring (black and white, in particularly, were huge on the runways). Michael Kors mixed black and green together in rugby striped tops and geometric dresses for a polished elegance. To make a bolder statement pair emerald pieces with bright, complementary colours such as cobalt or a deep purple.

Add some subtle glam with Simon's emerald earrings.

Add some subtle glam with Simon’s emerald earrings.

If adding emerald clothing to your style is too extreme, ease into the trend with accessories. Emerald is a great colour for bags and shoes, since green is a standard colour for croc or snakeskin accessories and easy to find in stores. Plus the shade stands out even more against gold or silver hardware. Emerald costume jewelry is also a classic and nice to have for cocktail parties or dinners.

Brighten up your fingertips with green polish, such as Essie’s Pretty Edgy.

Brighten up your fingertips with green polish, such as Essie’s Pretty Edgy.

Another simple way to wear emerald is on the nails. One of my favourite polishes is China Glaze’s Emerald Sparkle, a deep green jelly with glitter. For the daring, try emerald liner or eye shadow. Green eye makeup was used on the models at Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Derek Lam this season. The colour provides a modern balance to peach or pink cheeks and lips. Use a cream or gel liner for a more intense look and pencil for a softer one.

Daytime or evening, there are a variety of fun ways to include the Colour of the Year into your fashion repertoire.

[Article first appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of Richmond Review.]

Sun, sand and swimwear

12 Jul

Summer at English Bay, Vancouver

Summer feels like it has finally arrived in Metro Vancouver. Before you go flocking to the beach to take advantage of that well-deserved sunshine, consider giving your beach look an update. For most, swimsuits get worn only a few times a year so it’s no wonder swimwear becomes more of an afterthought than a priority on the shopping list. But take into account that swimsuits start to lose their shape after frequent wear — chlorine and UV rays take a toll on the fabric — so it may be time for a new piece. To make the task of swimsuit shopping a little easier, keep in mind these tips to find one that will flatter your body shape.

Mixing and matching

A main concern when looking for a swimsuit is fit. The ideal piece will make you look proportional, while also flaunt your best assets and conceal any flaws. Most stores offer mix and match separates, which is essential for finding a suit since we’re most likely not the same size on top as we are on the bottom. If you’re small chested, look for embellished details on top: ruffles, bows, front ties, ruching, or fringe. It’ll create the illusion of a fuller bust. The same embellishments also work on boyish, ruler-shaped bodies — a bikini in a bold floral or animal print would add femininity while breaking up the straight lines. Horizontal stripes also work for small busts and you can get away with the tinier triangle bikini tops. Look for tops with padding too, especially if it’s a bandeau style. Bandeaus are great for minimizing tan lines but they tend to flatten the bust, no matter what size it is. So if you’re in the market for a bandeau, make sure it comes with padding to give your top some shape. For bustier women, try tops with v-necks, such as halter styles with thick straps. Swimsuits with built-in underwire also provide extra support, as do tops with a wider band on the bottom.

The ruffle and ruching details on this Simons bandeau bikini enhance smaller busts.

For long torsos, consider cut outs, fun prints or stripes to break up a long line. Those with shorter torsos look fantastic in suits with fun, colourful details on top, such as beading or a one-shoulder strap. If you’re uncomfortable revealing your stomach or want to conceal a tummy, opt for a tankini style. Tankinis with ruching or panels on the sides offer additional help in hiding a slight bulge. Or look for bottoms with adjustable waistbands that can be folded higher, or a retro high-waist cut. Also, a belted one-piece helps create an hourglass shape and swimsuits with a higher Lycra content are better able to keep stomachs in.

Emblazoned with palm trees and sunsets, this swimsuit from We Are Handsome just screams “summer.” The high-waisted bottom is also ideal for more coverage.

As for the lower half of your swimsuit, bottoms with rings and ties at the sides are more flattering and allow you to adjust the piece as tight or loose as desired. Avoid boy shorts if you have larger hips, they usually cut at the widest part of your thighs and draw attention to the bottom half. Colour block your swimsuit so a darker colour covers the part you want to slim down while a lighter shade plays up the part you want to flaunt. If your figure is pear-shaped, consider high-cut bottoms since they elongate the legs. For curvier women, high-waist bikinis and retro styles were made for your body type. Chic solid colour one-pieces complement hourglass figures and will leave your silhouette looking sleek.

The classic two-toned halter style of this Pour Moi suit helps slim down the lower half while drawing attention towards the face and bust.

Beach necessities and accessories

Don’t forget the beach cover-ups. Maxi dresses, linen tunics and crochet tops are just a few examples of items to easily pull over swimsuits. Add a pair of shades, perhaps a hat, definitely some sunscreen, and you’ll be ready to go enjoy the beach. And remember, the best accessory is confidence!

Protect your peepers with sunglasses in a classic cat-eye style, like this pair from BCBG.

[Article first appeared in the July 11 issue of Richmond Review.]