I began packing tonight for a ten day trip to Europe (lucky me!). Packing for this trip is particularly challenging due to the schizophrenic spring weather. My fingers are crossed that Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia are all slightly warmer and dryer than Milwaukee, but I still have to plan for a damp 35 degrees as well as a humid 75 degrees.
I have a theory on how to pack for long trips (longer than seven days). First, I literally pull out every item I might want to bring with me. Shoes, pants, shirts, sweaters, work-out gear, belts, everything.
Above you will see all the shoes and clothes I pulled out. I then sorted into piles; must take, want to take, and can live without. Once sorted, I start filling my suitcase with the must take pile. Then I evaluate. Is there room left?
Sadly, no. My full suitcase, above, did not include anything from my want to take pile. I realized I will probably need to leave my gray blazer (a recommendation from the sister), tiny jean shorts, and white capri jeans at home. At this point, I also realized I didn't pack any underwear. Since the chance of anyone commenting on my wrinkled panties is low, I just stuffed them in the corners.
I usually try to set aside my travel outfit separately from the suitcase pile. Now I know my favorite striped cardi will be with me on the plane. I just must remember to grab my scarf on the way out the door so I won't be mistaken for an American tourist.
Above are the clothes that didn't make it into the suitcase. Since they will miss out on all the fun in Europe, I'm letting them enjoy the company of my comforter for the evening. I have to admit, I'm not satisfied that I have everything I will want while traveling. I will, however, have access to my sister's closet in case of a fashion emergency.
I plan to post street style photos from my travels while away - so check back over the next two weeks for fashionable looks from Eastern Europe.
In preparation for my upcoming trip to Berlin, my obliging sister agreed to contribute to the blog and simultaneously help me pack. She used her keen observational skills to pick out hot street styles in her town. Naturally, it is important I be as equally stylish in Berlin as I am here in Milwaukee. God forbid someone could identify me as a tourist. (Tracy, remember when the sunglasses salesperson thought we were local New Yorkers? We were so proud!)
The sister says scarves. Everywhere in Berlin. Patterned and light purple. I have plenty to choose from - but which to pick. It would probably be best if I brought options, right?
The sister also says that I should be prepared for fashionable women to wear black tights under tiny jean shorts...and a scarf. Sadly, the week I have left before I head to Berlin is not enough time to mentally psyche myself up for this look, clearly borrowed from the Man Repeller. While I can not promise to bring this Euro-trend home with me, I promise to find an original and post it as evidence. (I will actually be attempting to post European edition street style while on vacation.)
The sister says that the chicest Germans are layering like they are running out of closet space. Always including a scarf. But also including button down shirts in small patterns and cardigans or blazers with three-quarter length sleeves. Jeans are of the skinny or boyfriend variety. Shoes are ballet flats and open-toed booties. Here is a great example of this look from 'Rough around the Edges' on Fashion Blanket:
I'm comfortable with these guidelines. I have a great gray blazer I can throw in my suitcase, black ballet flats which will be comfortable while I try not to look like a tourist, and a closet full of scarves. I might even try to wrestle my cleavage into a button down shirt. A special thanks to my sister for providing me with Bernice-worthy Berlin style suggestions. I promise to diligently plan my wardrobe so that I look like I, "just threw this outfit together but still look incredibly stylish...with a scarf." Later this week I will be posting my large trip packing theory, so stay tuned to see what makes it on the plane with me.
I am currently lusting over these celebrity style icons. These are the women for whom I will click through the link to find out what they are wearing. I will buy a fashion magazine just because she graces the cover. Each consistently looks amazing and cultivates a particular style that I admire.
Carey Mulligan Carey has a lovely, demure aesthetic to which she always remains true. Even her fashion blunders are feminine. Below are several of my favorite Carey looks.
Emma Watson Emma is now a sought-after fashionista, making waves just by signing on to represent Burberry and Lancome. Unlike many of her peers, she has never been caught in trashy, slutty, or underwear-bearing threads. While staying true to her youth, she is always sophisticated and a half step before the trend. I want this dress...and the bone structure to pull off that pixie cut.
Anne Hathaway Anne could make this list based on her 2011 Oscar fashion alone, but there are ten years worth of great looks to choose from. We must credit her trusted stylist, Rachel Zoe, with much of her success - but Anne knew enough to seek great advice. I believe her secret to success is always dressing to best accentuate her body size and shape.
Diane Kruger If I had to pick just one style icon, it would be Diane. She always looks comfortable and confident, edgy and fun, while still appropriate for a women in her mid-thirties. She also has access to one of the world's best accessories, Joshua Jackson. Diane does her own styling and perfectly attires her adorable boyfriend as well.
I made a stop Saturday afternoon at the Buy Local Bazaar specifically to check out an adorably unique area gem, Bolted Milwaukee. Michelle Eigenberger is the creative entrepreneur behind the company. She has a passion for vintage clothing and materials, nurtured by childhood shopping trips (vouched by mom who was there to help). She clearly is unable to resist a great find and has developed an extensive and varied collection of vintage fabrics initially intended for her own use.
Before she drowned in her fabric shopping passion, Michelle channeled that creative energy into a vintage fabric and sewing supplies business. Her wares are available at stores around town, local bazaars like this one hosted by WMSE, and on Etsy. They are perfect for the designer, like Michelle, who cares about reusing quality materials without sacrificing style or beauty. While she seemed slightly disappointed that Bolted success leaves less time for her own designs, she loves that she is starting to see her fabric on clothing worn around town.
If you are looking for fun, vintage fabric or clothing I encourage you to check out Bolted Milwaukee. I have no sewing skills myself, so all that fabulous fabric would be wasted with me - but buy up so I can strike a deal with Michelle to take home one of her awesome antique suitcases which are clearly perfect for storage while looking sophisticated and whimsical.
Winter in Milwaukee is long and cold and snowy. This week April begins and we have officially been enjoying spring for ten days. Hard to tell, isn't it? While we are ALL tired of the weather, I suspect many of you share my winter clothes exhaustion as well. For instance, yesterday my winter white work coat was banished to the back of the closet. I can't look at it any more. I'll put four layers of fleece under Babs (my trench) if I have too, but I'm not wearing it again until November at the earliest.
How does one balance a rainy 42 degree day with your desire to wear spring fashion? Here are my suggestions:
Fingerless mittens. You know you still need something on your hands in the morning to scrape the ice off your car. Plus, so easy to text! I've seen these everywhere from Amazon.com to Urban Outfitters, but found two great options; long gray mittens from Michel Kors and hand-made mittens by StellasKnits on Etsy:
Layer a sweater or jacket over a summer dress with tights. Here's a great look from Anthropology.
Pull out your leather jacket. Its not just for fall. How great is this Steve Madden Faux jacket?
Wear scarves in bright pastel colors in lighter fabrics. It will still keep you warm. Try ShopStyle for options. Add a hat (of course, I suggest a fedora). Look how Anne Hathaway pulls off both. Please credit appropriate pap for photo.
Or, lounge on a beach in the sun because sometimes you just have to get away. Hopefully these suggestions will help you make it until July, when the temps move from the 50's to the 80's.