March 15, 2007

Packing in Style

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The joy of spring break, now so close you can hear the plane engine humming as Ithaca becomes a blurry, irrelevant spot in the landscape, is marred by only one thing — the displeasure that is packing. For most of us college students, the packing ritual entails an 11th-hour scramble to the laundry mat, where we wash only the clothes we think we might need during our trip and frantically stuff the still-damp items into a suitcase just minutes before your ride arrives. As we all know, irresponsible packing can lead to frustrating situations during a trip, in some cases causing us to sacrifice good style. Merely a simple technique, easily mastered by any one of us ivy-leaguers, packing can be more irritating than it is difficult. But with a range of bright and spunky travel accessories big name designers are offering up by the handfuls, this season packing is (almost) fun!

After many trips of wearing optimistically-packed paper-thin tee-shirts in what turned out to be 50 degree torrential rains, checking a destination’s weather conditions has become the obvious first step to successful packing. Whether it’s hot or cold though, packing items that can be layered in various ways and matched with many items is essential.
Say you’re going to the beach where it is fairly warm this time of year, you might take several tee-shirts that can be teamed with a sweatshirt and shorts during the day and with a jacket and a pair of nice pants for night.

Avoid over-packing by keeping your clothing simple while using easy-to-pack accessories like catchy jewelry, scarves and sunglasses to liven up your look. Shoes are tricky when it comes to packing because shoe styles are very activity-specific and casual looks are harder to pull-off for dressier occasions and vice-versa. But, in general, one can get away with taking just three pairs: a very comfortable pair for walking (see: sneakers), a comfortable, yet dressier pair (see: flats) and a dressier pair for nights (see: heels).

Above all, it’s important to remember that the dynamics of fashion are different when traveling: it’s not necessary to wear a different outfit each day as long as you just look clean and put-together. Throw these items into one of the season’s ultra-cute toiletries cases, designed by the some of the trendiest names in the business.

Packing intelligently and efficiently is not only fundamental for looking great, but also leaves you space in your suitcase for all the things you’ll buy during your travels! Items which are versatile and multi-functional are great space-savers. For example, large nylon tote bags or backpacks (making a colorful splash on the Prada spring’s runway) can be used as carry-alls in your trek from airport to airport and also on day trips or as beach bags during your stay.

Adding a pouch-wallet which can double as a clutch eliminates the need to pack a handbag. Also, swap bulky soaps and shampoo bottles for trouble-free travel-size containers sold at pharmacies. Similarly, instead of carting your everyday fragrance in its fragile glass bottle, stock up on department store samples.

Being forced to pair beach sandals and sweatshirt with a fancy dress on a dinner date is a thing of the past.

This spring break, even your bags can look chic by adding the season’s new cute, recognizable luggage tags.