Why I’m taking my oldest underwear to Europe

LogoToday is packing day, the day that I’ve been waiting for ever since February when we purchased our teeny tiny suitcases and booked our flights! I’ve been asked to reveal what goes into my tiny suitcase and today I’m going to do just that, but first I have to share a packing tip that I never would have thought of on my own. When I decided that we should try traveling with carry-on luggage only, I searched for tips online and that’s when I decided to take my oldest underwear to Europe!

Because we’re traveling light, I’ll be doing laundry in hotel sinks and hanging it to dry. Instead of washing that old ragged underwear the last time before we fly home, I’ll simply drop it in the trash! Less laundry to do and a wee bit more space in my suitcase to bring home a small memento or two! Genius!

And now, what else is in that suitcase? The photo and list below include what I’ll be wearing on the plane. Initially, I was thinking about taking only four tops instead of the six that are shown, but after packing Richard’s bag (yes, I pack for both of us) I realized that our little suitcases will hold more than I anticipated and I added a couple more.

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Packing list:

  • 1 pair jeans
  • 2 pairs lightweight long pants
  • 1 pair capris
  • 1 pair leggings
  • 2 camisoles
  • 6 tops – 1 long sleeved, 3 with 3/4 length sleeves, 2 short sleeved
  • 1 little black dress
  • 1 dressy black jacket
  • 1 ultra light down vest
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 lightweight hoodie
  • 1 windbreaker jacket
  • 1 hat
  • 3 pairs shoes
  • 1 swimsuit
  • sleepwear, underwear, and socks

There are two keys to successfully packing light. The first is coordinating colours. As you can see from the photo, every top I packed can be worn with every bottom. I can easily visualize about 30 outfits coming out of that little suitcase and we aren’t even going to be gone that many days! The second key is layering. For example, the little black dress is simple, sleeveless, and very lightweight. It can be worn over the black leggings or without and it looks good worn under several of the tops and/or the dressy black jacket. Depending on the weather, the hoodie, down vest, and windbreaker jacket can each be worn individually or I can layer them if we encounter chillier temperatures. The swimsuit is on the very bottom of the suitcase where it will probably stay as I don’t actually anticipate using it. I never travel without one though, just in case.

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Another key to successful packing is utilizing space wisely. For example, my extra pairs of shoes are filled with small items like our spare pairs of eyeglasses and our sunglasses. There’s even a pair of socks stuffed in that bottle of medication!

Many travellers swear that you can fit more into your suitcase by rolling everything instead of folding, but that hasn’t been my experience. I prefer to fold basics like pants and tops, but I rolled a lot of the other items.

We expect to have wifi in each of the places that we’ll be staying, so I plan to share some travel posts along the way. I’m not sure if Fashion Friday will appear every week or not, but I’ll do my best!

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Building a cohesive wardrobe

LogoI’ve written before about my 3Cs of fashion… classy, confident, and comfortable, but today I want to look at another C… cohesive. Cohesion could be the difference between a wardrobe that works and one that doesn’t, so what does this C word mean?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, cohesive means “united and working together effectively” and the Collins English Dictionary says that something that is cohesive “consists of parts that fit together well and form a united whole”. That sounds like a workable wardrobe to me!

So what makes a wardrobe cohesive? I would suggest two things… most of the tops work with most of the bottoms and the majority of the garments are versatile enough to be dressed up or down for a variety of venues and occasions.

How then do we build that cohesive wardrobe? Obviously, few of us can scrap our entire closet full of clothes and start from scratch, but begin by evaluating what you already have and then work toward making purchases that add cohesion.

  • If you haven’t already, define your personal style. I’ve written about how to use Pinterest to help you do that here.
  • Choose a colour palette. Build your basic wardrobe around a few colours that suit your complexion, that you feel drawn to, and that coordinate well with one another. This doesn’t have to be boring. Scarves and accessories are a great way to add pops of other colours. Pattern and texture also add variety.
  • Only buy pieces that will go with what you already own. Ask yourself, can I wear this at least three different ways with items that I already have in my closet? If so, it will probably be a good purchase. This may not work for something like a special occasion dress, but it’s a good rule of thumb for most other wardrobe purchases.

If you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll end up with a cohesive wardrobe that will make getting dressed in the morning easy and enjoyable. No more staring at a closet full of mismatched clothes and moaning about having nothing to wear!

Nothing to wear

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I’ve been thinking a lot about cohesiveness lately for two reasons. First of all, spring is finally coming to the Canadian prairie and I’ll soon be doing my seasonal wardrobe switch. As I bring out my spring/summer wardrobe, I’ll be looking at it with a critical eye and deciding where the gaps are and what I need to fill them with. Secondly, it’s less than two weeks until I’ll be packing that teeny tiny suitcase and flying off to Europe for three and a half weeks. This will be our first attempt at traveling with carry-on luggage only, so whatever goes into that one little suitcase is going to have to work well together!

Choosing the shoes

LogoOne of my favourite fashion bloggers, Susan B of une femme d’un certain âge, frequently suggests that when you’re planning what to pack for a trip, you should start with the shoes. That hasn’t been my usual practice, but for our upcoming trip to Europe I thought perhaps I should follow her advice.

I firmly believe that the best way to see a city is on foot. We’re going to be visiting several cities and I expect that we’ll be doing a LOT of walking. Some of it will even be on cobblestone streets! Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. In fact, they’re probably the most important things we’ll take with us, so from the moment we started planning I’ve been thinking about which ones should go with me.

I have several pairs of trendy fashion sneakers, but they’re more about looks than long distance walking. I thought about taking my trusty Merrell hiking shoes, but they’re all about comfort on the trail and not very attractive to look at. No, I wanted something that was comfortable and supportive for all the walking we’ll be doing, but also nice looking. Nothing in my shoe collection seemed to fit the bill.

Then I wandered into a Payless closing out sale to see what was left on the shelves and there they were! A pair of Airwalk Speed Vitesse sneakers in rose gold!

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I was pretty sure I’d found my new travelling companions and it didn’t hurt that they were on sale for 30% off. Since buying them, I’ve worn them on two long walks and now I know for certain that I’ll be walking the streets of Europe in them. They definitely tick all the boxes for me! Comfortable, casual, and classy looking!

I’m hoping that there’s room for one or two other pairs of shoes in my teeny tiny carry-on suitcase, but if I had to go with only one pair, these ones would do the job.

Which Diane are you?

LogoBefore I begin, I want to give credit where credit is due. As I sat in doctor’s waiting room earlier this week, I came across the idea for this post in a recent issue of Zoomer magazine. “It’s time to embrace your inner Diane,” suggested veteran stylist, Susie Sheffman in an article written by Karen von Hahn. “There’s a Diane for every one of us, and all of them are inspiring.”

She was referring to Diane Keaton, Diane Sawyer, and Diane von Fürstenberg, all in their early 70s and all style icons in their own right. I’ve written before about choosing your own style icon, someone whose style you admire or whose outfits you love. So, is there a Diane for you?

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Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton is known for her quirky, androgynous style. She wears her menswear inspired suits with panache. Her signature style made its debut over 40 years ago with her starring role in “Annie Hall” but apparently the bowler hat that she wore in the movie came from her own closet. To this day she is often seen wearing a similar one.

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Diane Sawyer

American television journalist, Diane Sawyer, on the other hand, epitomizes classic, sophisticated style. Her tailored outfits are both figure-flattering and professional looking.

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Diane Von Fürstenberg

Flamboyant is the word that comes to mind when I think of Belgian fashion designer Diane Von Fürstenberg. Her taste is eclectic and colourful. Once married to a German prince, she could now be rightly called the queen of boho!

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So which Diane are you? Do you see yourself in any of them or is your style completely different? If I had to choose, I’d say that my style is closest to Diane Keaton’s but somewhat less extreme. I could see myself dressed as she is in this final photo and I love her hats, but I tend toward a more feminine look than she does.

Diane Keaton out and about, London, UK - 16 Jun 2016

We’re each one unique. It’s fun to get ideas and inspiration from other women, but in the end, love who you are and don’t try to be anyone else!

Spring jacket

LogoOne spring, many years ago, while shopping for something completely unrelated, I fell in love with a classic anorak in a light beige colour. At the time, I didn’t really need a new spring coat and I did my best to talk myself out of buying it. “I don’t need it,” I told myself. “It will show every speck of dirt,” I continued. My arguments were futile. The jacket insisted on coming home with me and I’m ever so glad it did. I’ve literally worn it until the collar and the cuffs are threadbare. It’s been through the washer innumerable times and always came out looking good.

As much as I still love that old jacket, by the end of last season I had to admit that it was time to begin thinking about a replacement. Then, about a month ago, I was sitting on a bench at the entrance to the fitting rooms in a Reitmans store in Red Deer waiting for my sister-in-law to try on a blouse when I glanced across the store and there it was!

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A classic anorak is a lightweight jacket, long enough to cover the hips and typically with a hood, that protects the wearer against wind and rain; perfect for spring and fall in our part of the world. With a drawstring at the waist, it’s roomy enough to wear over a sweater on chillier days, but can be snugged in for a more fitted look if desired.

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My jacket came in navy and this lovely olive green, both colours that are very much on trend this spring. I don’t know if it will last as long as its predecessor did, but I’m certainly enjoying wearing it now that our weather is finally warming up and the last bits of snow are quickly disappearing!

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The Heart of cabi Foundation

LogoIf you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I wear a lot of cabi. There are many reasons for that and one of them is definitely the Heart of cabi Foundation.  ❤

The mission of the foundation is to encourage and empower women in need around the world. This is accomplished in several ways. For each new stylist who joins the company, cabi funds a small business loan in her name for a woman entrepreneur in a developing country. They do this in partnership with Opportunity International, a nonprofit organization that works to end global poverty by creating and sustaining jobs. To date, 15 232 loans have been funded in 62 countries around the world. To learn more about this program and to meet some of the women who have benefitted from it, watch the short video at the end of this post.

❤  The Heart of cabi Foundation is also very actively involved in domestic giving primarily through disaster relief efforts. When disaster hits a community, the foundation partners with local cabi stylists to plan clothing distribution events for women who have lost their homes. Clothing also goes to other groups of women in need including those escaping domestic violence or rescued from human trafficking and those transitioning from homelessness. To date, $54 million USD in clothing has been distributed.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a cabi stylist to contribute to this worthy cause. Every woman who places a cabi order is given the option of rounding her order total up to the nearest dollar. It may only be a few cents, but together these cents become dollars that empower women who are working to create better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. In addition, the net proceeds from the sale of one item in each season’s collection helps fund The Heart of cabi Foundation.  ❤

Every season since I was introduced to cabi, I’d look at the Heart of cabi selection, try it on, and think about buying it, but for one reason or another it was never quite right for me. Until this season, that is!

This season’s Heart of cabi piece is the Petal Blouse. The moment I tried it on, I loved it!

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Smooth and lightweight, this body-skimming polyester blouse drapes beautifully and is so comfortable! Although it’s part of the Spring 2019 collection, like many other cabi garments, the Petal Blouse will act as an all-season piece for me. Until the weather warms up, it adds a pop of colour under a sweater or a jacket.

The cardigan on the left is also from cabi, several seasons ago. Cabi is made to last and the sweater has been a workhorse in my wardrobe.

Once summer comes, there are many ways that I can wear the Petal Blouse. There’s the front tuck, the side tuck, and I even like it belted.

Though each cabi garment comes in only one colour or pattern, cabi is committed to ensuring that each piece coordinates with clothing from at least three seasons before and three seasons after making it easy to build a well coordinated, versatile wardrobe. Here I’m wearing my new Petal Blouse with my Brick Dust Skinnies from Spring 2018. It also pairs well with red and burgundy.

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Though most of my spending this year is going to travel, not clothing, I look at this piece as a donation. I’m always happy to support a company with a heart! Besides, it will tuck very easily into the teeny tiny suitcase that I’ll be packing about five weeks from now!                                                                                                ❤

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have not been compensated in any way and the words are entirely my own.

Three years of Fashion Friday!

LogoOn March 25, 2016 I introduced a new weekly feature to the blog. From the beginning, Fashion Friday posts have been more than simply “look what I’m wearing today” pieces. Over the past three years, I’ve written about a wide variety of topics related to how we dress, how we present ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves.

One of the reasons that I decided to add a weekly feature to the blog was to ensure that I posted regularly especially during those periods of time when we weren’t doing anything that seemed particularly blog worthy. I’d been following several fashion blogs for quite some time and had learned a lot about my own personal style, so the topic was one that appealed to me. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep it up, but I haven’t run out of ideas yet, so Fashion Friday will continue for the foreseeable future!

There have been a number of unexpected rewards in writing these weekly posts. I’ve challenged myself, stepping out of my fashion comfort zone and trying new looks. I’ve become more confident about my own appearance and more comfortable in my own skin. Best of all, though, I’ve connected with interesting women around the world.

My three most popular Fashion Friday posts have had nothing to do with what I wear. Two of them featured a number of the fashion bloggers that I follow and the third one, posted last July, dealt with the untimely death of fashion model, Cindy Joseph. Hardly a day goes by without someone finding my blog by searching “what kind of cancer did Cindy Joseph die from” or something similar.

Here are photos of a few of the outfits that I’ve worn on the blog over the past three years. I call my style classy casual.

As always, I encourage you to leave a comment below. What would you like to see on the blog in the future? Do you have any fashion questions or topics that you’d like to see me address on upcoming Fridays?