Leah's Fabulous Finds
Inspiring women

Regifting: Taboo or Socially Acceptable

Posted on: December 26th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Now that the holidays are over, you’ve likely acquired more never-to-be-used stuff. The question now is what to do with it all. Packing it into your already full closets which contains more unused, unworn gifts from holidays past seems like a waste.  Instead of keeping items you’ll never use, consider regifting that unwanted item to someone that will love it.

Don’t Become a Hoarder

It was once considered quite the taboo to regift. After all, the spirit of gift giving is to show your love and appreciation to the receiver. And what does that say if you discard the gift. However, according to the Spending & Saving Tracker survey by American Express, 76 percent of people now say regifting is acceptable.   Unless you want to end up on an episode of “Hoarders”, you’ll need to dispose of these unwanted gifts in some way. Why not give it to someone else that will really love it. Your only reason for keeping a gift should not be because of an assumed obligation to the gift giver.

Who can I give this to?

If the first thought that comes into your head after receiving a gift is – Who can I give this to? – you are probably a chronic regifter. Perhaps you are the person who has everything or maybe you are just really picky. Whatever the reason, regifting is a great way to pass along wonderful, sometimes even expensive gifts that might be perfect for someone else. Just be sure to keep track of who gave you what. There is nothing more embarrassing than regifting a gift to the person who gave it to you.

Host a regifting party

Instead of avoiding the taboo of regifting for fear of offending family and friends, host a regifting party in the new year.  The only requirement is that each attendee bring an unwanted gift to exchange for one they will actually use.  After all, regifting is the origin of the white elephant gift exchange. So at the very least you’ll all get a good laugh when someone opens your gift from Aunt Martha containing three ceramic kitten bowls.

Ceramic kitty measuring cups found on Amazon.com

Ceramic kitty measuring cups found on Amazon.com

Whether you choose to regift, remember it is the thought that counts. No matter how much the gift may seem like it couldn’t possibly be intended for you, it was. Smile, say thank you, and place the ceramic kitty bowls in your cupboard.


Gift Guide for the Men in your Life

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Figuring out what to buy the men in your life is no easy task. Especially if your dad, husband and brothers are the type that seem to already have everything. To me, men always seem a bit more difficult to buy for. Then too, it may be because the perfect handbag wouldn’t exactly knock their socks off.  This year, instead of buying him another fishing lure or cooler, consider one of these man-worthy gifts.

It’s the season to sparkle

Most women swoon over little blue boxes wrapped in tiny white bows. They call their girlfriends to gab over what could possibly be inside the obvious jewelry box. Small boxes can be equally as exciting for men. Plus, they’ll never guess that the gift is even for them. Blue Marlin Jewelry in Islamorada offers beautiful jewelry for men including men’s watches and cuff links. So if you have a guy who likes to get dressed up, consider buying him something to sparkle in.

Stop into to Blue Marlin Jewelry’s new location at 81549 Old Highway in Islamorada, open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Capture Memories

A GoPro is the perfect gift for the adventurous men in your life. These small, lightweight cameras are wearable and mountable to shoot action photos and videos for a lifetime of memories. If you have a sportsman or outdoorsman in your family, the GoPro is a great gift to help them film their next big catch or back country adventure. Starting at $299, GoPros are available at Divers Direct located at 535 Greene Street in Key West. Open Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For the Adventurous

Help your guy try something he’s always wanted to do by buying him lessons to try wakeboarding or kiteboarding. Keys Cable and the oTHErside Adventure Park is the Southernmost cable wake park in the United States offering rentals, coaching and passes to try these fun pastimes. This experience is also one the whole family can enjoy.   Open 7 days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Located on Grassy Key, call (305) 414-8245 for rates or appointments.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Green Egg

The best gift I have ever given my husband was a Green Egg for his 40th birthday. He was dying to buy a Green Egg and after our old grill rusted out, I splurged for this funny looking ceramic grill, roaster, smoker, and baker extraordinaire. The reason it has been the best gift, is that it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Beyond the normal steaks and burgers, he’s made smoked ham injected with pure maple syrup, brisket, leg of lamb, smoked turkey, BBQ chicken, chicken wings, fire roasted pizza, smoked BBQ ribs and the list goes on. The aroma coming from our house has the neighbors mouths watering and has turned my husband into the cook in the family. I now just get to watch with a glass of wine in hand. Although I’m starting to get concerned that he may run off and join the BBQ competition circuit, these chef-like meals has made us into quite the foodies and cooking together has been fun.

Forest Tek Lumber located at 88521 Overseas Highway in Tavernier carries Green Egg’s starting at $799. They’ll deliver and if you’d like more than just the base the Egg sits in, they also make custom tables for all your grilling needs.

And don’t forget the gifts that don’t cost a thing. Plan to watch the sunset together while enjoying his favorite bottle of wine. Give him a kind compliment or note to let him know how much you love him. Or provide a helping hand to do a chore he normally does alone.

No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.   Happy Holidays.

The Perils of Holiday Shopping

Posted on: December 20th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

I have a confession to make. I hate shopping over the holidays. The long lines, abundance of shoppers, and packed parking lots instantly turns me into the Grinch. Lucky for you, we live in the Florida Keys, far far away from those crazy shopping malls packed with overzealous holiday bargain hunters.

Our shopping options consist of beautiful boutiques where you’ll find friendly locals eager to help with everything on your shopping list. For a pleasant shopping experience this holiday season, take a look at a few shopping tips to help you get into the shopping mood.

Wear comfortable clothing

Whether you’ll be shopping in the Florida Keys or traveling to the mainland, comfortable clothing is a must. I recommend dressing in layers as stores are usually air conditioned and can get cool. Also, make sure your footwear is appropriate for the hours you plan to spend perusing racks of ugly Christmas sweaters, candy canes, ornaments, and stocking stuffers. You may also want to pack a hair tie to pull your hair back in case you have to fight someone for the last $5 bejeweled tree topper.

Create a List and Budget

Make a list of all the gifts you need to purchase for the holidays. By having an idea of what you need and writing it down, you can save both time and money. When you don’t have a list, it’s much easier to over buy and over spend.

Look for the Bargain but Don’t Buy Just to Buy

Bargains are great but you should never purchase something just because it’s a deal. If the item is for you, make sure you will absolutely use it and are not just buying to buy.

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to buy cold weather festive items. After all, we do live in the Florida Keys were its warm year round. Instead of sweaters and boots, consider a more fun approach and buy some new swimwear this holiday season. The owners of the Waters Edge Gift Cottage opened the new Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique in October. Located at mile marker 99 at 99228 Overseas Highway in Key Largo, this new boutique offers cover ups, beach fashion accessories, beautiful swim wear and unique gifts. Plus, your cold weather based friends and family will love receiving something beachy along with an invitation to come visit. It will help them get through their cold winter knowing they have something cute to wear or enjoy on a future trip to the Florida Keys. Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique is open Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique in Key Largo

Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique in Key Largo

In the Iconic 80’s flick Troop Beverly Hills, Phyllis Nefler says, “I may be a beginner at some things but I’ve got a black belt in shopping.” By following these tips, you too can earn your shopping black belt. Remember, no hair pulling…after all it is the season to be jolly.



Planning Ahead for What to Wear

Posted on: November 15th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Dressing up is synonymous with celebrating. In the words of Rachel Zoe, “It’s what differentiates the cork-popping moments from the everyday routine of our lives.” With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start forging a plan for what you will be wearing to all of the festivities. From holiday parties with friends, to work functions, to family celebrations, each event means a different outfit. By creating a plan for what you will be wearing, you will ensure you won’t be stuck wearing the same black dress you wore last year. Very few holiday celebrations happen spontaneously so save on the stress and make a plan now for looking your best.

Identify what you already have

First, go through your closet and look at what you already own and what needs repairs. Do you own a party dress that still fits you well and looks fabulous? Do you have work appropriate apparel that can be worn for holiday celebrations with your colleagues? Are your dress-up shoes in need of a shine, polish or being reheeled? If so, now is the time to do so. You will also want to check on whether you own the right accessories and undergarments. Often the clothes hanging in our closet that have yet to be worn are hanging there because you still don’t own the right strappy heels to go with the dress.   Here is a list of some of the things you should own: an LBD, a formal cocktail dress in a color other than black, a sweater, wrap, or jacket that could be worn over a dress or skirt for warmth and for more conservative work functions, an evening bag, and glamorous jewelry.

Is there a Dress Code?

Before deciding what to wear, be sure you know the dress code. New Year’s Eve celebrations and holiday weddings both tend to demand more formal attire. If you’re not sure of the dress code, consider the venue and the time of day. Evening events will always be more formal in nature. The Florida Keys are typically more relaxed when it comes to dress codes, however, the holidays are the perfect excuse to break out your sequined shoes and fabulous LBD. It’s never a bad thing to be the most glamorous person in the room.

Reinvent a Look

Stylish women know the art of reinventing a look with chic accessories. If you always wear your LBD with the same heels and jewelry, it may be time to swap in a new bold necklace and matching heels to make the same basic dress look a bit different.   Suzette Kelly in Key West creates beautiful handmade jewelry perfect for dressing up your holiday look. All of her creations are handmade with sterling silver, 14 karat gold, semiprecious stones, and Swarovski crystal. Locally, you can find Suzette’s one-of-a-kind jewelry at Wanderlust Boutique at 310 Petronia Street in Key West. Open Monday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4.

Sterling silver, jade and precosia crystal by Suzette Kelly at Wanderlust Boutique in Key West

Sterling silver, jade and precosia crystal by Suzette Kelly at Wanderlust Boutique in Key West

Dressing up is an opportunity to show another side of you. The most important thing to remember is that you need to feel comfortable and fabulous in what you are wearing. With a well thought plan, you can be the life of the party instead of worrying about what you are wearing.

Fall Fashion Trends

Posted on: November 15th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

The humidity has finally subsided and it’s time to pull out your fall favorites. Embracing fall trends can be tricky when you live in a tropical climate. And this fall is all about cozy knits, boxy wrap jackets and capes, and shearling accents which may be a bit too wintery for our weather in the Florida Keys. But there are many trends that will easily help you make the transition your summer wardrobe into fall.

When trying to figure out how to work a new trend into your wardrobe, it’s always best to start with classic pieces such as accessories or a jacket. Review the list of fall trends below and then add a few key pieces to your wardrobe to update your look.

Gucci embraces the call of the wild with this leopard ensemble at Milan Fashion Week Fall 2014

Gucci embraces the call of the wild with this leopard ensemble at Milan Fashion Week Fall 2014


Midi Skirts

A midi skirt is a skirt or dress that hits in the middle of your calf. It’s fashion forward and a major trend for fall. This ladylike look can work for office or fun by pairing it with the proper accessories. Take a look at the next few trends below and try wearing a midi skirt with leopard or buy one in a bold hue like blue or orange.

Seeing Spots

Fall’s boldest print is leopard. This classic pattern is hot, hot, hot. Whether worn head to toe or as an accent, leopard is the most eye catching trend for fall. Worn as an accent with black is a safe bet, but to create a wow factor try wearing leopard with primary colors such as yellow, blue or red. If you’re going to wear the pattern head to toe, make sure the prints are different sizes to create contrast so you don’t end up looking like you’re dressed for a Halloween party.

Color is the new black

Make an impact this season with color. Don’t cast aside your springy pastels just yet. Mint green, pastel pink and baby blue pieces are still hot for fall. Transition your pastel staples into fall by pairing it with more wintery textures and dark accents such as leather, black and tweed.

Orange and blue took over the runways for fall 2014. From juicy brights to subdued muted hues, you can find these beautiful shades in a range of colors to complement your skin tone. For a modern take on the color trend, wear your favorite shade from top to bottom, or mix a few to create a color-blocked ensemble.

If you’re sick of black and white, try a happy medium of both and go for some gray. Gray makes a beautiful pairing with pastels, sapphire blue and juicy orange.

Add Layers and Textures

Layering is easily one of my favorite dressing techniques for fall. Layer a summer dress with lightweight scarves and fitted jackets to look effortlessly stylish while also making good use of your entire wardrobe. To add texture to an ensemble, try mixing in a new texture you don’t wear often like leather, lace, sequins, brocade, and tweed. Just make sure the textures you fall in love with are still light weight enough for our winter weather in the Keys. Get extra bold and mix the textures. Leather and lace can look pretty amazing together.

Fashion trends are open to your interpretation, so have fun and break out of your normal style boundaries. Happy shopping.

Style for the Home

Posted on: November 15th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Just as our wardrobe is curated to our personal style, your home should also be a reflection of you.  A beautiful home can give you and your family a sense of security. If you make it personal and meaningful it can become your haven.  A home is a place to unwind after a long day and a place to celebrate life’s special moments with family and friends.  Each room should reflect your personal taste, which allows your personality to shine through.   Deciding on a style and creating a space both beautiful and practical can feel like an overwhelming task.  But following a few simple steps can ease the way to creating a home you will be proud of.

Consider a Theme

A theme helps you stay focused and provides clarity.  It unifies a home’s décor by  blending rooms together.  The theme you select will encompass the entire home and make each room feel a part of a grand plan.  In the Florida Keys, many homes reflect a nautical or beach theme, bringing in rich blues, nautical stripes and ocean accents.

Select a Color Scheme

Another important step in creating your Florida Keys haven is deciding on the color scheme. Get inspiration from the colors that surround you, bringing the outdoors in and the interior out.  Using colors that reflect your surroundings gives a home a sense of belonging.

When selecting paint colors focus on three main colors to use throughout your home.   In each room you will have a base color and two accent colors.  The base color in the main room of your home will switch in other rooms and may become the accent color. For instance, the accent color can become your base and the base one of your accent colors.  By keeping the same three colors throughout your home, each room in your house will connect to each other. By using variations of your three-color selections your home will have a comfortable flow.

Your home’s theme will assist you in determining your color scheme.  A beach style home might include such colors as blue, aqua, white, tan and beige.  While a nautical themed home may have bold colors such as navy and red paired with various shades of blue, tan and white as accent shades.

Find Inspiration

If you’re needing some inspiration, look no further than your closet.  If one color is a favorite in your wardrobe, than use it as inspiration for your home’s overall look.

Art is another great place to find inspiration for your home’s theme and color scheme.  Pull the colors from your favorite wall art or a throw pillow and use those colors throughout your home.  You can also find inspiration from your surroundings – the sunset or color of the water are a great way to bring your surroundings into your home.

Personalize Your Home

Now that you have a theme and color scheme, it’s time to choose your home’s accent pieces.  Let your personality shine when deciding your décor.  Display photos and books on topics you enjoy, add family heirlooms to maintain tradition and incorporate your favorite pastimes into your home.  Home accessories are what provide the charm and flare that reflect your personality and lifestyle. Make your home personal by incorporating  items that are meaningful to you.

uCúmbe in Islamorada is a great place to find unique decor items that will create inspiration for your home.  Located in the Village Square at The Trading Post,  uCúmbe offers beautiful coffee table books, bold wall art, one-of-a-kind tables and great gift items.  Price points vary from $5 to $1,500 providing a little something for everyone.  Located at 81868 Overseas Highway, uCúmbe is open Sunday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Stop by to check out all their beautiful new items perfect for your home.


Beautiful rolling bar with burlap finish from uCumbe

Witch or Sexy Kitten

Posted on: October 27th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to make sure you’ve got a costume lined up for the celebrations. One of the most memorable quotes from the “Sex and the City” movie occurs while Miranda is shopping for a last minute Halloween costume. While perusing the aisle of costumes, she says, “The only two choices for women; witch and sexy kitten.”

If you’re female and have ever looked for a costume in stores or online, I’m sure you can relate. Most female costumes look like something more appropriate for the bedroom than a party where others, including children, may see you. This year, instead of being witch-like or a sex kitten, opt for something a little more creative and unique.

Fantasy Fest

The 2014 Fantasy Fest in Key West is themed “Animeted Dreams & Adventures,” inspired by traditional Japanese anime and virtually all forms of creative animation. Attendees will portray characters from classic anime, comic books, and animated blockbuster hits. Anime is known for exaggerated features such as big eyes and oddly colored hair and typical characters usually have some sort of supernatural power. This provides the perfect opportunity for you to make up your own superhero. If it were me, I’d go as The Fashionator. I’d wear long fake eye lashes and have a magic wand that matched my red lips. My superpower would enable me to walk up to anyone looking less than fabulous and provide them with perhaps Italian leather shoes instead of socks with sandals or Crocs. You know how I loathe those.

Get Inspired

Pinterest is a great site for finding inspiration and DIY advice for your Halloween costume. Most pictures provide tutorials and videos on how to make the costume of your choice. A few of my favorites, 1) The Jellyfish – Wear all white and use as clear umbrella as a prop by taping white streamers down the sides and glow sticks under the umbrella. So cute, easy and with very little investment. 2) The loofah – resemble your favorite shower mate by buying 30 yards of tulle that you can cut and pin to a pair of shorts and shirt. Go for a bright color like fuschia or purple and make sure to buy a small rope as the loofah handle. 3) Leopard – animal print is in right now so you might as well take advantage of it and be a leopard for Halloween. Make use of every piece of leopard print you own and buy a pair of ears. You can draw on whiskers and a black little nose with eyeliner – at least it’s more creative than sexy kitty.

Great costumes found at Zero Dress Code

Shop Local

Our local shops have lots of great items that you can use for creating your Halloween costume. If you’re not into the DIY costumes, go to Zero Dress Code at 82205 Overseas Highway in Islamorada. With their wide range of fashion apparel and nice array of costumes, they will help you create the perfect Halloween look.   Open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Style Advice from Joan Rivers

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

On September 4 at the age of 81, Joan Rivers passed away. The Emmy award-winning star amassed over 40 years in show business as a comedian, TV personality, actress, jewelry designer, cosmetic creater, lecturer, and author. Whether you loved her or hated her, her self-deprecating, often brash, and always politically incorrect one-liners blazed a path for female comedians. She ignored all the rules imposed on women. In her words, “I succeeded by saying what everyone else was thinking.”

Known for her snappy tongue and quick wit, as well as her tenacity and work ethic, Joan Rivers was an icon that worked until her death. Her fashion sense can best be remembered on the red carpet as host of the Fashion Police.

Joan Rivers

Below are some of her memorable quotes as it relates to fashion, beauty, and life, and some thoughts on why so many related to her.


“Does fashion matter? Always – though not quite as much after death.”

Although fashion was important to Joan, her daughter and grandson were far more precious. She will be remembered by many as a wonderful mother, grandmother and friend. Perspective is key. Fashion is meant to be enjoyed but never should it be more important than your real priorities.


“Style is like herpes: You either have it or you don’t.”

This is my favorite Joan Rivers quote. It’s true that style is hard to teach. However, I find that most women’s style gets better with age and sometimes we need a little push in the right direction. As you age, your personal style is honed to be perfectly you. Thank goodness for people like Joan whose brutally honest opinions told the world what not to wear so that there just may be a few less fashion faux pas.


“My grandson is mad at me. He’s mad at me because I squandered his college fund on Spanx. It’s a lot, but there’s a lot going on here.”

No argument here. The proper undergarments can make or break an outfit. There is nothing worse than panty lines, ill fitting intimates, and curves popping up in all the wrong places.


“The only time a woman has a true orgasm is when she is shopping.”

We can all remember the feeling of euphoria when the perfect pair of shoes have been found in your size and on sale. In fact, Joan once said she wanted to spread her husband’s ashes at Neiman Marcus so that she could visit him every day. Clearly Joan loved to shop.


“The ideal beauty is a fugitive which is never found.”

“My face has been tucked in more times than a bed sheet at the holiday inn.”

There is no ideal beauty. Women come in every shape and size and they are each beautiful in their own right. Love who you are and how you look. While most stars deny plastic surgery rumors, Joan Rivers embraced it and was never shy about her surgeries. I think, in part, that her surgeries were the result of her trying to find the ideal. Joan’s true beauty was evident in her self-deprecating humor that showed her immense ability for laughing at herself.

Working Out

“If Godhad wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.”

I think it’s safe to say that Joan Rivers never tried paddle boarding in the Florida Keys. Perhaps she would have found our beautiful turquoise waters and spectacular sunsets as valuable as diamonds.


“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.”

True beauty is about having the confidence to laugh at yourself and life’s imperfections which Joan did unapologetically and honestly throughout her entire life.

Joan Rivers fashion was being honest to the point of hilarity. Her outspoken opinions were feared by celebrities who waited breathlessly on what she would say about their outfits. Anna Kendrick said that being publicly told that her dress was hideous will never feel quite as awesome. Thank you Joan for your tough love, hilarity, brutal honesty and for teaching us about how to laugh at ourselves.

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is God’s gift. That’s why we call it the present.” – Joan Rivers

Survival Guide for a Florida Keys Fashionista

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

There was once a time when Florida Keys settlers didn’t have the luxuries we have today to survive. They fought extreme heat and giant mosquitoes without (gasp!) air conditioning, bug repellent, or sunscreen. Although these are common luxuries today, it’s never fun to forget to wear the right apparel which results in looking or feeling like a settler from the early days. Below is a survival guide for every Florida Keys fashionista.


Keep the blood suckers at bay by always having bug spray available. Pack it in your car, purse, and house so that you never have to go without it. A word of caution: Some bug repellants will take off your nail polish and can discolor clothing and leather. Be careful where you spray so you aren’t left in dire need of a pedicure.

Keep practical footwear in your car at all times.

When one regularly wears inappropriate foot wear, aka sky high heels, access to more practical shoes is a must. Tennis shoes would come in handy if your car stalls on one of the stretch. You can walk in tennis shoes a lot quicker and more comfortably than you can in heels.

Likewise, flip flops are another practical shoe to keep handy. For last minute invites on the boat or to a waterfront restaurant with dock beams, throw on your flip flops. Wearing heels will only result in ruined shoes and getting stuck in dock beams. Both of which will make you look more like an amateur than a fashionista.

heel in dock


Your makeup and everyday lotion should both include SPF. If you’re going to be outside for a period of time, make sure to apply more sunscreen with a higher SPF. This means keeping sunscreen in convenient places such as your boat, car, purse, and house. Applying sunscreen while naked is the best way to make sure you don’t miss a spot. The most commonly forgotten places to apply sunscreen also happen to be some of the most sensitive. Pay extra attention to your hands, lips, nose, ears and toes. There is no reason to look like Rudolph in July. Protect your skin so that it’s as beautiful today as it is for years to come.

Never Say No to Invitation on the Water

Every Florida Keys fashionista should have a beach bag packed and ready to go at all times. It should include a towel, swimsuit, cover-up, sunscreen and hat so you have no excuse not to accept a fabulous invitation to lounge poolside or go boating with friends.

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Prevent wardrobe malfunctions with the life saving options from Hollywood Fashion Secrets. They produce double-sided fashion tape to keep clothing in place, commando underwear for invisible panty lines, and stain removing pens to stay looking fashionable throughout a busy day. Wear With All Boutique in Key Largo, carries a wide assortment of these problem solving style solutions. Located at 101401 Overseas Hwy in the Publix shopping plaza, you’ll find many style saving tricks to keep you looking confident and fashionable in the Florida Keys.

Prevent wardrobe malfunctions with the life saving options from Hollywood Fashion Secrets available at Wear With All Boutique.

Prevent wardrobe malfunctions with the life saving options from Hollywood Fashion Secrets available at Wear With All Boutique.

Too Much Baggage? How to Avoid Overpacking

Posted on: September 3rd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

We’ve all had the experience where we’ve packed too much, too little, or none of the right clothing. The art of traveling comes down to concise and organized packing. Here are some tips on mastering jet setting while not forgetting style in the rush to catch a plane.

Pack in Advance

A key component to packing is to do so in advance. I recommend starting the packing process one week prior to your trip. This will give you time to make sure your items are clean before you leave. There is nothing worse than packing the night before an early morning flight only to realize your favorite dress is at the cleaners.

Make a List

Start by making a list by the number of days you’ll be traveling. You’ll likely want a different outfit for each day and night of your trip. If traveling for fun, you’ll need casual outfits with comfortable shoes for day while sightseeing and dressier outfits at night for dinners and entertainment. While writing down each outfit on your list, it’s important to try everything on. This will make you think about the type of undergarments and accessories that need to be packed in addition to making sure that the garment doesn’t need any repairs. Also, check the weather, it’s no fun to arrive at your destination only to realize that its much colder than you realized and you didn’t bring a jacket.

What to Wear

Wear comfortable clothing on the flight. You never know when you’ll be delayed or miss a flight and end up spending extra hours in the airport. However, this does not mean you should wear sweat pants. Instead opt for layers such as a maxi skirt with tank and sweater. I also recommend a scarf (to keep warm in cold airports and airplanes), minimal jewelry (more to take off when you go through security), and comfortable shoes (you’ll be doing a lot of walking). I once made the mistake of wearing a dress with a lot of embellishments on it while traveling. As I went through security the scanner lit up like a Christmas tree and I had to be padded down and searched in the back. This was an uncomfortable situation that could have been easily avoided by simply wearing the right clothing. Also, no one looks good after a long flight wearing a full face of makeup. Instead, slip on a stylish pair of sunglasses and a little lipstick and you’ll look fabulous! They also can help hide tired, blood-shot eyes after a red-eye flight.

How to Pack

Roll it, don’t fold it. Rolling clothing will create fewer wrinkles and more space for other items. In addition, stuff workout clothing and socks into shoes to help them keep their shape while also saving space. As you’re laying items into your luggage, place a dryer sheet between clothing. This will make everything smell fresh when you unpack. Also, never check anything valuable. Your carry-on luggage should include your jewelry, cosmetics, swimsuit, one casual and one formal outfit, and anything that you couldn’t live without.   In addition, your carry-on luggage should include socks (flights are cold), lip balm, antibacterial wipes, tissues, advil, toothbrush/toothpaste and a tide pen (for erasing spills and dirt from clothing when traveling). All leakable products should be packed in resealable plastic bags to minimize spillage on clothing and other items in your suitcase. Clearly mark your bag using a bright tag or a ribbon. Black luggage all looks the same at baggage claim.

Roll your clothing for less wrinkles and more space when traveling

Roll your clothing for less wrinkles and more space when traveling

More is not better

Just because you own it doesn’t mean you should pack it. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot carry your own luggage then you’ve packed too much. It’s not your husband’s job to be the bag man and you should not need to see a chiropractor or masseuse after traveling.

Pack clothing and accessories that you will wear more than once. A dress can be worn at night with heels and then worn again later in trip with sandals for a more casual day look. On my last trip, my husband commented on the number of shoes I pulled out of my luggage asking whether I really needed seven pairs of heels for a 10-day trip. I explained that I did as they each matched a different handbag that went with a specific outfit. Alright, point taken, perhaps packing seven pairs of shoes with matching handbags was a bit much but I would rather have fewer outfits and more accessories. A simple black dress can look like a completely different outfit when accessorized with different shoes, jewelry, scarves, or a jacket.

Also, keep in mind that hotels offer dry cleaning and laundry service for relatively inexpensive fee. When considering that most airlines charge between $25 and $50 for a checked bag, using the hotel’s laundry service isn’t a bad option. Hotels also have a laundry machine which you can use for around $.75 per load.

On your next trip, use a few of these tips to help you stay stylish while traveling. And if you forget something, it’s the perfect opportunity to do a little shopping! Bon voyage!