Tag Archives: travel

How to Dress: Four Steps to Being Plane-Ready!

I’ve flown a ton in the last few months. Weddings, graduations, a work trip and a vacation. Some flights were international, some were in the US only.

Here’s the thing: I HATE flying. I do. I’m afraid to fly. The only thing I ever wanted to be on a plane was comfortable. Or so I thought, until I got puked on and had to wear that same outfit to a business meeting because the airline lost my luggage. It made me seriously reconsider my plane uniform of sweats.

Planes are cold, usually. Sometimes, the weather can vary dramatically from departure to arrival, like if you fly into a stopover where there’s snow, then land somewhere that’s 80 degrees and sunny. So, you need to be prepared for a variety of temperatures.

I finally realized that I should wear something that is flexible and could be a cute outfit in a variety of ways if I get stuck somewhere or my luggage does. Or I get puked on.

Here’s the other thing: If I felt cute and put together, I felt more confident on the plane. Less scared to fly, even. I’m not really sure why that is.

So here’s my 4 step style plan for dressing for a plane ride.

1. Wearing Lightweight Layers is the Key

I like lightweight layers for a few reasons: if you are going somewhere hot, you can easily pack them away in your carry-on once you are at your destination and no one will be the wiser.

I usually wear some kind of tank top or tank dress to layer over my leggings. The only pants I will wear on a flight. (See Step Two.) Then I wear a cardigan or sweater of some kind. This is where I try to bring in some kind of luxury: I’ll wear a comfy cashmere hoodie or a really soft jersey wrap.

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James Pearce

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Modcloth

Modcloth

2. Don’t Wear Jeans!

Here’s what I found does NOT work for me: jeans. Here’s why: I have to wear a belt with jeans because I don’t want to show my underwear in the back as I lift and lug my luggage around, take off my shoes at security, etc. A woman in front of us on our trip to New Orleans bent over as she put her carry-on luggage on the conveyor, and showed everyone her hindquarters. It was noticed, believe me, by everyone behind me. Wear a thong, I hear you saying. I don’t want to wear a thong on a long flight. Yikes. Here’s why I don’t want to wear jeans AND a belt. My usually normal stomach? Something happens to it in the air. I get super bloated. (Sexy, right?) So the waistband and the jeans create an uncomfortable situation.

I like to wear leggings on a flight and here is why. They are comfortable. They stretch if you get bloated on a flight. They can look like tights. They don’t show off your bum if you have to pick something up. I like to wear them with a long sweater or a dress. Also: JEGGINGS! I know leggings and jeggings are NOT PANTS, but, you know what? They are perfect for flying.

Leggings

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Victoria’s Secret

(I think all leggings are pretty equal, and you don’t need to pay more than $35 for a pair.)

3. Wear Comfortable, Warm Shoes or Boots

I also tend to get really cold feet during a flight. So flats or sandals are a no-no. I brought socks for a while and changed into them, but my shoes just took up valuable real estate under the seat. Boots: I tried wearing some cute, tight, fashionable ones. They nearly constricted my legs, and I was worried about DVT. So, I wear UGGS. I know. People HATE them, especially fashionable people. But for me, there is no more comfortable shoe for a flight. They aren’t tight on the leg, they don’t have a heel, they can easily be pulled on and off during security stops. They are WARM. Love. Them. I bring a pair of ballet flats in my carry-on to change into once I get where I am going, unless it’s cold.

UGGS

4. Scarves are the Best

Now, the most crucial part: a huge scarf. A scarf does a lot of things. There is some research that your chance of getting a respiratory infection when you wear a scarf around your throat and chest is reduced. Also: It keeps you warm in that overly chilled plane air. It can provide a variety of functions: you can use it as a blanket, you can use it as a hood if your head is really cold. Plus, it can liven up your outfit with color or pattern or both.

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Burberry

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Zara

Zara

Here’s how I go from the plane:

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Sweater, James Pearce. Tank Dress, Old Navy. Scarf, Target. Leggings: Uniqlo. Boots: UGGS.

To a hot destination!

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Dress and flats, Old Navy.

What clothes work for you when you travel? Do you agree with me about my jeans rule (I have a feeling that will be controversial)?

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Filed under personal style, Uncategorized

Lessons From Pompeii

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As I mentioned, Darcy’s pursuit of pleasure on our trip was learning more about the history of Italy. History is everywhere there, unavoidable: the trappings of the Etruscans, the Roman empire, the Papacy, even the Egyptians pepper the capital and cities large and small throughout the country.

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Neither of us had been to Pompeii before, but we were intrigued by the archeological site, which is living history set apart from modern civilization, a step back in time and the largest source of what we know now about how Romans lived. We hired an excellent guide, Guiseppe Galano, who spends most days in the doomed area, loving it more each day, he said. His knowledge astounded me. He could have spent 10 hours at least teaching us about the city.

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The biggest question I had about Pompeii was why was recovery not attempted by the Romans. Why had they abandoned it? Giuseppe explained that Pompeii was a like a cursed place to them, a warning, a punishment. One theory was that some Romans believed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was a response to the Roman subjugation of Israel by Nero and the subsequent destruction of the main Jewish temple in Jerusalem nine years before.

Mt. Vesuvius is less than 1/2 of its former, pre-eruption size, but it still looms threateningly over the ruins of the city it already claimed.

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So, how did citizens live in this city? Very well, it seems. (Provided you weren’t a slave.) Many of the facilities had running water. Commerce was pursued and money mattered quite a bit, but the baths were luxurious and open to the public, a main method for people to show their wealth was to feed and help the poorest, exercise was encouraged, the arts were elevated (especially theater) and most of all, the city planners were masterful. Everything, from the smallest details like pieces of white marble (called cats eyes) placed throughout the streets to brighten the road at night, was designed to make living pleasant, balanced and enjoyable.

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Touring Pompeii made me think about the frenetic pace of American life, and now that I’m back in my “routine” of work, work, work and the overwhelming expectations of me (and everyone else), I’m sort of annoyed. The traffic, the exhaustion, the overweening ambition that surrounds us, the fast culture and the stress on being the perfect mother: none of it is much fun, is it? (Sorry to sound like a jerk: I know I have it much easier than most and I’m thrilled and lucky to be a parent, as always.) On a trip like this one, where everything is enjoyable, it reminds me that I don’t LIKE having to find the joy in the everyday. I LIKED learning, eating, walking, napping and living life well every day.

I do look forward to taking the twins on a trip to Europe soon. I think they will be ready to learn, eat and travel soon, and I anticipate that being a wonderful time.

Do you enjoy life often or is it difficult to find the joy in everyday living for you?

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Filed under Discovering joy

Italian Fashion: The Reality

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“There are so many manifestations of pleasure in Italy, and I didn’t have time to sample them all. You have to kind of declare a pleasure major here, or you’ll get overwhelmed.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Rome was a lovely break from the stoic life of an overwhelmed SAHM of twins. I chose Italy as the place to spend my birthday and our 10th anniversary because I thought we needed an indulgent, slow, languorous place to nurture ourselves and fill our souls with joy and pleasure. Italy was the right choice for all of those things.

Gilbert is right. There are so many beautiful things Italians excel at and you can easily become a sightseeing machine, which would override the whole point of enjoying Italy’s charms. I chose to major in fashion and food. Darcy: history.

I have to say that the weather forecasts were pretty off. It was colder than predicted, and I didn’t pack enough warm clothes. I layered a lot adding unfortunate bulk in photos. Or maybe that was from all the spaghetti.

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On my birthday, I dragged Darcy to the chic shops near the Spanish Steps. First up was Prada. Going inside the Prada boutique was like entering a rarified museum of couture: the pristine white walls, glossy racks and intricate shoes, coats and dresses were somewhat awe-inspiring. (As were the prices.) I saw a gorgeous full-length ivory silk dress and remarked to Darcy that here was a gown that could be worn at the Oscars. “I’m sure it will be,” he responded.

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We stuck to the Italian shops, going to Gucci, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Tods, Ferragamo and Valentino. To see items in person that I have seen in magazines or on fashion bloggers was a kick. I saw these shoes in person and they looked absolutely lethal.

I loved Dolce & Gabbana, where the prices were even more fearsome than Prada, but the overall atmosphere was so Italian: full of lace, corset dresses and chic sunglasses. I seriously considered buying a leopard print bag, but sticker shock put me off.

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I do consider handbags (and shoes to a lesser extent) good buys. I don’t love jewelry (most doesn’t look good on me, even if I think the above Bulgari necklace is pretty fantastic) but an excellent classic handbag is something I can pass down to my daughter and would consider an investment. So I looked at the bags seriously.

After checking out the HIGH fashion, we went to a more realistically priced shopping area where I picked up a cheap faux fur turban. I thought it was rather fabulous, but mostly it kept me warm.

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EVERYONE was wearing a coat like this, by the way. It was quite possibly the definitive fashion item of Italy. Honestly, I wish I had brought one. It would have cut the chill significantly!

Do you “major” in one area when you visit a place? If so, what is it?

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Filed under Design, personal style

Insert Lame Tuesday/Belgium Joke Here

Once, many years ago, I traveled alone abroad for work. That was back in the days when I had competence and self-confidence. And my stress levels were much, much lower. I didn’t have kids and I saw travel as an adventure.

I have to go to Belgium for a family obligation for a week. I know, I know. No one wants to read about someone HAVING to fly to Europe to eat chocolate and waffles. The family obligation is no fun and will be very stressful. But, I need to suck. It. Up.

I hate flying. I used to love it, but then there was the plane ride where the pilot kept getting on the intercom to tell us that they had to dump a bunch of luggage because we might NOT clear the mountains in our way. Flying scares me and I had a nightmare about my upcoming plane trip to London. Let me just say that if I see Kurt Russell boarding my plane, I will run a mile.

Mostly the thing that bothers me is I have only had three days to make this happen. I’m a planner, I like planning for every eventuality. I absolutely HATE the idea of being away from my kids for seven days. And not just in another town a few miles away. I’ll be 3,000 miles away. It makes me feel helpless. If I had had advance warning, I would have adapted to this in my mind, and best of all, gotten the twins ready mentally for the fact that Mommy is going away. They are super-attached to me and I have never left them for more than three days, and that was when they were much younger. I am worried that they are going to be traumatized by my leaving so suddenly.

I’m sure this trip will help me develop self-confidence, independence and moxie. I have no moxie any more. But right now I want to hide under a rock and ignore the whole thing.

Do you find that your sense of adventure is not the same since you have become older and more responsible? Or do you thirst for greater adventure in a life that may seem full of structure and routine?

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Filed under Discovering joy, Fear