On a business trip to Miami, a pair of sleek boots became a multitasking fashion tool. The boots were worn with jeans, dress pants, a knee-length dress and a long skirt, taking functional footwear to the next level. On that same trip, a faulty hotel iron and rumpled blouse — a clearance special — put a wrinkle in our activities and taught us that high-quality pieces are worth every penny.
Dressing for every occasion can be a challenge. Find your packing mojo with these strategies.
Balance: Natalie McNeal, author of the upcoming book "The Frugalista Files," and founder of thefrugalista.com, recommends thong sandals for travelers. This footwear is easy to remove during airport security screenings, can be worn to the pool during lounging hours and take up minimal space, she said. Cardigan sweaters are easy to pack and add a touch of polish to any after-hours outfit, according to McNeal. For accessories, she recommends jewelry that works with several outfits such as silver hoops or sparkling studs for earrings and mid-length neck chains.
Replacements: Pamela Parisi (www.theeleganttightwad.com) researches high-end consignment shops ahead of time. This keeps her on budget if a wardrobe item is damaged, or she realizes what's packed will result in over dressing for an event. Endless.com, an online retail program affiliated with Amazon, offers free overnight shipping on high-quality shoe styles for both men and women. Similarly, fashionphile.com will ship gently-used luxury bags directly to your location, saving the stress of replacing an expensive wardrobe item at full cost.
Monochrome: Edit your travel wardrobe down to a single neutral color, such as black navy, tan, gray or white. Once you've selected a foundation color, pack basic pieces — shirts, skirts, pants or cotton t-shirts — in that shade. This strategy streamlines the packing process and makes it easier to assemble an outfit for business or casual activities. Use accessories to add additional color.
Tools: A portable iron and a small squirt bottle, which can be filled with water to mist garments, are excellent travel aids for eliminating wrinkles when you're on the road. Other useful travel tools include a small sewing kit and a shoe polishing kit. Before the trip, determine what types of tools and services are available at your hotel or lodging. Access to no-cost or low-cost laundry services will help you save money — and face — on the road.