Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guest Post by Lauren: Stylish Traveling

Here is a guest post from Lauren, one of the snazziest dressing state workers I know - I'll let Lauren explain how we came to be friends. Let me tell you, when I was trying to think of stylish friends to showcase, she was an easy choise.  While she looks great in classic pieces, my favorite thing about her style is the eclectic things she adds to her wardrobe to really make it pop!  And where does Lauren get these pieces with pizazz?  Let's find out...


So it’s 3:30pm on a Tuesday. Earlier in the morning my friend Tiffany shot me a note asking me if I would be a “guest” blogger while she is out of town. I think to myself, “dammit! I’ve been meaning to read Tiffany’s blog for a while now and have to make the effort. After her kind words about my own style, (total self esteem booster) I agreed to do it and I promised her to read her blog. Funny enough I spent an hour doing so that same day.

I came away severely inspired to get in my closet and start mixing and matching right away! Also in mentioning the self esteem booster I guess I need to give you all a bit of back story on myself and my relationship to Tiffany. We know each other thanks to ex boyfriends of ours who were friends (ouch!), and got to know each other better by being members of the Active 20-30 Club. She was working for the State and I was working for a travel agency in Sacramento, living the dream sending my friends on fun trips, and getting to travel all over the world myself. I sent Tiffany and her hairdresser Erika (mentioned in a previous blog) on a trip to Cabo San Lucas several years ago. As a travel agent I had many perks including being able to ride my bike to work and wearing flip flops. Since then, I obtained (inherited…whatever) a job change with the State of CA and although I thought it would be an upgrade (due to the ploy of State jobs having “better benefits and yadda yadda”), I find myself wanting what I had before… FREEDOM! I now work for DGS in the Statewide Travel Program as a Meeting and Conference Planner, and although it has to be one of the best jobs in the State, I am still plagued as being considered a State worker.

I find my creativity level slowly being diminished every day, actually every minute I sit in my cubicle. The other day, I was inspired to wear a cute pair of camel colored shorts with a pair of red Tom wedge espadrilles and a white Gap top. The sun was shinning as I left my house and I knew it was going to be a great day! However, when I stepped into my office, I felt a dark cloud loom over my head as my Manager gave me the stink eye and said “Oh I didn’t realize those were shorts! They are cute, but not office appropriate”. Self esteem shot down! The skip in my step, now felt like a giant trip. One of those trips where there is no saving you, flat on your face in the mud. The situation has really aggravated me since it happened as there are so many State workers who don’t put any effort or creativity into what they are wearing. Frankly, I wasn’t offending anyone with my shorts, I wasn’t meeting with any clients, I was wearing them for myself, to throw some excitement and creativity into my day, did I mention it was almost 100 degrees that day? After the incident, I figured I’d show her (my manager) by wearing all black from head to toe with a sign on my back that read “BORING”. I didn’t have the guts to do it, but I realized that what you wear each day is an expression of who you are. It’s an expression of what you want to say to the world without saying a thing. I want my outfits to say, cool, awesome, funky, unique, good idea, pretty color, good looking!

My wardrobe consists of many pieces from my travels. One of the best pieces of advice I received was when you are travelling and you find something that you like is buy it, because you probably won’t find another something like it, and you will always have fond memories of it from your trip. Some of my favorite pieces from my travels include

My hat from Germany bought at a yard sale in Berlin for $5 USD.

My beaded bracelet from Monterey and my watch from Malaysia..

My sundress from Mexico. Here worn in Dresden.

Just to name a few.

Do you have a trip coming up and you don’t know what to pack? Here are some of my travel style tips.

When in doubt always pack black. Black can always be dressed up or down. It doesn’t show wrinkles or dirt. Add a scarf or cool necklace, different pair of shoes and you have a brand new outfit. Invest in a little black cotton dress if you don’t yet have one.

Flip flops are a must. It doesn’t matter where you visit, Sweden to Brazil, you will need them. I also wear them when I fly so that I can easily flip them off through security and pop them off to stretch my toes when seated.

Roll your clothes. If you roll your clothes you will keep them relatively wrinkle free and will make much more room in your bag.

Pack extra Ziplock bags. I have a friend traveling throughout South East Asia right now and she has also noted that it’s saved her on several occasions. Big and small ones, pack them and you can use them to protect your clothes from body care liquid products. Try inflating one to use as a pillow. Pack a wet bathing suit. Keep jewelry safe. So many useful solutions!

Mix and Match. Like Tiffany recommends, use accessories (belts, jewelry, scarves, hats, etc) to make an outfit look fresh and new.

Take a picture it lasts longer. Well at least it will help to take a picture of what you pack so that if the airline happens to loose your luggage you will know what is missing and be able to prove the value of what they owe you.

Pack a swimsuit, even if just in case. I like to carry a bathing suit in my carry on so that (again if the airline happens to loose your luggage) you can head to the hotel and take a swim to relax from an apparent stressful travel situation.

Don’t over pack. There is nothing I hate more than bringing something on a trip with me and never wearing it. Oh wait I know what’s worse, over packing and having to lug a heavy suitcase with you all over the place!

Pack what fits you well. You want to be comfortable when you travel so that you can concentrate on your experience not the strap that keeps falling off your shoulder. Also, you never know who you might meet on your trip. Best foot forward!

If all else fails, buy it there. Women have a keen sense to shop anywhere we go, so leave room for stuff you buy on your travels.

A smile is one of your best accessories. Greet everyone with a smile, no one likes a Negative Nancy.

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