Banana Republic’s 13 Key Pieces


This post was originally published on October 5, 2011. With the Fall season nearly here, I thought it would be a good idea to repost it for those looking to update their wardrobes.

I love window shopping, in real stores and online. Last week, I was browsing Banana Republic’s website, and found this great article showing where Lucky magazine took 13 pieces from Banana Republic and made 31 outfits. It is so cool! Most of us already have these basic pieces in our wardrobes, so it would be so easy to recreate these looks. Below, I made a list of the basics that they used.

  • One button down shirt
  • two blouses
  • one pullover sweater
  • one cardigan
  • two skirts
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of trousers
  • one jacket
  • one dress
  • one pair of pumps
  • one pair of booties

I thought this list could be really useful if:

  • You have decided to become a minimalist and are doing a closet clean out. This could be a handy list of items to keep.
  • You are traveling for an extended period of time and want to pack light. This list would give you plenty of options to keep your wardrobe fresh.
  • You recently lost weight and need to build a new wardrobe. This would be a good starting point.
  • You just started a new job and need a list of basics to get your work wardrobe off the ground.
  • Or if you are like me and want to learn to remix the pieces you already own.

Here are the 31 outfits:

Personally, I found this article really inspiring. What really impressed me – they didn’t cheat! Each outfit actually consists of pieces from the 13 shown, they didn’t add other items in, except for purses, jewelry and scarves. :)

So, what do you think of Banana Republic’s 13 key pieces? What are your key pieces? What inspires you to be more creative with your own wardrobe?

Packing advice from a lapsed world traveler


It’s been several years since I traveled regularly but I still remember all my tips and tricks for packing well. Besides, I do still have the family beach trip every year and occasional weekend getaways to keep my packing prowess in shape.

Here’s what I do to keep packing from becoming an overwhelming chore:

Consider your luggage.

If you are flying, can you afford the money to check a bag? Or do you need to go carry-on only? When I was traveling regularly, checking one bag was still a free option with most airlines, so I traveled with one checked bag and one small carry-on. Now, if I needed to fly I would most likely choose to go with just a carry-on. When driving to my destination, I still try to keep it to one main bag and one smaller bag.

You’ll also need to consider what type of bag to carry. For trips of a week or more, I prefer a suitcase. For weekends, a duffel bag will do.

Plan out your wardrobe.

Look at your itinerary. Are you spending your days at the beach, and only going out at night? Will you be visiting museums and historic sites? Hiking? Shopping? Once you know what you will be doing each day, it’s easier to plan your wardrobe.

Also, consider your destination. For Egypt, I knew I needed a more modest wardrobe than for my cruise to Hawaii.

Take only clothes that you actually wear.

We all have those clothes in our closets that we think we will wear some day. Resist that temptation to take them with you on vacation. If you don’t wear them at home, you probably won’t wear them while traveling. And you’ll end up with a suitcase full of nothing to wear. Traveling can be stressful at times, so your wardrobe needs to be one less worry. Pack your old faithfuls and the things that you love wearing.

Pack clothes that you can mix and match.

I usually pack three to four bottoms with a top for each day. And I try to make sure that my tops can be worn with all my bottoms so that I have more options. Any sweaters I take, need to go with as many tops and bottoms as possible, so I usually select neutral colors for these layers.

I take no more than three pair of shoes. A good walking shoe that can be worn with everything, flip flops for the pools or beach, and a dressy pair for nights out.

Also, a good rule of thumb is to pack for seven days, even if your trip is 14 days or more. Then just plan to do laundry.

Make a packing list.

Once you’ve figured out your wardrobe, it’s time to make that packing list. There are several free printable ones online, and I offer one for download here. But I actually prefer to hand write my own and make it specific to my trip. This is the most important tool in keeping your packing stress free. So, write down everything that you need to take, from tweezers to sunscreen to underwear. Just make that list!

Keep a toiletry bag ready at all times.

This is something that I’ve learned in the last few years. I keep my toiletry bag stocked with travel size versions of all my personal items. I just have to toss in my facial lotion and cleanser, which I don’t have travel versions of, and go.

Think about what you can really do without.

Do you really need a whole arsenal of makeup? All your hairstyling tools? Every gadget that you own? I can go for a week or more without my laptop. But I need something to read, so my kindle is a must. I rarely pack a camera anymore, my phone takes good enough pictures for me. Take a look at what you really need, because trust me it’s not as much as you think. Take it from a girl who use to pack every gadget that she owned. Now I just need my smart phone and Kindle. All the other gadgets stay home.

So, where are you going for vacation? Do you have any advice for travelers? Let me know in the comments!

Day 20 – What was my favorite vacation or trip ever — list 10 reasons why

My favorite vacation as always been Egypt! So many people told us not to go. They said that it wasn’t safe for 5 women to be traveling over there without a man! They said it was too dangerous, and that we would get killed. I am so glad that we didn’t listen to these people! We visited Egypt in 2005, and I know things are unstable now, so if we had listened to them we could’ve missed out on an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We being Melba, and her daughters Brandi and Carmella, my Aunt Joeldean, and me. I always felt safe during our journey. Our guides took the very best care of us!

Here are 10 reasons why I loved Egypt:

  1. Seeing the Pyramids at Giza.
  2. The overnight train ride form Cairo to Aswan.
  3. The felucca (sail boat) ride to the Botanical Gardens in Aswan.
  4. Visiting the Egyptian Museum and seeing part of King Tut’s treasure .
  5. Dancing aboard the Jasmine as we cruised up the Nile.
  6. Being hit on all the time, because Egyptian men love blue eyes.
  7. Riding a camel part of the way up Mount Sinai and then climbing 900 steps to the top, so that we could watch the sun rise.
  8. Bartering with the local merchants and outwitting them.
  9. Finding out I could take care of myself and others.
  10. Our tour guides. They made our trip amazing and treated us like precious cargo.

This trip was just so blessed! We met the best people, and had the best time.

What’s your favorite vacation? And why?