From New York to London, 2014 has swept in with a burst of bitingly cold temperatures, leaving many of us daydreaming of a tropical escape. There is nothing like watching the mercury plummet and piling on extra layers to galvanise plans for an exotic getaway.
But whether it is Miami, Bali, or Thailand, if you are heading off for a winter mini-break in the sun, there is one skill the modern woman must
master – the art of travelling light. Packing can be stressful and most people are guilty of stuffing their suitcases full of items they’ll never wear… “just in case”. The answer is of course to think carefully about what to bring, but also buy cleverly for your break. Marie France Van Damme explains: ‘You want to purchase pieces for your holiday that you know you can wear again and again, and not just on that exotic island, but in the Hampton's this summer, or in L’Ile de Re in France.’ In this post 9/11 world where just navigating the airport’s check-in and security can be exhausting, there is a certain freedom in just gliding on plane with a hand luggage. ‘Pack well and you can just carry one large travel bag that sits perfectly under your seat. It is incredibly liberating, and of course, it means you don’t have to worry about lost luggage and missing vital outfits,’ Marie France adds. The challenge is getting the right mix – so buy things that slide perfectly from day to night, and that can be dressed up or pared down. Marie France says: ‘You don’t want to be overdressed and look silly when going out at night for dinner or cocktails around the beach, but you also don’t want to look as if you picked up old t-shirts from a remote drawer at home. Investing in quality material is a must, silks, cashmeres and luxurious jersey, all hold their shape if packed well and can be hand washed and easily worn again.
Marie France’s Travel Bag – What To Bring:
· Swimsuits x 3: This is a tropical escape – you will be spending most of your time enjoying the sun, sea and sand, so make sure you have a range of options. These items are small and take up very little space.
· Caftan x 2: One to wear as a cover-up on the beach and one that can be worn in the evening as well ,with a sexy slip underneath.
· Pareo x 1: A very easy way to cover-up elegantly on the beach or by the pool, and it can easily be glammed up with a necklace, bracelet and clutch for a night out.
· Cocktail Dress x 1: Opt for something chic and simple that travels well. Luxe jersey or sleek silk are good choices.
· Flip Flops x 1 and High Heels x 1: Just switching shoes can make all the difference to take you from day to night.
· Statement jewellery: Small, beautifully-made, and easy to pack – these items can really help you transform your look. Think about bringing pieces that suit the palette of the clothes .
· Palazzo jersey Pants x 1: Wear these on the plane – they are ideal for travelling in style and comfort. You can also rely on them if the evenings are unexpectedly chilly.
· Cashmere Cardigan x 1: Again one to wear as you fly in and out, but can come in really handy for beachside dinners if it is a little windyor cool.
· T-shirt x 3: A wardrobe staple, these are always useful to have in
· Ankle boots x 1: You’ll need these to travel to and from your tropical escape – you really don’t want to arrive back home to sub-zero temperatures or torrential rain in a pair of flip flops.