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Trendsetting: Eight ways to travel in style

July 30, 2011

We all love packing for holidays, especially when they are taking us to new and exciting places, whether they are exotic beaches abroad or refreshing mountainous terrains of north Pakistan. You imagine yourself as the ultimate traveller, looking cool as a cucumber and smart no matter where you land. You’ll be wearing white, cropped trousers and nautical stripes in Paris, the perfect pair of boots while walking around London in October and the most flattering swimsuit when splashing around in the bright blue waters of Greece. When you trek up north you have the softest cashmere shawl or coat on your shoulders and just as hip trek boots.

The best part of holidays is bringing back tons of cool pictures that flaunt your holiday to perfection. And to make sure that your photos paint a pretty picture, you have to make that extra bit of effort to look good in them. It pays to travel well-prepared, especially in the style zone.

Here’s a quick check list to go through when you’re preparing for that trip you want to stay trendy on…

1. Luggage Let your luggage be as stylish as you intend to be. Not many people can afford Louis Vuitton or Chanel hand-carries but that doesn’t mean you go the other extreme and compromise on granny’s tattered suitcases or over-stuffed canvas bags. Go for bright and saucy looking luggage, preferably soft tops to save on extra baggage weight. The safest option is always black, safe and dependable brands being Samsonite and Delsey. But be sure to mark your luggage for easy identification on the conveyor belt.

2. Change of handbag Your travelling purse must be different from what you carry on a daily basis. It must zip up and close completely as to avoid accidental spills on x-ray belts and flights. And though it must be light and spacious, the ideal handbag should also be well compartmentalised to make fishing easy.

It’s also a great idea to carry an extra sling bag to quickly shift to once you arrive at your destination, especially if you plan on walking and/or shopping endlessly. Carrying a bulky bag can be burdensome. Coach slings are ideal if you’re looking for a smart branded option.

3. Travel gear Travelling in a shalwar kameeze is highly discouraged simply because it is mighty inconvenient. You must carry yourself through your flight elegantly, which means wearing something that won’t crumple or crease itself to bits. Opt simply for a pair of trousers and a top that you are comfortable in. Carry a scarf if you like and even a smart shrug or light jacket for extra oomph, especially if you are travelling in winters.

Zara, Mango and Gap all offer these lightweight options and locally, Sublime has been designing the most casual and comfortable yet smart cover-ups in black.

4. Sunglasses No matter where you are going in the world, you will surely be out in the sun a lot more than you are in Pakistan. It’s time to invest in the perfect pair of sunglasses that will always make you look like a celebrity. Don’t go for a high end branded option, though, because you don’t want to mourn the loss if you lose them.

5. Wardrobe basics Trousers and tops are always a safe option if you’re not someone comfortable in skirts, dresses and shorts. But do keep the climate of your destination in mind when picking out a range of lowers for yourself.

It’s best to pack dresses and/or light cotton crop-pants or wide leg linen trousers when travelling to the tropics and warmer countries whereas denim is recommended for cooler and rainy places.

Pick out short kurtas if you want to maintain your ethnic identity abroad — FnkAsia and Khaadi both have great options — otherwise go for t-shirts and tops that will allow you to gel in as a global citizen. Try to take fabrics that are easy to wash and iron as you don’t want a mounting laundry bill if you’re budgeting.

6. One formal outfit It’s always advisable to pack at least one formal option: an elegant shalwar kameez, a cocktail dress or a sari depending on the kind of formal occasion you are likeliest to encounter. Chances are that it may be a dinner at a relative’s house, fine dining at some expensive restaurant or something totally unexpected. Be prepared for it.

7. Accessorise Don’t cut back on your accessories just because you’re travelling. Always keep a few options at hand, especially pieces that you know lend character to the way you dress. You want to look like yourself when you look back. Scarves, belts, earrings and neck-pieces should be versatile enough to work with most of your clothes. A great pedicure and manicure always helps make you look well groomed, which has its own benefits!

8. Entertainment Entertainment devices, like an iPod, iPad or any other gadget that helps you appear cool and with-it is just as important as the ideal accessories. Carry things that look smart on you — even a new best-seller is attractive — or better still, log onto iBooks on your laptop! Bon voyage! — AHI