6 Sensible Packing Tips
YOU’VE SCOURED THE BROCHURES, CHOSEN YOUR itinerary, booked your tickets, and you’re ready for the vacation of a lifetime. But before the journey begins, you’ve got to get those bags packed with cruise-worthy clothes that will make you look and feel great. Where to start?
If you’ve heard the term “cruise collection” before, you may have wondered what they’re all about. The high fashion houses (think: Chanel, Gucci, Dior) release annual cruise collections, also known as resort and holiday collections or collections croisière in French. While the more popular collections are Spring/ Summer and Fall/ Winter, which are shown twice a year at the fashion shows in New York, Paris, London, and Milan, cruise collections are shown between the two. In the United States, cruise collection clothing typically makes its appearance in stores in November, after the new Fall/ Winter arrivals and before the Spring/ Summer collections are available, making it an inter-season collection. But the reference to cruises is actually a bit of a misnomer.
When this trend of haute couture “cruise” fashion started decades ago, it was targeted toward the uber rich, the jetsetters who wintered in wonderful places around the world, following the beckoning call of golden sun, white sand, and turquoise waters. While North Americans were looking at Caribbean cruises to escape winter’s harsh cold, Europeans were more likely to be heading to the Mediterranean for respite. So, summer clothing was displayed in the dead of winter for those who were planning a winter escape.
But these days, “cruise collection” is an outdated term in the fashion industry as it no longer really applies. Besides the fact that the collections have little, if anything, to do with cruising, everyone, not just the wealthy, is traveling now and they’re doing it all year long. But just because the name isn’t right, experts still think that cruise collections hold an appeal to travelers.
“Cruise collections aren’t just for cruising as they are also considered resort wear,” says Tiffany Dowd, founder and president of Luxe Social Media and Luxe Tiffany. “These collections can be worn just as easily on a luxury cruise or yacht as they would be at a luxury hotel on a warm- weather holiday.”
Whether your cruise style is bold or subtle, couture or casual, there are certain things that make clothing cruise- worthy that have nothing to do with looks or labels. Here are six tips to ensure that you sail into your vacation sensibly, but in style:
1. GO WRINKLE- FREE _ Light, breezy, summer-friendly fabrics tend to wrinkle easily and since irons are a fire hazard, you won’t find one in your cabin. So, while linen is gorgeous and cool, it won’t serve you well on a cruise. Instead, look for clothing in fabrics that won’t wrinkle. Many stores, such as Chicos, feature collections of wrinkle-free or no-iron clothes. When you’re packing, layer your clothing between sheets of tissue paper to help the item retain its shape and minimize wrinkles. If your clothing does get wrinkled, hang them in the bathroom while you shower and let the steam smooth them out, or use wrinkle-release spray.
2. PACK MULTIPURPOSE CLOTHING _ Pack clothes that can perform double duty, such as pieces that can easily go from day to night. “We’re continuing to see multipurpose cruise wear on board ships,” says Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor at Cruise Critic. “That means a pair of slim-fit black capris or trousers that can be dressed down during the day or paired with a blouse and fabulous jewelry at night, for example. Light layers — including more sheer fabrics — are comfortable in port, but also work as a dressier option for dinner. Men and women are really paying attention to their accessories as well.” For example, the simple addition of accessories such as high heels can elevate a casual dress to one suitable for a dressy dinner.
3. COMBINE PRACTICAL AND COMFORTABLE WITH STYLE _ “Although you don’t see a lot of catwalk fashion on cruise ships, there are elements of those collections reflected in the choices people make when dressing for a cruise,” says McDaniel. “They want to be able to dress up, cover up, and relax while looking their best, in fun and often summery styles.” Cruising, even at the highest-luxury level, should be both practical and comfortable she says. “By practical, clothing should pack well, be versatile enough to wear in layers or on its own, and be easily dressed up or down. Comfort also has to be built in for long walks, cooler temperatures, and inclement weather.” 4. PACK I TEMS THAT FOLD E ASILY _ Anything that can fold into a fraction of its full size is a cruiser’s friend! Shoes can take up so much room in a suitcase, but Tieks are foldable, luxurious leather ballet flats that are not only beautiful and come in a variety of colors, but they’re incredibly comfortable, too. Longchamp’s Le Pliage tote folds flat into the shape of an oversized envelope so it’s easy to pack and is the perfect bag to bring on shore excursions. 5. MI X AND MATCH _ To simplify your cruise wardrobe, choose a color palette and stick to it. A combination of three colors (say, navy, white, and emerald green) makes it easy to mix and match all of your clothes, which will help streamline your packing and make sure there’s room in your suitcase for bringing home souvenirs! 6 . PAIR F ORM WI T H F UNCT ION _ “The hat has become a fashion statement in addition to being a way to combat UV rays,” says McDaniel. “Women are thinking about their swimsuit cover-ups as much as they’re thinking about swimwear.” Dowd agrees: “Women are looking to make a statement while on holiday without compromising comfort. It should be fashion with function.”
Whether your cruise style is bold or subtle, couture or casual, there are certain things that make clothing cruise-worthy that have nothing to do with looks or labels.