Looking stylish while travelling light // Style Counsel

Three tips to keep you looking good on your trip

By Donna Wilson

On Wednesday June 1st, 2011

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photo by GideonI am on vacation at the moment, so today, rather than writing about what to wear in your career, I thought I’d discuss what to wear during your short breaks from it. Love of travel seems to be a fairly common personality trait among lawyers, and since we also value organization (but are not necessarily naturally inclined to it!), the topic I’ve chosen is packing light. I have gotten myself down to two carry on size bags as of late, regardless of the length of my trip. Here’s how.

The golden rule: Only one option

This may sound too painful for some fashion conscious readers, but I like to give myself only one option of what to wear for an activity. For example, if I think I will be going out dressed up two nights, I will only bring two outfits for this. It sounds pretty limiting, but if you just bring your favourite outfits, then why wouldn’t you want to wear them? Besides, you are a lawyer on vacation; it might be wise to take a break from making choices.

This rule is critical when it comes to high heels, which take up the same amount of room as two to three warm weather outfits! I also like to bring a small bottle of Woolite by Zero ($8, grocery stores) for handwashing clothes along the way.

Leave the electric hair tools at home

Hair dryers take up far too much room to justify lugging around, and they are available everywhere you stay anyway. Even if you are staying at a hostel, they usually keep one at the front desk — just ask. Hair straighteners take up much less room, so they are okay to bring, but I never bring mine overseas; they just plain do not work with the voltage converting (regardless of whether you use a converter or adapter). Worse, you run the risk of frying your expensive straightener and ruining it forever. In place of an electric straightener, straightening brushes work surprisingly well at smoothing hair while you blow dry, like this one by Folica ($15). If you love to curl your hair, bring a curling iron along in North America, or pick up a cheap one overseas.

Dealing with blisters

Travelling usually means blisters, whether it is because you are much more active than you usually have time to be at home, or you just don’t like dressing like you are going on a hike to check out some museums and your stylish shoes give you problems.

I find that the blister covers sold in drug stores by brands like Band Aid and Dr. Scholl’s do not work or stay on well. What works much better is a custom made version. First, take a wedge makeup sponge, but not a flimsy one — I like the ones made by Quo that are sold at Shoppers Drug Mart. Cut out a square about half a centimetre thick, and tape it on with some medical tape. This will last all day and make feel like you have no blister at all.

The moral of this story is that travel is all about comfort. Packing light, and preparing for annoyances like blisters, leaves you free to enjoy the pleasures of time away — you know, like checking your BlackBerry every 15 minutes. Hey, we’re still lawyers, after all.


Donna Wilson is a Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer. Her style and beauty column appears every second Wednesday.

Photo by Gideon