June 10, 2008
Beth asks me….”As a woman I’ve got so many shoes to pack, and airlines keep charging for extra bags just to bring my shoes with me. What can I do?”
Beth, first off let’s take a look at packing smart. Packing is not about shoes but about creating a look that works for you. If you’re a traveler, this is an extremely important first step. The reason is that travelers need to stick to a narrower range of colors so that when they pack, every piece becomes part of a combination machine.
Let me give you the strategy I use and one that’s easily transferable to anyone’s closet.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the process where people are categorized by seasons of the year, depending on what colors look good on them. Your skin color and tones, your natural hair color, and your eye color help the color consultant determine whether you look best in the warm, neutral colors of autumn or the cool, clear, brights of summer. I’m a winter. This means I can wear certain dark colors including certain grays, blacks and blues. Brown works, however, not as easily. Knowing that I only have so much space in my overnight bag, and ALL my business is out of town, I stick with only the blues, grays and blacks. This means my shoes also remain black. If I take one brown garment I must immediately bring a pair of brown shoes, and to me, it’s not worth the effort.
This approach means that when shopping, I only stick to a certain color range and my closet is also only in this range. The result is it’s pretty easy to pack. When I pack to the extreme, I take two additional pair of shoes: one pair of relaxing shoes, and a pair of Nike sneakers that are paper thin and take up almost no room.
Remember, my three pairs of shoes can take up the space of at least 4 pairs of women’s shoes.
Now for you, consider your color and style. Even though you may want to wear more colors, you, too, can stick to a pallet to increase the ability to use a single pair of shoes in multiple ways. A 3-inch pump can be worn, with slacks that come down to the street so that the shoe is seldom seen. The same shoe can be worn casually with jeans. Bring the pants up some and you’ve now got a new look. Use the same shoe with a skirt while shifting the attention to your belt, and now you’ve got 4 different styles with the same shoes. Remember, depending on whether you’re in a conservative business climate or not, you can also easily slip a pair of strappy sandals in for an exciting night-time look.
The “idea” that women need to bring a lot of shoes is not a myth; women do need to spice up their look more than men in this department. What I’m taking about is being smart about your approach. Keeping in a range, making combinations, and the fact that the shoes may have less size/weight means that if this philosophy cut down on 1 or 2 pair on a trip, you’re winning.