Growing up in a town of less than 20,000 people, there was exactly one department store in town in which to shop, and that was Dillard’s. I went to Dillard’s for all my fashion needs: I bought all my special occasion dresses from the formal wear department, my athletic shoes and everyday wear came from there, I was a frequent visitor to the Clinique counter as soon as I was old enough to spend my allowance on Black Honey and the 3-Step Skin Care System (c’mon, you know you all owned these hall of famers, too!).
So when Dansko and Dillard’s asked me to team up and share a bit about my shopping habits, I thought: why not? After all, if my inbox is any evidence, putting together a tightly edited and versatile travel wardrobe is something that stumps many people, and while I won’t claim to be a stylist, I have figured out a few things in my 33 years on earth.
It’s been eight years and change since I first went freelance, and other than a brief 18-month stint in an office, I’ve been working from home the duration of that time. Which means my wardrobe has changed and evolved drastically, because let’s be honest, we all know I wear yoga pants 80 percent of the time.
But what about the other 20 percent? The days I’m on the road or out and about from sunrise until well after sundown? Those are the times when it’s imperative that I have one look to fit all scenarios as I rarely have time to swing back by the hotel or our condo before meetings; those are the days when I have to make one outfit fit all occasions.
I’ve talked about my tips for packing and what’s always in my bag a bit in the past, but on a more micro level, it comes down to a few staple pieces in my wardrobe starting with what’s on my feet. For me, footwear has to be both comfortable and flexible in that it can be worn with everything. You’ll rarely see me in heels; I’m almost always in flats, sandals or slight wedges. I move fast—always on the go—and simply don’t have time for footwear that isn’t functional. I also save space in my suitcase by going light on shoes, typically only packing three pairs on any given trip: flip-flops, running shoes, and a versatile sandal for both day and night use.
Unless I’m going to a special event like a wedding, I’m also typically wearing a neutral shoe with no heel (or a very small one).
Take my recent Sunday Funday in Nashville for example.
Occasion 1: I started out in overly warm 85-degree weather traipsing about East Nashville with SVV for a little coffee and sunshine at the Family Wash.
Occasion 2: Next up, it was an early happy hour with one of my NYC editors and her husband in Five Points just as the day was starting to cool down a bit. A jean jacket and light scarf helped me to blend in a tad more seamlessly among the hipsters of East Nashville.
Occasion 3: From there, SVV and I headed to a late-night private showcase for Martina McBride and felt I needed to edge things up, so I did a quick jewelry change and added a jacket.
Seven hours, multiple locations, three occasions. I never changed my dress. I never changed my footwear. By having adaptable pieces and that dress made it easy to tweak my look for the setting.
What’s your key to maintaining a tightly edited wardrobe?