TX girl in the Big 🍎: 12 outfits, 1 carry on, no joke.
Don't let an under or overpacked suitcase damper your 2022 travels.
Happy New Year Fashion Fam,
I can't adequately express how pleased I am to be BACK. How I've missed writing and sharing expert style advice with all of you! So, where have I been? Well, Glory to God, life has been a whirlwind of blessings and growth over here at Ashley Kahn, Wardrobe Stylist. I'm so excited to announce... .**drum roll please**... I've hired my first employee! The exciting news for you? You'll be getting a whole lot more of ME! Not just here in my Style Tips, Trends, and Must-Haves, but also during the stylist and client 1:1 experience. I'm so thankful for how my 2022 has started, I hope yours has kicked-off just as well! I've recently returned from a trip to NYC, which was earlier this month and let me tell you, what a joy it was to be there healthy (vs. my October 2021 trip with Covid) so I could truly enjoy the city and time with my little brother! As I was contemplating what I'd be packing for a 6 day long trip with 28 degree temps, I knew I had one huge, non negotiable requirement when it came to my travel expectations. I set out with this one, very intentional traveling goal: That on this trip: I would be fully present in each moment, giving all of my undivided attention, focus, and energy to loved ones and new city adventures, allowing myself to be available to enjoy my traveling experience to it's absolute maximum potential. There is absolutely nothing that can destroy a goal like this faster than an under or over-packed suitcase. An under or overpacked suitcase robs you of one of the most valuable things on this planet that you can never buy or get back: Time. The reason I know this is because I've been there. Yes, this stylist has made detrimental wardrobe packing mistakes, ones that caused unnecessary strife, suffering, and wasted precious time that I can't ever and will never get back. My poor packing choices dealt consequences that not only effected me, but everyone around me. Thank God, Jesus has given the beautiful gift of the forgiveness of sins, allowing all who believe in him to learn from mistakes without shame, which gives my heart the overflowing joy and freedom to apply my talents to create effortless and simplistic packing solutions for all of you! If you too want to enjoy your 2022 travel plans to the fullest AND rock outfit confidence while you're doing it , scroll down to get my best tips to make it a reality!
FIGURE FLATTERING LAYERS
When debating on what kind of fabric and silhouettes I would need for my warm layering pieces, I knew right off the bat I didn't want anything too bulky. I don't know about you, but in the past, I have very unfortunately outfitted myself in layers and coats that were reminiscent of what I can only compare to feeling like a giant, walking, marshmallow. Who you gonna call? The 80s, to tell them to keep their cheesy monsters out of my wardrobe, that's who.
Long before I ever set foot on a plane, I was setting up the entire scene in my head, picturing exactly how I wanted to present myself in New York City. I then watched it play out like a movie in my mind--the effortlessly confident leading lady role, starring none other than me of course, is portrayed as: fun, stylish, and vibrant. She needed the pulled together outfits to match!
To accomplish this vibe, I chose to invest in quality cashmere sweaters that were versatile enough to be styled in multiple looks. I love how a fitted cashmere crew neck is both thin enough AND warm enough to be stylish and comfortable!
Figure flattering and chic, I packed 3 different vibrant colors, all of which could seamlessly interchange between layering under heavier sweaters for cold protection or styled solo. Worn with long underwear as a base, (I love Cuddl Duds!) deciding to purchase cashmere was one of the most fabulous decisions I've ever made for stylish warmth!
Layering strategy revealed: (Above photo)
Upper half: 1.Long underwear base layer 2.Cashmere layer 3: Crew neck cable knit sweater 4. Open plaid button down 5. Mineral Green Coat 6. Neutral grey scarf
Lower half: Long underwear base layer and straight leg Levi's jeans. Loved how easy the long underwear was able to layer under the straight leg silhouette!
The 4 different photos above are all from the same day! Imagine being on a trip where you actually want to take, be in, and have cute pictures of yourself so you can remember and share a time when you were living your best life. I'll tell you right now, it's a wonderful feeling!
THE ART OF THE QUICK CHANGE
I don't want anything interrupting my schedule while I'm on a trip/vacation. Can you relate? I mean, honestly, the very last thing I want to have to do is go entirely out of my way for a wardrobe change while I'm trying to fully immerse myself in an experience. That being said, I don't want to be miserable wherever I'm going because I'm not dressed appropriately either. Be it being too sweaty in a theater, not being dressed nice enough for that cute night spot, or shoes that are so painful they stop you from seeing the city---I was adamant I wanted absolutely no part of it. There's also a daily expectation to look and feel fabulous in my skin 24/7... so, what's a girl to do?
Layers are a breeze to store with a backpack on hand! I felt super cute no matter how hot or cold I got, because each layer I removed or added created it's own adorable outfit! This also gave me the luxury of having FOUR DIFFERENT looks in ONE DAY. Dressed appropriately for literally ANYTHING that could possibly happen! All while being comfortable, warm, and confident!
My best friend and brother, Matthew, gave the best compliment you can give a girl who's usually complaining she's freezing on cold trips. He nick named me Elsa, the Ice Queen from Frozen. The cold never bothered strategic layers anyway!!
So much fun to visit MOOD fabrics in NYC, as famously seen on the fashion designing reality tv show, Project Runway! I felt super chic in my look and felt right at home with all of the fashion designers walking around the store. Hey, no big deal....**hair flip**
DITCH THE BLACK COAT
Do yourself a huge favor for your winter travels, go get yourself a solid colored coat. Not white, not beige, not tan, neutral, brown or white--an actual color!
I can't tell you how alive it makes you feel wearing a colored coat walking around in a sea of people dressed in black. It's a piece that says to the world, "She's fun, she's friendly, she's someone I want to know/be kind or nice too!" It's truly amazing the power clothing has to more quickly connect you with others in a positive and uplifting way. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip!
I loved, loved, loved wearing this mint green, petite, tailored wool coat (from Talbots!)with black, white, patterns and other complimenting colors such as: fuchsia, cobalt blue, turquoise, and royal purple. It was the only coat I took and it was beyond perfect with everything, just as I had hoped and planned! It literally made all of my outfits look that much more fabulous! I absolutely adore how I felt and looked in it and I highly recommend the investment.
Every layer removed is a new look ready for ANY EVENT I could possibly attend! Musical ready, exploring ready, nothing held me back this trip...well except for my brother being annoyed that I wanted to walk around outside in 28 degree weather for 5 hours straight....he was cold. **Eye roll**
An overpacked suitcase has the potential slow you down, physically injure, rack up baggage fees, and with 100% certainty annoy both you and your fellow traveling companions. An overpacked bag is also the number one culprit for decision fatigue. With an overwhelming amount of options to choose from, frustration quickly arises and defeat looks like taking on the day in a sub par, last minute, thrown together outfit. Or if you do happen to take the time to create a fabulous look out of the piles and piles, sure, you've got a great fit but the price you pay is getting a later day start, wasting precious traveling time.
Underpacked luggage is just as bad if not worse, as it only leads to more undesirable "U" words such as: uncomfortable, unprepared, and underdressed. Cold, hot, not occasion appropriate, all these unhappy conditions will inevitably lead you to the last place anyone wants to be when they are out of town; shopping for necessities they should have found at home before they left. Worst. Feeling. Ever.
Pre-planning looks for each of your trip days based on activities, weather, and special events should be taking place long before you even think about pulling out the suitcase. Choosing versatile pieces in your wardrobe that can easily be dressed up or down and that can be paired with multiple other pieces to create at least 2-3 looks (if not more) is the ultimate goal. Below, you can see my versatile outfit planning. All 12 of the looks below fit into ONE SINGLE CARRY ON! Totally worth the extra time and effort before I left!
PRIORITIZE YOUR SELF CARE
If you're ready for leading lady looks but know you don't have the time, energy, know-how, or mental capacity to make it happen, you are not alone and it's 100% okay to ask for help. I make travel planning simple and frustration free for my Next Level Styling clients by taking all the guess work out of packing, styling, and shopping for their upcoming trips! In translation, I take care of all the detailed pre-planning, leaving you with zero headache, hassle, or stress before you leave! With my style expertise, we will find the right figure flattering pieces and styles for your specific body type. Colors that makes you feel alive and that are perfect for YOU! All the details are taken care of by me and my team, leaving you to relax and anticipate your trip with both serenity and a peace of mind. You've got enough going on already. Isn't it time for you to focus on self care for 2022? I know it's a personal goal of mine this year too!
The above photo is a small peek of a packing list I created for one of my current Next Level Styling Client's recent work trip. Complete with styling notes! She absolutely loves the simplicity and ease!
When it comes to personal styling, I make it fun, efficient, easy, and exciting!
I do this because I truly believe it's how getting dressed is meant to be.
I also take it very seriously, as in seriously serving the amazing women (and now, men!) who call on me and my expert services.
My goal is to bring out the true, most authentic version of you so you can live your most epic life!