beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · international · luxury · style

Kibbe Soft Classic Chat – Grace Kelly

As promised in a previous post, I want to start exploring some of deeper aspects of the concepts that interest me, and that I’ve previously discussed on the blog. In particular, I’m very interested in understanding the intersection between art, design and life, as well as the ways we can use the arts to support us in living our best lives.

To start these discussions, I want to begin with one of my favorite topics: the Kibbe Style ID system. The Kibbe system has been updated by David Kibbe in recent years but the overall concept is the same: there are certain style “IDs” that people fit in, and these style IDs can give us insight into the kind of clothing, accessories and hairstyling we can utilize to best present our physical selves. The style ID category that I fall into is Soft Classic (SC).

I’m in good company with the SC category: quite a few famous beauties share this ID (if you are interested in some of the women that are in other Kibbe categories, check out this post). The most famous of the SCs is probably Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.

Kibbe previously classified Grace as a Classic, but, after further consideration, he decided that a pure Classic category was too rare in nature to warrant its own group. Thus, Grace was reclassified as a SC. I won’t go into all of the features that make her a SC (you can undoubtedly find this information on numerous websites and YouTube). But I will discuss how her style and energy influenced her persona, and how she used fashion to mold her public perception.

A collection worth checking out: Grace Kelly: A Life In Pictures

The effect: The Eternal Princess

Even before she official became a princess, Grace had a royal look. This was, in part, due to her incredible bone structure and slim physique, but her styling played a heavy role in looking the part of a princess. The clothing she wore onscreen often featured fitted bodices in flattering colors, and these were often short sleeved or sleeveless (a perfect way to display perfectly toned arms). She didn’t often wear shorts or skirts with calves or knees exposed. This was partly due to the fashion trends of the time, but these also perpetuated the reserved image that is often seen in royal families.

SCs often look better in the structured and symmetrical garments favored during the 1950s/early 1960s (think Dior’s New Look era). Generally speaking, these items are feminine in silhouette but not overly embellished. Considering that Grace’s Hollywood career occurred during the New Look period, she was literally the right woman at the right time to wear these clothes. She has the perfect look for the clothing that was most popular during this time.

In addition to the clothes she wore, Grace also wore perfect SC hair and makeup. Her blond coiffure was always immaculately styled, with hair having rounded shapes but remaining sleek overall. She wore defined lips, flawless foundation, and gently enhanced eyes, allowing her facial balance to shine. This period was perfect for her look, as it occurred after the dramatically tweezed and redrawn brows and beestung lips of the 1920s and 30s, but before the heavily enhanced eye makeup and exaggerated hair of the 1960s.

The look of this period – reserved, elegant, structured but soft where it counts – are all traits that are often associated with elite women, specifically, royals. So Grace’s leveraging of these trends helped form the public opinion of her being queenly (indeed, she was considered an “ice princess” or “ice queen”, though her costars all agreed that she was quite the opposite [warm and friendly, by all accounts]). In many ways, Grace “dressed the part” of royal before she and Prince Rainier III ever crossed paths. Her sartorial assimilation into royal life in Monaco must have been fairly easy for her.

Book discussing Grace Kelly’s fashion: Grace Kelly Style by Kristina Haugland

My takeaways from Grace’s style aren’t new information, but I’ll still state them briefly: dress for the life that you want, and wear the designs that work for your unique style ID. We’ve heard that we have to “dress for success”, and success can be whatever you define it as. So, if you want the life of a royal, dress like one (within reason and your budget, of course). And if you know your style ID, experiment with the recommended silhouettes to find a look that works for you. After all, this whole journey is about figuring out what works, and discarding what doesn’t.

That’s it for this style ID/SC chat. I hope you all are having a fabulous February! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

(This post includes affiliate links)

style

Let’s Talk Kibbe Again . . .

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was beautiful, relaxing, and enjoyable.

I wanted to start this week off with a topic that I’ve discussed before, that is sorely needs updating. I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago that I’m a Soft Classic in David Kibbe’s style ID system. While Mr. Kibbe has evolved in his approach to style ID-ing (he has created some new exercises to help aspiring style stars to learn their best lines), the fact remains that his previous style ID system works well for me and has led me on a path to having better understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t.

Here’s what I realize about Kibbe typing: the more you work with it, the more intuitive it becomes. Your intuition won’t always scream at you, “Buy it!” or “Don’t you dare buy it!” Something, the intuition comes as simple suggestions, like, “Hmm, this looks a little . . . off”, or “This would be perfect if . . . “. Repeat after me: life is too short to buy and wear clothes that only make you 80% happy. Yes, there may be some ordinary items (like that t-shirt you use when dyeing your hair or the skirt you wear when you’re practicing with your oil pastels) that don’t make you feel over the moon. But the vast (I mean, 90% of our wardrobe) should delight us. Kibbe’s system allows us to train our eyes for what truly works for us. Even if there isn’t much money for fashion in your budget, you can still spend some time training your eye, so when the perfect piece shows up at the perfect price, you’ll be ready. You’ll also save money by not buying any old thing, just so that you’ll feel like you have a “proper” wardrobe.

Another thing I realize about the Kibbe system is how much money and time I save by implementing this philosophy. Instead of mindlessly shopping because I don’t know what my wardrobe is “missing”, I’m very clear on what gaps exist in my wardrobe and which retailers can fill said gaps. Among the clothes I’ve kept, I have an adequate wardrobe that allows me to easily assemble a stylish ensembles that suits me perfectly. No more endless hours hunting for something that looks “just right’ on me; almost everything I own looks “perfect” on me. That could also be credited to the fact that I still, on a lesser level, embrace the Madame Chic capsule wardrobe approach, but it’s important to note that Kibbe’s philosophy and capsule dressing work well together.

I feel that most of the frustration over the Kibbe system comes from people not having an accurate view of themselves their bodies. A lot of people conflate their personality with their style ID, and that’s an approach that can lead you down the wrong style path. It can be hard to accept that your carefree personality doesn’t necessarily translate into being one of the Naturals, or your larger-than-life persona doesn’t automatically make you one of the Dramatics. But, by being honest about your bone structure and facial (and other) features, you can figure out a way to allow your style to be a perfect enhancement for your personality.

And don’t get me started on the “Classic” types: being any of the other types doesn’t mean that you possess less-than-classic beauty. In fact, some of the greatest beauties throughout the ages were Dramatics (Lena Horne), Soft Dramatics (Diahann Carroll), Theatrical Romantics (Dorothy Dandridge) and Romantics (Beyonce), Soft Gamine (Halle Berry AND Eartha Kitt), Flamboyant Gamines (Tina Turner) . . . You get the picture. But, in case the Naturals are feeling left out of the discussion, let me assure you: the vast majority of high-fashion models are Flamboyant Naturals. Janet Jackson, a woman that is objectively beautiful, is a Soft Natural. And these are only a few of the Black entertainers that have been classified by Kibbe: there are TONS of women, of all ethnicities, that are clearly beautiful and have a timelessness to their beauty that can be considered “classic”. However, just remember there is a difference between “classic” (anything that has remained high quality and outstanding over a period of time) and “Classic” (a term assigned to any person that has a moderate frame, fairly symmetrical features and a blend of curves and angles). There are classic (little “c”) beauties in all of the style IDs.

I have some tips for figuring out your Kibbe type without making things too complicated. I’ll share those in a future post, but until then, I hope you found some value in my random Kibbe-related thoughts. Talk to you all tomorrow!

style

My Latest Thrifted Finds

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Here in the DMV region, the weather was rainy on Saturday and then we got typical summer heat on Sunday. I made the best of it, and I’m happy to welcome this new week.

I’ve thrifted for all of my life, though it isn’t always my first choice when it comes to certain ensembles. When I need something specific, I will go to either Amazon, Nordstrom or White House Black Market, where I’m (almost) guaranteed to find what I’m want. But, for unique ensembles and accessories, I prefer to thrift.

Here are some of my latest finds. I often go to one or two thrift stores a week, though there are periods where I don’t thrift for a few weeks at a time (this usually happens when my schedule is hectic). I’m thinking about writing a post on “How to Thrift”. If you’d like to see that, let me know in the comments below!

Peignoir set by Flora Nikrooz
Lace detailing on peignoir
Ceasikery faux wrap dress
Closeup of the faux wrap bodice
Vintage Bergdorf Goodman pleated dress
Closeup of the bodice
Tag inside the dress
Tahari shift dress
Gold detailing on the dress
Maggy London dress
Closeup of the architecture of the dress
Vintage dress by NPC Fashions
Closeup of the fabric
Back of the NPC Fashions dress

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow, with a topic that I’ve been eager to discuss. Talk to you all soon!

beauty · style

My Boohoo Wish List

It’s been quite some time since I discussed fashion on this blog. I take it that this means that I’m starting to feel more like my old self (which is a good thing!). I still love fashion, though it took a backseat to my physical and emotional health over the past 18 months.

However, a recent haul video done by the lovely Jessica over at Wigs and Wanderlust reminded me of my love of Boohoo clothing. The clothing is, as I’ve heard it described, “cheap and cheerful”, but the designs are cute and last a while when you take good care of them. So I decided to see what beauties Boohoo had for me. I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw!

Full disclosure: I adore midi length dresses, so pretty much everything will be a little longer than many of the designs offered on Boohoo. I will occasionally wear a shorter length, but something about midi-length dresses make me feel sleek and more elegant.

This square neck midi skater dress is dreamy: it looks cute and summery, and there’s a lot of potential to dress it up or down. I’d love to get this one in a couple of colors.

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The pleated bodice on this midi dress is so dynamic, yet the overall silhouette is controlled and sleek. The pleated top bandeau midi dress is a great option for a summertime cocktail party.

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The puff sleeves may sound a little silly, but paired with the structured bodice and sweetheart neckline, this organza mesh puff sleeve midi dress is a stunning study in harmonious contrasts.

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The blue version of this dress reminds me a bit of a design offered on Boohoo a few years ago that I adored. However, I like the white version of this bust detail porcelain print midi dress. I’m not sure if the print is visible in person, as it would be white-on-white. But if it has a slight contrast, it could be very pretty when viewed in real life.

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These are just a few of the designs that won my heart over at Boohoo. I don’t have anywhere fancy to wear them, but at this point, I love dressing up to walk around the house LOL!

Have you been making any wish lists recently? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

art · style

Deneuve and YSL: Christie’s Auction Preview

Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. my single biggest regret of that exhibition was not allowing myself more time to  view the items; I also regret the fact that I didn’t go to the exhibition more than once.

However, as if my regrets have been heard by some benevolent force, I found out that Catherine Deneuve would be selling her YSL collection through Christie’s. Christie’s has graciously created a virtual tour so that potential shoppers and all appreciators of YSL design can view the items for sale.

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I’ve gone through this virtual tour several times, and it never gets old. I love Saint Laurent’s creative vision, and I love the relationship that he had with Deneuve. Their friendship is reminiscent of the one shared by the late Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy.

I’m sharing the link to the virtual tour here, so that you all may enjoy the items for sale. Please note that some of the items offered through Christie’s will be available via online auction, so you can own a piece of designer and Hollywood histories, too. The in-person auction occurred earlier today, but you still have a chance to own one of these beloved pieces if you choose to participate in the online auction. That online segment will accept bids until January 30, so don’t miss your chance to get one of these treasures for yourself.

I thought it would be hard to select just one item that I like the best. Fortunately for me, Deneuve’s sartorial choices differ from mine so I was able to narrow down my favorites to a few items. Firstly, I loved the black cloqué and black oyster feather jacket and black wool pant suit (Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Spring Summer 1996). This ensemble is so elegant and luxurious looking: the feather jacket is so unlike anything else on the market. I’d love it even more if it was in navy blue as opposed to black, but it’s still a fabulous outfit that I’d love to own.

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Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Spring Summer 1996, A black cloqué and black oyster feather jacket and black wool pant suit

Next, I really like the red wool coat and a burgundy jersey dress with leather belt (Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Fall Winter 1990-1991). I adore the large black buttons on the coat, and, while I wouldn’t pair the coat with this particular dress, I love both pieces and would enjoy wearing them separately.

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Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Fall Winter 1990-1991, A red wool coat and a burgundy jersey dress with leather belt

I encourage you all to check out the virtual tour as well as the online auction. These pieces are truly one-of-a-kind, as they were owned by the legendary Catherine Deneuve, and an opportunity like this may not come again for a very long time.

That’s all for today: I’ll chat with you all tomorrow!

luxury · style

My Top Three Tips for Finding Luxury Fashion Bargains

Hi friends! The roads are being cleared in the Mid-Atlantic region, only for more snow to fall in the next few days! I’m still staying warm and dry, and I hope the same for you all.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and just decided to check out what new finds they had. I walked out with two large bags of clothing and spent only $40. The bags contained several designer suits and some beautiful vintage blouses. I had gone to the same thrift store several weeks prior and gotten two lovely winter coats.

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Now, as you all may recall, I like to shop selectively. I don’t enjoy spending my money on items that won’t last very long. I like high quality pieces for great prices. This is part of the reason why I’ve distanced myself from some of the bargain retailers that I used to enjoy . . . I need clothes that will give me the best bang for my buck.

I also don’t like to clutter my wardrobe with a bunch of items that won’t last beyond the season. When I shop, I prefer to purchase investment pieces. This applies even when I’m at thrift stores. Just because the item has been pre-owned does it mean that I don’t hold it to a high standard! My family and friends are always amazed at some of the incredible buys that I can find, especially since these items are usually designer pieces. Their questions led me to creating this post just for you all to describe how I can find amazing luxury item for great prices. Enjoy!

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  • Do your research

What good is saving your money, picking an item, and purchasing it if you find out later that you invested poorly? It’s important to do research before investing in any luxury item. Remember that cost does not equal high quality: there are many items that label themselves “luxurious” but are in actuality overpriced, low quality goods. So do your research before purchasing any luxury item. Learn about the items best features and why it’s superior to its competitors. Compare it with similar items. If you find an item that’s being presented as a bargain, it helps to know the average selling price so that you can determine for yourself whether the price that it’s being offered for is a true bargain or if it’s too good to be true. There are a lot of high-quality knock-offs on the market, that are being sold for a pittance. If you are interested in buying true luxury goods, knowing the regular retail prices can help you avoid purchasing a good-looking fake.

  • Never be in a rush

When buying a luxury item, it’s crucial to take your time. Some of the best items can be purchased for  a steal if you time it right. Timing is not only about waiting for Black Friday sales; Actually, when it comes to most luxury goods, Black Friday is not the day that you can expect to find your best prices. Some retailers have seasons, or certain times of the year, when they clear out their overstocked  items. Patiently waiting for discounts can save a savvy consumer quite a bit of money when purchasing luxury goods.

  • There’s no shame in buying used luxury items

The beauty of pre-owned luxury items is that many of the previous owners have taken excellent care of their possessions.  if you don’t disclose when and how you bought an item, no one will know that you purchased it used. Also, depending on the luxury item, having previous owners may be unavoidable. Think of fashions from the 1920s and 1930s: surely you wouldn’t be the first person to own those items! So when purchasing used luxury items, just make sure that the items are in excellent condition or, at very minimum, in a condition that is suitable to you. Some items, such as furniture or home other home goods, may not need to be in pristine condition for what you’re intending. In fact, depending on the item, a slightly used, worn-in look maybe preferred.

Since this conversation is about luxury fashion, you would want to make sure that the clothing is in great condition before purchasing. Even vintage items should be scrutinized for signs of wear that can detract from the attractiveness of the garment.

Those are my top three tips for finding luxury fashion bargains! Do you all have any other tips? If so, please let me know in the comments below!

style

Social Wardrobe for Soft Classics

During the holiday season, you all may find that you have more invitations that you expected . . . At least, that’s been my experience. With all of the parties, galas, and gatherings this season, I realize I needed to assess my wardrobe and see if I had the clothing I needed to stylishly sail through it.

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I figured that it’s important to have a basic “social wardrobe” that flatters my Soft Classic Kibbe type (more about my Kibbe type here and here; click here for general information about body typing). My social wardrobe takes into account my Kibbe type so if you have a different type, you may want to ignore some of the highly personal suggestions and just think about the concepts overall. Even if you have a different Kibbe type, you still will likely benefit from assessing your social calendar and what few items you’ll need to look your best.

  • A fitted sheath

The silhouette should be fitted but not tight: the goal is a structured look that emphasizes the waist without looking overly exaggerated. I really like this very affordable option by Muxxn: it comes in a variety of colors, and it’s easy to dress this up with glamorous jewelry and ornate shoes. However, there’s always the possibility of wearing this with a blazer and nude pumps and then you have a great ready-for-work ensemble.

  • A sleek turtleneck

This is a versatile piece that goes from work to social settings with ease. I love turtlenecks with little extra details that make it look festive. I recently got a turtleneck from White House Black Market that is positively divine. It has small buttons on the sleeves that add a feminine touch. This looks great paired with ankle-length pants or tucked into a voluminous skirt in a dressy-looking fabric (like faille or satin). Sadly, my turtleneck has since sold out, but perhaps they will eventually make it available again. . . Until then, this lovely turtleneck with inset sleeves by PattyBoutik is a pretty, unique interpretation of the traditional turtleneck.

  • 1950s style dress

Fitted bodice, A-line (or fuller) skirt – think swing dresses – and perfectly coiffed hair are all timelessly chic elements of some of my favorite looks from previous social events. I really love how Amazon has a lot of 1950s-inspired styles for reasonable prices. I wore a lacy blush dress by Dressystar when I was a bridesmaid this summer, and I fell in love with the design. However, if you’d like something a little more luxurious, there are many vintage-inspired retailers that have incredible offerings. Unique Vintage has a great swing style coat dress that would look elegant at a variety of events. If coat dresses aren’t your thing, then check out Scarlet Rage, Modcloth and Bitter Root Vintage (full disclosure – many of the dresses on Bitter Root are identical to designs being sold for much less on Amazon. So if the designs start looking similar . . . That may be why).

Dressystar Floral Lace Dress

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Retro Style Black Double Breasted Swing Coat Dress by Unique Vintage

Full skirt (any length)

The trick with full skirts is to make sure that the top you pair them with is fitted. The contrast of a fitted top with a full skirt can give you the look of a 1950s-style dress (discussed above) but it allows you to customize it more. The full skirt can have any color or print that you like, and you can easily pair it with tops that have different colors, sleeve lengths, necklines, etc.,. The options are endless! I really like this pleated skirt by Girstunm, which comes in over 40 designs.

Those are some of the basics that I think would be a good starting point for creating a solid social wardrobe. There are probably a few more pieces you’d recommend – if so, let me know in the comments below.

Take care, and enjoy your Tuesday!

style

Black Friday Deals and Musings

Happy Black Friday, friends! If you were able to spend time with your family and friends yesterday (on Thanksgiving), consider yourself very fortunate. I was able to visit one of my good friends, and I think it did us both a lot of good to share some time with one another.

Today, however, is Black Friday, the only day of the year where people are expected to act insane while trying to save a little money. I used to work in retail many years ago, and I worked several Black Fridays in a row (5 years straight, to be exact) and I haven’t physically gone out on Black Friday since then. I really lost my taste for shopping on this day, after I saw how wretched some people acted over “stuff”.

Don’t get me wrong: I like “stuff” as much as the next person. But I always found the Black Friday riots to be degrading and, to be frank, truly asinine. I never wanted my face to be caught up in that foolishness when the media covers the brawls and stampedes happening at big box retailers.

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Instead, I’ll peruse the sales at home and if I see something that I truly want, I’ll purchase it online. As an introvert, buying from home saves me the hassle of forced human interaction but also reduces some of the visual stimuli that can overwhelm me when I’m in disorganized, overcrowded stores. Today, I saw that some of my favorite retailers – White House Black Market, Black Halo, and Macys – are all running some pretty great sales this Black Friday. Even if you (like me) aren’t keen to interact with the crowds, this is a good time to purchase something that has been on your list for a while.

If you find some awesome deals, let me know in the comments below. Or, if you find that you just can’t hang with the Black Friday crowd, I’d love to hear all about it. Enjoy your day, and happy shopping!

style

Fall Fashion Post Run-Down

Hi guys! Now that the cool weather seems to be here to stay, I want to share some fun fall fashion posts that I’ve seen over the past few weeks. This will be a brief post, since I’m currently working on a few other things and have to keep it brief so that I have time to work on the pressing stuff. In any case, enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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The best part about fall: leaves changing color

If you’re curious about your fall color palette, check out this post over on Best Life Facts. These colors are sure to work perfectly as you transition from summer’s warmth to autumn’s coolness.

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Geek Refined is serving up five different fall looks for your enjoyment. The cool thing about this post is that these are all great transition looks: not quite warm enough for the coldest days, but perfect for the weather right now.

If you’re looking for individual fall pieces to add to your wardrobe, check out Haley’s Beauty Room. This list has a bunch of ideas for filling the gaps with your ensembles. I especially love the trench coat recommendation.

Have fun checking out the links!

 

style · travel

Cruise Ready – How I Pack for a Seven-Day Trip

As I look ahead to my Caribbean cruise, my mind comes down to the one question that matters most of all:

What will I wear?

Now, I’ve packed for many (MANY!) trips over the years so I’m a bit of a packing pro. However, I don’t think I’ve ever written down my luggage logic. Until today.

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I’m going to break down exactly what I pack for 8 days. Warning: there are some pieces that will be worn more than once. Fortunately, the ship has a laundry room, as does the hotel that I’m staying in when I return from the cruise. Also, the ship has laundry and dry cleaning service, so you can leave the washing to someone else, if you’d like.

The outfits I’m packing are as follows:

  • 2 “anytime” dresses
  • 1 formal/semi-formal dress
  • 3 tops
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 skirt or 1 pair of capris (haven’t decided which one will make the cut yet)
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 2 sarongs/pareos
  • 10 sets of undergarments (bras and panties); 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 workout ensemble
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of heels

It’s important to remember that I’m wearing an outfit onto the ship, so I’m not counting that ensemble in the items above. For my 1st day/boarding the ship ensemble, I’ll be wearing:

  • long pants
  • blouse
  • ballet flats
  • small scarf

I want to keep it simple, but the truth is, it’s easy to run out of things to wear when you are doing a capsule wardrobe. Just because I’m keeping it simple doesn’t mean I want to be bored when I get dressed. I also don’t want to have to wear the same exact outfit 4+ times before I get home . . .

I’ve usually consulted The Vivienne Files for help with planning my travel wardrobe. I found a cruise-specific capsule wardrobe that may be of interest to someone. While I wouldn’t wear the colors and pieces specifically included, it still provides a good visual of what kind of items would give you the most versatility when packing for a cruise.

That’s my list for now. I’m actively trying to see if I can pare it down even more. If I can, I’ll let you all know! How do you all pack for travel? Let me know in the comments below!