Category Archives: Shopping

Packing for Our Anniversary Cruise—and How I Wore It All

There’s nothing like the excitement of heading off on a special trip, especially when it is to celebrate a wonderful time in your life. This summer, Barry and I embarked on a 10-day trip to the Mediterranean, which included a week-long cruise in celebration of our wedding anniversary. It was a most magical trip where we delighted in the beauty of various locations along the sea, enjoyed the brilliant sunshine of the Italian, French, and Spanish coasts, and experienced the food, history, and cultures of this storied part of the world.

Any time you’re planning to travel for more than a few days, it can be outright tricky to come up with a packing plan that works perfectly for your destination and the duration of your travels. That’s why it’s important to get started on your packing a few days early—so you can decide whether you need to streamline a bit, throw in a few more items, or just start all over again! Taking the time to pack your bags carefully always pays off and allows you to be carefree throughout your vacation.

Here’s what I packed for our trip:

Clothing:

For this trip I chose a black, white, and navy color story that worked very nicely together. I always recommend coming up with a color story so you can effortlessly mix and match your pieces together. And, it never hurts to throw in a surprising pop of color here and there for variety’s sake.

I packed a black pant, white pant, red pant, white short, navy short skirt, red dress, and a print dress. For shirts, I brought a black top, white top, a navy sweater, and an orange cotton long-sleeve sweater. And for a dressy evening I packed a navy sequin top (the very same one I wore on my trip to Paris a few years ago) to pair with a cream crepe pant.

I also brought a white casual shawl, a black cashmere shawl, and three bathing suits plus two cover-ups. And to help block the sun, I packed a big hat and a roll-up brimmed hat. Here’s a helpful tip to remember when packing your swimwear items: Consider bringing both a one-piece swimsuit and a bikini when you travel. The one-piece will be perfect for walking along the beach or splashing in the pool, while your bikini is great for lounging comfortably in the privacy of your own balcony.

Shoes: For sightseeing, exercising, and more, I took AGL black flats, black sandals, muted gold flat sandals, black heeled sandals, Nike workout sneakers, walking sneakers, and flip flops. And in Rome, I bought a cute and comfy pair of white sneakers.

Purses: I brought a Tumi cross-body lightweight nylon bag, a small black bag for evening, and a small gold bag for evening. I also brought a backpack because it’s comfortable to wear all day long.

Accessories: Accessories have the power to really bring a great outfit to life. I brought an assortment of jewelry, including a cheerful turquoise bracelet and earring set; a black cord necklace with a silver oval, silver hoops, a silver ring, and pearl earrings; and a crystal cuff to wear on a dressy night with large crystal and iolite earrings. Finally, my very favorite jewelry pieces for travel are my crystal on a long gold chain coupled with an Alexis Bittar lucite and gold bracelet and gold hoop earrings.

I want to share an invaluable piece of advice: Take extra care not to overpack! Somehow it’s always harder to pack up a suitcase at the end of the trip—plus you’ll want to have a little extra room for souvenirs or new clothes you buy while you’re traveling.

Now, on to how I wore the clothes I packed, and some sightseeing and shopping highlight photos from our trip!

Arriving in Rome

 On day one of our trip, we arrived in Rome and enjoyed some shopping until our room was ready. Our hotel was one block from the Via Condotti, the Spanish steps, and streets lined with nice shops. I bought a pair of fun white sneakers that were very comfortable to wear on the remainder of the trip, as well as a red-and-white-striped t-shirt.

On our first night, I wore my red pants with a white eyelet top to dinner.

Day 1, Boarding the Ship

We boarded Seabourn’s brand-new Encore midday and took a look around. The gym was great, and the coffee bar was located on our deck so Barry got me a cappuccino every morning before we went to breakfast.

That night there was a cocktail welcome party before dinner. It provided the perfect occasion for my postcard print dress with gold accessories.

Day 2, Corsica

We toured in beautiful Corsica and took in the sights. After having lunch on the ship, we relaxed on our deck and enjoyed some reading before dinner.

That evening was the “dressy night” on the ship. Some of the women wore gowns, and there were also men in tuxedos. I wore my navy sequin top with ivory pants and a black shoe, paired with crystal jewelry and a small black bag.

Day 3, Cinque Terre

On day three we toured three of the five towns in Cinque Terre, in what ended up being a ten-hour day of sightseeing! The towns were very pretty and we enjoyed roaming around. I wore white shorts with a pale orange t-shirt and the white sneakers I bought in Rome. I also wore my brimmed sun hat, and even bought another hat the same day.

That evening on the ship I wore my red pants again, this time with a dark navy and white sweater with black accessories for dinner.

Day 4, Santa Margherita and Portofino

On day four we toured and shopped in Santa Margherita and then attended an olive oil tasting and lunch at the Splendido Hotel, which overlooked the harbor in Portofino. I wore my new red-and-white-striped t-shirt, navy skirt, and sneakers, along with a hat.

That evening for dinner, we had a reservation at the Thomas Keller restaurant aboard the ship and enjoyed a fantastic dinner. I wore my orange/red dress with a black sandal and black bag, paired with gold jewelry.

Day 5

We visited a small French island on day five and strolled through their weekly market. There was lots of fun food to look at, and I bought a small straw bag. For sightseeing, I wore white shorts, a striped t-shirt, sneakers, and carried my black Tumi bag.

That evening at dinner, I wore my fun “postcard” dress—that’s what I like to call it. I accessorized with gold jewelry and wore gold sandals. That night, we had a special treat when we were asked to dine with the head engineer of the ship! We heard many interesting stories about how this state-of-the-art ship was built and how it is maintained.

Day 6, Palamós

The highlight of our day in Palamós, Spain, was taking part in a cooking class. It was great fun, and we got to prepare and then eat delicious seafood dishes.

That evening, back on the ship, I dressed for dinner in my black off-the-shoulder top with white pants, black heeled sandals, and carried my black bag.

Day 7, Mallorca

In Mallorca, Spain, we went shopping, and I wore my white shorts with a green t-shirt and sneakers, plus my sun hat. There, I bought a lovely Majorica pearl necklace, which I wore later on the trip.

That evening there was a “farewell” cocktail party on the ship and I repeated my outfit from our first evening in Rome: red pants with a white eyelet top.

Day 8, Barcelona

After the cruise, we spent our first day in Barcelona sightseeing. We viewed breathtaking architecture by Antoni Gaudí, Spain’s most illustrious architect. Along the grand boulevards of this beautiful city, we visited the Loewe leather store, as well as a fun shoe shop that sells only ballet flats in many different fabrics and colors. (Sadly, I was in between sizes and just couldn’t make it work.) We had lunch on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, The Majestic. That day, I wore white pants, my red-and-white-striped top, sneakers, and a hat.

That evening, I wore my black off-the-shoulder top and black pants with my new necklace that I bought in Mallorca.

Day 9, Barcelona

On our second day in Barcelona, we were out most of the day with our guide, Marta, and our driver. We visited the stunning Gaudí Sagrada Família along with some other beautiful churches, as well as one of the venues for the 1992 Olympics. In the Born area, our guide told us of a particular bakery that was known for its mascarpone-filled croissants. Barry went running in and bought three immediately! I have to say, it was delicious and worth every calorie! I wore my navy skirt, white t-shirt, blue sneakers, and wore my orange cotton sweater around my neck in case it got cold.

That night for dinner, I wore a black tank, black pants, cardigan, and a black sandal. I also carried my small black bag. The very next morning we set out toward the airport for our flight home. This was truly a trip to remember forever!

 Here’s what I would do differently next time: Overall I feel good about my packing choices for this trip, as I wore nearly everything I brought with me. However, next time I would make a few small changes. First, I would likely add another short or skirt for daytime touring, and a cotton hoodie or zipfront jacket in white for daytime wear. I would also add another bottom for daytime wear.

Finally, I would bring only one or two bathing suits and a single cover up; I didn’t actually spend that much time lounging at the pool because we went out touring every day instead. Still, this is a great example of how a little planning can go a long way. You don’t need to overstuff your suitcase to be able to craft lots of different outfits for a variety of events. When done right, you can bring a great assortment of clothing and accessories and still have plenty of room left for the treasures you find along your journey.

If you have a favorite packing tip, send it along to marla@marlatomazin.com and I will share it with all of our friends around the country.

 

 

 

 

 

To Buy or Not to Buy: Shopping in Paris

After an hour or so of browsing the racks in a fabulous store, you head to the fitting room with an armload of garments to try on. Some things are a definite, immediate “no.” And when you see others in the mirror, you know you’ll be returning home with them.

But then, there are always those pieces you just aren’t sure about. You pose in front of the mirror, looking at the garment from all angles. You really like A, B, and C about it, but you aren’t sure about X, Y, and Z. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Are you worrying too much? Is it just the fitting room lighting? Or will you still have the same concerns when you look into your own mirror at home?

We’ve all been there. Even with over two decades of experience as an image consultant, I still find myself spending a lot of time deliberating over potential outfits. Over the years, though, I have honed my “fitting room instincts.” I’ve gotten much better at deciding what I’ll actually wear and what will hang unworn in my closet.

When my husband and I took a trip to Paris in October, we spent some of our time shopping. (Who wouldn’t?) While I was trying on clothes, I asked Barry to photograph some of the outfits I was considering so that I could share my thought processes in a blog post. So without further ado, here’s a look at my Paris shopping experience. I’m sure some of the considerations I share will sound familiar—and hopefully, the final decision I made about each piece will be helpful to you the next time you just can’t decide whether to buy or not to buy.

RedDress2RedDress1

I loved almost everything about this red dress. But the final decision was that it was just a bit too short for me, although Barry gently disagreed. The bottom line is, if something about a piece will make you self-conscious or uncomfortable (even if others love how it looks on you), it’s better to pass. The first rule of creating a fantastic image is feeling comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing.

BlackDress This great dress and the sweater top with the cool cuffs did get my approval. The pieces I tried on in Paris weren’t a perfect fit, though, so I had alterations made. (As a reminder, always invest in alterations if a garment’s fit isn’t ideal—and don’t reject a piece you love if alterations can be made. Good tailoring always takes clothing from “okay” to “outstanding.”) I bought this particular dress one size too big in the hips so it would fit my chest and had it taken in. The store also sent a larger cardigan for me.

BlackDressAltered1This photo was taken after alterations were made. Notice the ruched fabric on the sleeves of the cardigan. It matches the dress. Cool, right? I think the cardigan with its fabric cuff is a younger, more modern way to top off a sleeveless dress instead of wearing a jacket. This combination will be a timeless classic for my closet.

BeigeDress1 BeigeDress2

I am a beige lover at heart, and this outfit now belongs to me—including the Rex Rabbit scarf. There really wasn’t anything I disliked about it. An immediate “yes”!

BeigeDressCoat BeigeCoat

I considered this beige jacket as an alternative to the jacket above with the ruffled hem. If it worked, I thought, it could be worn with many items in my wardrobe in addition to the dress. However, this was a classic case of liking an item in theory more than in practice. I just didn’t enjoy the shape of the jacket on me or the bulkiness of the tie belt, so I passed.

BlackCoatI tried on this coat because I liked its unique design featuring asymmetrical ruffles, but decided against buying it because once again, it was a little too short for my taste. It’s usually easy to alter a garment that’s too big or long, but much more difficult to tailor something that’s too small or short.

BWDressThis dress was interesting because of its diagonal color blocking, but after much thought I decided it wasn’t for me. There’s a lot of black in my closet, so I am trying to buy less black unless I absolutely love a particular piece and don’t have anything like it already.

HermesScarfA stop at Hermès led to the purchase of this fabulous classical scarf, which goes with everything. I particularly liked it because of its oblong shape, which is new at Hermès. (I’m not a huge fan of the square.) In addition to the great colors, I also liked that the scarf incorporated four of Hermès’ most popular designs. All in all, it’s a wonderful piece of Paris to add to my accessories collection.

UltraseudeCoatI didn’t take pictures of these items in Paris, so Barry snapped this photo at our home. This unlined ultra suede jacket will be perfect in my wardrobe. The reddish brown color works well with my color palette. The necklace, which is a brown chain link with golden pearlized circular stones on top, is unique and works well with the brown and golden tones I wear often. After I tried them on, there was no doubt that these two pieces would be coming home with me.

I originally looked at the purse in a larger size, but ultimately decided to purchase this smaller version. It holds a file for business and all my personal items and doesn’t become too heavy. The bag works as a neutral and meshes well with my wardrobe. And I think all three pieces in the photo above work together nicely!

So there you have it—a quick look at how I made my shopping decisions in Paris. Ultimately, my advice is, if you love it (or think you love it) and it fits (or can be altered), buy it—just make sure to double-check the store’s return policy in case you change your mind. However, if you’re having doubts in the fitting room, it might be best to wait, because in my experience, they won’t disappear after you get the garment home.

Happy shopping!

Packing for Paris—and How I Wore It

Without a doubt, one of the most frustrating aspects of traveling (outside of airport checkpoints, maybe) is packing for the trip. Inevitably, you want to take more clothing, shoes, and accessories than will comfortably fit into your suitcase. Even as an image consultant with plenty of experience in creating a variety of looks using just a few staples, I often find myself packing, downsizing, and repacking ad nauseum before traveling.

That’s why I wanted to share with you what I packed and wore when my husband and I traveled to Paris from October 2 to 6. I was so proud of myself for limiting the contents of my suitcase to a relatively small amount of items that I could mix and match. I hope that seeing what I took to Paris and how I wore it will make packing for your next trip a little easier.

Here’s what I took:

Clothing: An Armani navy blazer, an Yves St. Laurent raincoat, four sweaters (white, beige, orange, and black), taupe jeans, Worth black leggings, and dark denim jeans

Shoes: Black boots, black AGL flats, and my favorite Pancaldi bow pumps

Accessories: Three scarves (including an animal print pashmina), jewelry, a leather Michael Kors handbag (the strap could be lengthened to wear cross-body) and a small black bag for evening

My strategy was to take neutral basics (black, beige/taupe, and navy) and spice them up with key colored and patterned pieces. I wore the denim jeans, the white sweater, the navy blazer, and the ballet flats on the plane. I actually had some extra space in my bag, which was convenient because…well…who wouldn’t want to do some shopping in Paris?

ParisPacking1ParisPacking5

And here’s how I wore it:

Day One: Barry and I arrived in Paris. Since our hotel room wasn’t ready, I wore the clothes in which I’d traveled (a white sweater, jeans, and flats) while we shopped and ate lunch at L’Affable. After settling into our hotel, we had a fantastic dinner at L’Epigramme.

Window shopping in Paris

Window shopping in Paris

Dinner at L’Epigramme (I bought the necklace I’m wearing earlier in the afternoon while shopping on the Left Bank.)

Dinner at L’Epigramme (I bought the necklace I’m wearing earlier in the afternoon while shopping on the Left Bank.)

Day Two: We went to Versailles, saw the new Frank Gehry building in the Bois de Boulogne, and visited the Musée d’Orsay. I was a busy day, and we must have walked 4 to 5 miles (but my AGL flats held up beautifully!). We ate dinner at a great restaurant called Spring.

Outside the Palace of Versailles

Outside the Palace of Versailles

A delicious dinner at Spring

A delicious dinner at Spring

Day Three: Barry and I crossed the Seine, walked through the passageway at the Louvre, saw an interesting Nike display at a running event, and shopped the rest of the day on the Rue Saint-Honoré. We ate dinner at Graff, a wonderful local restaurant on the Left Bank near our hotel.

We loved walking along the Seine.

We loved walking along the Seine.

Another memorable meal—this time at Graff

Another memorable meal—this time at Graff

Day Four: We shopped through Le Marais and visited the Place des Vosges and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Walking through the Place des Vosges. I purchased the Yves St. Laurent raincoat I’m wearing on a previous trip to Paris!

Walking through the Place des Vosges. I purchased the Yves St. Laurent raincoat I’m wearing on a previous trip to Paris!

Of course, we had to walk past Notre Dame Cathedral on Île de la Cité!

Of course, we had to walk past Notre Dame Cathedral on Île de la Cité!

At some point during the trip, I wore everything I brought, so I’d say packing was a success! In my next post, I’ll share some photos from our shopping stops and explain why I bought the pieces I chose.

Stay tuned!

Stay tuned!

Virtual Worth: High-Tech Shopping At Its Best

As you may know, I am a consultant for Worth New York, a luxury clothing line based in New York City. While I love helping my clients select pieces they love, I’ve often wished that there was a way for me to work with women for whom it isn’t convenient to come to Worth’s showroom.

That’s why I’m pleased to share that I’m now able to book virtual consultations. This is a great option for women who might not have time to go to the showroom, or who don’t live close by.

When you choose to shop Worth’s collections virtually, I’ll curate a presentation just for you, based on your preferences and the image you want to create. Then we’ll “meet” virtually whenever it’s convenient for you. On your iPad or desktop screen, I’ll show you pieces in which you might be interested and give you the opportunity to browse Worth’s online “closets.” You can zoom in and see each piece up close before placing your order. And if you receive something that you don’t love, you can send it back free of charge.

So far, I’ve received very positive feedback from clients who have shopped virtually with me. Virtual consultations, they say, are easy and fun—high-tech shopping at its best. If you’d like to book a virtual consultation or have more questions, please get in touch with me. I would love to help you create the best possible look, no matter where you live!

WorthVirtual

’Tis the Season for Excess: Seven Areas in Which You Shouldn’t Overindulge

For most Americans, the weeks between now and New Year’s are some of the busiest of the year. When we’re not shopping, cooking, or decorating, we’re socializing, eating, or traveling to the next event on the calendar. Yes, we mean well when we cram our time so full of activities and obligations: We want to have fun. We want to spend time with loved ones. We want to celebrate, eat good food, and look our best at every event.

But often, we end up overdoing it. Instead of savoring seasonal cheer, we find ourselves irritable, stressed, and exhausted as we fall more and more behind on our to-do lists. In multiple areas, it’s easy to inadvertently cross the line from “healthy” to “too much,” leaving ourselves inadequate margins of time and energy.

One thing I’ve learned during my career is that balance looks and feels different to everyone. There isn’t a magic formula for staying within healthy boundaries. That’s why it’s important to take your temperature in several key areas as you move through the next few weeks. Yes, going overboard might be tempting and easy to rationalize, but not at the expense of your well-being. When you stay focused on honoring your needs and values, you’ll stand the best chance of creating a fulfilling holiday—and of beginning 2014 in a good place physically and mentally.

Here are seven key areas in which you should be careful not to overindulge:

*The calendar crunch. Cocktail parties. Potlucks. Gift exchanges. End-of-year company celebrations. Concerts. Fundraisers…and the list goes on. These events are staples of the holiday season because they’re supposed to be enjoyable. And they can be…but only if you curate your schedule. Try to avoid going to too many events or attending the wrong ones. As you pencil things in on your calendar, ask yourself: How much time do I need to recharge between events? How much time should I set aside to complete personal tasks? Will spending time with certain groups of people energize me or drain me?

*The parade of requests. Since seasonal events don’t plan themselves, chances are you’ll be asked to pitch in with your time, talents, energy, and money. As the requests come rolling in, resist the urge to automatically say yes to everything. Trust me: You don’t have to plan your company’s holiday party just because you did so last year. You don’t have to stay up till 2 a.m. baking cookies for your child’s class. You don’t have to host every member of your extended family for a holiday dinner. Keep your limits in mind and practice saying “no.” Don’t give away so much of your energy that you have none left to enjoy this time of year!

*The commercial frenzy. There are a million and one things that Americans spend money on over the holidays. The problem is, as you walk through crowded malls and watch endless streams of red-and-green commercials, it’s easy to get carried away with your wallet. Keep in mind that no purchase is worth the anxiety that a larger-than-expected credit card bill can bring. And especially be wary of overspending on clothing, shoes, handbags, and other items that are on sale, but that you don’t need. When shopping for clothes specifically, I recommend looking at the garment first and the price second. And above all, remember that the best holiday memories won’t involve “stuff.” Instead, they’ll feature the people you love. So don’t be afraid to create a budget and stick to it.

*Decking the halls. Decorations are a time-honored staple of this season. And with each year, glossy magazine spreads, television specials, and (most recently) websites like Pinterest up the ante. As a result, I think that many of us have mistakenly gotten the impression that our homes need to look like Martha Stewart paid a visit. But the truth is, it’s okay if your tree looks a little scraggly. You haven’t dropped the ball if you didn’t make each decoration by hand. As you deck your halls, ask yourself, Am I doing this because I’ll really enjoy these decorations, or am I doing it so that other people will be impressed? Remember, the most important thing is that you enjoy being in your home.

*Buffets, potlucks, and finger foods. (Oh my!) The holidays are known for good food, good drink, and lots of it. It’s tempting to partake until you’re stuffed, and then continue partaking regardless. You may not want to hear it, but the truth is that you’ll feel better physically and emotionally if you limit your intake to a reasonable level. Be sure to drink lots of water, eat healthy foods, and avoid gorging on treats at every opportunity. I also recommend getting in some light exercise, even if you can work in only a short walk a few days a week.

*Daydreams of perfection. Does this sound familiar? Every year, you say to yourself, This year everything will be different. The holidays will be perfect. No arguments, no disagreements, no awkward silences. But then, Uncle Tim makes inappropriate remarks at the dinner table, your teenage niece storms away from the table in a huff, and you can practically see your spouse’s blood pressure rise as your mother makes critical comments. Ultimately, you’re unreasonably disappointed. I’m not suggesting that you put up with blatantly bad behavior, but do manage your expectations. You’ll be much happier if you don’t ask your imperfect—but still valued—loved ones to reenact a Hallmark commercial.

*Virtual reality. During the holidays, the impulse to share every little moment with your social networks might be even greater than normal. But before you update your status or post a photo for the 749th time, take a moment to consider whether the Internet really needs to know what you’re sharing. You don’t want to run the risk of missing out on real life because you’re so focused on your virtual one. Experiencing some things with your family and friends without screens and keyboards is important.

Over the next few weeks, I hope you’ll take a step back and intentionally design a celebration that is meaningful to you. Remember, there is no “right” way to celebrate the season. Don’t feel bound by what your friends, the media, or our consumer culture tells you that you should be doing. At their heart, the holidays are about love, fellowship, faith, and values. If you’re focusing on those things, you’ll stand the best chance of having a holiday that’s truly filled with joy.