I followed the Royals on their recent trip to New Zealand and Australia, did you? It held my attention for a few reasons.
One: It was fun to see pictures of them in spots that I had enjoyed personally while visiting in N.Z. and Australia on a teaching tour to image consultants and stylists ‘down under’ a couple of years ago.
Two: Who can resist cute baby pictures? I was ready to see more of Baby George. He’s adorable!
Three: It fed my wild imagination. I LOVE packing people for trips. I had many a daydream about being the one to have packed Duchess Kate for that three week trip.
Most of my clients aren’t meeting diplomats, although I did dress one client to meet the King of Spain and the King and Queen of Denmark. Oh, and President Obama and First Lady Michelle. But that’s the exception. Most of my clients are traveling for fun, exploration, not-so-formal business, or visiting family members. Throw in a class reunion and a few destination weddings. You get the picture.
Since it is a favorite thing to do, I’ve already imagined being in Kate’s closet pulling outfit possibilities onto my portable rolling rack (although she probably has a few rolling racks at her “house” already so I wouldn’t have to bring mine out of the back seat of my car). I’d ask Kate for her itinerary, study it, and then ask for any clarifying details so I would know how best to apply the language of clothes to the settings she would be in. She wouldn’t want an outfit saying, “I’m a cool mommy that can get on the floor and play with blocks for hours” if the situation called for “I hear your concerns, I’ll see who I can talk to about these environmental issues of yours.”
I’d talk to Kate about her shoes and how many pairs of them she’d want to take with her. If luggage space was no issue, I’d encourage her to have some variety so her feet would get a break. Even a “comfort” shoe can be uncomfortable if worn day after day.
I’d have already studied the weather pattern for when she would be gone so we’d be sure to pack the right amount of layers. But like any client, I’d also be packing her for unexpected weather changes. I’d say, “Now Duchess Kate, let’s be sure you have a fallback plan for if it gets suddenly a lot hotter or a lot colder than has been predicted.”
Everyone needs a fallback plan. One year a lightweight leopard print cardigan sweater was leaned on a lot by a client traveling to Turkey and Greece in summer months when we expected more heat. And for someone else from Marin County, a Uniqlo puffy coat that we layered under her Cole Haan puffy coat gave that extra protection needed while walking straight into the wind on Michigan Avenue in Chicago one December. “It’s not heavy, we’ll roll it up into nothing and it will be your safeguard if you need it,” I offered. It’s hard living in California and trying to imagine that kind of cold. She was grateful I thought ahead. “That extra thin coat was exactly what I needed,” she said when I saw her back home.
Once the Duchess and I had agreed on the outfits she’d need for each day, I’d pull out my Travel Wardrobe Workout Chart and start writing out all the details of her outfits, from head-to-toe. Actually, because of all her activities both daytime and nighttime, I’d make one chart for just day outfits and one chart for night outfits. I’d plan the whole trip for her. Then I’d tell her to make a couple of copies of her Travel Plan. “Keep one in your carry-on bag,” I’d say. “And keep one at home. In case the airline loses your luggage, you have a complete list of what was lost. It’ll make it so much easier when you have to file a claim.” (Can you imagine Kate and William and George in the lost and found area of the airlines? She’d be so glad I made her copy those charts!)
When we had all the days and nights covered, I’d also encourage her to think about what to wear for just hanging out in the hotel or someone’s palace if she got some downtime to herself. “What sends a message to your brain that it’s time to relax now?” I’d want to know. Maybe she’d like some casual pieces from the UK’s Pure Collection catalog. Since I’d made this appointment to plan her wardrobe well in advance of her trip, we’d have some time to order those light cashmere separates from the Pure Collection. Traveling can be tiresome and take a lot of energy. It’s important to have items that you can really relax and recharge in so the idea of tomorrow’s reception doesn’t make you go temporarily mad. Some cozy pieces in soft fabrics can be great medicine.
This is the strategy I’m using for a client traveling this month to France, Italy, and Switzerland. We ordered several pieces from the catalog knowing we could easily return anything we didn’t like. Their return policy is the best ever. If you get a representative on the phone, they make it such a jolly great time. You just want a reason to call them back again and again because they’re so darn nice and that English accent is so Downton Abbey!
With our bases covered, I’d just sit back, wait for the trip to begin, and watch the photos coming in each day on every media outlet. I’d especially study the pictures halfway through the trip when they came out in People magazine. I’d be so pleased to see Duchess Kate wearing outfits #1-21 just as we’d planned. I’d know that that smile on her face wasn’t a fake one. She was able to be totally relaxed, calm and carrying on with her duties, because of our behind-the-scenes trip planning.
If the plan is good enough for the Duchess, it’s certainly good enough for you and me! Let’s plan a trip!