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The best clothes and accessories to take on a trip

Keep your suitcase light with versatile wraps, lightweight shoes, a wrinkle-proof black jersey dress and other smart items.

May 29, 2011|By Amanda Jones | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Morgenthal Frederics Webster sunglasses, $395.
Morgenthal Frederics Webster sunglasses, $395. (Morgenthal Frederics )

Packing is an art few perfect. Most of us schlep way too much and return with unworn items that proved useless. Now, with baggage fees and overweight fines, every item counts. Here, some suggestions for things you'll need and actually wear.

Soleil de Mar

This shimmery 100% pure silk "multi" wrap can be fashioned into six different looks — from a sarong style skirt to a one-shoulder-dress. This sexy and sensible piece (weighing almost nothing) can take you from poolside at the Gansevoort to silver service at the Ritz. You'll come home and find yourself pulling it out for your next dinner party too. The wrap also comes in sheer solid cottons good for a bikini cover-up, but our favorites are the opaque silk paisleys. St. Barths Floral in aqua and chocolate, $365.

Morgenthal Frederics sunglasses

You've seen these shades on the likes of Jackie O, David Letterman and Jay Z. They're made from the world's finest titanium and acetate and have the highest quality optical lenses to protect your eyes while you gaze on the world and feel fabulous. The prediction is that the round Webster frames are the way to go this summer, but there are dozens to choose from in the range. Webster, $395.

Hipstirr belt

You'd never be caught dead in a fanny pack, but Hipstirr has come up with a way-cool version. These hip belts allow you to traverse a city hands-free. With hidden interior pockets for passport, cash and credit card, the four studded exterior pockets hold the essentials: cellphone, sunscreen, lipstick, iPod, and keys. They are far more ergonomic than a heavy shoulder bag and a better foil for a pickpocket than a backpack. There are 12 styles to choose from. China Doll, $185.

Heidi Merrick Swami caftan

As light as a feather, this sexy piece is designed to be comfortable, convertible and drop-dead sophisticated. With a loose crinkled silk chiffon caftan over a form-fitting Habuati silk bias-cut dress, it will take you from a day on the town straight to dinner at the club. Put a belt on to dress it up, leave it flowing over a bikini or slip into heels for dinner. Swami caftan in blood orange, $325.

Leigh & Luca scarf

These scarves are made on 100-year-old looms and each hand-printed pattern has a limited-edition run. Made of cotton and silk with velvet flocking, the designs are based on ancient patterns with a decidedly modern take. They're a favorite with celebrities, probably because they're among the most practical items you'll ever own. The piece can be worn six ways as a scarf, and it can also become a shawl when the air conditioning blasts, a beach blanket when you forgot one, a sarong in a pinch or even a headscarf when protocol requires. Tapestry, $115.50.


These shoes are a traveling girl's best friend: offering comfort, style and a butt workout. Designed in England by a doctor and a sports performance specialist, they have a muscle-loading technology that is said to protect your spine and shape your legs and haunches with every step. They give you some height but are dreamily light and soft while you stride over cobblestones, up the Acropolis and out to dinner. Here's the way to avoid looking like the conventional American tourist in sensible footwear. Pietra, $59.95. or

lucy activewear Wave skirt capri

These short pants mean you don't need anything more for your activities. Described as a "mashup" of a skirt and capris, they take you from yoga to breakfast, then on a hike or to the golf course. The pants have a touch of compression to shape the legs, and there's mesh panel ventilation and moisture wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry. Wave skirt capri, $68.

Jouer Cosmetics

Never again will you forget to pack your favorite blush or have to dig around for the lost lip gloss. This Weekender palette packs light with three suede-inspired eye shadows, a bronzer-and-powder duo, a cheek tint and highlighter and a shimmery lip gloss all in one grab-and-pack unit. If you'd rather customize colors, Jouer also make a range of products that interlock. Weekender, $58.

Rachel Pally dress

This is the ultimate little black travel dress. Almost any of the dresses made of Rachel Pally's signature drapey, quality jersey fabric will do. They can be rolled up and stuffed into the corner of a suitcase and come out looking flawless. Wear as a sundress during the day, and when cocktails require something more formal, it's an elegant maxi dress. Styles include short and long dresses and caftans. Tova, available June 3, $225.

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