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Letters: Looking well-dressed while packing light

Plus, sweet memories of singing on road trips; favorites in San Francisco; and one travel pro's faulty advice.

August 04, 2013

Regarding "Packing to Avoid Extra Fees" by Ellise Pierce (More for Your Money, July 21): Ridiculous article that makes a simple subject far too complicated. Below is my time-honored list of what a well-dressed woman needs for a month in a temperate climate. I always travel in early spring or late fall when the leaves are off the trees, thus affording an excellent view of the architecture.

Only coat required is a raincoat with an attached hood. Then you need one pair of slacks, one skirt, one jumper or dress, one vest, five tops (one matches the skirt and the slacks and the others are turtlenecks or mock turtles in optional colors or stripes). All the main pieces of the wardrobe are black, in packable fabric, including the raincoat.

This is a total of 10 pieces, all interchangeable to be worn multiple times. Add colorful thin scarves plus a large black cashmere wrap for the plane and chilly weather. All you need are several pairs of black tights, underwear, gloves and two pairs of shoes (one for walking long distances, one for walking shorter distances; neither are athletic shoes and one pair may be boots).

I get all this in a wonderful carry-on bag that fits under the seat in front of me. I carry a black nylon handbag with a shoulder strap and that's it.

Time and again, I've been complimented on my smart appearance by both men and women who have no idea I'm wearing the same few pieces day in, day out. Once you try this, you will never again overpack. It's liberating beyond belief.

Jane Shehane

Newport Beach

Road trips in sweet harmony

The letter [July 14] about Ruth Kramer's Ziony's tip about singing on road trips was very nostalgic for me. During road trips as a kid, some of my fondest memories were when my father, my sister and I sang while my mother quietly knitted her latest project. . People who are exposed to music are known to be strong language students.

Susan McNamara

Los Angeles

It's all 'so San Francisco'

Thank you so much for the wonderful article about that magical city by the bay ["San Francisco at Iconic Speed" by Christopher Reynolds, July 21] . My wife and I used to go there when my mother was alive and living in Stinson Beach. After one not-so-hot motel there, we found the St. Francis and headed there after each visit with my mother.

In those days, it had Dewey's sports bar, a great spot for a bloody mary to start the morning, and the Compass Rose to come home to for a nightcap and some good jazz combos.

It was also an easy walk to some of our favorite spots that Reynolds mentioned, such as Sear's for breakfast and the E&O. But we loved taking the cable car to our very favorite restaurant on every trip, the Tadich Grill, or another cable car to the Buena Vista for an Irish coffee or dinner at McCormick & Kuleto's and another cable car for dinner at the Fairmont's Tonga Room.

We also loved Scoma's. Reynolds' article mentioned so many of our favorite things to do, which the late, great Herb Caen used to call "so San Francisco."

Bob and Donna Tucker

Solvang, Calif.

Unhappy with pro's advice

I saw Catharine Hamm's recommendation to use Wendy Perrin's travel experts ["Travel Pro Can Make All the Difference," On the Spot, July 28]. I used one of her recommended experts for a trip to Greece. It was not a pleasant experience.

We stayed in hotels the expert recommended, most of them way overpriced. When we complained to the travel agent about the beds, plumbing and other problems, she responded that she hadn't heard of previous complaints and that she could not do anything. The travel agent stayed at this hotel frequently. I contacted Perrin to give her feedback; I never heard a response.

People should be cautious in following her lists.

Ada Brown

Santa Monica

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