Known as the "Style SWAT Team," stylists Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo have made their careers out of helping women clean out their closets, clarify their styles and feel good about themselves. The authors of "Nothing to Wear? A 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet," Jesse and Joe have appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and have been featured in several national magazines.
We recently asked Jesse to share his tips for traveling in style, trends for spring and summer and ideas for creating the perfect travel outfit.
GENERAL GUIDANCE FOR GIRLS ON THE GO
Less is more. Love what you wear and pack smartly.
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Edit your travel wardrobe and put together more looks with fewer pieces by changing accessories or outer layers.
"There is nothing more liberating than to be smart about packing," says Jesse. "We want you to pack a capsule wardrobe, which is a group of pieces that when styled differently, multi-task."
For example, take a lightweight gauzy wrap in a flattering color; you can wear it on the plane and also as a wrap for going out in the evening.
"Pashminas are so out," Jesse adds. "But you can cut the strings off of yours to update it."
Then change your earrings from something simple to something sexy, change your flats to a strappy sandal and voila, you're ready to go out for the evening.
Pack a mixture of "cake" and "frosting."
Cake refers to the pieces that are the reliable basics in neutral colors -- the jeans, the black pants, the khakis. The frosting pieces are prints, glittery, colorful pieces of clothing and accessories that stand out and embellish an outfit.
"If you pack too much cake, you're boring," says Jesse. "If you pack too much frosting, you look like a crazy person."
Layer, layer, layer.
Layering helps you to adjust to temperature changes, both on the plane and when you arrive at your destination, and gives you less to pack.
"I always recommend wearing cotton next to your skin because it's so comfortable," says Jesse. "Then add a jersey cardigan over that. It doesn't always have to match _ I treat it like a modern form of a twin set."
For your last piece, add a trench coat so you don't have to pack it.
Choose fabrics wisely.
Jesse's advice? "One fabric that is amazing is extra fine merino wool. It doesn't wrinkle and it isn't itchy." He also recommends jersey, but not shiny jersey.
"Cotton with a little stretch is also good. We all expand and contract so we need clothes that give a little."
If you need something professional, Jesse recommends packing a jersey dress.
"Diane von Furstenberg makes a million affordable options. I also suggest taking a navy chemise dress. Dresses pack into nothing."
Keep basics in neutrals and put the color in accessories.
According to this Style SWAT Team member, "You get the most mileage out of basics in navy, black, white and khaki and then accessorizing with colors or metallics. You can also punch up your look with colors in your make-up or carry a clutch in a fun, funky color."
Hang it up whenever possible!
"If you're boarding the plane with a skinny hanging garment bag, ask the flight attendant if you can hang it up. They have a secret compartment up front where they can stow it for a wrinklefree arrival. If you ask nicely, they will often say yes."
Stay true to your stylish self.
"No matter where you go, you have to stick with what your style is," says Jesse. "The bottom line is that whatever you put on has to make you feel cute. You have to feel comfortable in your own skin and ready to hit the red carpet of life!"
FILL YOUR SUITCASE WITH THE PERFECT TRAVEL OUTFIT FOR SPRING AND SUMMER
You may already have these pieces at home. If not, here's your permission to hit the shops!
- A good pair of denim jeans or khaki trousers. The trend for jeans is the darker version, which can transition to night, with narrow legs. Make sure they are long enough to gather a little on the bottom.
"Jeans that are a little crunchy at the bottom look more edgy and modern."
- A twin set in navy blue. It doesn't have to match _ you can pair a T-shirt and a cardigan. A longer cardigan, maybe with a matching skinny knit belt, can look really good over the skinny jeans.
- Ballerina flats in neutral or black if you're wearing denim. You can add metallic if you're wearing khaki or white pants.
- A trench coat. If you'll need a coat where you're flying from or to, meet the style mandate by layering on a trench coat.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE?
Once you decide that, you can buy and travel with clothes that project the image you want to portray. One that says, "This is me!" not, "Well, this color washes me out and makes me feel dowdy, but it was on sale!" Finding your style and sticking to it makes your life simpler at home and when you travel.
Jesse and Joe say we all have an identity and an image. "Our identity is who we are -- our soul, our spirit, our personality.
Our image is what we project -- ourselves as others see us. To ensure great style, there has to be connection between the two."
Jesse and Joe's 5 Styles are:
1. Chic: Clean, sleek lines with a touch of the untraditional -- fashionable with a subtle flair.
2. Classic: Timeless, ladylike, conservative
3. Whimsical: Contemporary, playful, fun
4. Bohemian: Hip, modern, funky
5. Avant-garde: Ultramodern, dramatic, creative
DON'T LOVE IT? THEN LEAVE IT!
We all have those items: the forest green suede blazer that was a steal but turns your face yellow when you wear it, the jeans that you know for sure make your butt look like a Volkswagen or that designer gold lace top that makes your breasts do a disappearing act. There they sit, year after year, taking up valuable closet space and inflicting guilt every time we pass over them. It's time to get serious about cleaning out our closets!
Here are the three questions these fashion gurus say we must ask ourselves when mulling over each item of clothing:
1. Do I love it? Trust your gut here -- you do or you don't. "Sort of" liking it isn't enough.
2. Is it flattering? A second opinion can be useful. Invite a friend over for an honest review.
3. Is this the image I want to project? You may look fabulous yet send the wrong signals -- too seductive or remote, or not authoritative enough.
If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, donate it, trash it or give it to a friend. "Tell yourself, `I'm sending it back into the universe. It's not right for me, but it's right for someone else,' " says Jesse. "It's so liberating!"