Yikes! My Vacation Wardrobe Costs More Than the Trip

How to downsize your suitcase without sacrificing style

Unlike Elizabeth Gilbert, my vacations usually don't involve Eat, Pray, Love-type treks around the world. So then why is my summer vacation shopping list always the length of the Gosselins' grocery receipt? Well, according to a recent study, it's not just me. Clothes Show London found that the average woman spends about $295 more on outfits for her holiday than on the actual trip!

So, let's say you're spending 500 bucks to head to South Beach next month. According to this latest style math, you may wind up dishing out almost $800 for a new trip-worthy wardrobe! Add on top of that the cost of those necessary beauty routines and products (another $251), plus prep time (15 hours on self-tanner applications, manicures/pedicures and waxing), and your travel bargain just became a bank-breaking getaway.

To help you downsize your suitcase and save some cash for the poolside cocktails, Bobbie Thomas, Today show style editor, shares painless packing tips, along with some key pieces to make your next vacation a breeze!

First, minimize the bulk in your bag by planning looks to work with the same shoes and bags -- one day tote and one evening bag, recommends Thomas. To avoid the "what to wear" dilemma, pack shoes that match your skin tone, along with a natural woven clutch. These items will not only work with what you bring, explains Thomas, but also with the fun dress you may decide to buy on the fly (if you can't resist splurging a little)!

Try out Tkees neutral-colored flip-flops -- great for day and sleek enough for evening (pictured, $44 to $48 at Singer22). Or, if you want a bit of height, bring along Volatile Shoreview Wedges ($44 at Swell). As for those go-with-everything bags, grab Carlo Fellini's Woven Raffia Clutch (pictured, $48 at Lori's Shoes), a tough, little shell bag that comes with a convenient metallic shoulder strap. Or pack the Brigitte Oversized Clutch from Zambos & Siega ($130 at Couture Candy), a natural-hued raffia tote with wooden handles that's perfect if you need to carry more than just your cell phone!

Plus, Thomas adds, heavy jewelry is the last thing you'll want to layer on this time of year. Instead, find a great straw hat or summer scarf to add a little flair with the added value of function. Get some jet-set style with the Raffia Crochet Fedora (pictured, $82 at HatAttack.com). (It's the same one Julia Roberts sports in the upcoming flick, Eat, Pray, Love, based on Gilbert's book.) And throw on the pretty lapis blue Mirage Scarf (pictured, $15 at LongTallSally.com) -- a must-have accessory for a chilly plane.

Now, where's that cabana boy with my Mojito?

Do you usually splurge on vacation clothes? Chime in now!

Like This? Read These:
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