Carson Kressley: Fashionable Traveler

A Shoe In? Or Out?




Shoes are forever calling attention to themselves. Not only do we always notice who’s wearing what, but we trip over them at home, can’t find them when we need them in our closets, are forever buying more than we need AND no matter how efficiently we pack…they never seem to fit in our bags (whether carry-ons or checkables).

We all start out intending to take several pairs on trips. But it takes just seconds to see the pit-in-stomach truth: they won’t all fit. This is where the amateurs part ways with the fashion pros. Choosing which shoes get to go on which trips is a bit like surgery. It must be done with extreme precision and have your undivided attention (translation: don’t pack and tweet at the same time). It’s also very much like dieting. You may have to choose the banana over the M & Ms.
Here are some thoughts to help you through the process.

The Main Pair

First, move mountains if you have to to find a perfect pair of shoes that you’ll wear 75% of the time. Having that base pair is equivalent to eating a good breakfast in the morning. It’ll set you up for success throughout the trip. What to look for in this shoe? Comfortable fit, simple but chic looks, nothing too challenging (ladies, avoid serious heels).

Mind you, this shoe does not have to be expensive, but it has to be well made. So while you may think the ballet flats are cheap and comfortable, chances are they’re not going to fare well logging in airport miles. Bear in mind too that feet swell during flights so any shoe you wear flying has to have wiggle room and preferably can be worn with socks (so you don’t have to put your bare feet on security’s dirty floor along with the throngs of other travelers).

Tough Choices Made Easy

Rather than stay up agonizing over which shoes to pack, follow my simple plan.

• Unless you’re doing very serious hiking, you don’t need to pack hiking boots which on their own can monopolize a carry-on. Choose instead, a good cross-training shoe that serves double duty—for walking, trail running and simple hiking.

• Even though you may love the Ugg slippers you got for Christmas, let them be home-bodies. Instead, throw in a pair of flip-flops which can work around hotel rooms, to resort pools and spas. If they fall apart before the end of the trip, simply toss.

• Wear boots, don’t pack them. The great looking boots everyone seems to be sporting these days can be wonderful on a trip. But if you’re going to commit to them, by all means, make sure you can wear them a lot--including on the plane. And while this may be a real “duh” to you, I’ve often seen people get out of taxis at NYC airports in boots and arrive in St. Barts looking like fools!

• Black goes with black, brown with brown. Rubbish! Don’t get caught up in conventions such as these. When packing dress shoes, allow yourself the adventure of mixing and matching and going out of your comfort zone. Don’t feel you have to square root every outfit.

LEAVE BEHIND the cute-but-impractical shoes. These are like junk food. They fill you up but then you’re starving a couple hours later. You don’t need them.

Okay…the question you’ve all been waiting for. How many shoes should you have on any given trip? Try for 3. If you can’t do it, certainly don’t go over 4.

Take it from Carson, you’ll look fabulous.

--Carson Kressley


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