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Taking the Kids - Packing smart

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Of course you want to look stylish in a city, but all you need is one dress or a skirt and one pair of slacks and a jacket for the guys.

I love denim but find it too heavy to travel with (except my trusty denim jacket), but I really like the Ivana denim knit sleeveless dress from J McLaughlin. I also think you can't go wrong with a black dress that you can crumple up in a ball, like the long-sleeved Bedford dress J McLaughlin features this fall or the black slacks from LisetteL. Everyone I know who has tried them, no matter what their body shape, loves that they make your legs longer and slimmer and don't wrinkle!

My husband is a fan of the new brand Bluffworks because the jacket and slacks look good and never wrinkle. Look for their new travel shirts next month! My son-in-law claims the Coast Twill pants from Sugoi were terrific because they were moisture wicking, breathable, comfortable for a long bike ride, but nice enough for a business meeting or a night out. The brand, known for cycling gear, makes clothes for men and women that work just as well for travel.

I've also become a fan of the brand because their tops are unique (I always get compliments when I wear one) Many of the tops are longer and forgiving, which is what moms of many ages need!

Limit the pairs of shoes but make sure they are comfortable -- and versatile -- a brand like ECCO promises comfort as well as style. And inexpensive CROCS now come in all varieties of styles and color for kids and adults and are great to wear when you're flying or facing a long car trip.

A good rain jacket is a must for every member of the family. Get them large enough so that you can layer underneath, especially in fall and winter. I love the new November Rain hooded poncho that fits into its own sack and will layer over a long sweater or jacket. You won't need an umbrella.

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Weight counts for jewelry, too, and you don't want to travel with anything valuable. Try something like The Bali Beadmade sustainably from recycled glass by artisans in Indonesia. It's so versatile it might be the only necklace you'll need.

Invest in a puffy jacket that is warm, waterproof, lightweight and can stuff into a pocket. Mine doubles as a travel pillow. Patagonia says its Micro Puff hoody is the lightest, warmest, packable jacket they've ever made and will keep you warm even when it's wet. I was also impressed with the Ultralight and highly water-resistant down jackets from LL Bean. Both companies will take back their products if you aren't satisfied.

Follow these tips, and you'll have room in that carry-on for souvenirs!


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow "taking the kids" on, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)



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