Getting dressed (without the fuss)
Meet The Telegraph's new Timeless Style columnist, Anna Harvey. The Ex-Vogue deputy editor, consultant to Princess Diana and author of Timeless Style: dressing well for the rest of your life (£12.89, Double-Barrelled Books).
Because of the climate challenges of countries popular with Brits travelling abroad after Christmas, it can be quite a trial to pack cleverly; winter sun doesn’t always mean non-stop heat. Places such as South Africa can be very cold in winter, and the same applies - to a lesser extent - to India. January and February in the north of India can be chilly and wet, and Mumbai very hot.
You may think this uptight of me, but I always make a list of the days I shall be away and what I plan to wear during each day and evening, and include options for different weather conditions. It reduces the likelihood of overpacking - something so easily done.
I always pack an unlined mac or cagoule at the bottom of my case - where I hope it will remain for the duration of my break. Later I’ll add a couple of neutral wraps and/or cardigan jackets - the White Company is good for both. I’ve always thought it better to be prepared than be cold.
Then a pair of comfortable shoes for any excursions, sandals (gold and silver go with everything) and perhaps a pair of pretty flats or low heels. I pack these in dust bags to avoid dirtying anything else (if you have a case on wheels, pack them nearest to the wheels so that their weight doesn’t press down on your clothes).
Whether you’re on a cruise or visiting Rajasthan’s golden triangle, you’ll need comfortable daywear for sightseeing. For me, that means two or three pairs of trousers, or skirts, and several simple T-shirts, to be worn on their own or under thin tops. Indian cotton tunic tops are perfect; try East, Maharani and Monsoon for pretty, reasonably priced selections.
Many such tops can double up for the evening if you add a good necklace, earrings or bangles – or all three. Silky evening trousers work well and are small and light to pack but if you have an easy-to-pack dress for the evening then put that in, too.
Lastly, a couple of swimsuits if you plan to take the plunge, and a sun hat that folds flat, such as a man’s Panama, is an idea, as it can be rolled up to pack. They look rather chic on women, I think.
Try to minimise the number of handbags you take - perhaps a small clutch in gold or silver, along with a not-too-heavy tote for excursions, ideally made of cloth, so it’s easy to pack, and something for travelling, with zip compartments to keep documents safe. Into this bag I always put a change of underwear and a fresh T-shirt just in case my luggage takes a different route to me. And of course, don’t forget your sunglasses.
At least you wont need to pack a tiara such as the example saved from the Lusitania when she sank and on show at a new exhibition, Ocean Liner: Speed and Style, which opens in February at the V&A.