Packing tips for Colorado’s traveling elected officials
The Colorado Statesman
‘Tis the season when politicos find themselves kissing babies, glad-handing voters and washing underwear in motel sinks. As soon as the final gavel descends at the state house, elected officials make plans to go home and tour their districts. Summer visits are key times to keep up with community issues and placate voters. But staying in touch can involve grueling car rides, overloaded itineraries, and lots and lots of packing and unpacking. Colorado weather can be as capricious as an ornery supporter, so even if the trip is just a day, knowing what to bring and what not to, can ease the mood of a worn-out legislator.
So here are some Style Matters tips to help ease the discomfort of sleeping in a strange bed every night.
Style Matters assumes that Stylish Readers know the packing basics: heavier stuff on the bottom of the suitcase, roll clothes and stuff them in corners, bring along empty plastic bags for dirty laundry, etc. So here are some tips that might not be as well known.
• First thing to do after celebrating the end of this year’s legislative session is to hop over to Bed, Bath and Beyond. They have a whole wall, floor to ceiling, of travel size everything. Make sure to load up on sunscreen (It is Colorado) and a least three lip balms — one for handbags or briefcases, one for the car, and one for the cosmetic bag or Dopp kit. Those lips will be moist for any amount of fast talking.
• Keep a cosmetic bag stocked and at the ready with everything you might need: deodorant, makeup, shampoos, tooth brush, razor, etc. Replace these toiletries as needed. Who wants to be searching for a Walgreens in the district in the middle of the night?
• Despite the controversy over an ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps — recent studies have shown that it could cause hormone-related problems — pack several mini bottles and keep them discretely close at hand. Glad-handing requires touching, and touching can lead to summer colds. Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes until hands are slathered with antibacterial soap. You don’t know where those supporter’s hands have been. (Gosh, I sound like my mother!)
• Build your summer travel wardrobe around matching tops and bottoms in a basic color such as black, navy, gray or beige. This monochromatic look works for day and night and is slimming and professional looking. Add color with blouses, scarves and jewelry. Bring more tops than bottoms for mixing and matching. Pack as lightly as possible. Not to ruffle the feathers of our Republican readers, but remember what Jackie O is reputed to have said: she could travel for a week with one good black suit.
• Bring clothes made of micro-fiber for easy washing and fast drying in a hotel sink. Consider using dry cleaner bags to hold an entire outfit. Not only does this keep all elements of the outfit together and easier to locate, but the plastic bag material keeps the fabric separate, thus preventing wrinkles.
• The smart politician packs three pairs of shoes. One pair should be a comfortable closed-toe walking shoe, another a low-heeled casual sandal, and the third a dressy evening sandal for special occasions. Rotate these shoes to avoid blisters. If you happen to get a painful blister, let Style Matters clue you in to a magical substance: Blistop. Buy a small can at any pharmacy, or like me, buy a large four-pack at Amazon. Spray Blistop any place on the foot to prevent blisters from forming.
• Pack shoes in grocery store vegetable bags to keep them clean and easy to view. Stuff shoes with socks to maximize space and help maintain shoe shape.
Creative Tips You Might Not Think Of
• To travel light, let a raincoat double as a bathrobe.
• Pack bendable necklaces in drinking straws so they won’t kink up or get damaged.
• Turn jackets, dresses and shirts inside out. Inverted creases are less visible.
• Wet wipes — A real refresher for those long hot days on the campaign trail. Typically these are found in the baby products aisles. Buy the ones with the least odor. You don’t want your cheeks smelling like a baby’s you know what.
• Use hotel shower caps to keep dirty shoes off clothes.
• Duct tape. Yes duct tape. It has a myriad of uses including, covering blisters (which you shouldn’t get if you see my tip above), taping broken straps, removing lint from clothing, and creating a hotel-room safe by taping wallet and jewelry to the underside of the bed.
Judie Schwartz, whose Style Matters columns appear in The Colorado Statesman, is the co-author of two best-selling books on the best places to shop in Colorado. Called “A Fashion-Lover’s Guide to the Best Shopping in Denver and Beyond,” the books are available at stylematters.us. Schwartz presents seminars on the importance of a professional image, shopping tips and fashion trends. She can be reached at: