SMART TRAVELLER: Learn how to construct 20 different looks from just 10 pieces.
SMART TRAVELLER: Learn how to construct 20 different looks from just 10 pieces. dorian2013

Where's my? 10 items women should never travel without

WE'VE all done it - over-packed. A heavy suitcase loaded with clothes, most of which will not be worn, is a curse to all travellers, especially the senior.

Travel author Ann Rickard spoke to Lee Watt, of Brisbane's Soubret Pink boutique, who can help women construct 20 different looks from just 10 pieces. The secret lies in being disciplined and the benefits are stress-free travel.

1. Stick to the numbers: two pairs of pants, six tops, one of them doubling as a lightweight cardigan/jacket. That's it. Oh, shoes.. of course, they don't come into the 10 items, but you'll need three pairs. And scarves, three of them.

2. The pants or jeans should be black or navy to create a basic background. Comfort is essential. Mac Jay make a good pull-on jean without any hardware at the front that will accentuate the tummy. They are stretchy, don't cut you in half and come in sizes 8 through 20. They are even comfortable to wear on a long-haul flight. A straight-leg jean is best. It can be worn as casual during the day and dressed-up for evening wear. Basic black pants will go with everything.

3. Six tops are all you need. Some can be plain, others must have black or navy in them. Mela Purdie and Verge make beautiful and flattering tops suitable for the mature woman. Every top must co-ordinate with the jeans or pants.

4. Three scarves will help bring the outfits together or make them look different. Perhaps a plain white or black scarf and one with some navy or black in it. The scarves will double as wraps to keep you warm or work as an accessory when tied different ways.

5. Three pairs of shoes. A walking shoe, a good casual shoe for day wear and a pair for evening. That's it. No more.



6. Two bags. A small evening bag, one travelling bag. Baggallini do a good travel bag designed by two American flight-attendants. It has zips and pockets for passports and documents, and it also has room for your laptop.

7. Four items of costume jewellery (plus earrings.) Never take good jewellery when travelling. Lee suggests two short and two long necklaces, and if you have one in gold and one with pearls you can put them together for a double look.

8. One of the tops that doubles as a cardigan. If you are going to a very cold country in winter, you can still work with just these basic pieces, but you will need a good warm coat, a hat, gloves and boots. You wear your outers and just peel off when inside to the basic pieces. You don't need heavy jumpers and cardigans.

9. Choose items in fabrics that don't wrinkle or need ironing and can be rolled for packing. The ten items chosen will all fit into a small 7kg carry-on case and leave room for toiletries. If you stick to the ten items rule you can make the different outfits show variety and style and they will do you for a three-week holiday.

10. We all make mistakes and throw in something extra. It takes discipline to stick to the ten items, so when packing, no drinking wine.

Feedback on this 10-items-only approach has been excellent. One woman who disciplined herself to stick to the 10, wrote: "It was so liberating, so easy to pack and go every morning. I didn't need to think of what to put together each day. I went to top class restaurants, hiked in the jungle, slept in hammocks and stayed at Raffles, all with just those pieces, and a little make-up and lotions.

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