Dancing with colour and Stylebook: how to categorise your travel wardrobe with the Stylebook app
Of course there's an app for it! Stylebook seems like the perfect packing planner: photograph your wardrobe and pick what works for your next trip:
Import your actual clothes, create magazine-style outfits, plan what to wear, create packing lists and learn more about your wardrobe with statistics like cost per wear - in this totally customizable app!
Rather than try it myself, I asked Meissoun, Switzerland's Oriental and Bollywood dance expert to tell us how she uses Stylebook to sort her dance and travel costumes.
Q: I see you are a dancer specialising in Middle Eastern and Indian dance. How does that reconcile with light travelling?
When I travel to dance festivals, I am usually only gone for a weekend, although if I am invited to one in a far away place I often try to add a few more days to make the most out of my trip.
The majority of my luggage is taken up by dance related stuff, especially if I also perform in a dance show. This requires costumes, hair pieces, make-up, jewelry, shoes etc. plus class attire for the workshops that I teach. Especially belly dance costumes are really heavy due to all the crystals and glass beads, so I had some made that are more travel friendly with less and lighter embellishments.
Sometimes I borrow props from a dancer at my destination, for example when I perform a sword dance – I won’t go through the hassle of bringing a sword on a plane, even if it’s a fake one!
I also do Argentinian tango as a hobby, which you can dance almost all over the world. This is definitely easier to pack for – just add a pair of tango shoes and you’re ready to hit the dance floor.
Q: Clearly you love clothes and shoes. Tell us a little about that.
I call myself the Queen of Color Coordination – and I love colors in general. You will always see me in matching clothes, shoes, handbags, scarves etc.
Most of what I have in my closet has been bought during travel, especially my annual (or rather bi-annual) trips to Istanbul. Clothes and shoes make great, useful souvenirs – you can always think back to where and when you bought them when you put them on and they are not just standing around catching dust.
Q: I enjoyed your post about downsizing your toiletries. Can you tell us about the toiletry bag you designed?
I bought the bag itself, but I made a tube holder to organise my creams and lotions. I need several of those because my skin breaks out easily. I also made something that holds my foot file and my tooth brush, both things that I don’t want to bring in contact with the other contents of my bag. And then there’s a little pouch for my hair accessories.
You might say that making bags is a hobby of mine – I also designed a handbag organizer. Of course you can buy these, but I wanted one that would exactly fit my things – and it’s a great way to use up leftover fabrics.
Q: I noticed your interest in Stylebook when you commented on someone else's Facebook post. Please tell us what is Stylebook?
It’s an app that helps you to organize your wardrobe. It has many features and I have noticed while reading some reviews that people use it in different ways according to their needs.
The most important function for me personally is the calendar where I log everything that I wear each day. This has helped me a lot to see which clothes and accessories I actually use and which I can eliminate from my wardrobe.
There is a statistics section that lets you see your most and least worn items as well as those you haven’t logged in the calendar yet. I try to actively wear the latter and they usually fall into two categories: “This is great, I should use it more often” and “now I remember why I never wear this…” – which means of course that those pieces go straight into the donation bag. My goal is to really only have things in my closet that I like and use.
Q: Are you able to share some of your Stylebook posts with us?
This is how I organize my wardrobe in categories:
Q: I note that Stylebook has a Packing section. Can you tell us a little about that?
It’s very useful and helps me a great deal to travel light. I often start by just adding everything that I think I want to pack, no matter how many items they might be. Then I go through them and decide which ones I will actually pack.
The screen shows 20 items at a time and I noticed that for me this is the ideal number for a city trip of about one or two weeks. If I plan to do more varied activities like going to the beach, hiking etc. I will of course need a few more things.
To test if my capsule wardrobe will work, I then create various outfits.
Here’s an example for our upcoming trip to Italy which will include sightseeing, watersports, light hiking and tango dancing. Hence the many shoes. All of this fits easily into a carry-on sized suitcase.
Q: How much does your personal colour choice play in your packing and traveling?
As a result of my obsession with matching colors, all my luggage items are red, from my suitcase to pouches to my toiletry bag. I even have a red iPad cover that I use when I am on the road.
I pack only one color of clothes and accessories (plus neutrals) so all the items in my suitcase will match, giving me a lot of possibilities for various outfits.
Q: Some other users have noted that it's laborious to photograph and add all your clothes to Stylebook. What has been your experience?
It’s possible to add clothes by taking screenshots of them if you can find them online. But since I have a bunch of clothes that have been with me for many years and I often shop while on vacation, I prefer to take my own pictures - it also ensures that everything is photographed the same way.
When you do this, you can either take photos every time you wear something and build up slowly. Or do as I did and take out all your clothes at once (or one part of your closet per day) – which takes more time initially but is an excellent way to declutter your closet. If you think it’s not worth taking a picture of a garment, it’s probably not something you are going to wear again anyway.
It is time consuming, but I always say that other people use the same time to play Candy Crush, while I have fun entering my clothes into my phone and adding information about them. Also, your first photo doesn’t have to be perfect, you can take quick pictures of everything and then replace them later if you would like them to look nicer.
I highly recommend going through the tutorials first though – it could have saved me a lot of time with possibilities to edit pictures easier.
Q: What other apps are available to help light travellers? Which ones do you use?
This is the only one that I use for my wardrobe – my packing list for everything else besides clothes is an Excel file. My other travel apps are more about planning the trip, like Booking.com or Rome2Rio.
I also like to use apps for public transport, nowadays every big city has at least one. And of course the translator app comes in handy from time to time.
Q: If you could have your wish, what would be an ideal light travel/packing app?
Stylebook has pretty much everything covered that I need, despite maybe some little improvements that I could think of. Now if only my phone could tell me the weight of my suitcase, that would be great!