Stylewise Stylish TravelerLet me start today’s column with some jetsetter’s joy! This weekend, I’ll be crossing one destination off my travel bucket list and fulfilling my annual resolution to visit a different country.

In short, I’m off to Korea for a week! And I can hardly wait.

If you’ve been following this column since it started almost a year ago (can you believe it?), you’re probably aware of my obsession with travel. You can’t miss it—considering how I’ve waxed poetic about packing, and projected my overseas wardrobe, and declared over and over again that France is my penultimate mecca.

So even if it takes me all year to save up for it, and even if it’s a race to beat my deadlines before I get to go (like what I’m doing right now), I will gladly tighten my belt/grit my teeth/suck it up until the day comes to pack my bags. Then the only thing left to determine is what makes it into my luggage.

I can more or less get the basics down with a little weather research. Should I pack a light sweater or a heavy coat? Is it better to wear sandals or closed shoes? Can I survive in skirts (fingers crossed) or are jeans an absolute necessity?

When that’s settled, it’s a matter of adding pizzazz. Sometimes, without noticing it, your style can get watered down when you find yourself in unfamiliar terrain. You’re suddenly faced with a foreign culture, which ascribes to different tastes and aesthetics. Subconsciously, you start dressing on the safe side, squeezing out the creative choices which make your fashion sense exclusively yours.

I’ve always tried to find a way around that. I ask myself: What’s the personality of this place? What can I pull off in Manila that probably won’t work as well here? What should I wear so that I blend in with the locals but still preserve my sense of style?

It might sound frivolous, but that’s part of the thrill of dressing in a foreign land. It’s like trying on an unusual dress that you’ve never considered before and finding that it fits you to a T. Then you realize that despite the change, you still stayed true to yourself—you just didn’t know it beforehand.

Travel is the time to unwind, to explore, and to live out a fantasy. And should that fantasy call for a tweak or two in the costume department, so be it. I think that’s only the way to go, really. Because if there’s one thing I dread, it’s being the clueless, tacky tourist in the middle of a fashionable city. You want to look like a jetsetter, not the butt of a fashion joke.

Just check out these chic, on-screen vacationers—you’ll see exactly what I mean!

(Flashbox photo from Sex and the City 2 courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

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