Heels & Picks: Looking fab while traveling

Aug. 20, 2013 | 0 Comments


BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Over the last two weeks, I’ve spent about 35 hours traveling and sitting in airplanes. Ah, the glamorous life of an international jet-setter off to experience exciting and exotic adventures!

And so I present to you, dear reader, Erin’s Guide to Looking Fab While Traveling.

Chanel lipstick always helps to ensure a glamorous arrival wherever your flight may take you. (Courtesy Erin Smith)

Chanel lipstick always helps to ensure a glamorous arrival wherever your flight may take you. (Courtesy Erin Smith)

In reality, I usually arrive at my destination with bloodshot eyes, a weary look on my face and skin that looks like it needs a little love. We all do. I have a regimen that helps me combat this anti-glam arrival to the best of my ability. There are a few items that help me immeasurably while traveling, and I have learned over many flights to never board a plane without them.

First and foremost, I always fly with my American Apparel circle scarf. Adding a scarf to an outfit sort of adds this element of international sophistication, like you just whisked in from Monaco, even if your flight was from Cleveland to Des Moines.

This brand of circle scarf can hang long and loose, can be wrapped around twice for a tighter look, or pulled over your head like a hood to help block out the baby crying two seats behind you.

You can’t always trust the airlines to provide blankets during your flight. And let’s be real, I know we receive them packaged in plastic bags, but how often do you think airlines are laundering those things?


After a few international flights where they were out of blankets and I ended up freezing for seven hours straight, I got smart and started bringing a polar fleece blanket with me on every flight. It takes up three quarters of my carry on and is bulky, but it’s sooooo worth it. You’d think a Canadian chick would have blood able to handle chilly flights, but I am thoroughly guilty of becoming a Hawai’i wimp and can’t handle cold for too long without getting all French about it and eating a baguette with seven pounds of cheese. There is a reason food is heavier in Canada than in Hawai’i, you know.

Flying on an airplane can also dry out your skin and hair. The best solution I’ve come up with so far is a combination of hydration and skin products. I bring facial cleansing cloths — the type you can buy at any drugstore or at specialty retailers like Sephora. The ones I like the best come from Target and are Tangerine-scented.

Living in Hawai’i, we have a lovely glow to our skin. But you also need to protect it from the amount of sun we take in daily. Sunscreen is paramount, of course, but vitamin C is also a great way to add extra sun protection to your regimen. I use my vitamin C serum when traveling to help combat that dull, I’ve-been-in-recycled-air-for-seven-hours look. On a layover, the ones we ALWAYS have coming in and out of Hawai’i, I monopolize the women’s restroom for way too long, bust out my cleansing cloths, apply my vitamin C serum from Avalon Organics and voilà, my skin looks refreshed.

Also, be sure to bring a large bottle of water so you can stay hydrated and drink whenever you want, rather than having to chase the flight staff for those two-ounce glasses of water they serve every five hours.

Some of Erin Smith's travel must-haves: Apple's iPod Nano, Avalon vitamin C serum, KIND bars, Chanel red lipstick and a polar fleece blanket. (Courtesy Erin Smith)

Some of Erin Smith’s travel must-haves: Apple’s iPod Nano, Avalon vitamin C serum, KIND bars, Chanel red lipstick and a polar fleece blanket. (Courtesy Erin Smith)

I never really watch movies on the plane because I’m not too interested in television. I am, however, interested in music, so I always have my iPod Nano with me while flying. I usually deconstruct my newest favorite songs, listening to them over and over, picking out how the song was built, what instruments are driving the song and what is building the tension.

“Whoa, are there FOUR synth parts in this song when the chorus hits?” and “Oh that is a fantastic bass line!” are the types of things running through my mind while cruising the friendly skies.

The food is getting better on flights these days, but most items they try to pass off as snacks will leave you tired and grumpy. While I did buy a hummus, olives and salsa box on my last flight into Honolulu from Chicago, I always carry fruit and nut bars by a company called KIND with me. The sugar found in these bars is natural, you can pronounce all the ingredients and I find things like almonds really tide me over and give me energy throughout the day. Jamba Juice carries them, which is very handy. Though I largely find Jamba Juice to be over-sized junk food disguised as health food, I love it when chain stores give you a few genuinely healthy options.

My hair, when left to it’s own devices, has this long beachy wave thing going on. And while I do love this look, I also straighten it from time to time for events and photo shoots. I also prefer to straighten it before I fly, because when you sleep haphazardly with your head doing that flop to the side thing that wakes you up before you start drooling, curly hair can get pretty wild by the time you arrive at your destination.

In order to try to arrive as my most fabulous self, looking effortlessly chic though I just traveled for 15 hours (yeah, right), I straighten my hair beforehand. That way, I can tie it back in a sleek, high ponytail before we land rather than walk off the plane with a bird’s nest on my head.

And finally, never board a flight without red lipstick. It’s a great way to brighten your face and mood upon arrival at your destination. Instantly glamorous, and an easy way to feel like you are arriving in style. I prefer a red by Chanel — it’s my go-to deep red for the lips.

Also when traveling solo, it’s best to fly with several pictures of your boyfriend on your phone. Never leave home without Trouble.
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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