Style Police: Just borrow from your boyfriend

It is possible to travel light and still look great. The trick is to pilfer your loved one's suitcase, says James Sherwood
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Minimal packing is the rogue trader of fashion. Unless you cheat, it's not an option. We've all seen paparazzi shots of Naomi Campbell leaving Heathrow toting nothing more than a straw shopper. What you don't see are the Louis Vuitton steamer trunks she's FedExed home in advance. Alas, only Barbie can fit her entire holiday wardrobe into a Fendi baguette.

We can see you all now, Marie Claire "101 holiday ideas" in one hand and a large gin in the other. By the time you've edited your wardrobe down to the bare essentials, you damned well need a holiday to get over the trauma. Then there's the Kramer vs Kramer moment when, weeping, you leave the kitten heels behind in favour of flip-flops. In short, minimal packing is like a non-alcoholic cocktail: no fun at all.

So what Style Police wants you to do is forget the bikini and a sarong school of packing. Women know what nonsense that bikini and sarong for idea is in practice - unless you're a Polynesian waitress at Trader Vic's.

Still weeping into your gin and praying for Style Police guidance? Well, all you're going to need this season is a fashion-forward boyfriend. When you get down to spring/summer '99 basics, we're looking at a unisex season. Think about it: cropped pants, sleeveless tanks, leather sandals and zip front jackets. All the key fashion pieces are his'n'hers. There's something totally sexy about wearing your boyfriend's favourite shirt on the beach. And it cuts both ways. Real men are wearing sheer, tight and translucent this summer so don't be surprised to see your boyfriend squeezed into your favourite Chloe palm tree print Tee.

How to wear it

Do not under any circumstances attempt to match. You know Style Police has a soft spot for Posh and Becks but even we cringed to see them in matching black leather at the Versace party. They looked like book ends in an S&M shop. That said, colour coding is the good fairy of holiday packing. Cream, white and baby blue works this summer. So too does a bit of black with a lot of white. Keep it simple but not monotonous. There's always room for a loud, vulgar Hawaiian shirt.

As we're all aware, it is high summer sale time. So there's precious little point identifying key pieces and sending you off down the high street where you'll be told they've only got XL left. You've got to be focused and go for what you know: M&S isn't going to sell out of white Tees; H&M is a winner for knockout, obscenely cheap sleeveless tanks; Top Shop has a delivery of new stock every day.

Unisex is most effective above the waistline. The correct cuts for summer are tight to the body. So there's no problem borrowing his Alessandro Dell'Acqua nude sheer Tee. He's going to look pretty horny in your Exte sleeveless black top. Sweaters are totally unisex, particularly John Smedley sea island cotton knits in this season's powdery blues and softest flesh tones. Jackets, such as the vintage Wrangler denim crop, are any time, any place. They will suit anybody.

Crop pants will work for both of you if they're the wider culotte crops. If they're fitted, then forget it. Buy your own: Zara for boys and H&M for girls. Drawstring pants are a great unisex story. Wide white linen, French Connection, sorted.

Style Police has no truck with people who don't want to show off on holiday. We don't care if you're backpacking in Bolivia or tarting it about on the Costa del Sol: every woman needs a pair of high heels.

Bearing in mind you've already doubled your fashion capacity if you're on the his'n'hers vibe, you will definitely have room for at least one pair of beautiful, sparkly Gina kitten heels. Oh, and never, ever, travel without some kind of killer frock. Something sparkly, sheer and gorgeous from Top Shop's TS Design should just about do it.

Of course the kitten heels and gorgeous sparkly frocks aren't unisex but a girl's got to keep some things to herself.

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