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High Fasion On The High Seas
For those interested in high-end fashion, a cruise knows no real “season.” Exploring different clothing looks to mesh with exotic ports of call and world-class cruise ships is just another exciting part of the anticipation and preparation for your escape from reality on a cruise. “The notion of 'fashion-forward' wardrobe options loosely transitioned to acceptable everyday items is what the phrase 'ready to wear' is all about. In fashion, ‘resort season’ means making these 'ready-to-wear' items chic, seasonal, and weather specific. An opportunity to feel great with how you look should never be under estimated, certainly not on your cruise. No occasion is too small for you to feel special,” says New York’s Valentino Showroom Manager Tim Pare.

M Missoni, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, and Chanel resort collections are all popular classic labels for leisure fashion. In addition to their long shelf life, today’s cruise clothing lines are more successful than ever because, unlike traditional cutting-edge fashion, they are more simple and translatable. The newest and previously unheard-of aspect of the haute couture fashions?  Wearability – pieces that can be incorporated into a daily wardrobe, not just used for a limited cruise experience. This wearability philosophy extends to off-the-rack pieces as well. Retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue , Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom’s and Neiman Marcus offer a plethora of cruise wear options. Also, each store offers the option of working with a personal shopper.

A useful option is the Niemen Marcus website, a "virtual studio" in which customers can inquire about items that are not available online. Consumers can email their personal shopper, who posts a digital photo of the product to an online site where the customer has two weeks to view the image. If they decide to make the purchase, the personal shopper is available to answer questions and assist – very handy for those busy consumers who cannot make it into the store. So where to begin? Cruisers must consider the following questions when planning a cruise wardrobe:

  • What is your cruise itinerary? Wardrobes will vary as much as the route of your cruise. Alaska choices will differ from a Caribbean cruise.
  • What cruise line will you be vacationing on? Ultra-luxury lines like Oceania or Regent Seven Seas may have different wardrobe requirements than a family-friendly line like Disney.
  • What type of excursions do you have planned? A cruise on Lindblad Expeditions, an eco-friendly line that partners with National Geographic, is all about exploration, and recommends the traveler’s wardrobe be centered around comfort and practicality. If you’re cruising on Crystal and plan to visit the Russian opera and ballet, be ready to break out the evening gowns and tuxes.

Still unsure about what to wear? Consider creating a checklist that details your plans and matches your wardrobe to it. Need help getting started? CruiseCompete recommends visiting AllThingsCruise for some handy checklists, videos and tips on packing. Photos are from Chanel Cruise 2009-2010
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