How to plan your vacation wardrobe? Bottoms up!

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I could pack for a weeklong trip to Europe in a carry-on bag. What’s my secret for traveling light?

I make a wardrobe plan, and I plan from the bottoms up.

Versatile Pants Make Packing Easy

With three versatile pairs of pants and a selection of mix-and-match tops, you can travel anywhere and look great.

In the hot-weather months, my staple pants are my Kristin Crenshaw stretch skinny pants from Anthony’s or my Coconut Row classic stretch ankle pants from Anthony’s. A slim, stretch ankle pant is the most versatile pant for traveling, and these pants are comfy and easy care. They pull on like leggings, and they are as stretchy as yoga pants, but they look tailored, so they go from sightseeing to dinner.

I put one pair of black slim pants and one pair of white slim pants in my bag. Then I throw in a festive palazzo pant, like the vibrant palazzo from Sunny Leigh I just got at Anthony’s, the women’s fashion experts.

Did you know that the term “palazzo pants” has been trending on Google in the past two years?

That’s because these wide-legged, comfortable pants are back with a vengeance. Wearing a patterned palazzo pant is like saying: “I’m here. I’m fun. I’m ready to have a great time.”

Also, my Sunny Leigh palazzos are made of a polyester/Spandex lightweight fabric that folds up really small and never wrinkles. I can even wear these as pajama pants when I’m cruising.

With these three pairs of pants – and the classic skinny denim ankle pant from Kristin Crenshaw that I wear on the plane – I have my bottoms covered for a week-long vacation.

Next, plan your tops. I like to pack several white tank tops and put airy tops over the tanks. My latest acquisitions: A colorful white and turquoise top with dolman sleeves by Ruby Road and a floral-print sleeveless top by Zac & Rachel. Both look great with my slim pants.

With my palazzo pants, I usually wear a white tank top and a wrap or airy cardigan over my shoulders. Palazzo pants are wide at the bottom, so they look best with a top that’s closer to the body.

Remember the proportion rule when you’re pairing tops and bottoms: Volume on the bottom means a closer-fitting on top. Closer-fitting on the bottom means volume on top.

With three pants, three tank tops and five tops to mix-and-match, you can put a whole vacation wardrobe in a carry-on!

Love to cruise?

Val’s shipshape tip of the week: Did you know that Tampa is one of the most-popular ports to sail from if you’re headed to the Caribbean? Four cruise lines -- Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean -- use Tampa as a departure point. Anthony’s has 13 women’s fashion stores around Florida, including five on Florida’s West Coast. If you’re not near a store, don’t worry! Your vacation wardrobe is a click away at

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