What to Wear on a Cruise - Or Any Time

Author Susan Branch* has traveled to England via ocean liner three times: on the Queen Elizabeth II in 2001, on the Queen Mary II in 2012, and on the QMII again in 2022.  On her first trip she packed six evening gowns for each night of the cruise, but says that was "a lot of packing of things I never needed for the rest of the trip!"

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simple chic

French chic

Now that she's a seasoned cruise traveler, Susan thinks differently.  (And she was terribly jealous of her husband, Joe, who looked wonderful in the same tuxedo every night.)  For every formal event – at sea or anywhere else – she follows the lead of an elegant French woman who sat at the table next to theirs each evening.

"I loved how she handled it," writes Susan on her blog.  "She wore the same classic black pantsuit every night, with heels, and different scarves and jewelry to change the look.  It was so clever, and seemed very French to me."  So on her next trip Susan packed her own black suit, and all the accessories to go with it, "just like Joe!"

Susan is one more person who's figured out that a uniform works very well for any occasion.  For my formal singing gigs, I wear a very lovely (and comfortable) black gown, and I have a few different earrings, necklaces, and wraps to change the look a bit when I want to.  I need to be appropriately dressed (I don't perform Mozart in jeans and a tee shirt), but it's not what I'm wearing that makes any performance memorable.  If my voice isn't lovely, who cares what I'm wearing?

Choosing a uniform – for formal occasions, for work, for relaxing – lets you keep your closet small and avoids having to cram in things you don't need most of the time (or ever).  If Susan Branch, artist and collector extraordinaire, can appreciate the creativity, classiness, and practicality of a uniform, you should give it a try.

It's a modern consumer belief that we need a large wardrobe to be interesting.  Of course we want to be appropriately dressed, and why not wear attractive clothes that flatter our body types and coloring?  But none of that demands a huge quantity of clothing.  Limits encourage creativity, and a smaller closet doesn't have to be boring or restrictive.

  • how to build a simpler wardrobe
  • how to make decluttering decisions
  • how to let your closet inspire you
  • how less is more when it comes to creating your personal style
  • how three words can help define your preferences
  • how a signature outfit might increase your peace, poise, and productivity

... and more!  The 3rd edition of this best-selling book (packed with 7 additional chapters and 40 pages of new content) can be your guide to a wardrobe that passes the "feel good test" and lets you wear your favorite things every day.


  1. I started buying scarves as souvenirs of our travels. They help make an entire wardrobe of few pieces of clothing while packing very small and bring back wonderful memories every time I wear them.


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