Cruise wardrobe planning..importance of colour choice

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Cruise Fashions & Beauty

Deck yourself out for your next cruise! What clothes should you bring, and what should stay at home. Offer up packing tips, and savvy shopping info, too
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11,527 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I've just completed a detailed wardrobe selection for our forthcoming cruise and written it all down in my 'cruisebook' ( which incidentally doubles up as a travel diary).I considered and noted all port day outfits first, then worked on the sea days. I selected outfits for the formal nights and created different dressy outfits, once again by mixing and matching, for the other dining nights.
What I've noticed is that
1. I was able to select one dominant colour for sandals to match all my daytime outfits and 2 pairs of shoes/sandals for all evening wear.
2. You will be able to leave many clothing items behind if you work with colours and mix n'match.
3. You don't have to think about/decide what you will wear each day as it's written down for you (this assumes that the weather will be consistent throughout the cruise, in which case you add a cardy) . This is good for those who like the discipline's not for everyone.
4. It is a lot of fun and is creative
5. You see in an instant what you may neen to focus on/ purchase for the current or following cruise.
6. Apart from washing smalls, you can avoid using the laundry.

Perhaps we can share our cruise wardbrobe planning routines here? It could be useful to first-time cruisers. I admit I didn't have much of an idea on our first.
Cheers all,
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21,297 Posts
Joined May 2002
I've pretty much been doing what you have listed for several years now.

I don't buy a cruise wardrobe though, I pack from my closet what I already have. The only add-ons I have are cocktail dresses, those I rarely wear when home.

I'm guessing "smalls" are underwear and bras I've never heard or read that term before.
212 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
One of the best pieces of advice I have received here on Cruise Critic is "Less clothes, more money"!
I also work around a main color, in the past black, but I think at some point I would like to try brown. I currently have a thing for black patent, though, so I will probably stick with black for my next cruise.
1,505 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by Happy ks
I'm guessing "smalls" are underwear and bras I've never heard or read that term before.
You are correct. "Smalls" is short for "small clothes" -- basically your underwear!

I did a day wardrobe around shades of blue with some accent colors and for evening I just brought what I had, but had nuetral shoes that worked with everything!
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Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda - May 2008
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Northern NJ
1,161 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Color coordinating what you pack definitly helps, but then I feel like I'm wearing the same outfit the whole week. I wear black & white every day at home and try to branch out with some color when I'm in tropical climates.
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Arizona, near Tucson
656 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
My wardrobe always consists of three prominent colors--Red, white and black. This includes formal, casual and leisure wear for both DH and myself.

I throw in a couple of items in blue or orange just to add a bit of color.

We have been able to do TransAtlantic cruises of 15+ days, spend a couple of weeks in Europe and TransAtlantic cruises back with very little problem.

Yes, we have paid for an additional bag occasionally-- but that was OK!
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462 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I admire those of you who are so organized. Tomorrow I will go through my closet and pick what to bring, pack it up and leave the next morning. I've gone on enough cruises I have a good idea what I need, with lots of mix and match. If I put something out that doesn't mix well with the other colors, it goes back into the closet. I enjoy having time to dress up for late dinner after a casual day. Enjoy your cruise, everyone..........
Eastern Ontario, Canada
1,656 Posts
Joined May 2005
With each cruise I am becoming more efficient and a little more frugal with my are right if you can coordinate around two main colours it is easier. On the last cruise I picked neutral colours and took about 10 Beautiful scarves and pashminas to accent and change the look. It cut down on both the weight of the luggage and the number of pieces.
San Antonio, TX
598 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
That is what I am doing as well - and usually do for most trips I go on, even though this is my first cruise! I found some great brown/tan sandals and plan on most of my outfits being in the brown and tan range. However, I was able to find some really cute, tropical and bright shirts that match all my brown/tan/cream bottoms so it won't be as boring! For Formal though, I will still have the black and I do have a dressier outfit for dinner that will use the black shoes from Formal night.

Shoes are my downfall! Right now I think I'm bringing the following:
Walking brown sandals, flip flops, black dressy kitten heels, brown dressy sandals, tennies (for the one excursion that will need them), reef sandals, silver slides (to match those 2 outfits I want to bring that don't match the brown!) Too many? I think maybe... Hmmm... I'll have to think about it!
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Southern Oregon
1,829 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Girls, now I feel like a slob. No lists, no sorting by color. When I start to pack, I know for sure most of what I want to take. And it's all colors. Then I'll spot something else, well, I have to take that too, I love it. And that. Oh ya, where's that cute top I bought last month? It's all neat, ironed and clean, but not at color matched. Somethings I may wear twice, but it's not planned. Basically, I just throw a whole bunch of summer clothes in and hope for the best. It works for me. Over packer. Yep. Cruising is my passion, I buy up clothes all year and have lots. And I take them all.
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3,622 Posts
Joined May 2007
I make sure all of my things coordinate but I don't feel I am wearing the same outfit everyday. Coordinate does not mean everything is the same color, just the same color family Cool or warm, clear or muted,etc (See the numerous threads on dressing by "season").

An example of what I bring for a 7 day Caribbean cruise: 3 solid bottoms (capris, etc) in 3 basic colors - I am a "Winter" so I usually bring White, black, and dark denim (You could bring brown, khaki, and green, or whatever suits you). Then I bring several tops in various styles (Casual and dressier) which coordinate with my basic colors (Choose correctly and they will all coordinate), add a skirt, a pair of black (or other basic color) slacks, and a sundress or two and 2 pairs of sandals (casual and a bit dressier) and I am set for daytimes and casual evenings. I add a black flowy skirt or pants and a couple of glitzy tops and black strappy shoes for formal nights. I bring lots of jewelry and acccesories to change things up. I add bathing suits, coverups, jammies, and underwear, and I am set.

The real secret is to bring only those things that I LOVE to wear, that make me feel good.
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nr Canberra
3,319 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Hi there Anna,

a great thread!.... you sound so very organised, the shoes are always a problem for me, as we dance a lot, and I have to take several pairs of shoes with me for the evenings, depending on which outfits I well as the day shoes..

I shall never be one of these girls who can pack for a week's cruise, using only an overnight bay...

We are about to pack for our big 5 week b2b cruise, and the air allowance
is only 20KG..yeah right!!!........I see problems looming ahead ... ..LOL.....there is only one solution..hubby will have to leave all HIS stuff behind...LOL....

Hope to meet you on a cruise one day...

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North Carolina, formerly Maryland
3,431 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
I like to deal with the colors of tan, white and navy blue. I know most of you don't sew, but the Simplicity Threads patterns will sometimes show how you can mix and match the pieces to create so many different looks. That said, if you bring along tan shoes, it will go with your whole travel wardrobe. You will only need black heels for a formal night and maybe sneakers for walking.
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Joanne T. Berends
1,092 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
I'm down to three pair of shoes. I found some bronze sandals at Nordstrom that will go with just about all of my casual clothes and my black dress and a pair of black sandals. The bronze looks great with my navy & khaki. Other than that, all of my night stuff is black. I feel like I'm in a rut, too but black just looks classier to me.
Northern Ontario
30 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
WillieT you and I seem to have the same outlook on how to pack. I am a clothes junky, have lots and take lots. Shoes well let's not even go there, I have way to many and take to many ohhh and then there is purses, evening bags, jewellery etc. I can spend a week packing and re-packing and still forget something. C'est La Vie. Happy cruising everyone.
1,519 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
After my last cruise I took pics of the outfits that I actually wore. That's pretty much what I'll be taking on my next cruise. I may exchange one top for another and my formal clothes will be different, but it'll be the same quantity.

Before my last cruise I also went the color coordinated/everything matches with everything else route. Most items are black, navy or white. There are a few pops of color and only 1 item really couldn't be worn with everything, a green and white top.

Having said all that, I will more than likely still have at least 7 pairs of shoes with me.
Michigan/Ontario border
4,293 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
I have auburn hair, golden brown eyes, and very, VERY pale ivory skin. It wasn't until I hit my late 20's I realized there were a huge number of colours which made me look like the walking dead , and very few which really looked great on me.

So, my wardrobe is already pretty strictly colour co-ordinated. It's full of autumn colours. But, in summer (or on a sun seeking cruise) I add lime green and turquoise for a tropical splash.

I don't own any grey, oyster, pink, purple, white, pastels of any shade, jewel tones of any's a long list. It's tough to stick to in years like this, when the stores are jam packed with shades I love that don't love me!

Because I'm now middle aged (and have the extra pounds to prove it) I've cautiously added black to my repetoire. It doesn't really flatter my colouring, but it does work for my bulges!

Anyway, my point is it's easier for me to pack because I've already pared down my colour choices. My basic neutral is almost always khaki/camel, occasionally cream. Because I wear a size 11 shoe, I don't get to "play" in shoe stores as much as most of you!