Entries in ‘Travel Apparel’ Journal

Travel Outside Your Fashion Comfort Zone

Wednesday January 21, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 2 Comments

We’ve all heard the phrase “step outside your comfort zone” be it related to travel, career, or relationships. But what about when it comes to fashion. How often do you travel outside your fashion comfort zone?

For those of you who know me, I specialize in equestrian travel. I take horseback riding vacations on a regular basis to review dude ranches and luxury resorts. I work with fashion brands such as Ariat, Royal Robbins, Durango and Wrangler. You get where I’m going with this; I’m more comfortable in flannel shirts, denim jeans and cowboy boots than I am with Spanx, high heels and high-end fashion.

Neiman Marcus, fashion, clothing

The latest styles from top fashion designers


Travel outside fashion comfort zone

Like a kitten dipping one paw in a pool of cold water I slowly stepped inside the doors of Neiman Marcus, an upscale clothing retailer in my neighborhood. Walking through the tall glass doors and over to the bright lights of the Laura Mercier cosmetics counter was certainly traveling outside my fashion comfort zone.

The day before I scheduled my makeup consultation, I’d reached out to some of my beauty and fashion blogger friends to ask, ‘what one item would you select from the Laura Mercier cosmetics line?” Beauty expert and Teen Vogue contributor Amber Katz was the first to respond via Twitter with “no question, the tinted moisturizer” with Zippy Sandler of Champagne Living,  Beauty Blogger Nadine Jolie Courtney and Beauty Writer Aly Walansky of A Little Alytude giving their thumbs up approval for the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer broad spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen. Needless to say, I bought the moisturizer in bisque.

Laura Mercier, Neiman Marcus, makeup

Milk and cookies with Laura Mercier. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Breakfast of champions

Fortunately, Jose Contreras, Laura Mercier Product Specialist, welcomed me with open arms and milk and cookies! Neiman Marcus prides itself on extraordinary customer service and my morning of fashion pampering was no exception. After all, chocolate chip cookies and cold milk is the breakfast of champions, right?

Jose created a flawless face for my New Year New You look and kept me looking natural and feeling radiant. I’m sure I’m committing a fashion crime by placing before and after photos for all the world to see online, but as I said previously, this post is about stepping outside your fashion comfort zone.

What I liked about Laura Mercier cosmetics. Mercier came to the beauty business from a makeup artist’s perspective – creating editorial spread for magazines such as Elle, Vanity Fair, Glamour and Seventeen. Her cosmetics accentuate a woman’s natural beauty. I didn’t feel like a made up clown wearing endless layers of makeup when I left the cosmetics counter. I also liked that Jose was not on commission and was not pushing the products. It was clear that he loved his job working in the beauty industry and did a wonderful job of showing me how to recreate the flawless face look.


Nancy Brown, Laura Mercier, cosmetics

Nancy Brown’s Laura Mercier makeover.

Designer fashion

With my game face on, I was ready to try some designer fashion brands. My stylist had hung several items in the dressing room for me to try. I immediately gravitated toward Akris punto. These black pants would carry me from day to night in comfort and style.  The Swiss label is known for their designer sportswear. My Neiman Marcus Selling Specialist Joy Anya called the pants an “investment piece” when I winced at the designer price tag.

Nancy Brown, Nicole Miller, fashion

Nancy Brown wearing Nicole Miller Artelier dress

Nicole Miller fashion

I asked if Joy had any designer fashions that were on sale. Out came Nicole Miller’s Artelier dress. It should be noted that I don’t own a “little black dress” and this long-sleeved dress with an elegant high neckline and side tuck draping gave me a figure flattering look. I could wear this dress with my Starstruck gold Tieks or a hip pair of Ariat black boots. Certainly, this Nicole Miller dress was traveling outside my fashion comfort zone. What do you think?

Akris punto, fashion

Designer sportswear. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tip
Do you travel outside your fashion comfort zone? If you’d like to schedule a complimentary makeup or wardrobe consultation, give Neiman Marcus a call. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @LauraMercier and @NeimanMarcus on Twitter.

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Disclosure: Neiman Marcus supplied me with milk and cookies. All opinions are my own.

Travel Apparel: Royal Robbins

Friday December 19, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

Typically airline travelers fall into two categories; those who check their luggage and those who carry on. Personally, I’m a carry on traveler ever since United Airlines lost my checked luggage on a non-stop flight from San Francisco to Chicago. With strict luggage weight regulations, packing light is crucial. Fortunately, I discovered Royal Robbins, an active adventurers answer to lightweight and functional travel apparel.

Nancy D. Brown, Royal Robbins, travel clothes

Nancy looking stylish in her Royal Robbins Voyager Cardigan.


California-based Royal Robbins

I didn’t have to look far to find Royal Robbins. Like me, the outdoor clothing company has deep roots in Northern California. Royal Robbins is a well known climber and kayaker who founded the company, along with his wife, based on the lack of technical and lightweight mountaineering apparel available back in the late 1960’s. Today, the California-based company features quality and stylish clothing for the active adventure traveler. The fact that Royal Robbins has stores in Berkeley and Modesto, with affordably priced travel clothes, is an added bonus to this freelance writer’s budget.

Nancy D. Brown, Royal Robbins, Carmel, California, travel

Dressed in blue to match California’s Pacific Ocean in Carmel.

Go everywhere travel clothes

I’ve partnered with Royal Robbins as a member of their Go Everywhere team as I travel the world, often on horseback. As you’ll see from the photos, our family recently spent time in Carmel and next week I am off to explore Europe by way of the Danube with Viking River Cruises. Fortunately, my travel clothes are able to go everywhere, from California’s beaches to the Christmas Markets of Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Royal Robbins, travel clothes, travel pant

Rock climbing with Royal Robbins Slickrock Plaid shirt and Traveler Stretch Pant. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Least you think Royal Robbins clothes are only for women, note that my husband is now a RR devotee. He liked the Slickrock Plaid long sleeve shirt for its UPF protection, quick drying and wrinkle resistant material and the ever-important front pocket. The same can be said of his traveler stretch pants. The blend of spandex and nylon feels like cotton, while the lightweight fabric is ideal for packing and travel. He specifically asked me to point out the position of the lower right pocket on the pants. “It’s the perfection location for my cell phone,” said Cory Brown.

Insider Tip
Fellow height-challenged people will be happy to note that many Royal Robbins pants come in short lengths. On behalf of all the short people who hate shelling out our hard earned dollars for alteration fees – thank you! For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @Royal_Robbins on Twitter.

If You Go

Royal Robbins (800) 587-9044
841 Gilman Street
Berkeley, California 94710

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to Royal Robbins for supplying me with these travel clothes. All opinions are my own.

Best Travel Gifts

Saturday December 6, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

I live, eat and breath travel. I could travel 24/7 if the opportunity presented itself. Seven days a week I think about and write about travel. Travel is as affordable or as expensive as you make it. The same may be said for travel gifts. With that in mind, I give you my seven best gifts for the traveler.

Tieks, travel shoes, ballet flats

Tieks wool ballet flats are great travel shoes.

Good things come in small packages; small blue packages from Beverly Hills, California to be exact. I first discovered Tieks ballet flats in 2012 when beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist Kerry Walsh wore her Starstruck Tieks while showing off her medals. This year I discovered Tieks for winter. New to their Vegan collection, the greystone non-leather Tieks add warmth to my wardrobe. I’m looking forward to wearing these on my Viking River Cruise down the Danube. They will be perfect to slip into after a day of exploring Christmas Markets in rubber rain boots. These travel shoes are priced at $175 – as with all items listed here, check the website for current prices.

Nancy D. Brown, Royal Robbins, Carmel, California, travel

I can go everywhere in these travel clothes.

What’s a great pair of travel shoes without travel clothes to match? I was introduced to the Royal Robbins brand from fellow travel bloggers Deb and Dave of the Planet D. They, too, were looking to dress up their wardrobe while still looking good on the road. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me dressed in Royal Robbins go everywhere clothing.

luggage tag, Your Bag Tag, travel

Luggage tags from Your Bag Tag. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Stocking stuffer

For children looking for affordable gift ideas for the traveler, or anyone with limited holiday budgets, custom luggage tags are the ideal gift for people on the go. These personalized luggage tags from YourBagTag will also work well for locating sports, fishing, scuba, skiing, tack and golf bags in a hurry. The carabiner bag tags are perfect for camera gear bags and backpacks. Prices start at $12.99.

luggage, Ugobags, travel

Ugobags custom luggage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


For the traveler who has everything, custom luggage from Ugobags is perfect. Successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign, Ugobags offers travelers the opportunity to customize their luggage online! With free delivery and a two year warranty, this lightweight luggage is a sure bet from a California-based company. Carryon luggage starts at $189.

Glacier Bay, Alaska, experiential travel

Experiential travel in Alaska. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Travel experiences

Some of us prefer travel experiences over collecting things. The term experiential travel is popular with parents and grandparents because many of us are looking for memorable or teachable moments that we can share with family members or close friends. A memorable travel experience for me was a trip to Alaska’s Glacier Bay with UnCruise Adventures – what a trip! All inclusive Alaska rates start at $4,195.

Creekside Farms, wreaths, California

Bring California indoors with Creekside Farms wreath. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


California grown

The herb wreaths from California-based Creekside Farms not only look pretty, they will make your house, apartment or dorm room smell simply divine. If you want to bring a bit of country into your home, these wreaths are certainly cheaper than a trip to the lavender fields of Provence, France. These California-grown gifts start at $29.
An Innocent Abroad, travel, bookTravel books

Last year I recommended the book Wild by Portland, Oregon-based author Cheryl Strayed. A book for the adventurous explorer, hiker or armchair traveler about her wanderings From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I still recommend this book and look forward to watching Reese Witherspoon play Strayed in Wild, the movie. Suggested retail price $16.43.

A book I’m taking with me on the airplane to Europe this winter is An Innocent Abroad Life-changing trips from 35 great writers. Published by Oakland, California-based Lonely Planet, this book includes travel tales from Tim Cahill, Pico Iyer, Ann Patchett, Jane Smiley and Cheryl Strayed, among others. Suggested retail is $15.99 for this book.
I hope you found these gift ideas helpful. What are your favorite holiday gifts for the traveler in your life?
Companies often reach out to me to review their products, travel apparel and gear. Many of the above items have been reviewed on the What a Trip blog. I wouldn’t recommend these 7 best gifts for the traveler if I didn’t personally use and approve of them.

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Best Gifts for Travelers

Gift Ideas for Travelers

Travel Gift Guide