Sailing into spring

PUBLISHED: 16:57 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 20 February 2013

Flax linen jacket £125, cotton viscose pullover £65 and cotton elastane pants £85 sizes 8-18, all by Betty Barclay

Flax linen jacket £125, cotton viscose pullover £65 and cotton elastane pants £85 sizes 8-18, all by Betty Barclay

We may still be in the grip of winter at home, but cruise wear heralds the drift into new season's fashions WORDS BY VICKY PEPYS<br/>Insinuating its way into the midst of our harshest weather, cruise fashion lines started...

We may still be in the grip of winter at home, but cruise wear heralds the drift into new season's fashions WORDS BY VICKY PEPYS


Insinuating its way into the midst of our harshest weather, cruise fashion lines started to infiltrate through the last of the sales stock in our favourite boutiques and department stores recently. It's a line that brings a much-needed breath of fresh air and acts as a precedent to the arrival of the main spring themes - perfect timing for those who book a lastminute long-haul flight as well as the "I've waited all year for this" traveler who fully intends to miss the winter. Cruise wear was originally created to serve the wardrobe needs of a clientele used to escaping to the Tropics, preferably on a yachting holiday (we're going back to Wallis Simpson times). In a nutshell, cruise lines were and are high summer capsule collections suited to climates on the other side of the world. It's not all about fashion - there has to be an economic reason and a financial director behind it too. Today's cruise lines help pep up the by-now often drab shop floor to keep the footfall flowing and the tills ringing, particularly important in these turbulent times. But there's a new type of cruise wear buyer, the kind of which is likely continue to multiply, given the popularity of modern day cruise liner holidays. Cruise wear incorporates beach glamour, practical daywear and cocktail wear to suit the social butterfly as she strolls on deck or lounges poolside, occasionally alighting at exotic locations and preparing for each evening's entertainment, perhaps even dinner at the captain's table. Translated literally, cruise wear can also incorporate the perennial favourite nautical theme. There's no better place to carry off this look; the cheeky sailor effect is totally wasted when landlocked. Packing for a cruise requires methodical planning. Cruises are, after all, an intense, at least two-week period of "people
watching", as well as whatever else is on the itinerary. But cabin space may be limited, laundry services an added cost and you're going to need pieces that will interact with each other and travel well. So, take a fresh top for every day and at least half that number of bottoms. A couple of lightweight jackets for the breezy deck and sightseeing and as many "doesn't matter if it gets crushed" poolside, lounging-around casual pieces as you can cram in. There'll be at least two evenings that require full-length evening dress and cocktail versions of the same - take a special suitcase for your "glam" pieces. Try to glean as much information as you can from your travel company; an itinerary tells little of the expected dress code. Ask others who've traveled before - some advise to take as many accessories as you can manage, others say lots of "bling". Daunting as it may sound, the on-board "paparazzi" will catch you at some point. Dress down and you'll regret it.

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