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The Science Behind Facebook-Friendly Travel Photos

Method to the madness.
The Science Behind Facebook-Friendly Travel Photos
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/pauline_juan
Method to the madness.

To buy or not to buy—that is the question. I was wandering around aimlessly around Greenbelt last night, killing time while waiting for my sons—my de facto carpool—to pick me up. The fact that it seemed to take forever for them to arrive (being at the beck and call of the boys' schedule is another story altogether) led me to peruse the new season's arrivals more dilligently than I normally would have.

Lo and behold, there it was, like a beacon to a ship, the must-have outfit-maker of my impending trip: a long-sleeved fur top. Not a big, bulky fur coat. It was sleek, textured perfection, only the most chica sweater ever made, its bodice and arms made of supple, glistening faux fur, while the back was tone-on-tone black knit. Unbidden images immediately flashed through my mind, and I imagined it paired with a vegan leather pencil-skirt in the same inky noir and the thigh-high high-heeled boots sitting in my closet, or perhaps with shorts, tights and a pair of graphic black and white men's-style loafers to offset the inherent doña vibes of the fur top.

IMAGE Courtesy of Pauline Juan

Touring Zaragoza, Spain

WHY OH WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF? Am I the only one who shops before a trip that I know will be purposely maximized with retail therapy? 

Pictures don't die nowadays. They live forever, even after you've deleted them, in hard-drive purgatory waiting for that badass techie to resurrect them. I'm not ashamed to say that my travel photos are important to me. I spend a great deal of time composing and editing my album; it's only right that I look good in the photos. Hence, on a trip abroad, where every new experience is a photo op, the impetus to dress well has never been more felt.

IMAGE Courtesy of Pauline Juan

At John Hardy’s workshop in Bali

I started planning my travel wardrobe because Facebook (not mine; I don't have one) broadcasts to the world that the only pair of shoes you brought doesn't quite go with today's outfit. Also, with lighter, sleeker and smaller luggage and stricter baggage allowance enforcement, it is no longer possible to pack options (you don't end up using anyway) as precious space must be alloted for shopping finds.

It takes me eons to pack, especially if it is for a major trip. Unlike our Fashion Director Daryl Chang, who relies on visual cues to pack (she mixes and matches clothing options and takes pictures of the different combinations), I'm very much like a writer writing an outline. I list down a series of pieces—tops, bottoms, outerwear and accessories—that I love enough to wear a couple of times over the duration of the trip.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Pauline Juan

Adding a pop of color to Marrakech

Next, I put together outfits, juxtaposing the tops, bottoms, outerwear and accessories in my mind's eye, carefully making sure that each piece I pack is worn more than once. (I guess now is the right time to reveal that I wait until I get home before I wear any of my purchases on a trip.) On the average, I make about 15 clothing combinations each trip—a real capsule wardrobe. I jot everything down on Evernote and it looks a little something like this:

1. Freeway floral Lucio San Pedro T-shirt + Sense of Place striped long-sleeved tee (worn underneath) + Zara black faux leather pencil skirt + Joey Samson cocoon coat + Oxfords borrowed from Mago.

2. Freeway floral Lucio San Pedro T-shirt (worn underneath) + Uniqlo gray cashmere V-neck sweater + Céline wide-leg slacks + Michael Kors fur vest + vintage pink chunky knit scarf + Oxfords borrowed from Mago.

3. Zalora midi dress + Raoul black turtleneck + Joey Samson cocoon coat + Stephanie Dou hairy scarf + Oxfords borrowed from Mago.

4. Zalora midi dress + Zara long cardigan + Ports 1961 corset belt + black tights + Stuart Weitzman boots.

5. Zara striped turtleneck + Dries Van Noten floral-print pants +  Joey Samson cocoon coat + Uniqlo cashmere-blend cable-knit beanie + The Row for Superga high tops.

6. Raoul white turtleneck + Dries Van Noten floral-print pants + Uniqlo puffer vest with hood + The Row for Superga high tops.

IMAGE Courtesy of Pauline Juan

Posing in Beyoglu, Istanbul

Every morning abroad, after I check the weather forecast, I stare at my iPad and decide which outfit to put on. I've learned the hard way to have a dress rehearsal in the different outfits to make sure they go well together and, of course, fit (on a trip to Legoland, I discovered too late that a pair of gray marl athletic-inspired leggings would not shimmy past my hips!). Once I decide on what to wear, I cut and paste every outfit entry chronologically—this acts like a diary of sorts, since, strangely enough, I tend to remember events based on the clothes I wore.

Now if only I could replicate this planning process to more areas in my life...

*This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Preview Magazine.

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