Who doesn’t love the Fab Five? While each member of Queer Eye‘s quintet is equally fabulous, hence the moniker, they each have their own specialty. For Tan France, that’s style. The personality and fashion plate makes a career out of helping people make better and more stylish decisions when they get dressed. So who better to ask for advice about what your closet is missing and how to pack?
Stylish caught up with France while at the launch party for the Travelpro Platinum Elite luggage collection in NYC to talk all things related to packing light, bold prints, the items people should absolutely have in their closets — and the ones they should let go of. Check out our interview with the fashion expert below!
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Stylish: Tell Us, what’s the first rule when it comes to travel packing?
Tan France: Keep it so simple. No overdoing it with what you pack.
Stylish: It’s easier said than done, but if you’re going on a long trip, how do you keep your bag lean?
TF: I travel every few days now. It’s not very often I’m somewhere for longer than three or four days. I’m always on the go, so I like to travel with only a carry on, as opposed to a checked bag, if possible. Obviously, if you’re going for a longer period of time, you’re going to have to check something larger. But I prefer a carry on. I want to keep my outfits versatile. For example, I’ll take a great pair of jeans or trousers, a couple of pairs of shoes, a sneaker that’s comfortable to walk in, a shoe that looks more appropriate, usually a boot, and then I take, again, a suit that I can break up and finally, a few t-shirts and a couple of buttoned-up shirts. I don’t do what I do on the show, which is print, print, print, when I travel. I love a print on the show, that’s for TV. In real life, I want to make sure that I can change up my look very easily by putting on a different colored simple t-shirt with a pair of jeans, a sneaker or change out the boot and I’m good to go for a week like that. It’s all about rotating the pieces.
Stylish: Wonderful. But if you were to pack prints, what’s the easiest one to pick?
TF: A stripe. Always a stripe. I love a bold print, but you’re going to wear that once and you can’t wear it twice on vacation without it being super noticeable.
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Stylish: Okay, so don’t bring big bold prints on vacation. What’s a good tip for the ladies.
TF: I don’t wear dresses, but I love suggesting this to women. When they buy, say, a summer dress and they wear it once on vacation — great, but you can’t wear it again because I’m going to know you’ve got the same dress on. What you can do is put an oversized sweater on or a blouse on over the top, tie it, knot it, whatever. It’s going to look like you got a really cute skirt and voila, you have a different outfit. Two ways of wearing a dress.
Stylish: What do you think that doesn’t get enough credit?
TF: Maybe, maybe this does get credit, but most people don’t put enough thought into it: a great pair of shades. I don’t care if it’s not a fancy brand. If it doesn’t frame your face beautifully, I don’t care that you spent $500 on it and that it’s Gucci. A great pair of shades is essential no matter where you’re going and I think they can complement the look perfectly. I love to wear shades when I’m out and about. I think that my outfit’s always on point, hopefully, but if I’ve got shades on, I feel like I look chic AF.
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Stylish: Do you have a favorite sunglasses silhouette?
TF: Yeah, I love a relatively round frame, because I’ve got a long face, so I prefer to wear a slightly round frame.
Stylish: What’s a vacation fashion trend that you wish people would let go of? For men and for women.
TF: For men: boardshorts. It has to die. I’m so sick of straight men in boardshorts. It couldn’t be more unattractive. And there are so many options these days, just go for a better option. You can’t think by wearing big and boxy, that’s making you look sexy.
Stylish: And for the ladies?
TF: For women, I think the itsy-bitsy bikini. I know that some women say, “a one-piece? Oh it’s a beach, I want to show more off,” but actually I think a one-piece can be sexier and at least you can enjoy yourself more wearing them. You can indulge in a burger and not think, “Oh I can’t go on back to the beach.” Wear that one-piece, eat that burger, and you’ll still feel great.
Stylish: What’s your favorite way to go bold right now?
TF: Oh my gosh. Do you remember, oh god I wish I knew what episode it was but I don’t remember. It’s a tiger print that I wore and it wasn’t a romper. It was a separate short and a separate shirt and I just wore it with a simple pair of white kicks. I love a wild animal print. Not just a leopard print, I’m talking about a tiger or zebra print too. Gucci does a version of it, but Zara also does a great version of it. Topshop does this well too. There’s options of it that are really low priced that are super bold.
Stylish: Any other staples?
TF: I love a floral. Because I know that “florals for spring. groundbreaking,” thing — it just, there is something about it that I just think brings joy. The right kind of floral makes you look styled and well-considered.
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