Leslie Willmott | Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Traveling More in Her 70s Than She Did in Her 20s!

By on Mar 7, 2020


Smart Women On The Go Profile:


Rosemary Barnhart has been to more than 160 countries — and she’s still traveling the globe. Rosemary, who is 77, had a long career in the cruise industry so she’s had a head start on many of us. But equally – maybe more – impressive is that her partner Lee is still traveling at 97!

I consider Rosemary and Lee “icons” of the cruise world since they take two or three cruises a year and most are a month long. Their experiences recently attracted Condé Nast Traveler magazine and editor Madison Flager interviewed Rosemary for her perspective on traveling in your later decades:

“I’ve always been sort of adventurous”, says Rosemary, “and that hasn’t changed. If anything, travel makes your visions a little wider and makes you want to go more, see more. The only new approach in this decade is slowing down.

“We can’t do all that driving and traipsing around like we used to do . . . cruising takes us to so many places—all without ever having to unpack a bag. As we’ve gotten older, it’s become the best way for us to travel.”

Click here for the full article – it’s a delightful and inspirational read!


Rosemary’s Smart Packing Tips:  

I’ve known Rosemary since the early 1970’s when we both worked for Simplicity Pattern Company, traveling the U.S. with fashion shows. It gave us both the travel bug. Fast-forward a few years and Rosemary went into the travel business, ultimately spending 10 years working for three major cruise lines. She knows all of the ins and outs of cruising, making her my go-to person to help me with packing.

You and I may not have the luxury of spending this much time cruising but we can learn lots from this cruising maven and her partner Lee. I interviewed Rosemary for our Tips for Travelers newsletter a few years ago and her advice still holds true:

“Two to three weeks before a trip I chart out the first 10 days of our cruise on a calendar, writing down what I could wear each day and evening. This helps me begin laying out clothes. 

“I start with a foundation of pants in neutral colors (her favorite are black, white and cream), packing a variety of tops that will go with all . . . For evening I love to wear pants with fancy, beautiful or simple tops. Many can roll up and tuck into a corner of my luggage . . . Jewelry is key to extending your wardrobe. Pair a very simple top with a ‘statement’ faux-jewelry piece. Switch the jewelry and no one knows you’ve worn the top more than once.”

Rosemary and I both still count Chico’s and J. Jill as great resources for washable, wrinkle-free travel wardrobe pieces.

Proper Planning is Key

I adapted the tools of advance planning from Rosemary, charting out my trips on a calendar, noting activities and expected weather on each day to help me plan my wardrobe. And, like Rosemary, I invested in a collapsible clothes rack to make both planning and packing easy and efficient.

“The rack makes coordination of separates easier (four tops can hang by one pair of pants; shoes go on the floor below, matching up with the selected clothes) and allows me to see all I’m taking before packing,” says Rosemary. Planning ahead is truly the way to take the panic out of packing.

Click here for my interview with Rosemary for many more insights and tips on packing for a cruise. 

Post Script: No profile of Rosemary is complete without noting that her partner Lee, at 97, is a true marvel! Happy and healthy, his mantra is simply “keep moving.” We all need to take a lesson from Lee. He’s the one closing the cruise ship dance lounges every night!



For more travel and packing tips take a look at these previous posts:



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