In Fine Style: The Art Of Tudor And Stuart Fashion Opens At The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Tudor
The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, London, is putting on a fashion show, although the fashions are more than 400 years out of date.

In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion” examines the luxurious clothing and jewelry worn by British monarchs and members of their court. It focuses on the two dynasties of the 16th and 17th centuries with everything from ornamental armor for a teenaged Prince of Wales to a bejeweled case for storing the black fabric patches that Queen Mary II stuck on her face to emphasize the whiteness of her skin.

Many of the items are on display for the first time, such as a diamond signet ring given by King Charles I to his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria, in 1628. It bears her cypher and the royal coat of arms. Another never-before-seen piece is a pendant of gold, rubies and diamond with a miniature portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. There are also some elegant articles of clothing like a pair of lacework gloves.

Of course, most costumes and jewelry from this period have disappeared, no matter how important their owners. To augment the exhibition there are more than 60 portraits showing royalty and nobility wearing their finest, including a startling portrait of a Duchess dressed as a man.

“In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion” runs until October 6. If you make it to London before July 14, you might also want to see Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsarsat the Victoria & Albert.

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Gadling Gear Review: Bergan’s Osen Down and Wool Jacket

Sometimes, when I look at the price tag on a piece of gear, I think, “Really? It’s made in some factory in Asia, there’s not that much material to it, and really? REALLY?” Other times, I’m lucky to get to try out something super nice and my reaction is different. It’s more along the lines of, “Yeah, it’s expensive and I totally get why. And I really don’t want to send it back now that I’ve seen it.”

Bergan’s of Norway’s Osen jacket fits that category. The wool and down, water resistant jacket (available in both a men’s and a women’s cut) is one of the nicest things to pass through my hands for some time.

This isn’t your typical “poof” layer – it’s a combination of a wool and polyester blend on the sleeves, shoulders and waist with a down torso and collar. It looks great – the women’s cut makes sense; it’s got a bit of shape to it and the bright, contrasting zipper pulls are in a cool neon green on the jacket’s dark blue. Add a rain shell to this and you are set for just about any weather.
Everything about the way this jacket is made speaks of attention to detail. The collar is lined with microfleece so it’s not itchy or cold on your chin when it’s zipped up all the way. The pockets are big and they zip the right way (you’d be surprised how often this is not the case). The finish work is immaculate; the seams are all folded over and sealed and there are no loose edges or threads. And the sizing is right – something that’s increasingly rare in women’s outdoor gear.

The jacket was missing two things I’ve come to appreciate in this kind of gear – pit zips and a two way front zipper – but it’s still nicer than many a jacket that’s been in my test queue.

The wool/poly mix is a nice alternative to the usual slippery nylon shell you get with your typical down jacket. It gives the jacket some alpine formal style. I wore the Osen jacket out and about a few times and always got compliments on it.

The Osen jacket will set you back $329. The line doesn’t seem to have wide distribution in the U.S. yet, but check with your local mountaineering store or use the Bergan’s “Find a Dealer” link provided on the site.

[Image courtesy of Bergan's of Norway]

The Travel Outfit That Will Let You Breeze Through Airport Security

After years of fine-tuning, I may have just mastered the art of dressing for airport security.

It wasn’t easy, mind you. For many years, my travel uniform consisted of jeans, a belt, a white T-shirt and sneakers. But my belt would always set off the alarm, my sneakers were cumbersome to slip off and my jeans made it difficult to get comfortable once I was onboard. Not to mention the stains that would build up on my crisp white tee after 36 hours of international travel.

Then there was the jeggings-and-boots phase. But try getting in and out of knee-high motorcycle boots while juggling a laptop and boarding pass. Not fun.

Now, my go-to travel outfit is comfortable, stylish and allows me to zip through airport security in the time it previously took to zip up those godforsaken boots. Here’s what it consists of.

Note: This post is geared toward women, but men may be able to glean some tips from it too.T-shirt dress
A long-sleeved t-shirt dress can keep you warm on cold flights, but adapts well to warm climates – perfect for that mid-winter getaway to the Bahamas. I wear the Holstee Dress in black, which is made from a comfortable blend of hemp and organic cotton and contains a handy pocket for my passport and boarding pass. Plus, the dress folds into its own pocket for easy packing later in the trip.

Black leggings
A great pair of black leggings is a travel essential. What other item of clothing transitions seamlessly from the airplane to the opera to a yoga class to bed? The Ibex Energy Tight is a splurge, but its blend of Merino wool, nylon and lycra is made for warmth and movement. Plus, it’s odor-resistant.

A versatile wrap
A great wrap can easily go from a hoop scarf for the airport to a blanket for the flight. The Versalette from {r}evolution apparel may just be the most versatile of them all, with buttons and drawstrings that allow it to be worn in more than 20 different ways. The Infinity Scarf from KCA by Fashioning Change, made in Los Angeles from a cotton-hemp blend, is another great option.

Slip-on shoes
Forget pesky laces and zippers. A great pair of slip-on shoes isn’t just comfortable, it also makes the security screening process much easier. TOMS are a great bet, and some of their new winter versions even contain a soft fleece lining for chilly flights.

Additional tip
When loading your belongings at the TSA checkpoint, place your shoes/belts/jewelry into the first bin, your laptop/toiletries in the second bin and your bags last. That way, you can redress while the rest of your items are still being screened.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Inha Leex Hale, Holstee, {r}evolution apparel]

Gadling Gear Review: Scottevest Transformer Jacket

Scottevest Transformer JacketSafely and securely carrying all of our gadgets while traveling can be a real chore. Many of us now hit the road with a smartphone, digital camera, tablet, headphones and more. While each of those tech toys has made travel more enjoyable, it isn’t always easy to keep them well-organized and easy to access. Scottevest is a company that has built an extensive catalog of travel apparel designed to do just that. Their line of clothing is specifically built to keep all of our favorite gadgets close at hand while minimizing bulk. The new SeV Transformer Jacket delivers all of that plus a few unexpected surprises.

To the casual observer the Transformer appears to be just like any other jacket you’d find someone wearing on the street. It features a classic design and cut that is equally at home hiking a trail as strolling the halls of a museum. Its easy-to-clean, wind-resistant fabrics make it a perfect option for staying warm and dry while on the go.

But underneath that unassuming exterior lurks an organizational system that will make even the most anal retentive traveler happy. Scottevest has managed to incorporate an astonishing 20 pockets into this jacket, many of which are designed for a specific purpose. For instance, there are two pockets built just for touchscreen smartphones, one on the left side of the jacket and one on the right. Those pockets feature a clear plastic cover that allows the wearer to not only view the screen but to also interact with its capacitive touch interface. Those same pockets provide cord management options that allow headphones to be run through a series of hidden conduits on the interior of the jacket. This keeps headphone wires secure and out of the way, while still allowing them to be easily used by the wearer. The company calls this its Personal Area Network (PAN) and each of their garments incorporates this option to some degree.Scottevest Transformer JacketThe smartphone pockets are just the beginning, however, as there are others designed for carrying pens, USB thumb drives, passports, small digital cameras and more. Each of them has unique qualities, which makes them perfect for the task. For example, the pocket built for carrying sunglasses has a soft chamois cleaning cloth on an elastic cord and the camera pocket includes a separate area for memory cards. There is even a “PadPocket” that is large enough to carry an iPad, Kindle or other tablet device.

If you’re already familiar with the products that Scottevest offers then much of this probably isn’t new. But what separates the Transformer from the rest of their clothing line, and gives the jacket its name, is the unique ability to turn into a vest. That in and of itself isn’t all that revolutionary, as convertible vest/jackets have been around for years. But what sets the Transformer apart from similar offerings is its clever use of magnets embedded under the fabric. These small and lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful, magnets make adding or removing the sleeves a snap – quite literally. In a matter of seconds the Transformer not only adapts for warmer weather but significantly changes its look as well.

For those that like to travel light, the Transformer Jacket is a great addition to the travel closet. Depending on what you carry with you when on the road, it is possible that it could replace a daypack or other small bag. Scottevest seems to have thought of everything when designing this piece of clothing, keeping all of our important items very close at hand. That said, loading up the pockets with all your gadgets would obviously add weight to the garment, particularly if you’re carrying an iPad. The jacket is designed to distribute weight evenly, but wearing a fully loaded Transformer still took a little getting use to. I tested the jacket with an iPhone 4S, iPad 3, headphones, a digital camera, and other various times, and while it wasn’t at all uncomfortable, there was a short adjustment period.

Gadget lovers will most certainly love the Transformer. It not only looks good but it features plenty of ways to safely carry a variety of gear. The integrated Personal Area Network is also useful for keeping chords organized and out of the way too. If you’re the type of person who travels with plenty of tech toys, then you’ll certainly see plenty of value in this jacket, which retails for $160. On the other hand if you tend to hit the road with little more than a cellphone, the Transformer is probably overkill for you and you’ll find there are plenty of other great travel jackets for less money.

Scottevest has made sure that gadget girls aren’t left out of the mix. A women’s version of the Transformer, dubbed the Kelly Jacket, is also available for the ladies who love their technology too.

Gadling Gear Review: Icebreaker LS Tech T Lite

The Icebreaker LS Tech T LiteTravelers who prefer to pack light are always on the lookout for ways that they can shed weight without sacrificing comfort or functionality. Occasionally that happens when they discover new gear that is lighter and more versatile than something that was previously available. Other times it is the result of simply finding something new that allows them to carry less in their bags. That happens to be the case with the new LS Tech T Lite from Icebreaker, a shirt that promises, “2 weeks, 1 shirt, no stink.”

Icebreaker is a company that offers a wide line of clothing for active travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. Their apparel is made from soft and lightweight merino wool, which has the unique ability to keep the wearer cool in warm environments and warm in cold ones. This versatility can come in handy on extended trips and means that one piece of clothing can be used for a variety of destinations.

The Tech T Lite certainly meets that description. Soft against the skin and incredibly light, the shirt works well on its own but makes a great base layer too. Not only does it breathe well in warm weather, it also serves as good insulation in the cold, which will no doubt make it a popular option for travelers of all types.Merino wool has another quality that makes it particularly well suited for travel apparel. Fabrics made from the wool also happen to be incredibly resistant to odors as well. That means you can carry one or two of these shirts on an extended trip and really not need to pack any others. That can save room and weight in your luggage or backpack and make packing a lot easier too, as you won’t need nearly as many shirts on longer trips.

After putting the Tech T Lite through its paces, in both warm and cool climes, I can honestly say that it more than lives up to its billing. Whether you’re wearing it while lounging around the lodge or out hiking a demanding trail, it remains remarkably comfortable to wear without inhibiting motion in any way. It also happens to be easy to keep clean, quick drying and more durable than it first appears. All of those qualities have already made it one of my favorite pieces of travel clothing and earned it a spot in my pack on just about any trip I take in the future.

The Tech T Lite LS is the long sleeve version of this shirt and carries a price tag of $80. Icebreaker also makes it with short sleeves, which runs just $65. No matter which version you select you’ll be getting a very high quality piece of gear that will prove to be a great travel companion for years to come.