The first time I met Jacqueline Cofield I think I complimented her on the silk, patterned scarf around her neck. She shared a great tip about how to pack and carry a scarf. You get one of those mini, structured plastic zip cases at the drugstore to tote it around so it stays unruffled and doesn’t get beat up.
Soon after, I was at a film event with her and she busted out some French with some native speakers at the event. Not a few words, either. But, like, fluent French with no blips or dips. Next I heard she was in Africa. Then in Chicago. Then, somewhere else.
She always handling a bunch of different projects – big ones – yet consistently looks and conducts herself in a very warm, polished way. I admire this and it’s something I’ve been meaning to ask her about for a while.
Below, Jacqueline Cofieldshares a truckload of travel style tips on how to look good, feel solid and confident, and basically have an excellent time the next time you travel. [In some of her answers, bold and other emphasis are mine – we live in the age of scannable text and I don’t want you to miss her gems!]
Constance Dunn: You travel globally, and a lot. And you’re always looking very pulled together—dress, heels, hair. The whole package.
Question: Give us 1 or 2 or your top tips for looking great. I mean, polished formal or professional dress great, when say, you’ve just landed in Timbuktu with 3 hours sleep.
Jacqueline Cofield: First, thank you for the kind words. Over the years, I’ve gotten better with packing more efficiently.
I am pretty meticulous about certain things, like I have a travel kit for while I’m on the plane that includes serums, moisturizers, eye masks and a face spritzer to keep my skin from dehydrating in flight.
I always keep a change of clothes — something light like a wrap dress and heels — in my carry-on in case my luggage doesn’t arrive.
Other staples that I pack are interchangeable classics, like a blazer, pearls, pencil skirts, and at least 2 heels (one solid color and one multicolor).
-I always pack a lightweight formal dress, just in case I go to a special event.
-As for hair, I love Aveda products, and I rarely use shampoo, mostly deep conditioners, so when I’m in countries where the water is dry, my hair isn’t.
–I work out on long flights too, I go to an area where I can stretch, do lunges, squats, and arm circles.
-And, I have to have my daily green drink, so I travel with powdered wheatgrass
Constance Dunn: Okay, so another travel question. It can be lonely, traveling to other continents by oneself. And being a lady traveler has a whole other set of scenarios attached to it. Both of these can be knocks on one’s confidence.
Question: Can you give us 1 or 2 tips on how to not feel alone, or how to increase one’s confidence as a woman traveling solo?
Jacqueline Cofield: That’s actually a great question.
Being a woman is a wonderful thing; femininity is expressed in a myriad of ways internationally, which is stimulating. Without judgment, a globe-trotting woman must do her research and be interested in cultural differences.
Preparation will automatically make you feel more comfortable. Safety is also paramount, so a lady need be mindful of her surroundings and encounters.
I’ve traveled to about 50 countries. To avoid feeling lonely when traveling alone, I have a few strategies:
1) I focus on my purpose for travel. Is it business? Personal development? School? Having a goal will empower and strengthen.
2) I use Skype, Viber and Google Voice (all are free), to stay in touch with friends and family during my travels.
3) I engage my network. Before traveling, I will have already established connections, including introductions from my network who know someone wherever I am traveling. I have found that my social capital is expansive and everywhere I go, I am connected to someone by a first or second degree: those connections enrich my experience tremendously.
Lastly, I am an art lover, so I am always visiting museums, studios and galleries, and going to performances which provides much enjoyment and is a great way to connect as well.
Constance Dunn: You are involved in so many interesting projects, and I know this means meeting lots of different people, in your case internationally.
Question: Do you have a great communication tip – something that is effective to say or do when meeting new people – that you’d like to share?
Jacqueline Cofield: Yes, definitely. Research shows that women’s styles of communication, personally and professionally, are perceived differently than those of men.
Generally, people gravitate towards women who use light humor, appear kind and have a stylish presence.
I love the quote from Tom Ford that, “Dressing well is a kind of good manners.” Manners are very important.
Also, I find that my global travels enable me to connect well with people fast. I’m trilingual, (learning a forth) and can say basic phrases in many languages.
Do research before meeting people. If I am aware of their culture, have visited their country, or can speak their language, for example, people appreciate the interest and perceive me as experienced. Being authentic is important in interpersonal communications and also involves looking people in the eye, appearing intelligently interested in the encounter, and not aggressively pressing an agenda (that’s what following up is for).
Okay, final question. What has you on fire at the moment, project wise?