DALLAS, Aug 20, 2012/ — These dog days of summer also means that the political race is also heating up. In coming weeks, the Republican and Democratic parties will officially launch their national conventions in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina, respectively.

For the thousands of visitors coming to both Southern cities, deciding what to pack and how to dress can be slightly overwhelming. Belk, a Charlotte-based department store company with 303 stores in 16 Southern states, has fashion travel tips to the political fashionistas who will visit the South’s fair cities.

“Whether you’re a first-timer or a convention pro, you may still be new to modern, Southern style,” says Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising and fashion direction for Belk,

When packing for your trip to the glorious new South, remember to embrace the colors and season-less textiles that transition easily into fall. And yes, after Labor Day, say goodbye to white linen pants, that eyelet top and the coral nail polish.

Goldstein shares the following fashion travel tips that will keep convention visitors cool, smart and chic.

  • Bring the basics.

Start with a small, compact and lightweight suitcase. Don’t forget the LBD, or little black dress. The dress can also be navy or gray – just keep it sleek and simple. Add a fitted blazer, a slim pant, a pencil skirt and a simple cardigan – all in your favorite neutral color palette. Make sure all of the items can be easily layered. These clothes will work as hard as you do.

  • Complete the look.

Once you’ve chosen your color palette, give special attention to the “completer” pieces. Jackets and sweaters will have you looking good AND feeling comfortable as the Southern temperatures and the humidity rise and fall frequently in the same 24 hours. Not to mention the rather cold convention centers that often have icicles hanging from the air conditioning vents.

  • Jazz it up.

Add a party top, a beautiful blouse and a novelty sweater to add some glitz and glam. And don’t forget the underpinnings—tees or shells in vibrant hues (raspberry, teal, royal) that are heading the “hot list” for fall.

  • Go bold or go home.

Top it off by bringing a ziplock bag full of razzle-dazzle. A statement necklace, chandelier earrings, basic diamond studs, an array of novelty bracelets – mixing metals, textures and materials – and of course, a fashion watch, will add the fabulous finishing touches to any look.

  • Get in step.

Bring a comfortable pair of pumps that can go easily from the convention floor to the star-studded dinner party. Always stash a pair of flats in your reliable, but chic, tote bag to give your feet a break by midday.

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