Caroline Says…Wear It Well


If the popularity of our packing blog and frequency of questions on the cocktail-party circuit are any indication, what to wear on your travels can be as big of a decision as where to go. And we can help with both.

This month’s Caroline Says is all about labels – brands and fabrics that go the distance, literally thousands of miles from home and back again in one piece. No holes (unless perhaps you’re running with the bulls in Pamplona). No stains. No need to compromise your style for comfort. We’re talking wash-and-wear-ability 101.

While you may normally prefer natural fabrics like 100% cotton and linen, they’re not the best choice for long-haul travel (unless you want to spend your vacation time ironing or your budget paying for laundry service).

The key is to choose synthetic (man-made) fabrics with names like viscose, rayon, spandex, acetate, Tencel, even polyester. Like the ingredients found on a Lean Cuisine label, no one really knows what they are, but they do serve a purpose. They stretch, roll, dry quickly, and emerge wrinkle free if hand-washed in hotel basins. (Yes, I do that on occasion.)

They can be fashionable, too. Think a pair of white jeans or black pants with a little stretch: comfortable for the plane, then reinvented with a tee shirt for touring and a tunic or colorful wrap for evening. Sportswear from lululemon and Athleta is a good choice. The Champion line from Target isn’t bad either.

Casual dresses are a good choice, especially in the warmer months. Universally flattering wrap dresses (the kind Diane Von Furstenberg made famous) can be wrapped up in a ball and unfurled with nary a wrinkle, so they, too, are smart packing picks. Missoni also makes travel-friendly dresses. If DVF is too pricy, there are plenty of looks for less. J.McLaughlin sells similar frocks as well as other pieces in that same forgiving fabric.

Recently our Italian onsite, IC Bellagio, sent some nice clothes from Anatomie, which was new to me. I’m also partial to Vince, and for warm-weather footwear, there’s nothing better than Havaianas flip-flops. They’re light and comfy. Stick to the three-shoe rule: wear your heaviest ones on the plane, and take TWO other pairs, one casual and one to dress up. No more.

Remember, too, that shopping is part of travel fun, so don’t take so much that you can’t fit new purchases in your carry on! for the return home. I’ve read about people who intentionally take their oldest clothes or inexpensive essentials on their trip, only to discard them once worn to free up space in their luggage. But who wants to leave a trail of dirty clothes scattered across the continent? Global worn-ing and all.

Caroline Travels the World (wrinkle free)…And So Can You.