Instagram and Pinterest are filled with beautiful travel pictures – gorgeous young women in flowing gowns that coordinate with the scenery. We all want to look like these women, but the reality of travel, for us ..um, more mature women, is not as glamorous as these images portray. Travel involves a lot of walking… and dust… and sun. And how do you climb a mountain in a full length gown? Let alone pack light with sundresses in every color? Those sleeveless dresses and high heels just aren’t practical for travel, especially for the older traveler.
So how do we travel light and feel comfortable while still looking our best?
Start with a basic travel capsule. Simple is best – make your clothing the least interesting thing about you.
Two comfortable bottoms (pants, skirt) and two tops in a flattering neutral. Black works for most cities, whites for the tropics. But choose navy or tan if it’s better for you. Still neutral! Add a dress or shorts, depending on your destination. And a lightweight sweater or scarf in a coordinating neutral. Make sure to pack a hat for skin protection.
I took a camel DKNY cashmere cozy on our South African trip. It was perfect on the long flight, serving as sweater and blanket in one. I reached for it again in the cool evenings on safari and in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town wore it to dress up for dinners out.
Pay attention to the lengths that work for your body. I find capris or cropped pants flatter my legs and I choose tops with sleeves to protect from the sun.
Then have fun – choose a few colorful pieces to jazz up your outfits. A silky blouse, a colorful scarf, or a bright skirt – lightweight pieces that add some spice to your outfits.
Use an app like Stylebook or Cladwell to visualize how your wardrobe picks work together. Don’t pack anything that doesn’t go with two or more pieces. (see Pack Lighter with Stylebook)
Find a brand that fits you well and is designed with travel in mind – wrinkle resistant, convertible clothing can give you lots of options.
Diane Kroe specializes in travel friendly clothing. Most are multi-functional – converting from scarves to cardigans, skirted tights to bodysuits.
I love my dressy sweatpants from Encircled. They’re slouchy and soft, great for travel days, but look refined enough for an evening out with a jacket or pretty scarf. These pants can be worn as capris too!
Chicos Travelers Collection has wrinkle free options that look great coming straight out of the suitcase. Many dressy options, too!
REI carries a options for active travel – Patagonia, Prana, Exofficio.
Most importantly, pack only things that are comfortable and make you happy. Don’t include a ‘travel friendly’ option that you’d never reach for at home.
This capsule wardrobe will serve you well from Paris to the Grand Canyon. But if there’s room in your luggage, allow yourself a favorite item or two. A bright colored dress or graphic tee will be a nice change from the “Basic” wardrobe.
Finally enjoy those Instagram fashion shoots, but draw inspiration from some of the other creative bloggers out there – travelingblackwidow, susanafter60, and greenwithrenvy always look great AND comfortable.
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