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Best Traveling Clothes

We're traveling throughout Europe for 17 days in Oct/Nov. We're each packing one carryon bag and not checking any bags. Since we have such little packing space, I'm trying to get advice on the best brands of clothing to pack. I'd prefer fabrics that are lightweight and easy to clean & dry, but that also look nice enough to wear into a decent restaurant for dinner, or to an opera house. Are there any stores or websites that specialize in what i'm interested in? I've googled travel clothing but mostly get websites selling Hawaiian t-shirts sigh please help me! For reference, i am a 26 year old female traveling with my 27 year old fiance, and we'll be in Bavaria, Austria & Prague in late Oct/early Nov.

Posted by
10 posts

Take a good quality set of long underwear. Polarmax or Hot Chili's

Posted by
21159 posts

You have to be a little creative. IMO you should avoid all cotton and in a rare case maybe accept a cotton blend with a low percentage of cotton. I don't think you have to buy anything special. REI (use the web site) has an Adventure Travel line of clothing that is attractive and reasonable prices. My best travel pants came from Sam's Club and the brand was OuterRim. LL Bean is a good suggestion. The Ex Officio brand is probably (?) the premier travel brand BUT I am not big fans of their style. I think it looks too much like safari clothes. The only difference between travel clothes and regular colthing is that most of the "travel clothes" will have hiden pockets and extra zipper which are very handy. ExOfficio and TravelSmith tend to be expensive. The REI line is litte dressier. Good luck

Posted by
84 posts

I am actually a huge fan of Ex-Officio. I have found that other travel clothes "specialists" like Travelsmith tend to have a style that is (please don't anyone be offended!)...rather geriatric. Ex-Officio has a really cute style for the younger generation (I'm 33). I love their "Savy Chic" collection of tops and skirts...it's crinkle cloth that actually looks good. Ex-Officio also has some awesome sales and free shipping offers, etc.

Posted by
1535 posts

Since it's summer, check out the clearance racks at your favorite stores - look for poly-blend lightweight layers that will wash/dry overnight. I've found some gem items at Target and Macy's this way. Also try Campmor (discount outdoor wear) or Sierra Trading Post. Layering is your best bet - thinner clothes worn in layers keep you warmer. Can't go wrong with a black skirt, neutral top, and a scarf to dress it up. Also, you don't need to take that much for a 17 day trip - see this section of Travelite.org for a wardrobe example - 9 pieces, 14 days of outfits(http://www.travelite.org/clothing/womenswardrobe.html). Have fun!

Posted by
1449 posts

there are 3 REI stores in MD. They carry travel clothes, both their own and others. They tend a bit towards the "campy" side, but you may find something you like. Being a guy I don't have all that much advice for you, but for your fiance I'd recommend getting some travel underwear such as Ex Officio. Very light, easy to wash, dry quickly. I've brought cotton shirts before but seldom if ever need to wash them; I keep them clean by always wearing a t-shirt underneath made of a wicking material such as Cool-Max and keep those clean by washing after each wearing. I also wear Cool-Max socks and wash them daily too. This way with 4 sets of underwear, socks, & t-shirts I only need to wash them in the sink every 3rd day (I'm wearing the 4th pair) and they don't take up much room.

Posted by
56 posts

Try Under Armour for your fiance. It's lightweight, dries quickly, and is of high quality. They make polo shirts, cargo shorts and pants. Although a little on the pricey side, it's all I ever wear.

Posted by
3 posts

We've figured out that ALL cotton isn't created equal. I have cotton items that dry in a few hours and others seem to take days to dry. I'd suggest that you do a wash and dry test on the clothing you plan on taking. For me....I hate spending $50-100 on a single
Colors and styles change so often. Good luck!

Posted by
124 posts

When I travelled to Paris in March, I took along two sets of silk long underwear - the black set had a turtleneck top, the beige set a scoop net top. I wore these underneath everything, also brought silk underpants for both me and my husband. These take up very little space in our bag. I got mine thru KimAllanSilks.com - great prices.

Check Sierratradingpost.com, REI-outlet.com and Backcountry.com for their sales on travel clothing. You may get some great deals now. Also, Tilley.com here in Canada has great, but expensive clothes.

I love Contourwear clothes - I have the black Anywhere pants, black zip long-sleeve shirt/jacket, khaki zip vest/sleeveless shirt, khaki zip skirt, khaki zip pants, red sleeveless top, green long-sleeve top and two three-quarter-sleeve tops, one turquoise and one purple. I wore one outfit (black pants, jacket, top) and the rest fit into one small pouch. They are expensive at regular price, but I check for sales online. Wrinkle-free, easy to wash, quick to dry and very light to carry. I wore these everywhere in Paris and last summer for my trip to Italy, I love the fit and the style.

Posted by
769 posts

I malso a fan of Exofficio - they have sale items all the time. The underwear is great - as are the shirts. Lots of styles and less "generic" as some mentioned from other travel outfitters. I tend to go for the more Adventure travel styles - equally at home on the alps or mountains as they are on the street in a city bistro. Royal Robbins is another good maker. REI has them, Adventure16.com, and the other outdoor vendors. All seem to have sales now.

Other brands in my carry on are: Icebreaker merino, Prana (great lite-quik-dry t-shirts!), patagaonia-socks, Mountainhardwear lite-gortex jacket & soft shell for cooler areas, columbia and northface pants (with security pockets!)

lots to choose out there- at all price levels. LLBean seems to be a very affordable option too, but I like to get "technical" gear if I can just incase! (preferably on sale!) good luck!

Posted by
1455 posts

For casual wear, Eddie Bauer has wrinkle free tops. They run around $39-$49 but they are always on sale, esp during clearance time. Try www.eddiebauer.com and there's a link to the outlet too.

Mix and match as best as you can, and accessorize. You can get a black cotton dress and during the day wear it with sandals. At night, dress it up with a necklace and a scarf, and its instant dinner attire.

My husband doubled his sports coat as a every day jacket with his jeans and khakis, and then at dinner changed to dark pants and button shirt or turtleneck.

Remember if you forget anything, that's part of the fun... go to their department store and buy what you need!

Posted by
70 posts

Wow, thank you everyone for all of the advice and store names. And more info is welcome! I like the idea of buying a dressier outfit once we arrive to wear to nice dinners and the opera. i am busy checking out all these links!! Keep 'em coming!

Posted by
769 posts

Chuck is right - I have a few "special" cotton 3X-DRI shirts - that are cotton (or mostly) and dri very very quickly. Many of the adventure clothing makers have them now - a nice alternative to 100% synthetics and wash/wear easily. look for them!

Posted by
3 posts

My last sentence didn't make it: "I hate to spend $50 - $100 on a single item of clothing. Styles and colors change so ofter.

Something that took me some time to learn. What you wear at home does not travel well. I keep "A" travel wardrobe that is just for travel. Works for me! :)

Posted by
31271 posts

Megan,

I use Tilley clothing extensively for travel. Their products are very robust and can be washed in a hotel room sink if necessary and still look good the next morning. However, I'm not sure they have anything that would be considered "stylish" for someone your age? Check the website or request a free catalog.

I've found that their sizing can differ somewhat between products, so it's best to try it on first if possible (when ordering by mail / net / phone, I've had to send items bach to exchange for a different size).

You might also want to check magellans, as they have a fairly extensive line of travel clothing.

Good luck!

Posted by
1117 posts

When I travel, I want to look good ! So I have "travel" clothes from Boston Proper and Chico's. They have the "travel line" that does not wrinkle, and all I do is change out belts, necklaces, and bracelets to look different every day or night!

Posted by
389 posts

Everyone has pretty good info. After 24 days of wearing 5 tops and 2 bottoms I regret not trying to wear these things more before I left. I would have added at least one cotton shirt as I was really warm in all that Polyester. I love anything rayon and it dries quickly, but in Oct. Nov I'm with everyone about silk underwear and layers. I've been home for 2 weeks and still don't want to see those clothes again (yet I hope).

Posted by
85 posts

I would like to know if any women have found the travel knits from Coldwater Creek useful? I've purchased several. They all match, are VERY comfortable, slimming (yeah!), and usually on sale. The down side is I think they may be too heavy per item, and since they're clingy, one's money belt can be obvious if you're over weight. Any comments?

Posted by
83 posts

I'll probably get flamed for this but the most of the functions of 'travel clothing' aren't really needed in western Europe. BTW, if you're going in the fall, it's not going to be easy to dry your clothes in your room.

I think earlier poster 'CL' had good advice for women.

Anyways, you're going to very civilized places where you'll easily find laundry service why spend all the money on quick-dry apparel - which for the most part looks as obvious as a hawaiian shirt. Spend a few extra bucks on good socks & don't bring your best black dress. If you know what looks good on you, it will look and feel better than spending $$$ on a new wardrobe.

My gf is the same age as you, we used carry-ons as well. She used what was in her wardrobe (except for the wool sweater bought in Ireland), she did fine.

loneyplanet has a travel clothing section, though if you're dead set on buying new clothes (but they seem geared towards warmer weather):

lonelyplanet.altrec.com/outdoors/travel/clothing

Posted by
8940 posts

Why do you feel it's not going to be easy to dry clothing in the fall??? Are you saying this because it's not as warm? The humidity level is a bigger factor in how fast garment will dry. In the fall humidity levels will be lower thus clothing will dry faster.

Posted by
83 posts

re: michael's comments

i'm most certainly not about to argue the physics of drying clothes. however, at 1st glance on weather/climate in austria humidity in october is 79%.

anyways, my main point was that the populations of Germany, Austria & the Czech Republic are well-equipped in the area of clothes cleaning.

Posted by
70 posts

Unfortnately, Joel, the reason i'm set on buying new "travel" clothing is because i want to avoid laundry services while on vacation. I'd much prefer to wash and rinse something in a hotel sink and hang to dry overnight than fool around with laundromats in a foreign country.

i've never been overseas so maybe i don't know best, but it's my honeymoon and i want it to be worry-free!

Today i just made my first trip to REI and i can't wait to go back. they had tons of clothing that will travel and wear well. I bought a pair of "Royal Robbins" Cardiff Stretch Nylon pants. They were $45 which is personally much less than i'd spend on a pair of jeans or dress pants for work. The pants are wrinkle-resistant, water-resistant, stain-resistant (coated with Teflon), and are slightly stretchy. The fit is very flattering, and they came in black or "bark" (i got bark). They have zip pockets, too.

www.royalrobbins.com

Posted by
70 posts

Furthermore, i know that items from my current wardrobe will not travel well. My regular jeans stretch out (think baggy knees and bottom) after a few wears. The same goes for cotton tops. Not to mention, most things wrinkle too easily.

After seeing the travel clothing at REI, i know i will be much more comfortable in travel gear that won't easily stretch out of shape or wrinkle.

The travel clothing (at least at REI) doesn't scream "tourist" either. The pants i got are very neutral and sleek looking.

Thanks for the help everyone :)

Posted by
8940 posts

I agree with Megan, the last thing I want to do when I'm on vacation, is spend a single second in a laundromat :(
I can't think of anything more depressing.Even if it meant spending the excessive fees that hotels charge for laundering, I'd do that before I wasted a half-day to cleaning my duds.

Posted by
83 posts

Good luck with everything Megan! I am completely confident of one thing - what makes you feel comfortable is the best choice for you (I think I said something similar in my 1st post). A honeymoon is a special event, everything will seem like a new experience.
I've practiced both methods in my travels, one does not outdo the other in the long run. I found a few 'mats in Europe are combining internet cafes while you do laundry, even so, I was excited just to be in Paris - didn't matter what I was doing :)

enjoy yer trip!

Posted by
1449 posts

Megan, one other thing you'll want to be sure to get is a stretchable rubber clothesline. Rick Steves store sells them, I think I got mine at REI. Its 3 strands of stretchable rubber tubes all twisted together. The twisted strands work like clothespins. You stretch the thing out (it has string loops on the ends you can hook over things or make a loop with). Its great for hanging things to dry and takes very little space.

Posted by
43 posts

Ex-officio is a very good brand. It is high quality and wears like iron. I have three pairs of pants from Ex-Officio. My first pair is pretty well worn out.
I have done numerous hiking and backpacking trips in them. I wore them to Everest Basecamp and Europe twice.
I am going to retire that pair soon, but I am wearing them tomorrow on a long bike ride.....

Posted by
1158 posts

I just bought a bunch of clothes today from Dick's sporting goods.All on sale. I found Addidas quick dry T-shirts for $10, they also had all kinds of jackets and pants.

Posted by
196 posts

Megan,

Ex Officio had a 3/4 sleeve blouse this spring in white , coral, and a pale lime green---got mine at REI---haven't taken it on a trip yet (leaving Oct 4 for Italy) but have hand washed it,rolled it in my pak towel and let it air dry (washed in morning and was dry by mid-afternoon). Jones New York has some silk (75%) and nylon (25%) tees that wash and dry fast and are dressy enough for evening events---Macy's and Nordstrom's have them and they come in a variety of colors--$35 reg price.

Posted by
71 posts

I have several pieces from Travelsmith and love them. Especially the long black raincoat with the zip out line. If you want to pack them, they roll up into a unbeliveablly small bag. In July I spent 24 days in the Czech Republic, Slovkia, Hungary, Bavaria, & Austria.
Think layering. Silk is a very good insulating fabric. I have silk turtlenecks & thermal underwear from Winter Silks.
In Prague, I stayed at the Hotel Julian where Rick stays. Very nice & great location.
Enjoy!

Posted by
47 posts

Some interesting replies. On a similar note, does anyone have ideas for women's tall sizes (pants)? Neither Travelsmith nor Ex-Officio seems to have anything in tall sizes....

Posted by
8940 posts

I just purchases some cargo type pants from the Ex-officio website, and they did offer tall sizes. Perhaps they just do this with mens apparel?

Posted by
57 posts

I have several pairs of Coldwater Creek knit pants that take on all of my trips. I actually found some nice lightweight, wrinkle free pants and tops on QVC or HSN (can't remember which one) that are going to Paris with me at Christmas. They aren't very heavy, take up no space and look very chic and I find them very comfortable on the long flights from Tucson.

Posted by
29 posts

A wardrobe full of special, quick-drying, expensive travel clothes is not necessary in fall/winter. If you tour Europe in summer (when you will sweat prodigiously & want clean clothes every day), then I could see it. I feel more comfortable & "blend in" when I wear my normal clothes that suit me. Consider: long johns, a skirt you can dress up/down & couple pairs tights (wonderful wool blends that are very warm & flattering), a waterproof/warm/dark colored coat that you wouldn't mind wearing to the opera (LLBean, Columbia, LandsEnd - the right coat means you don't need to pack/wear so many layers), jeans (if you wear them in normal life, wear them abroad, but not for summer), moleskin trousers (Title9, LandsEnd - warm, flattering), launder your clothes (good facilites are nearly everywhere), fold carefully & fill every inch of luggage, wear your most bulky items on the plane, don't feel guilty packing a little make-up (powder packs better - everydayminerals.com, Nars lip crayons).

Posted by
221 posts

after looking at prices on line, I hit the end of summer sales and found lots of items that are poly-cotton blends in wrinkle type fabrics that will wash and wear well. It will be cold where you are going in Oct and November. I bought some silk longjohns for a winter trip to Austria a few years back and they were a god send. Don't take too much, it is fun to buy stuff over there. H & M stores all over Germany and Austria have great prices for women's clothes. Layer with fleece vests, those are light and warm. It is a little tougher in the cold months to pack light. I bought lightweight walking boots imported and pricey but worth every cent for warmth and comfort. They are black leather and looked fine with slacks or a long skirt. I took a poly fill parka and pashimina shawl/scarf. have fun!

Posted by
14 posts

My absolute favorites for travel are Royal Robbins - Cardiff Stretch material and Global Traveler items - and Mountain Hardwear. Both are stylish, lightweight, easy to layer and easy to clean. I pack lighter and lighter with every trip.

Posted by
3 posts

For nicer "go out" out fits I would look at Chico's. Their Travellers knits pants may be thinner than you want, but they have great tops and some thicker non wrinkle pants. They also have very thin silk tunic tops to go over camisoles that are beautiful for evening wear and would pack down to nothing.

Posted by
70 posts

It's me again. I've done the bulk of the shopping i'll need to do in preparation for our trip. In the end, i've found that a few basic pieces from REI (light fleece pull-over and some plain colored wrinkle & stain resistant t-shirts) compliment items from my regular wardrobe. Someone above mentioned that it will be cold where we're going, and that is true... won't have to worry about sweating and washing every single piece as much. Thank you all so much for your help!

Posted by
1 posts

I just discovered this site and love it; so great to be able to quickly hear what others have to say. I wanted to chime in about shopping as I've spent hours and hours online looking for clothes for my travels (comparing selection, brands, price, quality.) I highly recommend REI.com for just about anything. Their prices are super competitive, they have lots of sizing options (tall, petite, plus) and the brands mention on this page (Contourwear, Ex-Officio, etc.) and all the other big name brands. If you live near an REI store, you can have the order shipped directly to the store, avoiding any shipping costs, and make returns directly at stores as well. Best of all, they guarantee all their merchandise 100% so no risk. By the way, I know I sound like an advertisement, but really am sold on REI.

Posted by
11450 posts

Tilleys definately had some things a younger women would be able to wear, look good in , and best of all they are wrinkle free and fast drying.
I think spending time in a laundremat is to be avoided at all costs. Waste of time , and money.
Most of these travel clothing type stores will sell dresses that travel well. Usually plain, and in black, navy or brown. This can be dressed up or down with small easy to pack items , costume jewerly, scarves, etc.
For the season you are going in I would pack two( plus what you wear on plane) pairs of black ( or navy or brown , decide what your base color is) slacks( not jeans they never dry properly in a hotel, takes days and are stiff) and two turtle necks, plus an assortment of travel blouses. One dress, one skirt, and you are set. Five bottoms , 7 or 8 tops , and two pairs of footwear( not including plane shoes) .

PS Many hotels do have irons you can borrow if you must iron!

Posted by
3580 posts

I like Columbia brands. They have some synthetic material shirts that I wear on trips. Look nice, dry fast, etc. I found nylon panties that work for me; they are comfortable, light weight, and dry fast. A spare pair of arch supports (SuperFeet for me) is helpful when your feet get sweaty or wet. I wear travel pants from TravelSmith--one denim-tencel blend and the other stretchy black knit. I sleep in cotton stretch pants that can double as regular pants if I decide to wear them to breakfast. Light-weight cotton t-shirts from LandsEnd and tank tops from wherever, cotton sox of different weights for different shoes/occasions. My shoes are Merrells and my sandals are Mephisto. I usually take one or two super-light silk shirts to wear over all this and for dressier occasions. My travel vest comes in handy in cooler weather, because it adds warmth and extra pockets. I take a fleece sweater, a mock turtle neck cotton-blend shirt and a black light weight rain coat. It's for all weathr

Posted by
6 posts

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
--Henry David Thoreau.

Posted by
101 posts

Congratulation! I'm jealous!

Since it's your honeymoon....consider bringing a candle in a tin (travel candle). You can get them smaller than palm-sized, and it's a nice touch of romance. Just don't bring the matches with you.

I also recommend considering your current (and any TBD purchases) clothing in tems of colors and fabrics, which will help you lighten your load. Are you a "browns" or "blacks" person? That'll let you minimize the number of shoes that you bring.

Someone else recommended adding jewelry and scarves to your outfit to dress it up; couldn't agree more! Depending on your personal style (this is mine -- or lack thereof LOL!), I like to take button down shirts, cotton w/spandex & cashmere sweaters.

I'd also recommend wearing your heaviest "stuff" on the plane, even it's warm when you take off. I also fill the pockets with anything that might be "heavier", such as books, pens, etc. With weight restrictions, you can never be too light with your luggage.

Posted by
15 posts

I like Tilley and Exclusively Misook. Misook is sold at Nordstrom, Barrie Pace and EBay. They are a bit expensive and some of their pcs are conservative but if you get the right pcs. They’ll look great on a younger person. Black pants and a little black dress. Misook does NOT need dry cleaning, in fact they recommend that you don’t. Just machine wash and dry or hand wash.

Posted by
10 posts

Megan, we just returned from Best of Europe 21 days. Clothing is really a huge issue, as laundromats are time comsumming. We bought sale items from Travelsmith,underwear, and socks.Coolmax fabric is great.We took small All detergent and washed in the room.Before we left we soaked each thing and wrung out excess water and timed how long it would take to dry. Forget cotton and stick with polyester fabrics.Hope this helps.

Posted by
149 posts

I realize www.tilley.com has already been mentioned, but I'd like to sing the praises of their travel underwear and socks. They really are as good as the catalog claims. The only time mine have ever not dried overnight was in a tent, in the cold and the rain, on the top of the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania. You could travel with just one pair, but I go wild and take two.