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Dresses

Hi,
Heading to Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic last week of June. I'm thinking about packing more linen dresses (yes, I know that wrinkle, but that's linen, and i'm okay with that) than pants. In the states I wear mostly dresses in the summer because I find them more comfortable and cool. I'l definitely bring a pair of crops and regular slacks, but I'd appreciate any insight into mostly wearing dresses while traveling. Pros and cons, please. Thanks.

Posted by
3894 posts

Pros: You'll look pretty, dresses take up less space in luggage as you'll have just one garment to wear
Cons: Impractical with no real pockets, no chance to mix/match to add variety to outfits

Posted by
1193 posts

Dresses are great for hot weather.

I prefer a solid dress that I can dress up or down using accessories. There are other ways to change the looks. Use a sweater or shirt on top to make the dress look like a skirt. If the dress is sleeveless then you can wear a shirt underneath for a jumper look. You can also wear a skirt over a dress to make the dress be the top of the outfit. Then there are scarves, jackets etc.

The basic rule is cover shoulders to knees. So make sure your dresses are long enough.

Another issue is chafing. There’s several solutions to this. Some wear bike shorts. Some wear shorts underwear like Jockey skimmies. Some use a divided slip. Some use glide cream (for runners).

You do sweat, so make sure you have clean shorts every day. If you don’t then the embedded salts of your sweat will cause chafing.

Bring a pair of light leggings to wear under the dress if it gets cold out.

One issue you can have is the narrow cut of a dress. If it is too body hugging then your movement is limited. I prefer an a-line cut for this reason.

Another issue is wind. You could be doing a Marilyn Monroe impersonation if your dress is loose and the wind is high.

Posted by
6172 posts

I usually pack a mix of a couple of dresses & a pair of capris and long pants.

The advantages I like of wearing dresses are that I feel more dressed up, like I made an effort to look nice. I have received compliments from fellow RS travelers that I always looked nice. These were not expensive dresses; I bought them at Dress Barn and Christopher & Banks. I like to wear a dress because I usually feel cooler walking around during the day. (I wear a culotte slip that I found on Amazon.) If we're eating at a nicer restaurant, I like to wear a dress.

The disadvantage is that we wear moneybelts. So, on the days where we're taking the train to the next location, I always wear pants, so I can access my passport when checking into the hotels. On the trip to Paris when I traveled alone, I also had to plan to go to the ATM when not wearing a dress for the same reason.

I don't wear a dress on days that we're going to be hiking, and I wouldn't want to wear a dress on the airplane because I'm usually cold during part of the flight.

To me, the coordination with other pieces of clothing is a non-issue. I just bring a couple of colorful scarves or inexpensive jewelry to wear with my black dress.

Posted by
5697 posts

For feeling cool in warm weather I take a just-below-the-knee skirt, slightly gathered to allow for movement/walking/breezes. Money belt access solved. (Same skirt on warm-weather trips over the last seven years -- guess it made the travel team.)

Posted by
79 posts

I can’t stand to wear pants in the summer so I wear skirts or dresses. Due to the monetbelt issue I took skirts and one pair of leggings for cooler days to Europe. I did wear a pair of linen pants on the plane.

Posted by
80 posts

I prefer skirts and dresses for travel and at home. I don't like shorts--I am never happy with how they fit and feel, and to me they are much more limited when traveling. I usually take one dress and one or two skirts (but I do recommend wearing pants on the plane). Take some leggings or tights in case it gets chilly, and the idea above about bike shorts or what are essentially boxer briefs is a good one. Not only does it help with chafing on long walks, but if the aforementioned breeze comes along all anyone will get a glimpse of is a pair of shorts and I get a nice bit of air conditioning. When I was traveling in Greece it seemed like my day switched from hiking to visiting monasteries to going out to eat without time to change, and a good skirt could get me through all of it. Stick a cardigan in your day bag and wrap a scarf around your neck and you will be the most comfortable (and best dressed) person around!

Posted by
2766 posts

Pretty much all I wear in summer travel is dresses or skirts. I bring long pants for evening or cooler days, but it’s mainly dresses for me. Much cooler and you look nicer. And it’s very easy to pack / get dressed.

No cons that I can think of. If you wear them often you know if chafing is an issue for you and there are some good suggestions above.

Some people find shoes a challenge but walking sandals look fine with dresses. Heavy lace up leather walking shoes look a bit silly (but also look odd with shorts) so if your feet need those then you might prefer pants.

Laundry is something to think about. If the dresses wash ok then no concern.

Hiking isn’t a great dress activity so if that’s in your plans then have shorts or pants.

Change the style with scarves or necklaces or shoes. I have a simple black knee length dress. With walking sandals and no accessories it’s a casual daytime touring outfit. Pair it with a sparkly necklace and maybe a belt and ballet flats (or heels if you are going somewhere formal) and it’s fairly dressed up.

Posted by
11503 posts

I almost only pack dresses and skirts , I will wear a pair of capris or leggings on plane and carry one in suitcase , everything else is in fact dresses and skirts ! Much cooler in hot weather and no sticking to vinyl bus seats with bare sweaty legs lol

I usually don’t wear a money belt , just in transit so dresses are fine and I love the way you can just pull one on and ta da you’re dressed !

I have a few linen ones but since they don’t launder in a sink well I also pack some other lightweight cottons and breathable travel type fabrics , I never bring white as sitting on buses trams metros and trains can be dusty dirty etc

Posted by
24872 posts

Since the white issue has come up again: About week ago I walked across the Chain Bridge in Budapest behind a woman in skin-tight white pants. I'm sure she didn't know that she'd had a close encounter with a black substance. There was one large smear above the left knee and another higher on the right side. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the effect she was striving for.

Then a few days later I noticed a large black smudge on my bare lower arm after maneuvering my suitcase up the steep steps onto a train. I was very glad I was wearing black that day, because who knows where else that black stuff went?

Posted by
1193 posts

I keep hearing that here are money belt issues with dresses and I don’t know why.
Money belts are only accessed in private. Under those conditions, who cares if you pull up your dress to get to the money belt?
The days money is in a separate working wallet.

I do think skirts and skorts provide more outfit options than a dress. But a dress can’t be beat for comfort and looking nice.

Posted by
173 posts

Agree with Cindy H. I wear a money belt under a dress. It should only be accessed in private anyway. When traveling, I prefer dresses to shorts, a much nicer look.

Posted by
59 posts

I love wearing skirts and dresses while traveling. The only cons I can see is if its a bit chilly in morning or night... but just bring a pair of tights or legging to slip on or off.
The other con is if they are to short, meaning above the knee, or sleeveless, or to clingy or tight with no structure. That is easy to remedy also.
Be careful of the weight of fabric. Some knit dresses weigh a ton.... but as you mention linen. I find linen smells and holds odor. I brought some Pendleton linen garments and they needed washing after every wear. Took long to dry too. I like 100% cotton the best and easier to wash and cooler if it is a lighter weight loose weave cotton... or a blended fabric of linen cotton or poly cotton. If there is any con ... it would be the odor holding capacity of linen. Also linen is kind of scratchy and some can be heavy. I supose it depends. Maybe consider one cotton dress or skirt.
If it is hot. A dress is a life saver, and so feminine lovely. It doesn't matter if you wear the same skirt or dress everyday as long as that one item covers you in a comfortable smiling way and doesnt retain odor to bad.
I hope you do bring mostly dresses or skirts :)

Posted by
6172 posts

Cindy H, the issue with dresses and money belts: on days where I’m checking into a new hotel, I need to hand them my passport. I always keep my passport in my money belt. On days when I need to go to an ATM, I need to access my ATM card which I always keep in my money belt and place my new acquired Euros into my money belt. I completely agree with you that the daily money is kept in my purse. So, it’s just the travel days (usually acquire money on those days, if needed) when I’m purposely wearing capris, skirt, or pants.

Posted by
32 posts

Dresses are the best! I feel bad for my husband that he will have a much harder time packing than I will because I wear almost all dresses. I got myself half a dozen $10 bike-short undies to avoid thigh chafe and am bringing a lightweight cardigan. Mix-and-match on vacation sounds like way too much work. With dresses, you get an all-in-one outfit that looks cuter than pants anyway.

Posted by
2186 posts

I like skirts. They are more comfortable than pants in hot weather. My favorite skirt is a polyester lavender and pale green floral print with a black background. I can change the look by wearing a black top, pale green top or a lavender top. Because it is polyester I can wash it out at night in the hotel sink and it is dry by morning not to mention wrinkle free.

Posted by
5142 posts

I like to wear skirts over dresses when I’ve traveled in warm/hot weather, or at home during the summer months.

My favorite travel skirt is a cotton, brown and white print with pockets, which I can pair with several different color tops. It’s also easier to access the money belt when wearing a skirt rather than a dress.

I usually wear slacks when moving from one destination to the next, as I feel more comfortable, since I’ll be lugging my bag and will sitting in an air conditioned train or bus.

Have a wonderful trip!🌼

Posted by
67 posts

I'm a fan of skirts and dresses too. I found some cotton/modal rayon knit skirts on sale at JJill that I like for every day as well as for travel. They are A-line and have on-seam pockets. The prints make it easy to mix and match tops. They are comfortable, cool, and easy-care. I think the name is "Easy Knit". I take two or three skirts and a couple of woven or knit lightweight dresses (short sleeves for some sun protection and for modesty if I'm visiting churches). I do wear pants on travel days for the reasons given by other responders. I prefer Vassarette slip shorts over Jockeys (which seem to roll up at the thigh or down at the waist on me).

Posted by
305 posts

I'm a big dress fan wear them at home and when I travel. On a recommendation of somebody here I got an Ibex dress (wool jersey but not hot with pockets) for my last trip to London and Paris. Love it - washes well and dries fast. I do the skimmies but am going to look into the Vassarette for hot lots of walking days. Also do the legging on cold days. I do wear my dresses on the plane because then I can easily put on my compression socks (o.k. I sprung for a really cute pair of smartwools that look good with several of my dresses). I take the compression socks off in the airport before customs.

https://www.gearx.com/ibex-women-s-josephine-dress?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzdvs0oTk2wIV0lqGCh0K_g0LEAQYBCABEgLFavD_BwE#491=25032&501=665

Posted by
14917 posts

Question about the Vassarette slip shorts or Jocky skimmies: I looked at these online and they appear to be shapewear, meaning they are Spandex=stretchy and thus tight against the skin. Doesn’t that make them hot? I don’t have trouble with thigh chafe (legs too skinny) so I wonder if there is any benefit to wearing these with a dress?

Posted by
1193 posts

Lola - the slip shorts etc are really there for thigh chafe. If you don’t need them then don’t worry about it.
I prefer silk split slips myself. The silk is cool.

Posted by
138 posts

Used to wear dresses, long skirts. Now I've switched to leggings and tunics. The tunics are as long as a short dress and can be dressed up with a scarf and jewelry. They sell so many attractive ones now. In a Muslim country I add long crinkle skirts (over the leggings) and always a scarf so I'm ready to tour mosques or churches. Actually all I take (in warmer weather) are 3 T-shirts, two tunics, two pairs of leggings, three pairs of knee-high compression-type socks, and three changes of underwear. (Plus sometimes the crinkle skirts as mentioned above). Yes you have to rinse clothes out at night but I agree with the RS philosophy of traveling light.

Posted by
2766 posts

Leg chafing isn’t a concern for me so I don’t wear shorts under dresses. Just regular underwear. But I can see shorts being helpful for modesty, if there’s a lot of wind or you plan on sitting on the ground. I don’t worry about that and haven’t had an issue though.

Posted by
122 posts

I have a few skorts. They are Lilly Pulitzer so the prints are a little bright. Are these appropriate? Planning 1st trip abroad.

Posted by
3977 posts

mbeaulieu726: Warning: Snarky comment from mother of Lily-wearing daughter:
I don't remember ever seeing anyone wearing Lily in Europe. Sororities aren't a thing there.

Posted by
2766 posts

The skorts are appropriate except in Italian churches with their knees and shoulders covered rule (maybe churches in other countries, but mostly Italy).

Everywhere else they will be fine. Not the height of European fashion, but appropriate and won’t stand out in tourist areas.

Posted by
161 posts

I got some from the brand Secret at Walmart. There was a choice of 3 lengths, I like the midi one best. I found shortest length rolled up. Also choice in colour, nude or black.

Posted by
32 posts

To solve the money-belt access issue, you can go with a concealed pocket attached to your bra, held inside your bra, then access from your top/front if needed (in private), using the money-belt or a money-holster (what I use) for passports and extra cash or credit cards, you can wear biker shorts under a dress and just lift to get into a money belt since they're just shorts, but if you have the bra pocket, you'll not need to access under your dress if you plan ahead and have what you need in the bra-pocket.

I wear dresses most of the time and love traveling with them. You can dress up or down with scarves, belts, shrugs, shirts or jackets, creating a lot of different looks for one dress. I'll travel with both solids and prints, being sure my prints mix-and-match with other things I'm bringing to wear.

I also usually take a couple of slinky material maxi skirts since they're totally versatile, as a maxi skirt, midi skirt, or just above the knee with a few rolls, or can be used as a strapless dress that can be paired with a cardigan, top, scarf, blazer or shrug, or use a tank under the strapless for a more tailored look tank dress.

With any of my swing dresses, I usually will put on a pair of biker shorts under it - any good breeze can make the dress go up, so the shorts are there as "just in case" and I've been glad I had them on a few times! Having shorts under the dress also lets me easily climb on rocks, etc. with my kids if we decide to go down a trail somewhere to explore, without having to change.

Posted by
992 posts

I like to take two dresses with leggings. Ones that I can sink wash (usually buy the knit ones at JJill). Our travel seasons is usually April-May which works best for us. I like the comfort on the plane. Then add is jeans if it is colder weather or capris of some type. If it is August (which I went to Ireland then), I took one pair of shorts, rests was capri, sports pants etc.