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Ladies: one color or varied for bottoms?

Curious what preferences are for bottoms for travel? I’m deciding between varied black pants and leggings, or varying it with taupe and/or navy blue. All the pants are typically ponte knit of some kind, or cotton/poly mix with Lycra.

My tops are patterned and either match 2 colors (taupe & navy or black & navy for example) or even all three. (I have primarily patterns not solid colors in my wardrobe-think Talbots or Choco’s)

The nice thing about black is every top will match every bottom. But the nice thing about some variety is it seems it will really help vary the wardrobe

I’m just curious what people prefer while traveling.

Posted by
2762 posts

A variety is nice, but you want to prevent being down to your last outfit before laundry and only having clothes left that clash and make you look like a clown. However, for basic fashion bottoms matter less than tops - most people wear the same jeans/solid color pants with a variety of tops. Plus I can go longer without washing pants. So I might wear jeans most days and wash them once a week but only wear each top once before washing. So I might pack 3 bottoms and 7 tops. I'd rather bring extra shirts or scarves than another pair of pants.

I'll do denim, black and gray, a mix of pants, skirts, and shorts depending on climate and plans. So a variety, but all in the same "color family". I do have a black and white striped skirt I bring, it matches black, white, gray, and maybe a few brighter color tops. Patterns like that can add some great variety but are hard to match to too many things. I will bring printed dresses in the summer - no concern about matching because it's the full outfit!

Posted by
1179 posts

I like a variety. That said, I also make sure all my tops match all my bottoms.

I like black and olive in the winter.

For summer I usually do navy and tan or navy and olive.

My outfits look more different when I have different colored pants.

Edit: added colors for pants.

Posted by
5697 posts

My travel wardrobe seems to be black and black. This trip I had black knit pants, lighter-weight black knit and one pair of light cotton drawstring-top pants for warm days. As long as I can switch out tops, it's fine with me. (And no trying to distinguish navy from black in a dark hotel room.)

Posted by
1554 posts

I don't wear black. Shocking, I know!
My travel wardrobe consists of espresso and loden pants, and simple long-sleeve tees to go with both.

Posted by
830 posts

I too try to pick a smaller number of bottoms and then tops that will mix and match with most if not all. Each bottom better go with multiple tops and vice versa. In addition I consider which shoes go with which outfits. That probably drives my bottom decisions even more. I.e., does taking those pants mean I have to include shoes I wouldn't otherwise have taken? Shoes are especially bad at adding to luggage weight.

Posted by
1793 posts

To answer your question, pack all bottoms in one color with themes and variations of that color. Add color in your tops but all need to blend with the bottoms. It’s a little boring color wise but you don’t have to worry about looking mismatched. I’m packing 4 pair black and dark gray leggings for bottoms and seven black, black with white and black with red long sleeve and short sleeve tops. All tops go with all bottoms.
Edit: I don’t wear scarves and necklaces give me a rash. I do like to wear dangling earrings that coordinate with my clothes colors.

Posted by
540 posts

I'm from New York. we don't do color pants. LOL.- Black, denim - maybe white (ONLY IN Summer).
Colored tops is a stretch.

Posted by
6789 posts

As I travel in Fall or Winter I’m a jeans wearer. So 1 pair navy blue Levi’s and 1 pair Gloria Vanderbilt black jeans.

The latter are for theatre outings or nice dinners cuz they don’t look like jeans.

Mix and match with 3 tops. Easy peasy

Posted by
3126 posts

I usually travel with a theme of two colors, such as burgundy+navy (fall) or peach+navy (spring.) I bring bottoms (and sweaters/jackets) that coordinate with the theme and can be worn with all the tops.

I love scarves; I pack several for color and variety and often buy colorful new ones during my travel.

Posted by
4937 posts

If I was just packing pants, I would take the black & taupe, unless you will be traveling to places where the taupe could get soiled too easily.

Don’t worry too much about variety in your wardrobe. Fellow travelers won’t care, and if you’re on your own itinerary, people in the towns you visit won’t know that you wore the same outfit in a previous town. I traveled for three weeks in Italy last September with two dresses (one slightly formal for concerts, opera and to wear at dinner), a pair of black pants, a pair of black capris and three blouses. A couple of scarves and a necklace paired with the more casual dress. The dresses & tops were dry when washed overnight.

Posted by
5303 posts

I take one pair of black pants, and two of some kind of light taupe or tan. Tops vary - but mostly striped color/white. I usually take one brightly colored skirt, which I seldom wear. A white or black top goes with it.

Posted by
704 posts

I like variety as well, but I restrain myself while traveling to avoid having a suitcase that is too heavy. For bottoms, in Winter I wear denim jeggings or jeans, black pants, and faux leather black leggings. In summer, I wear denim jeggings, taupe skirt, black pants. Everything I wear on the bottom needs to go with all my tops.

For variety, I add fun costume jewelry and/or a scarf. These are lightweight and help me break up the neutral palate of my tops/bottoms.

As for your preference, wear what is comfortable and makes you happy. Enjoy your travels.

Posted by
2329 posts

One word - black. It’s so easy to select tops that work with black. And Laura B is right - who needs the stress of telling black from navy on vacation!

Posted by
1375 posts

I go for style, then color. One pair of skinny jeans (Dark blue-lycra or other stretchy fabric), one pair of boyfriend/cuffed distressed jeans (light), one pair of black light cotton capris, one pair of black jeans with lycra and one black/white stripped maxi skirt. I would hate to have one style jean in three colors, the look just stays the same day after day. I might even take a pull on cotton pant (Billabong style) for train rides/airplane to be extra comfy (my go-to airplane outfit are black leggings (thick) and a grey Tunic) . I do take a pair of black capri legging, but they are just for the hotel or sleeping, I would never wear them in public.

I would throw in a few solid Tank tops for layering. I always do a white, black and grey (Old navy is great for basics). I agree with you about the variety!

Posted by
1980 posts

I think it depends on what time of year and the destination(s). If you will be traveling during the heat of summer, ponte knit in black could be hot...........slacks (unless light-weight cotton) could be very hot. But, if you are going somewhere like Ireland or Sweden, heat should (operative word) not be an issue.

Also consider if you will be touring dusty places...Pompeii comes to mind, where black pants will get what I call ankle dust.

My travel wardrobe (varies re: location and time of year), but includes a pair of SoftSurroundings brand Metro Leggings (jeans), a short JJill black skirt (knit), and then a longer ankle-length cotton black knit skirt (then a pair of shorts, if weather appropriate) and sometimes a short jeans skirt. A variety of scarves that double as shawls, and various long sleeve round-neck t-shirts or turtleneck, depending on time of year. A pair of comfy touring shoes and then ballet flats in black.....sometimes Teva flip flps (if beachy)....if cool weather, black tights.

Stick with solid color and a skirt or two (if you are skirt wearter...I am).

Where are you traveling and when? That might help.

If warm/hot places, try for light cotton black pants, if black is your base color.

Posted by
21924 posts

I mostly wear solid black pants, but I sometimes throw a super-lightweight pair of patterned cotton or rayon capris or full-length pants in the suitcase for use on 90-degree days. When I do that, it does affect my top selection since I need at least two solids to go with the patterned pants.

Although I do get tired of looking at the same few garments hanging in hotel closets for multiple months, I find that I don't give any thought to my clothing after I've dressed for the day (unless I'm freezing or melting), so I don't stress about inadequate variety as I select the wardrobe for each trip. It pretty much comes down to which pants fit me when I make the final selection, then I grab some tops that work with the pants I've chosen.

I'd avoid light taupe below the waist because I'd have trouble keeping the garment clean

I think scarves or lightweight jewelry are a fine idea, but not for me: I don't wear scarves at home, and I never bother to put them on in Europe, either. The most I do, jewelry-wise, is buy an inexpensive ceramic or wooden necklace during a trip and wear it with every outfit it works with.

Posted by
3789 posts

Depends on location and season, but as RS tends to focus on Europe I often wear work clothes for city wear (no suits). Grey, black and navy trousers. Most tops match all three, others at least 2 of the 3.

Posted by
931 posts

For me it depends on the type of trip and season. If it is RS tours that are lots of time in large cities used the subway system, trams etc. pants ( cargo with pockets cause I tend to have difficulty with keeping track of tickets. Colors black, khaki, cropped jeans with tops that go with all pants. River boat cruise (been on two and love them tunics, dresses, leggings from Jjill in black, grey, white (in summer) possible cropped jeans.

Basic color black!!!


Posted by
3588 posts

I love color in my clothing, but for travel I keep the bottoms dark. Usually black and navy pants, and in warmer weather black, navy and/ or blue capris. Someone gave me a great tip on how to quickly tell my black from navy items. Use white thread and sew a few stitches on the inside of the waistband (or neckband of t shirts) of all the navy ones. If you only sew on the inner fabric layer it doesn't show on the outside. Works great for me. I hate shopping for pants, so when I find a pair I really like, I'll often buy it in 2 or 3 colors. But telling the black and navy apart can be a bear.

Posted by
2343 posts

Jeans, dark blue jeans are all I wear. 2 pairs, wash one every couple of days and wear the other. I choose tops in navy and black with some splashes of color, and this has worked well for me—my footwear is generally a pair of black boots and some Ecco sneaker/oxfords in a color that complements my tops.

Posted by
782 posts

I usually pack and wear only black pants/capris/ leggings. One year I did pack a pair of dark khaki/dark olive pants; that worked too. That trip was in late winter. I mostly packed black tops of different weights and a number of scarves to brighten things up.

This fall I am planning black bottoms only and will probably go with mostly black tops. Last fall was warm, so I might supplement with a grey t that is thinner. My top I always wear on the plane has a bit of a print. That will likely be my only print shirt.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
536 posts

For summer travel, my two colors are black and taupe. I'll probably take bottoms (skirts, shorts, pants) in both colors.

I also take some dresses in these colors. Everything I bring goes with everything else.

Posted by
8293 posts

Where I come from a "bottom" is a rear end or a bum, so imagine my surprise at the title of this thread

Posted by
119 posts

Thank you for everyone's thoughts. Still deciding..........(but I have time)

Posted by
688 posts

I am with Liz, dont ever wear black, its a bit of a myth that it goes with everything

Posted by
3762 posts

One way to tell navy from black is to not take both. I'm not a fan of black and rarely wear it at all, but I do have a couple of pairs of black pants.

For my next trip, RS Heart of Portugal and Best of Spain back-to-back in June, I'll be taking 1 pair navy linen pants, 1 pair navy (3rd trip to Europe for these) and 1 pair (don't faint) tile patterned Slim Sations pants. These are actually straight leg pants, but appear to be leggings.

I do not own a dress or skirt. I'd never wear shorts, capris or my roll up pants in Europe because I always wear ankle height lace up shoes with compression socks when walking around and because my legs are too ugly.

I usually take navy pants or jeans with turquoise, navy and green tops. Next trip it will be (gasp) a combination of navy linen jacket (mostly for travel days), big linen shirts in turquoise, red, yellow and navy, and tanks in turquoise, red, yellow and navy.

Any of those will go with my tile print scarf. I used to always take 1 spaghetti sauce top, but now I take a spaghetti sauce scarf. I take very little jewelry, mostly things bought on previous trips.

Any of these clothes could not make the cut if my bag gets too heavy.

Posted by
59 posts

I do not even own a pair of black pants. after years of working in black and grey I switched to Navy blue. I am a huge fan of a great clothing blog called the Vivienne Files. She focuses on capsule wardrobes which are ideal for travel and has literally thousands of ideas and help for those looking to put together travel wardrobes. She is also a fan of carry on travel, so her ideas gel well with Rick's..

For my upcoming trip (GAS and Paris in September) I am taking 3 navy blue bottoms in various fabrics. I have cords, great stretchy Starfish (Lands End) and Perfect Fit (LL Bean) pants, jeans, capris and cords. I will decide if I need the cords as it gets closer to the Sept. Every shirt matches every pair of pants and my shoes, I prefer teal, aqua, periwinkle, white and pink, so my shirts reflect this I use scarves, since they are lighter, and I can pack several, to vary my look and tie everything together. The one colorful splash I have is my rain coat which is a pale teal or aqua, and all of my shirts, sweaters, and puffer down vest work with it.

Try her blog out, it is terrific and some of her combinations are amazing. If you have a scarf addiction beware though! She often uses GORGEOUS Hermes scarves to highlight color palettes. Great eye candy, but way too costly for me, That does not mean that you cannot find similar items that are more in your own budget. She does use Eileen Fisher, JJill, Lands End, Uniglo, Banana Republic, Crew, and LL Bean as her examples so it makes it easy to find items in all price ranges for the clothing.

Posted by
2952 posts

The further I get from working, the less business casual I seem to dress. And I apparently have no fashion sense as I bring/wear 3 black NYDJ, sometimes of different weights, and include navy top(s). I don't travel in summer. I wear the navy Lands End Modal Tee(s) on top with a print scarf, large shirt, burnt charcoal or navy vest, or navy jacket with said black pants. Black is not my color so I try to keep it away from my face and/or wear it with a more flattering color near my face. My favorite packing website is une femme d'un certain age. Although, I don't do the exact clothes...not wasting money on that type of thing to beat up in my lifestyle, it gives me ideas. Frankly, I could wear the same thing over and over again...if I like it, I've bought more than one.