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little black dress?

This year on our trip to France late August we would like to try some nicer restaurants (Michelin maybe). I am a convert to packing light and take everything in a carry-on.

So, I'm looking for a black dress that is lightweight, packable, avoids wrinkles, and I can wear during the day and dress up for dinner.

Does anyone have a favorite that they use for traveling? I have looked at Lands End, etc and not sure I am finding exactly what I am looking for. It should probably be sleeveless or short sleeves.

I did see this one yesterday on Amazon, but wondering if it would really stand up to travel.


Posted by
11355 posts

Travelsmith has several styles of LBD. Talbot’s also has a nice selection of them.

Posted by
3300 posts

I ordered something similar from Amazon - it was a brand that I'd never heard of - and I figured it would run really small - so I ordered an XXL - I'm normally a medium. It fits me perfectly.

Posted by
292 posts

Uniqlo comes to mind - they tend to sell simple staples that are easy to dress up or down; I usually find myself packing several Uniqlo pieces whenever I travel. Some of their dresses also include a built-in bra, which can be a selling point for some (I'm a fan) or a drawback for others.

This time of year Uniqlo a fair amount of linen-blend fabrics, which definitely will wrinkle a bit, but honestly, the slightly rumpled linen seems to be really in right now! I started traveling with some pieces purchased at Not Perfect Linen (an Etsy shop), and was surprised to find how I didn't feel like the disheveled mess I expected to.

Posted by
60 posts

I have a short sleeve black dress almost exactly like the one you've linked to that I got at Old Navy for about $15. Got a long sleeve one at Target for about the same price. I have actually replaced the short sleeve one with a new one, but only because they still have them, and I wanted to refresh what I had. Those two dresses have gone on multiple European trips with me and they are fabulous! Any wrinkles work themselves out quickly. They are great as dresses, also great over leggings and a long sleeve T if it's a bit chilly. No need to spend more $$$ if you find something like this!

Posted by
899 posts

I own a couple of the Lands End Fit & Flare dresses and have taken them on multiple summer trips. The cotton rayon blend travels very well. I was surprised how flattering the first one was and went back for more.

Posted by
302 posts

I like a black maxi skirt and tank top as an alternative. I can then wear each with other combos and it still looks dressy if needed, even for a museum day. As I get older I find this simple look is more "chic" when travelling. I wear a thin gold necklace, for example, the entire trip but underneath tees most of the time- but if worn on the outside so it shows, with simple diamond studs (also worn daily) and the black tank nobody would know it's not " fancy"- even if I wore it hiking earlier in the day.

Posted by
697 posts

Columbia’s PFG Freezer dress is my absolute favorite warm weather dress ever, home or travel. I have a couple (years old and still going strong) and now that I see they’re on sale, I might need another..... 😳

They are super lightweight, never wrinkle (I can stuff them in a ball in a packing cube and it’s like I was actually nice to them when I pull them out), flattering, and are soooo comfortable when it’s hot.

Love, love, love this dress.

Posted by
12 posts

I have a ripskirt skirt in black, and that with a black tank top is really versatile, packs down to almost nothing, and easily hand washes and drys overnight. Amazon carries ripskirts but the ripskirt website has more options.

Posted by
7401 posts

This is my favorite solid black travel dress that is so comfortable and looks nice paired with lightweight scarves or a statement necklace. I wore it twice as many days as expected during my 3-week trip to Italy last year. I’m 60, so I prefer one that slightly covers by knees.

I also bring a second dress that’s usually more dressy and wear it to concerts & dinners. Usually a lightweight one from Christopher & Banks or Dress Barn. They’re typically polyester, so not as comfortable to wear all day.

Posted by
2355 posts

I actually have the exact dress you linked. I bought it for our trip to Europe last summer and ended up not bringing it because the material is thick. I ended up bringing two of these dresses from Old Navy that I LOVE: the jersey knit swing dress.

The material is soft t shirt material (I used one for pajamas, they’re so comfortable). The material does wrinkle, which is the only issue. A print will make wrinkles less obvious. Other than that you can dress them up or down, wear with leggings, wear with sandals/heels/ sneakers, etc. They also have tall sizes if you want something that might cover your knees, depending on your height.

This dress, along with leggings, is what I’ll wear on the plane next time - as close to pjs as possible, but still presentable!

Posted by
3551 posts

Uniqlo is perfect for that. I just bought a mid calf dress avail in black. Great price and wonderful fabric.
They also have some that are shorter check it out. Add a scarf, wrap or long beads and u are good to go anywhere with elegance. All at a great price point.

Posted by
3204 posts

I was also on the hunt for a similar dress, and found one last week at Eddie Bauer.
It's the sleeveless " Astra" one mentioned in a previous comment.
It's nice light material, covers my knees for visiting churches, and fits really well. (No gaping armholes.)
I also have a black sleeveless one from Uniqlo.
It's black, but a slightly heavier knit, with a built in bra, and fits great.
It's sort of mid calf length.
Uniqlo also have very wide legged calf length pants that look like a skirt.
They are SO comfy.

I do like the Amazon one in the OP's post. It got good reviews!

Posted by
4999 posts

Chico's has many that are lightweight, resist wrinkling, and can be hand washed and will dry over night.

Posted by
548 posts

Happened to stop by Old Navy today. The dresses in Travel4fun's link were on sale for $8.00!! Tried one on and really liked it. I'm only 5'1", so usually dresses like this are too long. Liked them so much, I bought three!!

Posted by
7 posts

Hey I know I’m a bit late to reply, but in case you are still looking: my favorite little black dress for travel is the Chrysalis cardi by enCircled. It’s actually one of those multi-way items that can be worn as a scarf, dress, wrap, or cardigan. It’s not super dressy by itself, but I have added a jeweled belt to make it dressy enough to wear to a cocktail party.

I will say it’s a bit pricey but...I have gotten a lot of use out of mine and it is always an essential part of my travel wardrobe.

Posted by
2122 posts

Here is one that should travel nicely, and you will be in luck (sale price) if you are a size small. If you like the dress, and are not size small, still check with your local Talbots (and on-line from time to time) as merchandise may still be in the store (or returned by someone who ordered on-line).

I have what is called the ruffle neck dress (last year's model, or maybe it was the year prior) in both black and also a black/white thin stripe. Those travel beautifully......could be balled up and not come out wrinkled.

And, Ann Taylor is always a good source (even better when they start their sales, as in now) for good basic dresses. Lots of black ones from which to choose:

Posted by
873 posts

DW has done all our European travel with skirts/tops. Elegant top dresses up jeans outfits and an elegant skirt adds flare to colorful tops. Maximizes flexibility, and reduces wash worries.

Posted by
30 posts

I usually travel with at least one Eileen Fisher black dress. The rayon jersey dresses pack amazingly well and always look polished.