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Travel clothes for Plus Sized woman (2x) for days with highs of 70F

I'll be in England for a couple of weeks in August and need lightweight travel clothing ideas that will include at least one outfit that will pass for dressier when I got to a nice afternoon tea and to the theater. But I'll also be walking around London, Bath, and seeing things in the countryside, and I will need to be able to layer due to nights dipping into mid 50s at night but highs around 70F during the day. What nice base layer tops have you found? What good cardigans or similar have you found? And pants? I'm also interested in shoes--some comfortable flats of some kind that will pass as somewhat nice casual or dressier that I can wear as a tourist but that are comfortable (medium width fine). Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1194 posts

Copying from one of my blog posts:

  • Columbia – carries nice travel pants, tops, micro-fill jackets, and raincoats up to size 24W. Gert Boyle, the chair, is plus size
  • Royal Robbins – carries pants and tops up to size 18 (no womens sizes, though their regular cut fits curvy women)
  • LLBean – carries technical clothing such as packable rain coats, down jackets, travel pants and tops up to size 3X, 26W They also carry plus size long underwear up to 3X.
  • Lands End – thermal underwear up to 26W. They also have plus size rash guards up to 3X.
  • Minus33 – Merino wool up to 3X, including tee shirts, T-zips and panties! (and they are near Franconia Notch!)
  • Eddie Bauer – carries technical clothing such as packable rain coats, polyfill & down jackets, travel pants and tops up to size 3X, 24W
  • Dress Barn – carries unlined jackets up to size 24W. They also carry a lot of nice jersey tops. J Jill – knit separates up to 4X, 28W that have a reputation as travel clothes
  • Goddess on the Go – light weight modal travel clothes up to 3X
  • Sealed With A Kiss (SWAK) – Plus size up to 36W. Many beautiful jersey pieces that travel without wrinkles.
  • Juno Active (Junonia) – plus size workout gear up to 6X
  • Hydrochic – Packable swim tops and bottoms up to 4X. Includes rash guards, swim skirts, swim capris. Many tops come with a separate swim bra.
  • Exelnt Designs – Custom swimwear and cover ups. T ankini and single piece sizes to I cup
  • Chafree – chafe free underwear
  • Her Room – plus size bras including full size workout bras that look good under street clothes
Posted by
888 posts

You might also look at Coldwater Creek and Northstyle online as they carry Women's sizes. I just bought a mesh knit dress from there for a river cruise this summer that comes in plus sizes. It's very flattering, super lightweight and very wrinkle resistant.

If you want to avoid hose and chaffing, buy a pair of slip shorts. Sort of soft stretchy biker shorts in neutral colors. Not shape wear.

Don't worry about dressing up for the theater. The locals don't. We were there last year and most people were dressed pretty casually.

Posted by
149 posts

Great list! I’ve already looked at a couple of sites that were new to me! Thank you!

Posted by
11292 posts

J.Jill and Travelsmith carry a wide range of sizes.

Posted by
154 posts

Have a look at Eileen Fisher. Are her clothes an investment? Yes, but a very worthwhile one. I never travel without her black crepe pants and box tops as part of my capsule wardrobe. I roll everything I pack and they come out of the suitcase without wrinkles, are easily sink washed and dry quickly. She is an eco-responsible, inclusive designer and her clothes range from size 0 - 3x.

Posted by
8338 posts

I am not usually one who wears knit pants, but the Lands End Starfish collection is my go to for long flights. Comfortable!

Other than that, wear the clothes you would at home. No need for a special wardrobe unless you are 2anting some new things.

Posted by
185 posts

I will second the recommendation to wear whatever clothes you wear at home. I am also plus sized and struggled in the past with what to bring on trips. A couple of years ago I decided I wasn't going to stress and brought stuff that I knew was comfortable. I haven't looked back. It helps that I live in an area with seasons, so I have clothes for all circumstances. I shop mostly at Kohl's and Lane Bryant. They both have a good range of casual to dressy and lots of stuff that can meet both needs (and really good sales).

For shoes I can recommend Dansko flats or Rockport. I have a lot of foot issues but have had success with both brands and they have comfortable flats that can go with jeans or dresses.

Cindy H- I'm really glad you mentioned your blog, I've been perusing it and have found some helpful information!

Posted by
139 posts

The big winner on these forums are the cotton/modal layering tops from Lands End (plus or misses sizes).I prefer the short sleeved crew-neck. It’s light, easy to wash/pack, and good with a cardi. I’m tall, and wish they were cut an inch or 2 longer, but they are still comfy. The tops come in many colors each season, and I pack 3-5. Add a scarf or statement necklace to dress them up. This season there are also long plus-size cardigans in similar fabric. With pockets! They could be shortened according to preference. Watch for 30% or even 40% off sales.

I pack a pair plus-size linen pants from Old Navy, usually black. I wear them wrinkled and artsy—they can be casual or dressier. Learned about them from Sarah Murdoch (Adventure with Sarah website). Otherwise I wear knit capris from Macy’s—casual, but comfy for travel. Sometimes I buy petite full-length knit pants to get a cropped look. :-)

Catherine’s has an “Anywear” line that is similar to JJill’s Wearever line. Both are designed as travel-friendly. Online I found a georgette kimono topper for dressing up that layers with a black tank or tee, and packs as small as a scarf.

For shoes—I wear a women’s 12. I take SAS Captiva sandals (black, without the removable center strap), with a second pair of water-friendly sandals to switch off, such as Teva. Haven’t found any black flats that work for me, but I keep searching. —Sherry

Posted by
13899 posts

I’ll third taking what you wear at home. I wear the Lands End cotton/modal SS tees which sink wash well and dry overnight. I also take one of their cotton cardies and have done so since 2013.

I’d prepare for daytime temps higher than 70. That sounds like an “average” temp instead of a real temp. I’ve had temps in the high 80’s and occasional 90’s in London and Bath at the end of August. That may not happen every year but I’d be ready for a few days like that and then layer up if it’s cooler. Definitely have a waterproof jacket layer.

I love The Vivienne Files blog for ideas on capsule wardrobe colors and usually take her advice for having a tee and cardie in the same color for a dressier look. NOT that I go anywhere dressy!!

I am not very heat tolerant so I’d need capris that time of year whether a UK woman would wear them or not. I found some light poly ones on sale from Penney’s last year that were great , so keep your eye on the sale rack! They were about $10. I also need to have pants I can wear a belt with. I often will lose about 10# so am more comfortable if I can cinch them in.

I have horrible feet and need to keep them in good shape on vacation so I wear a brand of athletic shoe I know I can depend on. In general, in London, I can walk 8-10 miles a day so make sure you have shoes that can manage that amount! Bath - maybe not quite so many miles but it’s hillier.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
28 posts

I love the Royal Robbins 3/4 sleeve Expedition shirts and they go up to 3X. They come in solid colors and prints. I have my eye on a new one in black because I can dress it up for evenings. I also like the Lands End rash guards in plus sizes. My go to pants are crinkle cloth as they travel well! I have two black pair Alfred Dunner 1X, and two navy blue pair, one from Orvis and one from Damon and Draper. All can be sink washed. Exoffcio undies! I almost always pack one pair of dark capris from Croft and Barrow. REI also carry’s plus sizes for women. Columbia carries plus sizes for women too! I have an XXL nylon vest from REI for layering. Columbia windbreaker, fleece vest and rain jacket all in plus sizes and they all layer!

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks for all of the tips. I certainly will shop my closet, but I mostly have bulky jeans and 100% cotton capris and scoop neck Ts that wrinkle horribly and won't sink wash and dry quickly. My home wardrobe needs refreshing, so I'm hoping the tips here will help with that. The wrinkle-free items will save me some effort at home too, and nonbulky fabrics will help me squeeze more into my drawers as well as my small carryon bag. Tips on frugal finds are most welcome (and more in my budget), so many thanks! I appreciate the hint about the Vivienne Files especially--I've been a desperation shopper for too long! Thanks again, and thanks in advance to anyone who posts additional tips.

Posted by
13899 posts

If you decide to try any of the Lands End stuff, sign up for their emails as you will get offers nearly daily for percentages off. They do have scoop neck tees as well as crew neck tees if that helps.

If you’re looking to refresh then do look at back posts on Vivienne Files. She has a series on a “core of four” which is a good way to start.

BTW some of her suggestions are too dressy/expensive for my life but I can usually figure out alternatives that match my life better. She does sometimes use basics from LE and LLBean.

Posted by
59 posts

I have to echo Pam here. I got for what works for me and are things I would and do wear. Lands End and LLBean work for me day in and day out, I trust their sizing and are comfortable. I can dress up or down with scarves or jewelry and a change of my shoes. Signup for emails to get discounts, I just had a 70% off code.

Everyone should check out Vivienne Files, it is my must read and get ideas blog, for travel, packing and inspiration! She does sometimes use higher end items too, but usually has plenty of reasonable choices in her blogs too. Another good thing you can do is search posts (there are HUNDREDS) my color. So say you what to see her posts featuring red, you can pull them all up!

Posted by
66 posts

I wear Land's End Starfish jeans too, and some of their tops. I usually buy at 40% off, which helps with the Canadian exchange rate!

One company I use a lot now is Blue Sky, since they opened a store in Victoria. They make wonderful clothes from xs to 4x, great cuts, nice fabric, really pretty. I have light dresses which pack well and wash easily and dry quickly. Their pants are amazing, so comfortable, so I will be wearing them in flight for sure. They use a lot of bamboo fabric. They are Canadian, BC in fact, so for US shoppers, you are getting a good deal since our dollar is tanking. I find they fit a bit big, so watch the sizing chart.

Posted by
94 posts

Some really great recommendation here! I'm going to France in July / August and I'm plus size, so looking for similar stuff.

I just bought some pants from Target yesterday from their Ava & Viv line, lightweight black ankle pants that look dressy but are very comfortable, they have a slight sheen to them. I couldn't find them online though. They'll be great to dress up but seem like I can wear them all day. I also bought a pair of linen joggers from Nordstrom, Caslon brand, last summer and I think I'll take those too. Comfy and lightweight.

Thanks for this topic!

Posted by
2303 posts

I like Old Navy for lightweight, travel friendly clothes. I love their linen pants and cropped pants. They even have tall sizes. They’re great for the plane, cool & comfy in warm weather, and can be dressed up. Old Navy has great lightweight blouses. I love their jersey swing dresses paired with leggings.

I don’t buy specific “travel” clothes. I tend to not like the fabrics. I buy comfy clothes that I fell good in and would wear at home. If you’re looking to build a wardrobe to bring on your trip, look at capsule wardrobes. Base your wardrobe around colors that work together so you can mix and match everything.

For shoes, I love Skechers. They have some flats that you can wear with dresses, but still provide some support.

Posted by
3428 posts

I love Catherine's 'Suprema' brand tops. They are a light weight jersey knit and hold up well to most travel conditions. I wear the 3/4 sleeve shirts in really cold weather and the short sleeve shirts almost all the time. They don't wrinkle easily and dry rather quickly. They have a variety of slacks and capris and shorts, too.

Posted by
1625 posts

I am plus size curvy and always pack out of my closet because I love my clothes and want to look like me. Old navy is great for basic layering pieces, tanks, cardigans etc. Macys sells great jeans and pants,look online for a much better selection, plus you can return to the store. I also like Maurice (online, no stores were I live). I could never wear Lands End, just not my style. I always pack one maxi skirt for dressier day and general site seeing.. Shoe brands I swear by are Aetrix and orthaheel, great support and cute.

Posted by
360 posts

I second the mention on Columbia (I'm also plus-sized). For me, I can't survive without having mostly quick-dry options because I just find myself sweating a lot, due to the lack of ventilation and a/c in Europe (or at least compared to here). So, I wind up having to hand wash almost every day and then it's all dry in the morning. Some if it, I will wear at home, but I quickly learned that jeans and full cotton just aren't practical for me. I would also suggest Exofficio or quick dry underwear as well.