Best Dresses for Travel

by eslevy17

Find the best travel dresses, because there's no reason you can't look nice when you're traveling around the world.

Travel clothing needs to live up to quite a few standards, as backpackers and other travelers have rigorous needs when visiting international destinations of all sorts.

It can be hard to find the perfect travel dress, but if you know where to look, there are plenty of options for dresses that will be perfect for international travel, following you from fashionable destinations to outdoor adventures.

What goes into the perfect travel dress?

How to pick the best dresses for traveling

Traveling can be quite demanding, from extreme temperatures to unexpected rainfall and other complications that require clothing to be comfortable in a variety of situations, and fashion is no exception. If every article of clothing is suitable not only for all sorts of weather conditions, but social demands as well, then you don't have to pack "extra" clothing for fancy occasions, since everything will be gorgeous already.

So, what does it take to make a travel dress? Well, aside from all-day comfort in hot and cold conditions, it needs to look nice no matter how many times it gets stuffed into the pack, or how few times it gets washed. All it takes is smart fabric that regulates body temperature, resists wrinkles, lasts forever, and can be hand washed in the sink and hung up to dry by morning. Oh, and it should look nice too. But shouldn't everything?

Luckily there are a number of clothing companies that understand what goes into the best travel dresses, and cater to the backpackers who want their clothes to be as functional as they are fashionable.

Travel Dresses from the Outdoor Industry

Ultralight, high-performance dresses for travel

As surprising as it may seem, the outdoor industry offers some of the best travel dresses one can find, applying their decades of experience with the demands of outdoor apparel, and hiring clever designers to come up with presentable designs. Since it's easy enough to make a dress that works for international travel (just use a performance fabric), female travelers looking for the perfect travel dress are in the unenviable position of having to do little more than choose the one they think looks the best.

Patagonia in particular has quite a few options, with all sorts of styles and patterns available, so travelers won't have to feel like they're settling. Patagonia has been making outdoor apparel for decades, and their travel clothing is backed up by an ironclad guarantee, one that you're likely never to need.

ExOfficio is another major name in the travel apparel industry, and they also have a wide range of options for women travelers who want not to look like scruffy backpackers.

Check out the options below for dresses made of wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, temperature-regulating performance fabric, which will follow you from the trail to the bar without missing a beat. They'll all hold up to the demands of international travel, so take your pick.

More Travel-Friendly Dresses

Semi-performance materials for comfy chic

Although the options listed above are some of the best available, using the highest of high-performance fabrics to survive the rigors of international travel, other fabric blends can still be just as comfortable and still work for travel, especially since they might only be worn during the evening for a few hours, perhaps just a few times per trip.

Fabrics like Tencel or poly/cotton blends will offer some of the performance characteristics required of high-tech travel clothing, particularly their ability to resist wrinkles, which is probably the biggest issue here. They might not be good for sink washing and hang drying, but if that's not part of your agenda, then these options will work just fine.

More Travel Clothing Tips

And a note on going ultralight

With enough options available to suit plenty of stylistic preferences, it might come as a surprise to many backpackers that it's a lot easier to look nice when traveling than they might think. Travel clothing simply means practical performance fabric, not safari styling. Imagine how useful it is to have clothing pull double-duty as functional hiking apparel and stylish club outfit without any trouble, transitioning seamlessly from one social situation to the next.

If every article of clothing you pack is not only practical but gorgeous as well, you don't have to pack extra clothes for fancy occasions. You'll just look great 24 hours a day for the whole trip. Sound good?

It is. Now go have some adventures!

More Travel Tips

The best daypacks for world travel will take you on adventures around the world and never weigh you down. Pick one up and go explore!
Buy moisture-wicking, quick drying underwear for hiking, camping, backpacking, travel, and comfort
Is it possible to make jeans for travel? The answer is yes, but you have to know where to look. Find the best travel jeans on the planet, and go adventuring.
Updated: 05/01/2012, eslevy17
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eslevy17 on 03/13/2012

Good points all around. I think a skirt/top combo is far more versatile, and of course I'm no expert on women's fashion, but I always try to convince people that traveling light is a lot easier than they might think, and it doesn't have to mean compromising on style.

I've traveled with people who like wearing dresses, whether it's for evening attire or as a daytime sundress, and it's not so bad to pack just one (although I once traveled with someone who brought three, and wore zero). So all I can do is present the options available, offer some travel tips, and let people make their decisions. People don't have to look like they're on a safari just because they're going abroad.

Lissie on 03/13/2012

I'd never travel with a dress, even if I was travelling for business. A dress has more fabric than a top - and needs washing just as often - therefore its inefficient whether you are doing your own laundry or paying for it

And in most of the world - outside of Europe and North America - all those sleeveless dresses are either totally inappropriate or tasteless

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