Posts Tagged travel clothing
Jill has gone gaga over a few Athleta items before on this gear blog, reviewing their Bettona Boyfriend Pants and Whatever Skort. Most fitness freak women I’ve met have a lot of love for this brand, which is owned by The Gap.
I’m not qualified to judge a travel dress, but my personal trainer guest reviewer in the house is, so take it away Donna!
When the weather is warm and I am packing for a trip, the first thing that comes out are my travel dresses. The newest one I am adding to my collection and putting into high rotation is the Dhara Dress by Athleta. True to form for Athleta, the dress is flattering, comfortable and very durable while still being stylish. It is a pretty mix of two patterns and comes in a choice of four colors. I have it in the Earth Green, the hue of which is more earthy than green.
Body skimming without being snug around my tummy and hips it creates a flattering silhouette for most figures. Coming to just above the knee is also a nice length. The poly/cotton blend makes it breathable, airy and very lightweight. It washes well and even after being balled up in a suitcase overnight, my dress came out relatively wrinkle free.
The added details of V-neck, purl-edge hems and cap sleeves up the stylish factor for sure. While this is not a dress that can transition to fancy evening attire, it can easily go from a casual daytime look with sandals or cute sneakers and a sun hat to a low-key evening out paired with little heels, a wrap, and some jewelry.
My only complaint is that it is a little small in the bust. I am not overly chesty but I still find it a little snug. A bustier woman may have a problem with this dress because of that. (The photo on the right gives you a look at the cleavage.) The dress comes in regular, tall and petite sizes and runs from XXS-XL. I’m not sure who would wear the XXS though seeing that the dress does already run on the small side up top.
You can get the Athleta Dara Dress direct from the company or at their stores for $84, or check prices online at Amazon, where some colors are much less, even though they’re still coming from Athleta, with free shipping even.
Have you noticed how much the technical gear you buy is about temperature regulation? The Freeze Degree items from Columbia Sportswear I’ve been checking out go further than most: they actually lower your temperature when they get wet.
The Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero technology is part of a wave of new items introduced lately that go beyond just wicking and evaporation. They’re meant to react to your sweat (a sign you’re overheated) and cool you off. Here’s the rundown on three items I’ve been checking out in my travels.
Freeze Degree Zip Polo Shirt
I’ve worn this 1/2 zip short-sleeve shirt with Omni Freeze quite a bit since I got it, but really gave it a workout while biking through Portugal, where this photo was taken. It’s an ideal shirt for hot weather as it really did make me noticeably cooler when I’d barrel downhill after a steep climb that worked up a sweat.
It’s extremely comfortable and fits well. Naturally it gives you sun protection and will dry quickly when you sink wash it after a sweaty day. It lists for $65.
Cooling Neck Gaiter
This thin and lightweight neck gaiter with Colombia’s Omni Freeze Zero technology showed off the properties better than the shirt because I got it wet and wore it on my head when I was kayaking. I instantly went from overheated to cool and comfy. So I give this item the prize for value: you can use it as a bandanna, a headband, a head covering, or a neck covering, cooling you off and keeping you protected from the sun.
The $30 list price is a bit daunting for what feels like a stretchy piece of polyester, but it has a UPF 50 rating and keeps your sensitive parts from the neck up nice and cool. You can sink wash it or toss it in the washer & dryer, but as with the other Omni Freeze items, no stain remover or fabric softener in the mix.
This technology is also baked into various t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, hats, and other items for men and women. Go to the Colombia site and look for “Omni Freeze.”
It’s not always easy to find a dress that’s comfortable as well as versatile enough to wear for nearly any travel occasion. Travel dresses usually come in one of two camps: way too casual or too dressy. With these two Mountain Khaki choices, I’ve found a way to have dresses that I’m just as comfortable wearing around town during the day, or out to dinner at night.
Made with a 100 percent cotton slub knit, the Mountain Khakis Oxbow Dress is one of the softest, most comfortable dresses I’ve had in a while. The ruched bodice includes a shelf bra for support, and the skirt drapes well to the knee. The hem is a little lower in the back, so you don’t have to worry about showing too much. The dress can easily be worn super-casual with flip-flops, or dressed up a little with nicer shoes.
The only thing to note with the Oxbow Dress is that it doesn’t work as well on people with long torsos. I’ve worn mine a few times, and while I love the feel, the waist hits me too high to move it into favored dress status.
The Mountain Khakis Anytime Knit Sleeveless Dress is a great go-to for a little black dress (or really, any color). The racerback dress also has a built-in shelf bra, plus seamless sides to up the ante with style. The dress fabric is 90 percent cotton and 10 percent Spandex jersey knit, making it touchable and soft, and super easy to pack. The hem hits just above the knee. Pair the dress with casual shoes or heels, and it’s easy to look good no matter what you do.
Mountain Khakis Oxbow Dress lists for $69.95 on the Mountain Khakis site. Available colors are blue, russet (brown with red) and grass (white with green). It’s priced the same at Moosejaw and Amazon. The Anytime Knit Sleeveless Dress lists for $64.95 on the Mountain Khakis site, and comes in black, coral, blue and gray. It’s priced the same at either Moosejaw or Amazon.
It’s often hard to find a jacket that’s waterproof, yet comfortable. Often times, I’ve settled for a bulky jacket that’ll shed water, but it’s bulky to pack, or doesn’t breathe well. The Westcomb Fuse LT Hoody was the ideal jacket for me to use on my recent New Zealand trip, whether aboard Team Emirates New Zealand’s screaming fast AC 72 or hiking in Fiordland.
The jacket uses Polartec NeoShell technology to keep you protected from wind and water, yet is fully breathable and temperature regulating. The NeoShell membrane allows air to pull moisture vapor out—even at extremely low levels of pressure, helping keep you drier during high-exertion activities.
Adding to the great functionality for adventurous and non-adventurous alike, the Fuse LT Hoody is soft and light with a bit of stretch. It’s easy to pack, and when I wasn’t wearing it, it stuffed into my backpack without taking up much room.
The hood is big enough to be helmet compatible, and the high collar has velour lining, making it cozy and warm when the winds are howling. The adjustable waist system allows you to leave it loose for comfort, or cinch it tight to keep the breeze from blowing up your back. The Velcro cuff tabs do the same for your arms. Additionally, the jacket has two zippered hand pockets—big enough for your hands, a cell phone, or a small camera.
The only negative element is the price. It would be great to have all these useful qualities for a little less money, but when it comes to narrowing down my travel gear to one ideal jacket (instead of having a couple that cover only some of the things I need), I’d prefer to pack less.
When we reviewed the first model of P^Cubed Pants, the design was a revelation and if the company had just stopped at those Pick-pocket Proof adventure pants, they would have had a nice little niche product that would slowly grow in sales each year as backpackers spread the word.
The parent company, Clothing Arts, didn’t stop there though and they put out business pants and a line of shorts. They’ve been transitioning from treated canvas (heavy) to durable nylon for the pants, but these shorts are soft, lightweight cotton. It’s treated with Teflon though so you won’t have a big splotch if someone spills a beer on your leg.
I live in hot places when I’m not traveling, so I got a jump on the rest of the country and have been wearing the Business Traveler Shorts for months now. So I’ve had plenty of chances to try out these Pickpocket Proof Shorts in multiple situations. I can’t say anyone has tested the thief-foiling properties yet, but a time will come I’m sure and I’ll be glad I had them.
Those features that the shorts are named after make these the absolute best shorts you can buy if you want to be 100% sure that nobody gets away with your valuables in a crowd. As with the pants, the pockets on these have multiple layers of deterrence, from little pockets within bigger pockets to a zipper to a flap. In other words, someone’s prying fingers would have to unbutton a flap, move it aside, unzip a zipper from the bottom up, reach inside, then find the inner pocket to get to your money. That’s not going to happen.
That’s just the front. The back right pocket has a zipper, then two pockets inside—the one closest to your hip having a button closure too. And that’s repeated again on the left side. So you’ve got four super-secure pockets to put valuables into, yet these shorts look nice enough to not get you kicked out of the yacht club.
They’re really lightweight and comfortable too, despite feeling as good as anything you’ll buy at Macy’s to wear around town. If your weight fluctuates much, two button tabs on the side can make them tighter or looser. That buttoned tab also doubles as a place to hook on your camera or the hook from your Pacsafe anti-theft daypack.
My one and only beef with these is the same one I seem to have with all shorts these days: they’re too long. Call me old and cranky, but if my shorts are going to come down to the middle of my kneecaps, I might as well call them capris. Next week I’m taking these to my local alteration shop to get four or five inches lopped off. I know I can’t win this argument. Fashion trends are what they are until they change again, so the best you can do is wait it out. (If you’ve been waiting for 30 years to pull your skinny ties out of the attic, now’s your time…)
Anyway, I highly recommend these P-cubed business travel shorts. (If you want cargo pockets, get the adventure traveler ones.) Sure, they sell for $80, but think of them as a great pair of shorts that also function as an insurance policy for your valuables. One pick-pocketed wallet will surely cost you more than that, especially if you count the time it takes dealing with your credit and debit card companies. Plus if you have these, you can leave the special travel wallets and hidden zipper belts at home.