It’s embarrassing, but I can admit it.
Once upon a time, I liked the idea of the Travel Dress.
On my first trip to Paris, a black/grey faux-side-tie dress from a “travel clothing company” seemed like a good idea. Even though I would never wear a polyester wrap dress in my daily life, I felt like I needed one for my trip. A dress that touted its wicking properties, could be washed in the sink, and was reversible…even though I never need any of these things at home, and happen to live in a city there, too. Why I thought Parisian hoteliers would recognize–or care about–what I was wearing escapes me still.
In other words, I fell into the dreaded reversible-travel-dress trap.
Friends ask me what to buy for a big trip. Lately, I’ve said to buy…nothing.
OK, if you like to to pre-shop for a trip, that’s cool. Knock yourself out with a pair of ballet flats or new jeans or something. But for god’s sake, make sure it’s something you actually like, not just the least-objectionable thing in the travel-clothing catalog.
These days, I travel with my regular, everyday clothes. I have a favorite giant Marc by Marc Jacobs bag that I use as my carry-on purse and the small yellow luggage that makes me happy. I don’t dig through a moneybelt in Paris, just as I wouldn’t dig through one in New York.
I don’t roll my underwear into little burritos to make more room in my luggage. While I can fall prey to a travel gadget or two, when it comes to clothes, I’m off the poly-blend bandwagon. (What was I thinking?) I take things on trips that I love to use.
Worst-case scenario: If I need something urgently in Paris, or London, or anywhere else, I find a store that sells what I need. Often, in a pinch, can even buy exactly what I would buy here at home at one of the cheap stores I like–at an H&M, Uniqlo, or Topshop. If not, guess what? There are billions of stores in the world, and it’s unlikely any would carry stuff as fugly as the travel dress I might have otherwise gotten stuck with.
Because I ignore a whole raft of reversible travel wear, I no longer come home with photos of myself in all manner of stuff I would never wear in real life because it’s sold as “travel clothing.”
I’m talking to you, beige, plasticky, tie-front Capri pants.