dressed up in comfort

Isabel Marant Etoile jacket, Eileen Fisher wide leg pants

You may be wondering why the last couple of outfits I’ve posted are a bit dressier than my normal looks, especially in light of the recent change in my employment situation. The truth is, because our day-to-day life is mostly casual, when the occasion does arise that calls for taking the level of formality up a notch from my usual “jeans and whatever” default setting, I’m completely flummoxed. And because le Monsieur has been busy making dinner reservations for our upcoming trip, including at a couple of swankier joints, I figured I’d better have options in my suitcase that can rise to those occasions. So I’ve been experimenting. 🙂

jacket | necklace (similar) | top |
pants | bracelet (necklace worn as bracelet) | bag (similar) | sandals

French Kande labradorite necklace

I wanted to add a pair of wider leg pants to my travel wardrobe, as I’ve found they’re easy to dress up, yet still can be worn casually during the day with sneakers or flats. To balance the volume, I’ve kept the rest of the outfit fairly close-fitting. These (bien sûr) are the same Eileen Fisher washable stretch crepe fabric that I’ve been going on about, just in a full-length wider leg. All of the clothing pieces have some stretch, so this is a VERY comfortable outfit. The shoes too…those block heels are easy to walk in. They’re as much of a heel as I’d consider bringing for travel, but are light and don’t take up a lot of packing space. Still deciding.

Chanel caviar flap, tassel suede block heel sandals

This is as formal as I’ve ever felt I needed to be when traveling. It’s on the smarter end of Smart Casual, but short of weddings or black tie events, I’d feel comfortable wearing this just about anywhere we’d be inclined to go. The jacket is pretty lightweight, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather forecast for our destinations as we get close to departure, and may need to swap this one out for something lighter. The rest should be able to accommodate warmer weather, at least for evenings. We’re just a few weeks out now, and I’m really excited about this trip! We’ve done a lot of advance planning this time, and are hopeful that the weather will cooperate, and that the current strikes in France will have long been resolved.

Do you have a formula for more polished outfits when traveling? Are there specific pieces you rely on?

More like these…

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30 Comments

  1. plutrell
    June 1, 2016 / 4:25 am

    Love the jacket, Susan…and I also love that any width and length of pant is in style…it is fun to experiment with all of them. Excellent look…as always!

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Pam!

  2. Ellen
    June 1, 2016 / 5:26 am

    I have a dress, pretty much my only dress which was purchased just for this, and all other purposes. It is a black Eileen Fisher tank dress, amde of the same stretchy fabric as your pants probably, with an asymmetrical hem, and a sheer panel at the bottom. I have been able to fress it up or down to make it suitable for every single dressed up occasion in my life for the last three years, with a variety of accessories including a fancy shawl, a linen sweater, a couple of scarves, a sparkley cardi, etc. Packed, it takes up less room than a T shirt, so it gets to come on almost every trip that we take, from uno outdoor formal wedding at the Jersey shore, to last years Mekong River cruise. Best investment i ever made.

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:01 pm

      Hi Ellen, your dress sounds fantastic! I hope EF either brings it back or adds a similar style. I’d be all over it!

  3. June 1, 2016 / 5:26 am

    Love the outfit. Good luck with the french strikes. I am off there tomorrow however my husband is planning to come a week later and air traffic control are planning a strike. Any mention of change in employment laws and things get very heated. It may be a bumpy summer!!!

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:02 pm

      Chicatanyage, thanks! And yes, the strikes have us a bit nervous…

  4. Peggy Porter
    June 1, 2016 / 5:51 am

    Susan, I love this post as I love all of your thoughts. I’ve been a follower for quite some time now.
    Just wanted to let you know that I saw those sandals on you a couple of months ago and loved them. I loved them so much I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wanted them. I even showed them to my husband who raised a bit of an eyebrow at the price. But, today is my birthday and guess what I got!!!??? Yep. I’m wearing them right now!
    Keep doing what you do. I love it.

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:02 pm

      Peggy, that’s wonderful! I hope you love them as much as I do mine. Thank you!

  5. Kristien
    June 1, 2016 / 5:51 am

    Looking smart and chic as always, Susan. I have an unstructured cream, long blazer (about mid thigh). Paired with a black knit tank, ankle length knit pants, a chunky crystal glass necklace and earrings and I’m good to go. I also pack a Nic and Zoe black patterned dress that rolls up nicely in my suitcase and pair that with the jacket. Color changes the vibe for me- match the jacket with dark brown pants, sage green tank and a necklace with fall tones and I feel a little less formal, but good for cocktails and tapas. It’s kinda fun to figure out all the ways I can use the jacket. Have fun on your trip.

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:04 pm

      Kristien, thank you! It sounds like you have a good “stable” of options. I’m on the lookout for something similar in a jacket.

  6. June 1, 2016 / 6:06 am

    I have a dress from J. Crew that I purchased years ago. It is the perfect travel multitasker. A shift dress in white eyelet cotton, I wear it as a beach/pool coverup in the morning, then I’ll wear it while seeing sights, then to the market or running errands. It also lends itself well to going into a resto for a drink or lunch. I also have a couple of fitted T-shirt dresses that can be dressed up with a scarf and can be worn out and about with a pair of ballet flats. I’m big on dresses when we travel because it’s one-stop dressing.
    And because we usually have to pack for both Paris and the more relaxed Riviera, I’ll pack individual outfits into larger Ziploc bags. I suck the air out of the bags so the outfits lie flat in the suitcase. Then, when I want to get dressed, I don’t have to spend time deciding on putting outfits together, because they are all in the bag.
    I call it LazyAss Dressing!

    Dayum, girlfirend–you rock those crepe pants!!!!

    • June 1, 2016 / 7:25 am

      Perfect. No Parisian woman will look better than you! Not sure how well the jacket will travel but that’s why hotels have irons. It looks fairly versatile although white can be challenging to keep clean! I also revert to the back or dark gray column for travel and take an Hermes scarf and some jewelry to dress it up. Still flummoxed by wide leg pants but you look great in them and they aren’t overly wide. For me, I like versatile shoes but always take one slightly dressier pair and those sandals fit the bill….they should “make the cut”!

      • Susan B
        June 1, 2016 / 2:14 pm

        Jan, thanks so much!

    • June 1, 2016 / 9:58 am

      You cannot beat a black tank dress! I had one years ago from Casual Corner (remember that place?) and it was the most versatile thing I owned.
      Tell me where you get your T-shirt dresses? Love them, too! If you had to hand wash them in a hotel sink with a little shampoo, that would be perfect for needed reruns!

      • Kelly
        June 1, 2016 / 10:21 am

        I love t-shirt dresses! I love that I can wear them for work and they pack so easily too. I have them from Walmart ($9) to Eileen Fisher (more than $9 😉 Lands End had some cute ones the year before last. Old Navy often has options.

        I have a long sleeve ballet neck Eileen Fisher in her silk jersey knit that is a favorite for shoulder season travel (in the winter I pack a black or purple knee length merino wool dress from Lands End) I am actively looking for a sleeveless tank version of the EF dress in the silk jersey – preferably on sale, right? I think that would be my best for warm weather packing, then. For warm weather business trips, I have a black St John knit tank dress that is versatile & heavy enough to knot show too much, but still not hot….

        • Jill Ann
          June 1, 2016 / 4:41 pm

          Last year I bought a black lightweight knit dress at Athleta. I intended to wear it just to go over my workout clothes, if I had errands to run. Turned out I wore it lots more than that! It’s comfy, stretchy but not too clingy, has cap sleeves, and whenever I wear it, my husband asks me why I’m all dressed up!

      • June 1, 2016 / 5:38 pm

        Maxine. I’ve gotten my t-shirt dresses from Old Navy. I purchased multiples because they are that good and travel well. I’ve been incredibly fortunate because we’ve always either stayed with family or rented an apartment in France so I’ve been able to do wash in the machine. The ON ones are very well-constructed and wash very well.

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:13 pm

      Catherine, thanks! You’ve worked out your system well.

  7. June 1, 2016 / 10:03 am

    I adore black and white! It is my favorite color combo. I’m drawn to it like a moth to light when I’m shopping… jackets, pants, dresses, but especially swimsuits.

    This outfit is A #1 smashing!

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:14 pm

      Maxine, thank you! I love black and white dressing too. 🙂

  8. June 1, 2016 / 10:07 am

    I’m hot off a trip to France and Belgium. And, I’m ready to go back 🙂 I decided to dress like a Parisian woman. Which in all honestly, made it easy. For 2-weeks I took: 4 pairs of nice jeans in different colors, 2-blazers, 1 trench, 1 army jacket, several tees, and two white collared blouses. WHAT MADE THE OUTFITS? Jewelry, scarves, hats and glasses. Et voila. I felt styled well-enough to go everywhere, and could ‘down-grade’ my looks easily when attending the flea markets.

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:16 pm

      kande, sounds perfect! Was the weather cool when you were there? I’ll always bring jeans, but am worried that they might be too warm by July…

  9. Anna
    June 1, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    I love this outfit on you, I think the proportions really suit you. Love wide leg pants – am so glad we are seeing more of them again!

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 2:16 pm

      Anna, thank you! I think when wide legs are done in a more fluid fabric, they can be very elegant.

  10. Linda L
    June 1, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    I think this outfit is very chic and could be worn almost anywhere. That jacket is a classic. I think the pants look very nice on you. I wear a similar black top and pants with different jackets, toppers, etc. when we travel. I also have a slimmer leg pant with a petal type hem that I take. A column of black with a jacket seems to work for me. I like the knits for travel and comfort! I love the low heel shoe options too.

    • Susan B
      June 1, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      Linda, thank you! I was hesitant about the wider leg pants, but really did like them once I tried them on.

  11. Kellee
    June 2, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I adore this outfit! I need to start looking into Eileen Fisher.

  12. Duchesse
    June 4, 2016 / 6:51 am

    Oh Sue, not this. It’s staid. Each thing on its own is fine, but the fringed jacket and quilted bag and the fulll-length black (looking very heavy in summer), it just isn’t you. The outfit you posted with the bright shawl (“Dressed Up”), with the pants that show off your gorgeous legs, the hip shoes, the floaty shawl, so much more current. You do look ‘comfortable’, but you don’t look nearly as up to date, or as sensuously beautiful.

    And believe me, I have done the same thing- in my case usually trying to get some mileage out of rather safe clothes I think should “get some wear.”

    • Susan B
      June 4, 2016 / 7:10 am

      Duchesse, I agree, actually. While I think it’s a fine outfit objectively, for me it’s veering a bit fussy. But that’s why I’m experimenting now, rather than trying to do this out of a suitcase. 🙂

  13. Naomi
    June 4, 2016 / 9:06 am

    J’adore!!!! Fabulous jacket and overall look. You are gorgeous!!

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