Have Wardrobe, Will Travel

Carry-on travel wardrobe for Hong Kong

After some back and forth with current pieces and a couple of purchases to supplement for tropical conditions, I think my travel wardrobe for Hong Kong and Phuket is set.

First, the Hong Kong leg, and yes there’s a lot of black. Most of those black pieces are either bottoms or clothing intended for evening wear. The pants and skirt are all pretty lightweight and loose-fitting, and made of breathable viscose rayon or tencel fabric. I did look for some linen skirts, pants or capris but did not have any luck, just the wrong season. The tops are mostly linen, and very loose and lightweight. After consulting with the woman who runs the walking tour company we’ve engaged for our first full day in Hong Kong, I’m taking the sandals I’d originally planned, plus a dressier pair for evening in place of pumps. She said that she wears nice walking sandals 9 months out of the year there, and she’s on her feet for hours daily.

Because I knew we’d be dealing with warm temperatures and lots of humidity, I didn’t limit the number of pieces as much as with past trips (otherwise I’d be spending a lot of time doing laundry). But everything still fits comfortably in the carry-on bag.

Travel Wardrobe: Hong Kong in October

Shoes: ECCO walking sandals (similar) for day, See by Chloé block heel sandals (similar) for dressier evenings.

Pants: Eileen Fisher stretch ankle pants (similar) (can be rolled up) // Eileen Fisher crepe lantern pants (similar) // Eileen Fisher tencel ankle pants, no longer available, similar.

Skirt: Eileen Fisher asymmetrical hem skirt (similar).

Tops: Eileen Fisher linen shirt, no longer available in white, similar // J.Crew striped tee // Eileen Fisher hemp/cotton 3/4 sleeve top (similar) (also in Plus) // Grey linen elbow tee, similar in 3/4 sleeve // Madewell linen tee. Not pictured: Eileen Fisher linen tank (also in Plus).

Jacket: Eileen Fisher silk/cotton knit jacket, several years old, similar style.

Dresses: Karina, Babette

Fedora: Eric Javits (similar)

Beach time in Phucket

For Phuket, I threw in a couple of bathing suits*, casual rubber sandals (good for beach or excursions)  a wide-brimmed hat that can get wet and this lightweight cotton top provided by Marketplace Handiwork of India, a non-profit organization that supports low-income women in India in developing and sustaining small businesses. I’m planning to pick up a sarong or maybe some drawstring pants in Phuket. 😉

*I hadn’t purchased a new bathing suit in years, and I’d like to give props to the Sales Associate at Canyon Beachwear at our local mall, who wouldn’t give up until she found a bathing suit style that I loved. I think the last time I loved a bathing suit was when I was 10 years old. It fits brilliantly too.

I’m taking two handbags…

Chanel Wallet-on-Chain, Longchamp le Pliage Cuir

On the right is a Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir (same style, similar color) which is a fabulous day bag. I am SO happy that Longchamp finally added a Le Pliage style with a crossbody strap. This will be big enough for essentials and stash a jacket or wrap for over-cooled interiors, plus accommodate those “can you put this in your bag” requests from le Monsieur. The bag on the left is a Chanel “wallet on a chain” bag which is a perfect size for evenings. Both of these are lightweight and compact.

Whew! I think I’m ready…

I haven’t included here what I’m wearing on the plane, which I’ll show in a separate post, and which will include some warmer layers as I tend to get very cold on airplanes.

You can check out how well this wardrobe worked in my Travel Wardrobe Recap, here.

What pieces do you pack for more tropical climates? Do you shop once you get there?
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  1. Just one thing – not sure if you’ll be using heavy duty insect repellant in Thailand (I did because the areas I visited had a high risk of mosquito borne disease) but if so, be aware that the slightest residue on your skin will strip the finish from your leather bags. I learnt this the hard way 🙁

  2. Hi, I am curious to learn if you bring a magnifying mirror when you travel. I am very dependent on my lighted magnifying mirror, particularly for applying mascara….but have yet to find a good portable one for travel.

    Great choices…..enjoy your trip!

    1. Barbara, I found a travel magnifying mirror at Sephora that has a battery-powered light and suction cups on the back to attach to a regular mirror or tile wall. Here’s the one I have: http://bit.ly/ZtZkqs

      1. Thank you……you are always so generous to include your finds, eliminating that time-consuming internet search! I love the fact that this mirror is lighted AND 15x. Merci….

  3. I like wearing black in cities in summer weather. It looks sophisticated. I have all of those Eileen Fisher basics and find they are indispensable when traveling. When I go to Paris in the winter, I take those pieces, some cashmere sweaters, vintage Hermes scarfs, Chanel-style jackets that I’ve sewn, and vintage jewelry, and I’m good to go. When I get there, I pick up some Agnes b. tops, too.
    Have a great trip!

  4. To answer your questions, I wear mostly sleeveless dresses in tropical climates (I practically live in one of these climates most of the year). And, I never shop for clothing on a trip. I’m just always too busy doing other things and shopping is not something I particularly enjoy.

    Like the commenter above, I wear a lot of black EF items in the summer time–shift dresses and some dresses fitted at the bodice that are knit.

    1. By the way, I have the slim ankle pants you show, but in black. On me, that are much shorter than shown in the photo (I’m almost 5’8″.) I tried on the white pants in this style, but they were too see through to wear as pants.

  5. Great selections, Une Femme. How fabulous to find a swimsuit you *love* (both look terrific). And your Longchamps bag looks like the perfect travel companion.

  6. This looks like a great travel wardrobe. Going to Hong Kong, vs. Paris, I know I’d feel more comfortable packing classic and conservative – in a way the American Style is fashion-forward in Asia:).

  7. I worry that you have NO close-toed shoes (Jambu, Aravon, Naot and others make a closed-toe sandal that’s reasonable stylish and city-street-worthy) and that your purse and tote are leather. What if it rains a subtropical rain?? HK’s rainy season is supposed to be over in September, but when it does rain, hoo boy! There are a lot of lovely things to buy in Hong Kong but also tons of places to go and things to see.

    1. Louise, I’ll be wearing closed toe shoes on the plane, which can be pressed into service once I’m there. I’ve never had a problem with finished leather bags and rain. And we’ll have umbrellas.

  8. Looks great (although I know nothing about packing tropical!). I, too, have been delighted with the help and the selections available for choosing a swimsuit lately. Twice in the past few years I’ve had great experiences selecting suits that I actually am happy to wear.
    And I had to chuckle about the “Can you put this in your bag?” request. Smartest thing I’ve ever done might be guiding Paul, in incremental steps, toward carrying a bag big enough that I now ask him the same question (and I can get away with a smaller bag, not so hard on my shoulders!)

  9. BOn Voyage! You look like you’re in great shape for travel.

    By the way, I don’t think there’s a “c” in Phuket. Probably because, with the “c,” one tends to pronounce it in a way that I’m sure wasn’t intended. 😉

    1. Sisty, yes it’s a tricky one. I’ve seen it spelled both ways online but have removed the “c” in my post so as not to cause any kerfuffle. 😉

  10. I was intrigued to see a dress from the retailer Babette included in your travel wardrobe. I have not shopped the line but I see their idiosyncratic ads in the New York Times often. They also had a store here in Santa Monica that recently closed. I would love to hear a little more from you about their look and typical customer, as well as any categories that the brand does particularly well. It seems to share some DNA with Eileen Fisher. Bon voyage. I am sure you will travel in style as usual.

      1. Duchesse, that’s not far off! Love this dress, will try to get a decent picture with it on. It’s wonderful for travel…just crunch it up and stuff in the suitcase, holds shape and all those lovely pleats.

  11. You look well prepared for your trip. I love both those dresses and would like to see how you arrange all the items in your suitcase. I think I will be taking a similar amount of clothing when I go to Paris next May.
    EF really have some great styles and I love that their fabrics are so packable. Bon voyage.

  12. For a carry-on trip I think you’ve hit all the necessary items.

    Sister has been to Vietnam and I received woven/rush place mats and silk scarves. The scarves are nice, the size isn’t quite what I’m used to, one of them is adorning a dresser top.

    I find that once you get to your exotic location that it can be tricky to shop because once you return home your purchase is no longer in a hot tropical environment and you are back in your usual life. That doesn’t usually stop me from buying things, but I try to focus on accessories or tableware/textiles that I think will be easy to incorporate and tell a story about our trip.

    A Starbuck’s cup with “Hong Kong” printed on it is one of my more-used souvenirs.
    I keep it at work and it’s a conversation starter.

    1. This looks so much more appropriate for the tropics than your first wardrobe. I think that you’ll be comfortable and chic. Have a wonderful time.

  13. When you’re in Thailand, be sure to check out the local night markets for fabulous hand-woven silk scarves. The Jim Thompson stores (and wow, his life story is a barn-burner) are excellent and ethical if you can find one. The main store is in Bangkok, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there’s a branch in Phuket.

  14. What will you wear when it rains? What will you wear as a beach coverup? (Thats an important one for me.)
    I never, anymore, take even moderately good jewelry on a trip. I have twice had things removed from my suitcase while staying in good hotels. Not all hotels offer safes. Trips are a great time to breakout the funky costume jewelry, and it goes well with hot weather clothes. And I would never want to have to spend time shopping for things I could habe brought from home. If I shop, its to have something great as a memory of the trip, not a pair of shoes because I brought the wrong ones. That said, buying a sarong at the beach is part of the fun.

    An amusing aside: a young woman I know who writes a lifestyle blog for 20 somethings about transitioning to a fun and fulfilling adult life (get the symmetry?) has a packing list, which goes in a backpack, and always includes a sarong, which she considers the most versatile piece of clothing she packs…so maybe you should get two!

    1. Ellen, I think it’s too warm here for raincoats. We’ll carry umbrellas but if we get wet, we get wet, and sandals will dry much faster than shoes. I’d planned to use both the white shirt (tunic length) and the Indian Marketplace tops as cover-ups, and purchase a sarong as an additional option.

  15. Brilliant and love the Indian Marketplace top. Seconding idea of picking up a sarong, carefree and so much fun to wear. Have an incredible time! (@ Ellen, agree re jewelry; hotel safes are usually insured only for a few hundred dollars’ worth, and who needs the hassle of lining up to get it. I take straw bangles and one of those ‘rubber lace’ necklaces.)

    1. I recently went to a wedding out of town (Jacksonville), so wanted to wear fancier jewelry than normal on a trip. On the days when I didn’t wear my diamond earrings & necklace, I kept them in a zipper pocket in my purse! Do not like to leave valuables in a hotel room, although I’ve never had anything taken.

    2. Years ago I bought a thick “silver “chain which is actually stainless steel, sold specifically for travelers. I have several diggerent bangley thingies that I can string onto it, or wear as is. It looks pretty good, and no one steals stainless steel. At least, so far!

  16. All your choices look great! Thanks for sharing your packing list. I have the same Ecco sandals and they are so comfortable to wear all day long, day after day, if needed. The swimsuit choices are gorgeous and I’m happy that you were able to find what you need and like.
    Bon voyage!

  17. I am impressed that you can pack so compactly and fit everything onto a carryon. You do not want to see how much I pack for a weekend trip (I typically fill up a full size suitcase)!

    Enjoy you vacation and can’t wait to see your pictures and read about your adventures.

    If you have time, would love for you to join TBT Fashion link up.


  18. You will love Hong Kong, great city, fantastic shopping, delicious food and the best transit system in the world. Your travel wardrobe looks fine. I usually stopover a couple of times a year, travelling from the Middle east to Australia. I hope the Jade market is on your itinerary. All sorts of goodies, especially pearls at really good prices. I pick up gifts for friends/family there, and also a little something for myself (of course). I can recommend Mandy Poon Store # 387. Have a lovely trip.