Recap Of My Japan Travel Wardrobe: Hits And Misses

Travel Wardrobe Recap: Japan

outfits from 12-piece travel wardrobe

As I’ve done after previous trips, I’m reviewing my travel wardrobe…what worked, what didn’t and making notes for the next time. Here’s my Japan travel wardrobe recap.


Heat, humidity and intermittent (though rarely heavy) rain were the weather themes for this trip, and I was glad I’d packed mostly lightweight pieces. I borrowed a tee shirt to wear for a couple of days while on the boat, but other than that didn’t feel I’d left out anything important. I had enough variety to cover our activities and to keep from feeling too bored with my wardrobe. Keeping the bottom half simple and using tops to mix it up seems to work best for me.

Did sink laundry a couple of times and had hotel laundry done once in Kyoto (mostly for a few of le Monsieur’s shirts, but I had two of mine washed as well).

early autumn 12-piece travel wardrobe


While I wore all of the pants at least once, the Eileen Fisher stretch crepe and the relaxed cargo pants (from prior season, similar HERE) had the most wears. Both are comfortable in the heat, but the stretch crepe are also easy to hand wash and will line dry within a few hours. (The cargo pants are a bit worn/faded, and were relegated to casual wear only.)

Tops: Both the polka dot cotton gauze (worn with a camisole underneath) and my embroidered tee were my go-to’s for most days.

The red Longchamp bag performed very well as a day bag.

Pinch Hitters

The cropped flare trousers were perfect for the four or so evenings we wanted to dress up a little bit for dinner.

The silk blouse (similar) also worked well for evenings.

I did wear the black dress (similar) once out to dinner in Kyoto, but did not get a useable photo due to poor lighting. It was too warm for closed shoes so I wore with my sneaker sandals and went Full Funky.


The gold loafers. I’d somehow irritated my Achilles tendon walking around the first couple of days, and my left ankle was too swollen to wear them comfortably.

The utility jacket. Never got cool enough to need it.

The raincoat. Never actually needed it; an umbrella was usually sufficient.

Though I did wear it once, I’d planned to give the cherry print shirt to my SIL, as their boat is named after BIL’s wonderful children’s book, The Cherry Migration. She loved the shirt so it’s in her wardrobe now.

Wish I’d Brought…

Another pair of sandals, perhaps the Birkenstocks I purchased during the summer.

Perhaps another lightweight popover top or lightweight 3/4 sleeve tee. I had grabbed a second “wild card” on my way out the door, a linen chambray shirt (similar, though mine has a collar). It’s great for the heat, so I was happy to have it from that aspect, but I always feel a little frumpy in it.

And for a complete change of pace, in the next few weeks I’ll be planning a carry-on travel wardrobe for a late autumn visit to a favorite location…details soon!

What are your favorite pieces to pack for heat and humidity?

Stay in touch.

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  1. October 6, 2016 / 3:29 am

    I am surprised by the news about heat and humidity. I thought Japan’s climate was cooler, especially in fall. In any case, your wardrobe looks great, and if all you had were two jackets too many then you packed well.
    3/4 sleeves are great for not looking/feeling too stuffy if weather is warm and offering some cover if weather is cool.
    I’m curious about laundry because we are nearing the end of renovating our vacation rentals and we included washing machines. But no dryers–they are rare in France, take up a lot of space, require venting and probably wouldn’t be used much at all. Do you usually plan to do laundry when traveling? It certainly helps keep the suitcase light. Any gripes/tips?

  2. Lane
    October 6, 2016 / 3:55 am

    Yes, it was hot and humid! In 2 weeks there I wore my cashmere sweater once ( but I always travel with one). The EF crepe pants are as good as you say; as it rained a lot, I loved their ability to dry quickly. The new ponte pants and the crepe straight skirt bot performed well, too. I had an EF v neck navy knit dress ( from garnet hill) I wore many evenings. Wish I had brought any sandals! Did fine with some Earth shoes ( anise, I think) and short black boots, a pair of black cloudwalkers. I have to be very careful with my feet; we walked 4-6 miles a day without any issues.

    Glad you had a great trip. Jealous about the boat time you had! Where were you in Kyoto? What a lovely city!

  3. Susan D.
    October 6, 2016 / 5:42 am

    I live year round in a place that is hot and humid for MOST of the year. I have several pairs of Eileen Fisher crepe pants and love them. I wear them a LOT. But, my go to outfits for heat and humidity are always dresses. Even though I am 64 and don’t have perfect arms, I don’t shy away from sleeveless dresses and find knit sleeveless dresses to be the most comfortable way to get through the humid heat.

  4. October 6, 2016 / 6:03 am

    Hi Susan, your travel posts, especially wardrobes, are great and were essential to me as I planed my late September trip to Europe. Here are the sandals I wore and loved – plenty of cushion for lots of walking and look great with the black crepe pants (thanks for that recommendation!) or jeans.
    Thanks for a great blog! Elizabeth

  5. Kelly
    October 6, 2016 / 6:30 am

    Am preparing for an Asia trip next month (SIN-HKG cruise, stopping in Thailand & Vietnam) Plan is currently mostly dresses 🙂 I’m thinking about wearing my Eileen Fisher crepe pants on the plane so I have them, but I still find them pretty warm – I live in NC and rarely wear them in the summer, despite working in air conditioning. Dresses are just cooler…..

  6. Jacqueline
    October 6, 2016 / 6:31 am

    Not too sure about cropped flared pants. Once read somewhere that they were a no no. The comment was something about ” looking like a pirate looking for his ship”. Disregarding this I don’t think they are
    classic, more a fun fad.

    • Liz in Paris
      October 6, 2016 / 9:47 am

      I agree Jacqueline, I’m short at 5’3″ and think cropped flares would make my mini-legs look even shorter! They can look good on other people though.

    • Jill Ann
      October 8, 2016 / 12:49 pm

      Cropped flares are definitely on my “no way, never” list. In fact I am waiting & hoping for the cropped/ankle pants trend to run its course, so I can find full length pants more easily. I tried on a great pair of Theory wool checked pants recently, and loved everything about them except the length. I’m fairly tall, so they looked especially short on me. And what kind of shoes does one wear? In summer, crops are ok with sandals or sneakers, with bare leg showing. But in winter? Even booties would leave an inch or two of bare leg, unless one wore knee socks…..

  7. Linda Boardman Kerr
    October 6, 2016 / 6:42 am

    In hot and humid climates I always take a lightweight cotton jersey T-shirt dress, in a modest length. Often in either black, or olive drab. I can vary their look with belts and scarves as belts. I also like to take separates I’ve made (I make much of my clothing) out of linen. Yes, linen wrinkles, but the wrinkles are less noticeable in darker colors, and the fabric breathes so well. I’ve made shirt-dresses and culottes in lightweight linen, and they’ve served well.
    Something I could NOT travel without is my black (lightweight) cashmere hooded cardigan. And of course the Pliage bag.

  8. Liz in Paris
    October 6, 2016 / 9:45 am

    Hi Sue, I was just wondering why you gave away the cherry shirt (aside from the lovely family story!). Was it a bad fit? Too thin/transparent? I was thinking of buying it after seeing it on you but as we don’t have J. Crew here I’m unsure about the fit. There’s a sweater with the same print but it doesn’t get good reviews on the site. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    • Susan B
      October 6, 2016 / 11:32 am

      Hi Liz, I’d purchased the regular size and decided it was too long for me. I may order the Petite to see if it’s a better fit.

      • Liz in Paris
        October 7, 2016 / 8:33 am

        Thank you very much for answering, Sue! I think we’re the same height so it’s good to know, about the length.

  9. Soon-ok Dixon
    October 6, 2016 / 10:25 am

    Hi Sue – I am enjoying your posts very much, especially the list of wardrobes and your pictures with different outfits. Am traveling to Italy late September-October 2017. Although I traveled to Europe several times, I’m always dissatisfied with what I packed. Your posts will help me great deal with the next trip.
    P.S. My problem is I’m only 5′ with almost even ratio of torso and bottom…

  10. Ellen
    October 6, 2016 / 10:56 am

    The website lists the EF pants as semi sheer….is that a problem?

    • Susan B
      October 6, 2016 / 11:27 am

      Hi Ellen, hmm, I haven’t noticed any sheerness. Maybe because they’re lightweight? Or maybe some of the lighter colors are?

  11. Angela
    October 6, 2016 / 11:57 am

    I particularly picked up on your thoughts about your chambray shirt. Feeling frumpy is still something I’m struggling with. Since clothing items are always modelled on younger, slim and tall women I find many styles simply do not translate for the older woman. For this reason I am beginning to stay away from floral and heavily patterned items too as I feel I look too ‘mumsy’ (momsy) and not achieving the polished look. I recently attended a fashion show at my favourite shop and realised all the attendees were in the senior age group. It was a real wakeup call to look elsewhere for my clothing. I might be over 60 but I certainly don’t want to look it! In future I’ll shop around more.

  12. October 6, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    I find packing for heat and humidity the hardest. Especially if I want to look “smart.” We are planning a South America trip for the winter…so I’d better start researching climates. I always love your trip packing recap posts. Any chance you can travel there first and give me pointers? Huh?

  13. Elizabeth
    October 6, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    I too recently returned from a trip to Asia- Taipei Taiwan. The heat and humidity were substantial so all I packed were cool skirts and sleeveless tops. Laundry was not a problem as I stayed with my friend. The only shoes I used for the entire 2 weeks were my Mephisto Fit Flops and my Keen closed toe sandals/hiking sport sandal. I did follow your advice and made sure all my tops and bottoms were interchangeable. Wished I had used a nylon or straw bag as leather was too hot. No raincoat but the umbrella got daily use for both sun and rain.

  14. Jill
    October 8, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Have traveled to a lot of hot and humid countries– and live in Houston. In addition to the other suggestions made, I swear by performance clothing available at places like REI. There are really stylish, cute, super quick drying clothes from brands such as mountain hardware, toad (something about a toad), etc. Lucy and Athleta often have nice pieces too. these more “sporty” lines often have travel clothes too. I just bought a perfect, rouched, boatneck tank, fabric is nice, substantial weight from a company that makes mostly hiking clothes at a recent REI sale–better than anything I’ve seen lately at higher end dept stores (like my go-to Nordstrom). Now, these aren’t the clothes to wear to a nice dinner, but perfect for sightseeing. Although I did just wear the tank under a jacket at a meeting recently.

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