Dressing Up Travel-Friendly Neutral Separates

travel separates, dressed up

Covered Perfectly top, French Kande jewelryOne of the reasons that simple, neutral separates are my mainstay for travel is that they can be dressed up or down with accessories. Here I’ve dressed up a black knit top and ankle pants somewhat with a scarf cape and jewelry. (This could go even more formal with different shoes and jewelry.) This outfit* packs easily, and all of the clothing can go from suitcase to dinner without pressing.

necklace | scarf cape (similar) | top | pants | ring | sandals

I’m wearing the “Fit and Flare” top, provided by Covered Perfectly. It’s made from the same super-soft, breathable and washable MicroModal fabric as the others I’ve reviewed, and has such a nice, feminine shape thanks to the princess seaming (which is a rare thing in a knit top these days!). At 5’1″, this fits me more like a tunic, so those of you who are tall will find you still have plenty of coverage. I may have it hemmed up a little bit.

black knit modal top

The pants are one of my warm season travel stalwarts, the Eileen Fisher stretch crepe ankle pants. (More colors here, Plus here.) I’ve worn these even in hot and humid conditions and was comfortable. They breathe, don’t cling, seem to adjust well to different temperatures, and of course can be washed and hung to dry overnight.

The scarf cape was an anniversary gift from le Monsieur. More prints in this style here.

You can browse more of my travel wardrobe picks on my SHOP page.

How do you dress up your neutral separates?

*though I LOVE these sandals and wear them frequently at home, I’ll probably pack a lower-heeled style (TBD) for travel

Linked up: Visible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilike

DISCLOSURE: Top was provided by Covered Perfectly for review. All other items and opinions are my own. 

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Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. May 27, 2016 / 2:57 am

    Great outfit. You seem to have a good travel plan!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:28 am

      francetaste, thank you!

  2. Heidi
    May 27, 2016 / 4:10 am

    5’1″? You look so tall in your pictures! I have not tried some of your looks because I thought they were best for a taller person! That changes today! Signed, 5’2″

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:27 am

      Hi Heidi, yes, I’m a short stack. 😉 I find the longer layers often create a look of more height. Have fun!!

  3. Robin Grantham
    May 27, 2016 / 4:15 am

    I was glad to see the final comment about wearing a lower heel for travel because my first thought was–you never have a long walk at airports! Your description of the Eileen Fisher pants intrigues me enough to go try them on. Thanks for the detailed info, as always.

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:26 am

      Robin, yes I’ve learned to stick to lower heels for travel. 🙂 Let us know how you like the pants once you’ve tried them.

  4. plutrell
    May 27, 2016 / 4:18 am

    I love the scarf and the colors in it. Of course, this is how I dress for just traveling to my job…love this look!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:24 am

      Thanks very much, Pam!

  5. May 27, 2016 / 4:43 am

    The EF stretch crepe pants have my vote too. I’ve had a black pair and a white pair for years. I got them on sale at Nordstrom but even at full price they are worth the investment. Easy wear, easy care at home and abroad.

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:24 am

      jacoker, thanks, and yes I agree these are worth paying even full price for. The cost-per-wear on mine is incredibly low and they are such wardrobe workhorses.

  6. May 27, 2016 / 4:57 am

    I love your strategies for travel. My favorite “travel” pants are the Lilly Pulitzer travel pants that are, unfortunately, discontinued. But they are incredibly comfy on longer flights. We leave in less than three weeks for France–and I won’t have to pack two wardrobes since we won’t be in Paris. We’re spending our time solely on the Cote d’Azur–I’m happy because all I have to pack is a beach wardrobe. i.e. bathing suits, shift dresses and shorts and tee shirts. I’m just thrilled that I can be my true self–beachbumfashionista!! BTW..how do you pack for a sea trip or vacay??? I would love to get some of your tips on that!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:22 am

      Hi Catherine, have a lovely time in Cote d’Azur! We rarely do sea/beach vacations, as I try to stay out of the sun with my family history of skin cancer. 🙁

      • May 27, 2016 / 10:28 am

        OMG. Susan! I didn’t know that. I take extra care while out in the sun due to my own skin cancer issue. That’s why I sit under the umbrella!! Enjoy the weekend!

  7. Yvonne
    May 27, 2016 / 5:16 am

    I love this look – you are so elegant. Your scarf cape is the perfect addition.

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:21 am

      Yvonne, thank you!

  8. May 27, 2016 / 5:27 am

    Absolutely gorgeous scarf and it dresses up the black beautifully.

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:20 am

      Chicatanyage, thanks so much!

  9. May 27, 2016 / 6:29 am

    Is there any certain time of year that the EF crepe pants tend to go on sale? I am a thrifty shopper, so would appreciate any assistance. I do not have a particular need for these pants at this moment, but Iike to be prepared for future adventures! They get such great reviews from everyone, so I would like to give them a try. Thanks!

    • May 27, 2016 / 8:15 am

      Not to hog the blog…I got some last year for around 50. (think at Neiman and I had Nordstrom price match) Check out the various resale sites–Thredup, Poshmark, etc. You need to know the fabric content of the washable crepe: 70 viscose, 14 nylon, 6 lycra. (Other blends are nice–but 69 viscose is a kind of ponte). EF has used this fabric for a long time–you can also find skirts in it. Knowing the fabric blend will help you navigate the listings b/c not every seller will list as crepe. It is one of my favorite fabrics ever. And now I’ve revealed my secret!

      • Susan B
        May 27, 2016 / 9:11 am

        frugalscholar, thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:17 am

      Sheryl Anne, I haven’t noticed that these go on sale often as they’re more a “perennial” item, but sometimes retailers will have short “x_% off everything” promotions, and you might be able to get them discounted that way.

    • Kelly
      May 30, 2016 / 11:16 am

      I have Eileen Fisher as one of my brands in my Shop It To Me profile so I get sale emails every day – I’m currently looking at linen cardigans & dusters- but if/when the crepe pants go on sale, I’d know…..(I couldn’t decide whether or not to jump on Frugal Scholar’s $59 sale she shared last year – I opted not to because I’m apparently a little warmer blooded than Une Femme and I find the fabric too much for really hot & humid environments….)

  10. May 27, 2016 / 6:40 am

    Absolutely stunning. That cape is perfection. Love the pendant as well!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:15 am

      Bethany, thank you!

  11. May 27, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Great outfit and I love Eileen Fisher separates…cute that the cat photobombed your shoot!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:13 am

      Hostess, thank you! Lars likes to check out what’s going on around the neighborhood. 🙂

  12. ninny71
    May 27, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Love your blog! As a frequent traveler I am ALWAYS looking for a travel shoe for style, comfort, compact/lightweight (we don’t check bags) and the ability to navigate cobblestone streets. I found a brand yesterday called the Charleston Shoe Company and bought a pair of the Cannon Style (lots of styles and colors). They are super light, machine washable (!), hug my feet like a glove (i have narrow feet) and are super comfy. I’ll be putting them on a test drive in Japan in a few weeks, but I am optimistic that they are going to be fantastic. If you haven’t heard of them you should check them out!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:13 am

      ninny71, thanks so much, and thanks for sharing this brand. I’ll definitely take a look. Let us know how they do on your travels!

  13. roxannesteed
    May 27, 2016 / 8:08 am

    I bought those Eileen Fisher pants last fall after reading one of your blog posts; they are one of my absolute favorites!!!! I’ve worn them weekly ever since, and they are excellent for travel! I was able to get them at a sale price, and they’ve been the best ‘bang for the buck’ ever!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Hi roxannesteed, I’m so glad to hear you like them. I hope EF never stops making these!

  14. May 27, 2016 / 11:12 am

    That scarf really changes the look, good tip, Susan, would work so well for suitcase wardrobes … And I love you Marilyn Moment!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      Mary, thanks so much!

  15. May 27, 2016 / 11:31 am

    You just sold me on that top. I love the length. Great look. I’m going to copy you for my next trip to Vegas!

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      Hi Sandra, thanks and have a great time in Vegas!!

  16. Darlene
    May 27, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    What type of scarf would you suggest if silk or cashmere is too expensive for someone on a budget?

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      Hi Darlene, I’ve seen scarves recently in modal fabric, which also has a nice softness and drape. You might also check out local consignment and thrift stores for scarves, which often seemed to be overlooked by shoppers. I’ve found fun silk scarves at flea markets for a few dollars too.

  17. Rhonda
    May 27, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    I struggle with the scarf/cape. I’m very short and I never feel it looks right. I’m going to give it another try.

    • Susan B
      May 27, 2016 / 5:01 pm

      Hi Rhonda, sometimes keeping the rest of the outfit to a narrower silhouette helps make the volume more manageable.

  18. Kathe R Moore
    May 27, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    I find neutral outfits are uninteresting. When I travel I pack color. Rarely wear black or beige. The correct use of color is a good anti ager.

    • Susan B
      May 28, 2016 / 6:56 am

      Hi Kathe, if you’ve found a formula that works for you, great!

  19. May 28, 2016 / 8:19 am

    I didn’t realize you and I are the same height. You look so much taller, but then again, I always hear that too. I really like this look, Susan. A favorite!

    • Susan B
      May 28, 2016 / 8:30 am

      Thanks, Glenda! I never realized you were petite too… 🙂

    • Susan B
      May 29, 2016 / 7:56 am

      Thanks, Ann!

  20. Susan D.
    May 28, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    I have the Eileen Fisher crepe pants and love them. I have two black pairs–the cropped and crepe full length. My cropped pair I have had for at least three years. They have held up very very well.

    • Susan B
      May 29, 2016 / 7:58 am

      Susan, I recently purchased the wide leg version and wore them out for the first time last night. Love them! They’re not as widely cut as they look online.

  21. May 29, 2016 / 9:01 am

    I’ve found great prices on the EF pants, both used and new, on Ebay. They’re usually described as ‘washable crepe’. And – yes – the fiber blend is the secret.

  22. May 30, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    You look great! I love hearing how you plan for traveling in hot weather. Hot weather can defeat me but I’m going to NYC this summer and I need to get it figured out. And it needs to pack SMALL! 🙂

  23. May 30, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    It’s surprising how a staple like a simple scarf can be so effective. Travel clothes are so important yet not really featured within every department store. Thanks for your tips.

  24. E Deere
    June 1, 2016 / 5:58 am

    Your ensemble looks great. I have a black knit wrap dress (I think it was a Banana Republic version of a Jenny Packham dress), and it can be rolled tight and doesn’t wrinkle. I like to pair it with a pretty silk scarf, which also rolls tight and doesn’t wrinkle in luggage. Together they take up almost no room in a suitcase.

  25. Lyn Mowles
    June 2, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    Susan, I love your blogs and it is great to see ideas for those of us who are around 5’1″. I particularly like this outfit as I have a very similar scarf and welcome your idea of how to wear it. Paula Ryan, in New Zealand, has similar tops in micromodal.

  26. Melissa
    June 3, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    Hi Susanne,

    I dress up my neutral seperates just like you have done above one colour foundation, and a pop of colour on the accessory.

    Again you are wearing my absolute favorite piece on you. This truly is so elegant on you.

  27. June 7, 2016 / 9:18 am

    Is that good ol Lars in the background? I love it when he sneaks into one of your photos. You and Lars both look great! xx

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