travel in style – in flight essentials (part 1)

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Sweater: Uniqlo // Scarf: Nordstrom // Tee: similar // Pants: similar // Watch: Michael Kors // Boots: Aquatalia by Marvin K // Tote: Lo & Sons // Spinner Suitcase: Briggs and Riley

We’re now 90 days out from our upcoming trip to France (Loire Valley and Paris) and as always when we travel, I am very much enjoying the research and planning stages. Between now and then, I’ll be focusing one post per week on travel clothing, gear, accessories and strategies for traveling light and stylishly. If there are any particular topics or areas you’d like to see covered, let me know. As we get close to departure, I’ll share my travel capsule wardrobe for this trip.

While air travel is no longer the glamorous adventure it once was, I still believe we can journey comfortably without sacrificing style. At the very least we can still look neat and put-together, even for those long overseas flights. Layers are key not only for your destination, but also for in-transit garb. I always include a wool or cashmere pullover and a lightweight wrap/shawl for insanely variable cabin temperatures. Wear a lightweight tee shirt underneath (and a lightweight tank too if you tend to run cold like me) and add or remove layers as needed. Knits will be comfortable enough to sleep in, and won’t wrinkle. Cashmere is my favorite sweater material for warmth, light weight and lack of bulk, but lightweight marino wool is another good option, and can be less pricey. I stick with a neutral color that will coordinate with the rest of my travel wardrobe. A lightweight cashmere or cashmere blend wrap can be a shawl, scarf or pillow, and is a great way to add color.

What pieces do you rely on to stay comfortable and stylish while traveling?



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  1. Linda
    January 22, 2014 / 3:41 am

    I’m taking a couple of trips soon and really like your suggestions for traveling. The tote bag and spinner look great but are way above my price point, do you know of any cheaper options?

    • une femme
      January 22, 2014 / 5:48 am

      Hi Linda, I’m planning to include an entire post on luggage and travel gear in two weeks. I’m researching options in a range of prices.

      • Linda
        January 23, 2014 / 3:23 am

        Thanks! I look forward to reading it.

  2. January 22, 2014 / 4:23 am

    I wear Lisette L pants that stretch and hold in the tummy. They look crisp and come in lots of colors and styles.

  3. January 22, 2014 / 5:10 am

    I agree…you can travel in style and comfort! I have done it…there are some great selections here.

  4. Cathy
    January 22, 2014 / 5:49 am

    I need something that will hold my camera, a small umbrella, maps, passport/tickets/etc., credit card/ID, cash, a paperback, my tablet, my phone, some basic toiletries and a water bottle, that I can throw my scarf/pashmina and a cardigan into — but at 5’2″, a super-large tote can be impractical and overpowering, and I hate rummaging through those one-opening totes looking for things; no matter how carefully I pack, they become a black hole. Any suggestions for cross-body bags with structure and lots of organizational pockets — lovely, lovely pockets?

  5. January 22, 2014 / 6:09 am

    Great picks here, Une Femme. I wear similar pieces, usually trading out the leggings for a long knit skirt.

  6. January 22, 2014 / 6:46 am

    This is so timely for me because I am leaving on March 7 for 9 weeks in Europe. I will be in Paris for 5, up to the far north of Scotland and walking for 10 days in Cornwall. I have Eileen Fisher cardigan, t-shirt and pants that will work for travel but I will be watching your posts for ideas. Merci.

  7. January 22, 2014 / 7:13 am

    I love my Lulu Lemon zippered jacket for travel. It’s warm and is so well made that it doesn’t lose it’s shape and always looks neat and tidy. We do so much hiking or other outdoors stuff when we travel and not very much city stuff, so I don’t take very many of what I consider my “real clothes!”

  8. adelfa
    January 22, 2014 / 7:40 am

    Yay! I first found you through your travel posts, I think in 2011! You have helped me so much. I was able to spend three weeks in Costa Rica with only a carry-on, happily. I love these posts and am excited about the weeks to come!

  9. January 22, 2014 / 8:11 am

    We’re just getting ready to book the central part of this year’s trip — some big changes for us, including the possibility of missing Paris (perhaps even France, although I hope not!) for the first time in 10 years. . . so I’ll be following your plans very attentively,

  10. Argie
    January 22, 2014 / 8:25 am

    My travel essential is a backpack as my “personal item” carry-on. I stuff a lightweight handbag in it, as well as tissues, throat lozenges, a scarf (since I can’t wear that through security), gum/mints, cellphone and charger, camera, and sometimes husband’s lightweight jacket! Another must-have is slip on shoes that I can drop and slide my feet into and keep going, which helps me clear security very quickly.

    • Chris
      January 22, 2014 / 3:45 pm

      A backpack is my essential for travel as well. For business travel I have one on wheels that holds everything I need – work laptop and materials, e-reader/book, chargers, crochet project, along with a scarf or shawl, snack, and all the other “necessities” for a comfortable trip. I chose a backpack with compartments and pockets that make it easy to find everything on route

  11. January 22, 2014 / 9:05 am

    Love these travel related posts!!! Just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in Italy – carry on only! I have a couple of recent finds that I thought might be of help to others traveling during the winter/cold season. 1. Lands End Primaloft packable jacket. This saved my on our trip – it packs into it’s own pocket – so I used this as the “filler” for my travel pillow so as not to take up space in my carry on. Wore the jacket alone over a merino sweater and t shirt on warmer days and under my raincoat on the really cold and wet days. 2. Uniqlo heat tech t shirts. These are form fitting thin t shirts that I wore as a base layer – under my t shirt for additional warmth or under a sweater – or both! Could wash these in the sink, roll up in my microfiber towel, and they would dry by morning! Lastly, I found a handly little clip for securing the zipper of my cross body bag – Nite Ize S biner. They come in various sizes and I used it to clip my zipper pull to the metal ring that connected the strap on my crossbody. Not foolproof but definitely made it a bit more challenging to undo the zipper of my bag.

  12. January 22, 2014 / 9:46 am

    Definitely a scarf which is a cozy life saver when the plane temp is cold. My next purchase is to get luggage on 4 wheels.

    And even though it’s not stylish, I always carry a back pack and pack a small purse in my luggage.


  13. Duchesse
    January 22, 2014 / 10:26 am

    I pack as you do, but have forsaken jeans for techno pants (from Lolë and Cambio) that swish out and dry in a flash. Take up no space at all!

    Problem: If rainy, shoes get wet and do not dry quickly. Yet to find perfect solution (my Bogs are cute but too heavy.) Any ideas? Someone suggested Crocs (the shoe style, not the clog) but I just can’t get onboard with those, literally.

  14. January 22, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Close-fitting pants, even when stretchy, tend to make me claustrophobic on long flights. So I now go for baggy jeans, which I am trying to uplevel by finding some good boyfriend versions.

  15. January 22, 2014 / 10:57 am

    Layers – and thick socks for when I take my boots off!

  16. Bronwyn Johnson
    January 22, 2014 / 3:18 pm

    love this post, very handy for me. I will be in England (London/ Bath) then arrrive Paris mid April.

  17. Leslie
    January 22, 2014 / 3:53 pm

    If you wear clogs look at Clark’s -they have very comfortable styles that easily slip off and on. I like towelettes to wipe off the tray tables and arm rests. I pack a shawl and wear a scarf that I can roll up as a pillow. Remember your earphones and lip balm. Ex-officio makes undies that wash and dry quickly.

  18. kari
    January 22, 2014 / 8:20 pm

    While this appears very practical on the surface….I added up the cost of these BASICS and came up with $1800!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. January 23, 2014 / 6:58 am

    I noticed someone added up the costs of these basic and said it came to $1800 but I feel that we already have many of these basics in our wardrobe in some form. Some of the other pieces can be had a lower price at other stores (even resale). What I love is the sleek look you created! I will be traveling soon and plan to copy this. PINNED it! Would love you to link this up to this week’s style hop:

  20. Debby
    January 23, 2014 / 8:28 am

    Love the post and all the practical tips in the comments. Will you share your itinerary sometime soon? We’re going to Paris and Normandy and would love to see the Loire Valley, too.

  21. Christine G
    January 23, 2014 / 10:41 am

    Regarding costs, I noticed your link for cashmere blend sweater at Nordstrom, and ordered two of them for my early May trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Totaled $130 for both, which I thought was pretty good price. It’s my first attempt to travel only carry-on for two week trip and I’m both excited and terrified.

    Pseu, I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness in posting ideas for those of us with smaller budgets and plus size needs!

  22. Susan
    January 23, 2014 / 4:37 pm

    Here’s the travel tote I enjoy:

    I took it on our 8 day trip to London in September, to Santa Fe in October, and I take it to our farm every weekend. It goes with me whenever we travel. It will hold a fold up umbrella, books to read, a change of clothes, my nightgown, toiletries, and most anything else I might need. PLUS, it matches my Tumi luggage. I think it was a good investment.

  23. kari
    January 23, 2014 / 10:18 pm

    I’d like to say as add on to my $1800 comment above, that this post has really made me think a lot about price and fashion. And what’s the true cost of some of the less expensive choices we have now. I appreciate all you gals who are out there blogging and sharing yourselves- your confidence is contagious and your ideas and sense of community are a good thing in my life.

    • Jaye
      February 5, 2014 / 8:47 am

      Kari, when looking at prices think in terms of Cost per Wear/Use. A B&R bag can handle the rigors of travel and will last a long time. I only buy cashmere when I find it on sale and there are excellent sales to be had. A quality comfortable shoe may cost twice as much as another pair but it will last more than twice as long and your feet will be happy too. I do keep in mind that not all expensive items are quality items but a well made, good fitting garment is worth the cost to me because I will wear it so much that cost-per-wear turns out to be pennies. My travel wardrobe is not a specialty wardrobe – meaning I don’t go out and buy new things just because I’m planning a trip. I pull things out of my closet that I know will travel well and flatter me. I have a black dress that still goes with me almost everywhere and I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it.

  24. January 26, 2014 / 3:25 pm

    I love your travel posts! My on going challenge is to travel light while having enough choices as I get bored easily. I never wear anything too casual when flying so it will be something tailored that I work from, either a shirt dress (in a soft material or jersey for comfort) in the warmer months or a softly tailored pair of pants for the cooler season.

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