Travel Planning

My Search for the Perfect Travel Dress

*Last updated on October 26th, 2017 at 11:17 am

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We just got back from our first ever trip on a “budget airline”! We took Norwegian Airlines to London (loved it– full review coming soon) and that meant we needed to work around their strict baggage policies. Since we bought the cheapest tickets ($450 USD non-stop from Oakland to London) that meant we could each bring a small carry-on up to 55 x 40 x 23 cm (21.5 x 15.5 x 9 in) and weighing less than 10 kg (22 lbs).

To help us pack light I decided to pack only a single outfit for myself. My travel uniform, if you will. In order for this to work I needed/wanted:

  • Quick drying (To allow me to wash it in the sink at night and be ready to go in the morning.)
  • Comfortable
  • Neutral (Ideally black, I didn’t want it to stand out that I was wearing the same thing in a week’s worth of pictures!)
  • Flattering
  • Layerable (Something I can wear while visiting London in October but also Stockholm in January)
  • Won’t wrinkle

Visually, I decided the best bet would be a black dress with black tights. I started with the dress and began searching for “hiking dresses”. Since they are designed for weeks or months on the trail, they tended to be exactly what I was looking for from a functional standpoint.

After wearing this dress the entire time I was in London, I am totally sold on this strategy! It saved space in my bag and also cut down on any decisions that I needed to make on our trip! The dress I ended up with (The North Face Getaway Dress) is casual but looks nice enough for anything I’d look to do while traveling with the kids.

 

Travel Dress Contenders

Brand

Dress Name

Fabric

Comes in black?

Pockets?

Advertises quick drying?

Advertises sun protection?

Cost

Columbia

WOMEN’S PFG FREEZER™ III DRESS

92% Polyester, 8% Elastane Jersey

Yes

No

No

50

$50.00

The North Face

WOMEN’S SHORT-SLEEVE EZ TEE DRESS

158 g/m² 86% polyester, 9% cotton, 5% spandex

Dark Gray

Yes

No

No

$50.00

The North Face

WOMEN’S APHRODITE 2.0 DRESS

131 g/m² 74% nylon, 20% polyester, 6% elastane

Yes

Yes

Yes “FlashDry”

No

$75.00

Athleta

PACK OUT DRESS

Recycled Polyester/Spandex

Yes

Yes

Yes “Quick-Drying”

50+

$79.00

Athleta

TAKE A HIKE DRESS

Polyester/Spandex

Yes

Yes

Yes “Quick-Drying”

50+

$79.00

Athleta

PACK EVERYWHERE DRESS 2

Polyester/Spandex

Yes

Yes

Yes “Quick-Drying”

50+

$79.00

The North Face

GETAWAY DRESS

88% polyester, 12% elastane.

Yes

Yes

Yes “FlashDry”

No

$65.00

Toad & Co

Sunkissed Swing Dress

84% nylon/16% spandex

No

Yes

Yes “Quick-Drying”

50+

$79.00

Columbia Sportswear Women’s Freezer III Dress

Simple and classic. I was deterred by the Columbia logo on the back of the dress. The placement of the logo seems to brand it a workout dress and I would want to be able to dress it up for nicer occasions.

The North Face Women’s Short-Sleeve EZ Tee Dress

Style-wise this was my favorite of the dresses I looked at but they were out of my size.

The North Face Women’s Aphrodite 2.0 Dress

The Amazon link below is to the original Aphrodite dress. Aphrodite 2.0 can be found on the North Face Website.

Athleta Packout Dress

I was leaning heavily towards one of the Athleta dresses, but each dress was on sale with only limited size options. The “Packout Dress” wasn’t a top contender because of the halter style top which would clash with my bra preferences.

Athleta Pack Out Dress

Athleta Take a Hike Dress

My favorite of the Athleta dresses, the style of “Take a Hike” is very similar to North Face’s “Aphrodite”.

Athleta Take a Hike

Athleta Pack Everywhere Dress 2

I would have bought this dress for the incredible sales price if it weren’t for the halter top. After my search for the perfect travel dress, I will be searching for the perfect travel bra, and I will bet it won’t be compatible with halter tops.

Athleta Pack Everywhere 2

The North Face Getaway Dress

Ultimately, this was the dress I purchased and you can see pictures of me in it further down in this post. I went with this because it was simple, flattering, and advertised super fast drying.

Toad & Co Sunkissed Swing Dress

This would have been a contender if it came in black. The colorful options available are pretty cute and I like the high neck style for a travel dress.

 

If you’re interested in one of these dresses but can’t find the color or size you want, make sure to check the brand’s website as well as Amazon. I’ve also seen some pretty drastic prices changes between the two. Shop smart 😊

 

My search resulted in me buying the North Face Getaway Dress. I tested it out the very first weekend with an impromptu trip to Malibu. After the trip, I washed it in the sink and hung it out to dry. It wasn’t quite dry in the morning,  mostly due to inadequate wringing.

How the Getaway Dress performed in Malibu

The perfect travel dress side view
The first test for the dress: exploring the woods with the kids and their friends.
Family photo
Posing for a (slightly blurry) family photo. You know it’s a good dress when it looks good holding a baby!
The North Face Getaway Dress after 5 hours of driving
We were taking a break after 5 hours in the car. We did a total of 12 hours in the car this weekend but the dress never wrinkled at all!
K applying sunscreen
The travel dress took a lot of sunscreen this day, but I washed it by hand and was still able to get it completely clean.
North Face Getaway Dress in Malibu
Day 2 wearing my new travel dress. It still looked great, but by the time we left the beach it was covered in sunscreen and sweat.

How the Northface Getaway Dress performed in London

I washed it every night we were in London either in the shower with shampoo or in the sink with actual detergent. Each night I wrung it the best I could and then rolled it up in a towel to get as much excess moisture out as possible. The first morning I got up super early (jet lag) and it was still a tiny bit damp but it dried on me quick enough. The other nights where it actually got to hang up for 8 hours it was totally good to go in the morning.

North Face Getaway Dress
I like that the North Face Getaway dress is long enough that I can get down on the ground (or swing in this instance!) and play with the kids while remaining modest.
North Face Getaway Dress
I need to start shopping for a quick drying sweater, this one was a nightmare to dry!
Northface getaway dress
Here’s my whole family together in London on the last day we were visiting. At that point, I’d washed the dress by hand 3 times.


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