This globetrotting mama travels steamy climates in merino wool dresses. Here’s why.
Our family of four is traveling the warm climates of the world… So naturally, as I was evaluating my travel capsule wardrobe, I chose dresses made of merino wool. Turns out, that’s a pretty darn smart choice for traveling, even in the sub-tropical zones we’ve been wandering. Travel dresses with pockets make up the bulk of my globetrotting wardrobe. Over nearly a year in the US and five other countries, I’ve road-tested my Wool& dresses. Here’s what I think.
The upshot? Different weights, easy care, and versatile designs make Wool& dresses a stylish, reliable companion for the world-traveling woman. These dresses are great for a carryon traveler, look cute, keep you cool in warmer weather, and are practical, flattering, and classy.
Travel dresses with pockets can look good and feel good without lots of worry and care
When you’re traveling in different countries, you have so much to worry about—especially when you are also traveling with your partner and your children. There are visas to arrange, accommodation to book, activities to figure out, transportation to navigate. Day-to-day matters need tending, such as food and laundry. Everything we pack has to help us balance out our days on the road. When traveling, even simple tasks can take longer. Different places do things differently from what you’re accustomed to.
As a globetrotting mama, I want to look good, feel good, and not over-worry about my travel wardrobe. Since we are traveling as a family, we have to maintain clothing for four people. We travel minimally, with only a few sets of clothes per person. We don’t want to do laundry constantly. We have a world to see!
Wool& merino apparel has given me the benefits of a breathable, easy-to-care-for fabric. My travel dresses with pockets pack down well, so it’s easy to fit all my clothes into my travel backpack. My Wool& merino dresses can go for multiple wears in between washes—even when I’ve been sweating so much, my dress looks like someone threw water balloons at me.
Wear-tested: 9 months, 7 states, 5 countries
What caught my eye about Wool&? Their 100 Day Challenge, where you document wearing your Wool& dress for 100 days in a row in exchange for a gift card. I was looking hard at using Wool& dresses as the backbone of my travel capsule wardrobe, so that offer piqued my interest.
The Camellia Tank Dress got a pretty intense road test. It began in May, when I wore my dress every day while attending the Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Kansas City, KS. Next, during the month of June we traveled by train, plane, and automobile to see loved ones in Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia. From dry, sunny days in Albuquerque, to humid day trips in Virginia, I wore the Camellia Tank Dress in many hot temperatures, climates, and conditions. The breathable wool, though, kept me comfortable and helped me cool off.
Our next big test would come as we visited our family’s first new country: Mexico. Over a month and a half in Oaxaca de Juárez and Oaxaca’s Huatulco region, I wore Wool& apparel just about every day.
Now, I’ve wear-tested my Wool& wardrobe across 7 states, plus 5 countries (and counting). Whether in Mexico, Thailand, or Vietnam, my Wool& dresses have turned out to be incredible travel companions. Above all? They don’t stink. Even on hot, sunny days where I wind up sweating buckets, I can hang up my dress, let it air-dry, and put it back on, fresh and ready for our next adventure.
The backbone of Jodie’s travel capsule wardrobe
As we prepared for travel, Anthony and I did serious clothing culling. Bags of clothes went to second hand stores, or we gifted items to friends and family. Any remaining pieces got packed away in the storage room in our garage, to await our return (such as our hand-knits, especially Anthony’s sweaters).
I knew I wanted a few pieces of clothing that I could wear comfortably yet stylishly whatever the circumstance: a 13-hour trans-Pacific flight, dinner out with Anthony, a full-day tour all over Bangkok’s top tourist attractions. I also didn’t want to spend all my time doing laundry.
At its most essential, a travel capsule wardrobe is a few pieces of clothing that you can accessorize with and wear pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Instead of seeking the latest trend, you’re usually combining timeless pieces that work for you.
I built out my world travel wardrobe to be exactly that. And my Wool& dresses have become the backbone of that travel capsule wardrobe. With my two black Camellia and Midi dresses (one of which is reversible) plus a red Amalya button-down dress that can work as a light coat, I’m ready for whatever the travel day brings.
3 merino wool travel dresses, 1 travel tank & 1 merino wool travel pant
Here are the Wool& items you’ll find in my capsule travel wardrobe:
My original dress has risen to the challenge of global, long-term family travel. I can wear it on days exploring Cambodia’s Angkor temples or flying to another country. But it’s also comfy enough that I can wear it as pajamas.
Sure, a black dress keeps it simple and is easy to accessorize. But for my second Wool& dress, I wanted something with color, not another neutral. With a button-down front, A-line Amalya travel dresses with pockets can also be an accessory. Besides the snazzy red color, I can wear the Amalya closed as a dress, or open like a long jacket or cardigan over another outfit.
For my third Wool& dress, I chose the Summer Midi. Its versatile, semi-fitted design keeps the dress flowy and comfy, yet with a flattering silhouette. Since the dress is sleeveless, I can wear it on its own, or it’s easy to add a layer for warmth, sun protection, or, say, for complying with modesty rules at Thai temples. Plus, the reversible fit works as a crew neck or v-neck.
Even if it seems like I have nothing but dresses, I don’t. My reversible orange Poppy Tank Top gives me more options with my wardrobe for days when I want to wear a 2-piece outfit.
For our current travels, these pants have been tricky. They are heavier than my other clothing, and don’t pack down as well in my backpack. Plus, even though merino is breathable, the pants run hot in the warmer-weather climates we’ve been traveling in. If we were at home, or wintering in Germany, they’d be perfect. During some cool, drizzly weather in northern and central Vietnam, though, they were a great fit against the chill.
Having to wear the same dresses every day while we travel makes you creative with how you accessorize to keep your look fresh. You’ll find a few versatile accessories in my backpack. Traveling has made me think more creatively and deliberately about accessorizing. Instead of relying on different clothes to change up my look, I had to rely on the rest of my travel wardrobe, such as:
- Headbands and hair clips
- 4 Belts (including a “fancy” belt that I can use for a dressier look)
- T-shirt, which I can knot as an over-layer with her Summer Midi Dress or wear as an underlayer with the Camillia dress.
Pros and cons of a merino wool travel wardrobe
Let’s break down the good and the bad, from my experience, by relying on merino wool apparel for my travel wardrobe:
People associate wool with something to wear when they’re cold. But it’s been so comfortable in hot places too! Traveling in places like Mexico and Thailand, I’ve been more comfortable in my merino wool dresses than when I wear a cotton t-shirt.
- Long-lasting between washes: Hang dresses overnight to refresh them for odor-free wear
- Stylish, timeless looks
- Comfort, even in hot weather or on cold buses
- Dresses pack light and tight to take up less space in luggage
- Pockets! Travel dresses with pockets make each piece more useful for day-to-day wear
While Wool& apparel is available in many colors, I have especially liked the black for traveling. While I’m not normally a black clothes person, I like the black because it is so easy to accessorize. Plus, with black it’s easy to hide repairs, such as when the dress snags and gets a small hole.
Nothing is perfect, of course. My dresses have been more prone to snags than I expected.
- The lightweight fabric can be prone to snags and getting small but repairable holes
- Since the dresses are wool, you need to be careful about how they’re washed and dried. Instead of using a laundry service (like we did in Mexico and in Cambodia, where, incidentally, Anthony needs to stop writing and get ready to go pick up a load of clothes), I hand-wash my Wool& apparel myself.
- Depending on your budget, these dresses can seem costly, since they’re not, say, $20 fast-fashion dresses. Wool& apparel is much more durable and sustainable—and odds are you’ll wear your Wool& dresses more times than you would use five fast-fashion items.
Context on holes and laundry
Sometimes we’ve needed to take our laundry to someone for washing. The trade-off? You don’t know how the washing and drying are getting done. Incorrect washing can mess up the wool. To be on the safe side, we hand-wash my Wool& items. Since these merino clothes hardly ever need to be washed, it’s a pretty minor inconvenience.
My dresses have also gotten a few holes. Sometimes that’s been due to sharp corners on my prosthetic leg. Snags happen too. So these dresses may need the occasional bit of mending, but it’s pretty easy. And again, the durability overall has been pretty amazing.
Is a Wool& merino dress for you?
Of course, it’s not for everyone either.
If you dislike wool, have a wool allergy, or simply don’t like the designs or colors, Wool& may not be for you. Many of these dresses have a price tag over a hundred dollars. They hold up well, but could be outside of someone’s budget.
I am a globetrotting, business running, world schooling mama of two. Together, we keep a tight budget so that we can show our kids the world while running our business. We believe in quality products, excellent companies, and durable stuff where we can confidently get our money’s worth.
So, for me, Wool& was a natural choice. For the dress lover who wants a simple, versatile, easy-care, durable wardrobe, Wool& apparel is phenomenal. Whether at home or on the road, Wool& merino dresses are durable, versatile, easy to accessorize, look great, and pack down well. The merino is lightweight and breathable. The merino airs out odor-free, even after a long day sweating in heat, humidity, and sunshine.
Wool& is perfect for you if…
Do you want a simple, durable, stylish wardrobe that you can pack into a backpack, unpack anywhere, and be ready for a solid day of seeing the world? And would you like the option to find travel dresses with pockets? Then Wool& apparel is for you.
Wool& apparel is breathable and durable. The merino blends look good, fit well, and pack down tight for travel. These dresses may be best hand-washed or gently washed yourself. How rarely you typically need to wash Wool& more than makes up for it though.
Above all? Wool& merino dresses are easy to care for. You can wear them multiple times between washes. Each piece is a wonderful balance of stylish and comfortable. I’ve now worn my Wool& dresses, pants, and tank throughout multiple countries, weather, and activities. Each item is going strong and feels good as I explore the world with my husband and kids. Wool& apparel could be great for your travel and everyday wardrobe too—especially when you are looking for comfy travel dresses with pockets.