Revamping My Travel Wardrobe – Part II

Part I of updating my travel wardrobe involved going through everything and sorting out what worked and what didn’t and removing or getting rid of items that I didn’t wear or want to wear, ones that didn’t fit any more, and things that gave out (like shoes).

Part II has been all about finding or replacing items with pieces that are more practical, fit better and are a bit more stylish.

Below are 15 new items being added to my wardrobe:

This wool-blend turtleneck poncho looks somewhat heavy in the picture but it’s actually fairly lightweight while being very comfortable and warm when it’s on. It will pop over a variety of tops that I already have. Before it arrived Brett was skeptical about me wearing a poncho, but he likes how I look in this one (so do I).

When we were in India, the other woman in our travel group had a couple of shawls (ruana) that she carried along – they were easy to pop on when she needed a little warmth. This lightweight one is the same idea, and is so comfortable and flattering that I bought a second one in a dark moss green.

This kimono-sleeved sweatshirt tunic is actually a dark indigo blue and white although it looks black in the picture. The big pocket in front is an added plus.

I love the length and pattern of this indigo swing-style sweater. It’s a fairly lightweight piece though, fine on its own for fall, but I’ll probably need a camisole underneath for a bit more warmth during the winter.

I found this sweatshirt cardigan on the sale rack at Muji in Sangenjaya while I was waiting for a dressing room. It’s very soft, and a great length.

I can never find jeans that fit comfortably these days (small waist, big hips), and don’t care for the feel of them anyway so when I found indigo leggings J.Jill I decided to go with them instead (I bought two pair). I love the weight of the fabric – they will be warm in winter without being overly heavy.  I was a bit nervous about wearing leggings as I have heavy legs, but a friend posted this on Facebook one day: Want a bikini body? Put on a bikini! and I decided I needed to wear what I was comfortable in and get over being disappointed in not having some sort of “perfect” figure. The dark olive Perfect Fit pants are also a nice neutral and a color I like much better than the gray or navy pairs that I previously had packed. New summer pants include a pair of white capri leggings and a pair of knit denim capris.

 This lightweight raincoat will be a bit more practical than the three other non-waterproof jackets I had been carrying along. Not only is it waterproof, but it’s roomy enough to go over sweaters and other layers. It doesn’t show in the picture, but the waist can be cinched for more of a trench coat look, and I love, love, love the big pockets in front.

The two pair of Skechers slip-ons I started out with last year were very comfortable at first, but ended up with the memory foam soles compressed to flat (I joked that I could step on a dime with them on and tell whether it was heads or tails) and they also started falling apart. The red slip-ons above are a much better quality walking shoe, and I wanted a pop of color this time around. Red is a great neutral that actually goes with almost everything. Because I will be wearing leggings, I thought the blue ankle boots would also be a fun choice. The boots have a thick sole so are great for walking. Both pair are lightweight, both are very comfortable and fit perfectly, but both pairs will have to be waterproofed before we go (the blue boots are suede and the red pair are nubuck leather).

I usually prefer to wear solid colors, but I fell in love with this traditional Maori-patterned tunic I found at a shop in downtown Rotorua. The shop was Maori owned and operated, and all items inside, from art to household goods to clothing, were designed and made by Maori artisans.This long-ish black linen swing dress is also from Muji. It’s loose and comfortable and I can’t wait to wear it this summer!

Finally, I found this beautiful leather tote at Goodwill and snapped it up. It’s a great color, it hangs comfortably on my shoulder, and it will easily hold all my travel stuff (and then some). It’s in like-new condition too, so should last a long time.

Except for the Maori tunic and black linen dress, every item I purchased was on sale or from a thrift store, with several of the new pieces at more than 70% off the original price. The raincoat came from REI; the shoes from Zappos; the dark olive pants from L.L. Bean; and the gray sweatshirt cardigan and the black linen dress were purchased at Muji while we were in Japan. Along with the tote, I bought the summer dress I wore to Meiling’s graduation and a black velvet tunic at Goodwill. Everything else was purchased from J. Jill, my very favorite clothing store.

Outside of my pajamas, underwear, and socks, I now will be packing 35 pieces of clothing ranging from summer tops to a winter coat, as well as with three pairs of shoes, and two pairs of sandals. None of the new items are very bulky or heavy, including the shoes, and they should all fit into my big suitcase (especially since I’m no longer carrying 30 packages of CookDo and a bulk package of mugi-cha in the bottom of it).


28 thoughts on “Revamping My Travel Wardrobe – Part II

    1. Thank you! I tried to mainly stick with indigo blue (versus navy) this time, but added in a few different things for little pops of color or a change now and again. Most of what I’m keeping from the first go-round is in the indigo range and black/gray.


  1. That tote! Wow! I love the Maori pattern as well. The others all work for a packing/traveling life.
    Lost my raincoat in DC this week :(. Waiting for LLBean winter sale to replace it. Dang.


    1. The tote was the first thing I saw when I walked into the Goodwill store this past week – I grabbed it, tried it out, asked Brett what he thought and a few minutes later it was mine! I have been looking for a new purse/tote because the strap on the one I’ve been carrying has very uncomfortable and cuts into my neck. It also doesn’t matter how little I’m carrying in it either, it always feels too heavy and uncomfortable. Anyway, I’m thrilled with the new bag – tried it out for a day yesterday and it’s super comfortable. Plus, since it’s from Coach the leather it should last a good, long time.


  2. Some great new additions. I particularly love the poncho and ruana, and I have a pair of suede boots almost identical to those but burgundy. I wore them to death last year and just had them brought back to new by my shoemaker so they’re ready for fall again. Comfy and cute. And the gray sweatshirt cardi looks SO comfortable and warm. I would buy it in a heartbeat if I came across it.

    You sure have great luck at Good Will! That tote looks new!


    1. I love the poncho and ruana too – they are my favorite additions and I’m looking forward to cooler weather and getting to wear them. All three came from J. Jill and I bought them when they were having a huge sale on their already on-dale items. I’m grateful now that I had to wait in line for a changing room at Mugi – I would have never found the sweatshirt cardi otherwise.

      I continue to pinch myself over finding that tote. It caught my eye the minute I walked into the Goodwill store!


    1. I consider the poncho and the tote my best finds. The tote was waiting for me right near the door at Goodwill and caught my eye immediately. That red has been my favorite color of leather for a long, long time – I have a 27 year-old red Coach leather wallet in that color that’s still going strong!


    1. Thank yu very much! I really was feeling rather frumpy with some of the stuff I was packing before, but love the look of all of the new things and know I’m going to be happier wearing it.


  3. Very cute and stylish pieces – you’ve upped your wardrobe game considerably! I agree with you on jeggings – they fit so much better so you end up looking more polished.


    1. Thanks, Denise! I love the jeggings – I’ve been slowly switching over to them when possible. I think they’re also going to look very nice and polished with the boots, heavy legs and all.


  4. I love your additions. Very stylish and practical. I need s lightweight waterproof jacket like that for Germany. Are the suede boots sketchers too?

    I might pack for Germany this weekend even if it is 3 months away. I can see what I need. We have winter sales here now and i might pick up stuff suitable for autumn in Germany. Though last time at roughly the same time in France, only 2 weeks earlier, it was quite warm. Transitional seasons are so hard to predict.


    1. The suede boots are made by Sudini. I liked them because they hit the trifecta +1: color, style, wide width, and on sale! I started hunting for the raincoat when I read on some travel blog that their raincoat was the most functional outwear they had – even in the coldest weather all they had to do was layer up underneath. This one fit the bill perfectly.

      The weather we encountered in Europe last fall was changeable. It was quite hot in Paris in early September, but we had to bundle up in once we got to Normandy. Then it was quite warm again when we arrived in Strasbourg but was cold by the time we left for Bordeaux, where temperatures were a bit warmer but not by much – this was all within a period of five weeks. Layers were the way to go.

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    1. I am very happy with the shoes. Along with my trail shoes I have three pair of good quality walking shoes for a variety of occasions. I’m especially in love with the red shoes!


  5. For under the kimono sleeve thing in cooler weather, if you happen upon a Uniqlo I’m living in their heat tech gear at the moment. I personally like the turtle necks but they also do other options. They have different levels of warm, too – in winter extra warm is my go-to. They come in a range of colours but I tend to stick with black and navy blue and I wear them as a layering piece.

    I find they extend the wear of my summer stuff – I would happily wear them under your Muji dress right through autumn, winter and spring with a pair of tights underneath – fleece lined tights when it gets cooler. I have a lot of tank dresses from Hawaii which I can wear right through winter that way. 😉

    I’m a HUGE poncho girl – I find them to be so useful especially when travelling but they are great for everyday life too. I can wear my cross body bag underneath and nobody can even see it, but I can easily access everything in it if and when I need to. I have worn them over the top of entire outfits when train travelling and when I get off the train I take it off and my underneath outfit is all ready to go.

    If you don’t already have one, a lightweight scarf is my must-do when on public transport so I can easily hide my face if people are getting too sneezy – I think that and echinacea have saved me from many a cold.

    Good on you for making the switch to jeggings – I did that a while back, I find normal jeans so uncomfortable. I also would suggest if you don’t have a pair, it is worth investing in a really good pair of athletic wear leggings. I scored a gorgeous herringbone set from Kyodan, alas they are not available on the website anymore. They are super warm but also very smart looking. They are incredibly comfortable but I can also wear them under a pencil skirt and nobody knows they are athletic leggings, they look like very expensive tights.


    1. I am all about layering! In fact, I still need/want to get two additional long-sleeved t-shirts or turtlenecks that I can layer under things to get more wear out of them. I love Uniqlo (the one in Strasbourg could have emptied our wallets) but there isn’t one currently in Portland. Maybe when we’re in England?

      When we were in Japan I was so caught by how stylishly Japanese women wore scarves, and am going to try to wear mine more often. Thanks for the tip about using them to cover my face to avoid coughs and sneezes. Of course, in Japan I could learn to wear one of those face masks. I thought people wore them if they had a cold, but learned they also wear them to avoid a cold as well.

      I love my new jeggings – they are so comfortable. One more thank you as well about getting a pair of leggings for athletic wear.


    1. Thank you! That was what I was going for this time – pieces that could be worn in different seasons and settings. I’s very happy with everything I have now.


    1. For shorter trips we only do carry-on. Because we are currently on an extended period of travel we now each check a large suitcase. My husband and I split our clothing between our two suitcases so if one gets lost or damaged neither of us will lose everything.


  6. You are a master of shopping! I love everything, and you are spot on about red-it really is a neutral. May I ask about the shoe brand and did you get the boots locally? Haven’t heard of that brand.


    1. Thanks Pat! The proof will be in the wearing though.

      I really love red as an accent but absolutely despise it on me otherwise. I’ve tried to wear it, but it always makes me very uncomfortable for some reason. But a red bag, shoes, glasses, etc. are fine.

      I purchased the boots from Zappos – the brand is Sudini. I asked for blue ankle boots in navy for a wide foot and these ones came up . . . and they were on sale!


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