The Perfect Summer Travel Dress

I’m still leaning into dresses this summer and trying to find a few more to get me through 10 days in Italy next month. It’s probably going to be extremely hot, so my plan is to pack a bunch of dresses and bring a pair of shorts and pants as backup.

Lululemon Classic-Fit Cotton-Blend Dress (M) // Lo & Sons Pearl // Taos Plim Soul Luxe Sneakers (8.5) // YSL sunnies (similar for less) // Yurman earrings

I can’t remember how I found this dress, if someone suggested it, or if I just came across it in my travels, but it went right into my closet.

It has an easy fit, with a slit hem and a flattering above-the-knee length, and the cotton-lyocell fabric is blended with linen for extra softness. It’s moisture-wicking and fast-drying without looking like performance apparel. It looks and feels more like a classic cotton knit.

I also like how the high neck protects my chest from the sun, yet the sleeveless style allows me to get some on my shoulders. I know, that probably sounds contradictory, but I always seem to burn my chest, and my shoulders are fine.

This is the Velvet Dust, which is no longer available, but it comes in four other nice colors, including a classic black. I’m wearing the size 8, for reference, so it’s TTS or size up if in between.

This Lo & Sons Pearl crossbody bag is one I ordered to consider as my travel bag for our daily excursions. The saffiano leather is hard-wearing and practical, but still looks more elegant than the canvas travel bags I tried.

I like how it converts from a crossbody to a shoulder bag or large clutch; and it has tons of pockets to accommodate and organize all the essentials.

I also ordered this HOBO Nash Calfskin Leather Crossbody to try. It’s such a soft and supple leather, as all HOBO bags are, but it’s too small for day-tripping around Italy.

The inside has nice organization, and the external pocket is perfect for stashing a small cellphone. (This one is not mine; my iPhone 14 Pro Max does not fit, FYI, but the iPhone 14 Pro does.)

I like it, but I don’t think it suits my purposes. If you are a minimalist and want a quality crossbody that holds just the essentials, this is a nice choice.

Back to my travel outfit, I’m wearing my Taos sneakers here, the ones I plan to bring with me to Italy. They’re just a clean white leather sneaker, but the arch support and cushion inside makes them supremely comfortable for miles of walking.

I wore them all over Nashville (including the airports) and my feet were very happy. I continue to wear them occasionally, to make sure they’re good and broken in before our trip. This whole outfit (Lo & Sons bag and all) are definitely going with me!

Do you have any great travel dresses we should know about? Let us know in the comments. Meanwhile, I rounded up some of the other dresses that I’m potentially bringing in the widget below.

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photos: Alison Cornell

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36 thoughts on “The Perfect Summer Travel Dress

  1. Love the dress! Have you tried Marine Layer? I’m wearing the Corine maxi to travel in today (short flight) so that when we get to the island I’ll just need to swap my Vans for sandals! Looking forward to your travel pics and great choice to bring dresses as it’ll be steamy in July. Have a great day!!

  2. I will definitely check out the Lululemon dress! I Love the blog, and I will definitely look at the Lululemon dress! Have you looked at Fjallraven at all? They have a couple travel dresses and the fabric is awesome— super lightweight and comfy for hot days. They also wash well and don’t wrinkle. I have the Ovik in navy and have worn it a ton (including on our trip to Paris last summer) and have been thinking about getting the High Coast, too (which looks more you to me with the shorter cap sleeves.)

      1. I’ve hit several pieces of Fjallraven in my closet! Their stores are lots of fun to visit. I’ve never tried their dresses though so I think I will. I CAN speak to their outerwear- top notch!!

  3. We just got back from the Grand Canyon. I wore dresses from Prana and Tail. Loved the high neck Prana midi dress, so comfortable. You can order st their website, I found mine at VonMaur. I also saw their dresses at stores in Sedona.

  4. Great choice & fit! Have you tried PomPom of London bags? I purchased the slate blue with 3 different strap options(I like variety 😆) I also took the lululemon Fanny bag for a change up. PomPom was my fav. I wore lots of solid color clothes, so the PomPom bag straps added a lot extra to the outfit. Ya’ll are about to have the BEST trip. Enjoy every minute!

  5. I like ve in Florida where today the heat index is to be 105. So I wear dresses all the time when I go somewhere. They are so much cooler and comfortable

  6. I’m recovering from a planter fasciitis flare up. I’ve been stuck wearing sketcher go walks which are just not cute. Do your Taos sneakers offer good arch support? I’m not familiar with that brand. I was considering Cariuma.

  7. Love the whole outfit and the colors. You’re right about the higher neckline, I think it is more flattering especially with a sleeveless dress and also the sun won’t bake that tender chest area which can really age you. The purse is the perfect size and top entry makes it so convenient.
    If anyone is interested, I just purchased the SE Griffin slides like yours with your link at Zappos yesterday for a little over $40 bucks; a few colors were really reduced and couple of other styles were as well. But Zappos will often raise those prices back up quickly.

  8. My daughter has the cutest travel dress from Toad & Co., the “Sunkissed Liv Dress”. Lightweight, doesn’t wrinkle. Lots of other cute dresses on their website too.

  9. Love the dress! I may have to try it, even though I feel like the clothes shopping for our trip should done. I have more than enough. I do have a question about your sneakers. Do you wear no-show socks with them? Or are you planning to for your trip? I rarely wear socks (or no-show socks) with my sneakers, but not sure if I should reconsider for all the walking we’ll be doing. I’m hoping that I will mostly be wearing my sandals – (also have bought more of those than I will be taking), but I suppose it’s possible my sneakers will be more comfortable. Thanks!

  10. Houdini Dawn Dress. It’s an outdoor brand but the cut is perfection. I own 3. The waist is adjustable, it falls just above the knee, it has a nice looking cap sleeve, pockets, and the fabric is perfection. It also folds up to the size of a t shirt and doesn’t wrinkle.

  11. Hi Jo-Lynne! I love that dress and wish I had it. We are in Florence now and previously we were in Rome. Moisture wicking material would be amazing right now lol. It is hotter than hot. I have some linen dresses from Garnet Hill that have been very comfortable. If you don’t already, consider getting some wry think moisture wicking (not compression) shorts to wear under dresses to prevent chafing. I got mine from Thigh Society although I would imagine there are several brands. I also have the Taos shoes but wish I had a second pair of sneakers because after a full day of walking I could use a change of fit to switch things up. I find going back and forth with my Vionic sandals helpful. I’m excited for you, you’ll have the best time!

    1. I agree with the slip shorts! It was recommended to me to wear a pair under my Jean shorts while in Disney and it helped immensely – no chaffing. I have the Jockey Generation Wicking slip shorts from Target I scored them on sale for $10. I love that they are very thin and have absolutely no compression.

    2. I have some from Thigh Society I’m planning to bring. I may need a few more. QUESTION: Do you wear underwear under them? I feel like they may be too thin not to.

  12. I love your white purse. I have one that has all the same features but in a lightweight nylon. Have you thought of taking an Anti Theft bag instead. Pickpockets are always a concern when traveling Italy or France. So many unaware tourists. The Travelon has some nice options.

  13. I like that color dress on you! I am wearing dresses more this summer because I find them to be a better option for staying a little more comfortable in the heat and humidity. I’m sorry yesterday turned out to be so nasty, but it sounds like you ended up having a very productive in-office day! You are smart to designate one day each week for working in your office. I had no idea how pricey Taos sneakers are, but I’m going to keep an eye on them in case they go on sale somewhere.

  14. Love the Lo & Sons Pearl Bag. I have it in the Graphite, Saffiano Leather. I can honestly say it’s my favorite travel bag.

  15. Good morning Jolynne, love the dress and your newsletter. Will you be bringing any sort of light weight jacket/sweater/wrap (non-denim) to cover your shoulders while visiting the more conservative places in Italy? Would love suggestions as I struggle with this. Thank you!

      1. You’ve got a great start. Am just back from two weeks in Italy (mid 90’s every day) and have spent much of my life traveling. Natural fabrics will keep you cool-especially linen for dresses and pants-and don’t worry about the wrinkles. Women really do not wear shorts in Europe. Slip shorts are great (Jockey makes great ones) and yes, wear underwear.

        A light wrap is great for churches and other places. A big sun hat will protect yourself from the blazing sun—and bring lots of sunscreen and deodorant! No a/c in restaurants, churches and hotels are turning up the temps. And if you can, try not to check a bag. Lost luggage is a sad way to start your trip. Compression bags can really help (container store). Have fun!

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