Travel Gear: LBD

If you enjoy wearing dresses, and maybe even if you don’t, may I suggest that the most versatile thing in your travel wardrobe could be a little black dress?


But it can’t just be any LBD. It needs a certain magic travel-esque quality, to layer well, to transform into other things. It needs to translate into different situations to. Material is important, and it’s hard to beat merino wool, that very special breathable natural fiber from New Zealand, which leads me to my own travel LBD.

I’m feeling serious affection right now for my Icebreaker Women’s Villa Dress.


It’s been building for years and is in particular the only reason for this post.

I don’t normally buy things full price. It was a splurge 4 years ago and would still be a splurge now. But after another successful trip with only a minimal carry-on wardrobe, it has proven itself again as the best travel purchase I’ve ever made, even out of all the backpacks, shoes, etc.

What makes this not just a regular LBD, but also a MTD (Magic Travel Dress)?

As you can see by my silly recreation outfits, the silhouette is so freaking versatile. It extends outfit options in really simple ways. I wear it loose as a T-shirt dress, I throw a belt on it, I put a cardigan over it, I knot a sweater over the top for a cropped look, I slide it under a tight pencil skirt and it billows out just enough over the top to be blousey.


Wore that black dress on the left with everything pictured and much more.

I’ve worn this professionally, casually, and as an accidental hiking outfit. I don’t think of myself as a ‘stylish’ person. I’m not someone who typically gets compliments on my clothing, so when it happens, I take note. And when it happens more than once, on the same item of clothing, even when I’m 4 and 5 months pregnant? I take double note.

I wear it in the freezing cold and it keeps me warm. I wear it in the summer and it’s breezy against my skin. It’s never pilled or ripped. It’s breathable and odor resistant (though NOT odor-immune). You can wash it in the hotel sink and it dries in hours.

The only climate it’s been inappropriate in so far was a super humid one in July in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto Prefecture where it and my hair became sopping wet towels

Humid forest

No shirt was staying dry that day..

If I’m ever faced with a multi-day itinerary with only a couple of clothing options, this dress becomes the inevitable choice, even just as a guaranteed comfy airplane outfit.

After four years of use my only qualms with this dress are the unnecessary stringy belt loops on the sides (easily snipped away) and its thin see-through material which requires a slip or leggings on sunny days. (Oh and plus, it’s not breastfeeding friendly 😛 )

And now, after all that gushing, I’m sorry to tell you that Icebreaker doesn’t make the Villa Dress anymore.

merino dress


But, they do have a very similar looking one without the belt loops and with a higher neckline called the Yanni Tee Dress, made out of their same cool merino wool, and linked here.

So, that sounds like it might even be better than my current lovely travel LBD, right? When the inevitable happens and I have to retire my magic travel dress, will this be an adequate replacement? Ugggggghhh. Such an expensive question to answer, but the Icebreaker brand has really impressed me over the past four years.

So, do you have a magic travel dress? Or another magic travel item?

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