Few items in my wardrobe are as versatile as blouses. I’ve worn them when I worked in corporate jobs, non-profit jobs, when I work from home and when I travel. In fact, they also appear in my blog post on Uniform Dressing, because they’re that good.
But some blouses are better for travel than others. Because there are so many fabrics available, it can be overwhelming to navigate the options. Hopefully this blog post equips you with the knowledge you need to:
- pick the best blouse for you;
- not spend a million dollars on it;
- care for it so it lasts a while.
How to pick your blouses’ fabric
Traditional blouse fabrics fall under three categories BUT, you’ll notice as you shop, a lot of companies will blend these for the perfect mix of natural properties, durability, and ease of care.
For example, often “washable silk” means a silk blend that makes it less delicate, just like “washable merino” is a wool and synthetic blend that prevents shrinking in the wash.
Made from natural sources like plants and animal wool.
Pros: Natural and renewable, organic options, can have a lower environmental impact, properties like temperature-regulating, breathability, odour fighting, anti-microbial.
Cons: Can be more delicate and harder to maintain, more expensive, moths like them, crease easily.
Regenerated Cellulose Fabrics
Made from recycled natural fabrics but transformed through chemical processing.
Pros: Made from recycled material, can have the appearance of a natural fabric with more durability and ease of care, less expensive than natural fabrics.
Cons: Does not have the properties of natural fibres.
Made from synthetic fibres through chemical processing.
Pros: Affordable, stain-resistant, durable.
Cons: not breathable, traps smells, made from petroleum-based products, doesn’t biodegrade and can pollute water streams when washed via micro-plastics.
Based on the pros and cons listed above, you can start making decisions based on your travel needs. Do you prefer your clothes be wrinkle-free or have the extra temperature-regulating properties? Sometimes you’ll need to compromise based on the type of trip you’re taking.
For example, I love the properties of natural fibres, but I also know they require more care. If you know you will not have access to an iron and don’t like wrinkles, you may want to avoid natural fabrics and opt for blends. However, if renewability is important to you, synthetics might not jive with your ethics.
In the summer, linen and hemp are my favourite for their breathability. They absorb and hold water really well, which keeps you cooler and dryer than cotton or synthetics. I sacrifice the clean wrinkle-free look for these benefits since I often can’t be bothered to iron on the go.
On the flip side, when I need something to look wrinkle-free, it’s hard to beat synthetics. In fact, they drape so nicely and withstand even the most haphazard packing job. I always find it useful to keep a few blouses like these handy.
Read more shopping and styling tips
Where to buy travel-friendly blouses
My blouses are from a variety of places, from Joe Fresh to Tibi. I am always on the lookout for good blouses and often find them when second-hand shopping! Take a look at a few other of my favourite spots.
Kit and Ace is designed for active work commutes, which makes their clothes perfect for travel. They have several cotton-polyester blend blouses and spandex+silk ones that are great for breathability and an active lifestyle, while being stretchy and comfortable.
Mott and Bow primarily makes jeans, but they have a handful of great silk blouses at affordable prices.
Everlane is of course a fantastic place for basics and they do not disappoint with options including clean silk, cotton, silky cotton, linen, and their signature Japanese go-weave wrinkle-free fabric.
Vetta is the best brand for versatile capsule dressing. All their pieces can be worn multiple ways, including this reversible blouse. They blended linen and Tencel for a breathable and wrinkle-resistant fabric.
H&M may be fast fashion, but their Premium Line is really great. They have tons of linen, cotton, and silk tops and I recommend checking them out online, especially during a sale like the current summer sale.
Uniqlo is a great place for classic cotton and linen tops but also to explore new wrinkle-resistant fabrics designed by the Uniqlo team.
How to care for your blouses
The first step to caring for any garment is to read the care instructions on the label. Then, stick to common sense. I wash lights and dark separately and usually wash blouses on gentle or in a mesh bag. I always hang to dry and iron on the appropriate setting according to the fabric.
If I spill something, I try to spot clean delicate fabrics so I don’t have to wash all over again. I try to steam silks and dry clean when I can, but I’m also lazy. Therefore, sometimes I machine wash and hang to dry or steam by hanging it in the bathroom before I shower. I’ll also roll most of my blouses when packing to avoid creasing, much like this example below.
Hope this helps you pick and pack the best blouses for your next trips!
Happy Travels xox