Worth It: The Linen Dresses I Pack For Summer Travel, By Destination

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With European countries easing travel restrictions, there’s some ray of hope for those of us with wanderlust tendencies. Especially for those of us who are vaccinated and/or willing to get a negative COVID test prior to boarding…several of my favorite travel destinations (including Greece, Italy, France) have no-quarantine requirements. If you’re interested in the details, AFAR has the details on Europe’s re-opening plans.

Casual & Sexy: The Reformation Linen Dresses I Pack For Every Summer Vacation

In past summers, we’ve gone on some sort of overseas adventure, taking advantage of the boys’ school schedules and the warm weather. As the years have gone by, I’ve been able to pack less and less, learning, with every trip, what I’ll actually wear.

And the one thing that always makes it into my suitcase?

A linen dress from Reformation.

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

Not only are Reformation’s linen dresses the coolest dresses I’ve found to beat summer’s heat, but they’re sustainably made, and often available in plus sizes, too.

But it’s Reformation’s styling that really gets me. Ref’s dress collection is filled with what I’ve started thinking of as ‘modern classics.’ These dresses invoke a sense of old world nostalgia; there’s something almost demure about them — they’re gorgeous and sexy, but in a nonchalant, effortless way. They really are the dresses I’ve worn with flat sandals, high heels and sneakers, for example, and they look good with all of them.

Does Linen Travel Well?

Furthermore, I’ve also been surprisingly happy with linen as a travel fabric in general. While linen does wrinkle, with a bit of planning, the wrinkles look lived-in, rather than messy. I always pack my linen dresses between sheets of white tissue paper, then roll them up before putting them in a suitcase. Sometimes I’ll bring a small travel steamer, but most often I use an iron provided by the hotel/AirBnb (or just hang the dress in the shower with me; the wrinkles all fall out). And I love the durability of linen in general. Not only is it the coolest fabric against my skin, but I’ve even washed many of my linen dresses in a sink, then hung to dry (and I’ve definitely spot-cleaned all of them).

The Best Linen Dresses To Pack For Summer Travel To Europe (By Destination)

Personally, it looks like we’re planning to stay stateside this summer…but man, a trip is tempting. So instead of traveling, we’ll do the next best thing: dream about it. And maybe do a little destination-inspired shopping.

Best Summer Dress To Wear In Barcelona

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | bag | sunglasses

Barcelona is a big city, and, as such, the style reflects what I’ve noticed about most big cities: chic, for sure, but also very practical. The footwear of choice was usually sneakers or well-made, comfortable sandals. But Barcelona is a deeply stylish city, one with a sexy vibe that I found hard to define. This sexy vibe was almost…subtle? And very, very interesting. Think: unexpected details, plenty of skin, but sophisticated and chic.

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | bag | sunglasses | sneakers

Fit notes: Reformation’s Dale Linen dress is perfect for Barcelona (or heck, any big city — I’ve been wearing it all over Philly). The midi length makes it both chic and uber-practical (easy to sit in), and the slit ensures that it looks cute with sneakers. Obviously this dress can also be dressed up, but I especially love it as an unexpected day dress. I’m wearing a size 4. I wash this in the washing machine (on cold, in a mesh bag) and hang flat to dry.

Which bra to wear with the Dale Linen dress ? I don’t ever wear a bra with this dress (literally the only upside of breast cancer, so I’m not even going to apologize for this one, ha) but I have heard from you guys loud and clear: you want bra recommendations for this dress. I’m planning to play around with a few types (I’ll take pics) but I have a few ideas. First of all, I think anything that echos the perfectly square lines of the back would work. You’ll have to figure out if you prefer a contrasting color or the same color. I’m eyeing up this bralette or this bralette as possibilities. Secondly….I’ve gotta point out that this backless bra has more than 16,000 four-star reviews, including several from women with a D cup or larger. Last idea? Nippies. Hmm.

Shop My Top Dresses To Pack For Barcelona


Best Summer Dress To Wear In Italy

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | heels | bag | sunglasses

Italy was our last summer trip before the pandemic hit (ahhhh, the innocence of Summer 2019), and I had my packing down to a science. I was most comfortable in pretty, feminine dresses (in both Rome and the rest of Italy), and Italy is one of the few European countries where I wore heels (albeit really comfortable heels) every night. I also appreciated feminine dresses that covered my shoulders; there were several churches and cathedrals that posted signs asking women to cover up bare shoulders. (How I feel about this request is a whole OTHER story, but, when in Rome….). That said, it was easy enough to throw a very lightweight cardigan in my bag for strappier dresses.

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | heels | bag | sunglasses

Fit notes: Reformation’s Belgium Dress is my go-to dress for Italy. I bought the shorter version back in 2019, and it’s what I wore almost daily in both Rome and Sicily. It’s the kind of dress that’s transformative! It’s hard not to feel pretty and feminine while wearing this dress. It comes in a bunch of colors, is 100% linen (like all dresses featured here), but unlike the other dresses featured, I wouldn’t throw this one in the washing machine. I spot cleaned my shorter (white) dress many times (linen can easily be spot-cleaned) but would only hand wash this in cold, when absolutely necessary. I’m wearing a size 4.

Which bra to wear with the Belgium Dress? I’m not wearing a bra with this dress, but a strapless bra works great. This is my favorite strapless bra. There’s also some support in the bodice of this dress as well.

Shop My Top Dresses To Pack For Italy


Best Summer Dress To Wear In Greece

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | bag | sunglasses | sandals

Greece can be mind-numbingly hot in the summer, even with the cool breezes off the ocean. But despite the beachy vibe, fashion is — still — much more sophisticated than what I typically see in American beach towns. In Greece, I gravitated to chic dresses that hung away from my body. I thought of them as almost beachy…but these dresses are more easy and classic than beachy.

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | bag | sunglasses | sandals

Fit notes: Reformation’s Vallarta Linen Dress is exactly what I’d pack for Greece. It’s chic enough to walk around Athens or Santorini, but can easily be thrown on over a bikini when headed to the beach. It’s so insanely easy to wear, especially when the temps soar. I’m wearing a size small. Also, the sandals, which I had borrowed from Linzi, are very comfortable but didn’t stay on my feet. I don’t recommend them.

Which bra to wear with the Vallarta Linen Dress? This dress miiiiiiight be able to handle a bralette with a complicated back. Something like Free People’s bralette, perhaps? I like that the skinny straps of the bra echo the straps of the dress. I also think a simple bandeau bra might work (in any color) and I also keep coming back — shockingly — to this True & Co bra. There might be a problem in the front, but….I’ll play around and let you guys know. Also, don’t forget about this backless bra (with the 16,000 four-star reviews) or the Nippies. Okey dokey.

Shop My Top Dresses To Pack For Greece


Best Summer Dress To Wear In Paris

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | bag | sneakers

Like most other big cities, Parisians mostly wear comfortable shoes: sneakers and/or flat sandals in the summer. Of course, they’re almost always impossibly cool and chic sneakers or sandals, but dressing for Paris isn’t that different than dressing for NYC. That said, because I’m totally into the whole French-girl vibe, I do love to rock a gamine little frock in Paris. With comfy shoes (sneakers, most likely) and a straw bag, bien sur.

Not only are Reformation linen dresses chic, sexy & casual, but they're also sustainable & often available in plus sizes, too. Perfect for summer travel.

dress | bag | sneakers

Fit notes: Frankly, Reformation has always done these little vintage floral prints SO WELL, that most of their dresses nail the French Girl Vibe I love so much. But this one, Reformation’s Winifred Linen Dress, has little tie details, adjustable straps, and a mini length that looks particularly insouciant with sneaks. I’m wearing a size small.

Which bra to wear with the Winifred Linen Dress? For the floral dress, I’d stick to something like this strapless bra with a plunge front. The light color would blend in with the dress, but the black bra would prob be fine. I never mind if a black bra peeks out. Speaking of black…this dress does come in black, and I think you miiiiiiight be able to get away with a regular demi bra with the black. Something like this.

Shop My Top Dresses To Pack For Paris

Happy (and safe) travels, hopefully someday soon!!

xo,

S

photo credits: Redfield Photography

Oh hey, Pinners, this one’s for you…

8 COMMENTS

  1. I love how you paired each dress with a city. And I LOVE that you featured natural fabrics that are great for hot weather. Be aware that the backless bra on Amazon has a FakeSpot rating of D, and adjusted star rating of two and a half stars. So most of those reviews are probably fake. As a DD cup, it can’t say I’m surprised.
    I’ve tried on several reformation dresses and tops and they just fit me weird. But I want to keep trying because they look so good.

    • Ugh Christy – I seriously want to figure out which ones would actually work for DD cups. I swear ONE of them should??!!?? And thanks for the head’s up about that Amazon bra – how ANNOYING. I’ve gotta start using that fakespot thing. Geez.

  2. Great post!!! Love all these dresses on you. Have ordered a few for future travels. Would you be willing to do a post about everything you pack for a vacation? Since you seem to have this down it would be very helpful to have a list- and of course pick up some of your personal favs!

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