A Chic, Affordable, Comfortable Travel Wardrobe To England

This is a very rare post not about interior design.


But I know that a lot of you are curious.

It’s about my travel wardrobe for my upcoming trip to England!


The three Main Requirements for me, are:

  • Style
  • Comfort
  • Affordability


However, my wardrobe has several gaping holes and I’ve decided that I need to up my game. The people I’m traveling with are a classy bunch. (no pun intended).

Therefore, I set out on a hunting expedition to fill those gaps in style and comfort without breaking the bank.


My two favorite stores over the years are Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.


One reason is that those two stores were convenient to where I used to live and I could always find pieces I love– stylish and comfortable. Plus the prices are terrific. I remember walking out of BR with a ton of stuff for not a lot of money.


And right now, both Ann Taylor and Banana Republic are having 40% off sales.


(and BR is giving an additional 15% off – but only TODAY!)


And they have all of their fall things in. Each have beautiful collections, I think.

However, this year, I also purchased some things from Lord & Taylor, (extra 25% off Michael Kors – please see items below) J Crew,

Amazon (my new gorgeous Via Spiga Trench and The Walking Company. (I’m a fan! Great very comfy shoes!)

I didn’t get anything from Nordie’s this time. To tell you the truth, I ADORE them online, but our local store in White Plains, NY SUCKS!!!


Laurel to sales person: Could you please tell me where the trench coats are?

Sale’s Person #1: That’s not my department. walks away.”

Same question to sale’s person #2: They aren’t in yet. walks away.”


The reality is that this brand has geared itself to be an online source. In fact, they have a service where you order online and pick it up in the store. Makes sense. You save your legs trying to find stuff and can try it on to make sure, saving the hassle of returning it.

However, our two local Lord & Taylor’s are both lovely. Big dif!

Some of you are worried about me being warm enough. I’m a NEW YORKER. And except for today which was sublime and about 20 other days out of the year, we have some of the suckiest weather available on this good earth. WHY so many people live here is beyond me. I guess most of us are masochists at heart.


The other thing here is… not everything is/was on sale, but most of it is.


Including my favorite Tumi Super Legere 22″ Carry on. Oh, I know… I got lots of stares when I went to Italy, because no one could believe that this was all that I needed. However, I easily packed away a week’s worth of clothes and I didn’t even have to use the expander! So, there was STILL room to grow!


It is a magic suitcase.


A few other wardrobe hi-lights


Via Spiga Trench - Travel Wardrobe


After hours of obsessing… THE TRENCH COAT and I’m thrilled with it!


There’s another image in the widget below from its source but the Via Spiga trench coat looks exactly like this with just a touch more flare. like in the widget image. The medium is perfect for me. Still sleek but with enough room for a thick sweater.


This top is THE most gorgeous shade of blue that God ever created–on sale at Banana Republic. I have a beautiful brocade dressy black jacket to put on if necessary. There is one semi-formal event. And it’s the first night. I will wear this with a plain black pencil skirt and a few other things (below in the widget).


Please enjoy the rest of the new things I purchased for the trip below.

(of course, there are other things I’m bringing that I already have.)


Really need the watch. I don’t want to be constantly having to whip out my phone to know the time.


A final (I think) wardrobe note.


I am wearing the brown shoes as I’m typing this and they are great. However, my feet problems I now realize are due in part to an abnormally high instep and years of ballet training; plus a surprisingly wide metatarsal/toe area.

So, I will be also bring along a pair of these, just in case, life becomes unbearable. (yes, and an extra pair of dry socks, too.) They are quite wonderful, light and comfortable and great for my wide foot!

I hope that y’all enjoyed that. Have to admit that the shopping was actually slightly enjoyable this time.

Maybe I’m getting better at it!

Finally, I’m leaving the comment box open as usual. However, while 98.4% of you, have been absolutely beyond darling, a couple of people felt it necessary to cross that line in the guise of being “helpful.” You will not find those comments in print. So, if yours is published, (it is rare that I do not, so no stress), please know that it is wonderful and greatly appreciated.

I think that these folks DO mean to be helpful, but are not being mindful that they are coming across as bossy and condescending. Nobody likes that.


At age 61, I’m pretty much a grown up and If I want to streak across Trafalgar Square in a string bikini in the middle of a torrential downpour, that’s my business.  (Not to worry. I’m leaving the string bikini at home.) ;]


Oh man. That reminds me… There is one more piece of travel wardrobe and I do need your help with it.


However, you’ll have to wait until mid-night tomorrow for me to share that as it ties in to the blog topic. It will become clear why I might need this garment, but I can’t figure out which one to get. I know that you guys will help me figure it out! ;]

Love you all!




P.S: Prayers for all people affected by the recent hurricanes. The season of 2017 is one for the record books! Please don’t forget that 20% of all sales at Serena and Lily through the 26th of September will be going towards hurricane relief. The reason for the seemingly arbitrary date is that S & L has put all of their amazingly gorgeous upholstered furniture on sale until then. 20% off is nothing to sneeze at.

83 Responses

  1. So happy for you! London is fab! (which, I’m sure everyone has posted as well).
    The clothes look perfect. I would also recommend a light cashmere cardigan to layer just in case. You could also buy it there.
    I live in France and everytime I go to London I bring back something to wear. The clothes are so well made there and reasonably priced for the quality.
    Have a great trip!

    1. Hi Susan,

      Actually, I will be in London for only one day, as I’m arriving a day early. We are traveling all over southwestern England and staying in five different hotels!

      No worries. I have lots of sweaters, a thick knit headband and gloves. Just in case.

    1. Hi Tasha,

      Yes, it drives me nuts when people start behaving badly towards one another on the internet. Sadly, some folks don’t even realize that what they’re saying isn’t nice. OR, they feel some overwhelming justification to spout off that’s inappropriate.

      There is a zero-tolerance for personal attacks here.

      And I don’t mean to scare anyone off. It’s not very common. But the blog is evolving and growing and some people think that shouldn’t happen and/or they’re owed something.

      I always say that if it’s no longer working for one, that they shouldn’t subject themselves to it. It’s elective reading and it’s impossible to please everyone.

  2. Hi Laurel, enjoyed this post! Love the blouse and amazed you can get so much in your bag! I am inspired to pack lighter! Just a comment as a Brit who is in White plains. Take an umbrella and have a wonderful time! Looking forward to the post/ pics

  3. Am so glad you choose not to publish the negative remarks. I loved your choices and am excited to hear what you enjoyed and where you went on your trip…..We love the U.K. – but are getting ready for Sicily/Paris in mid October… Will bring just a carry on also…. one that holds a lot!

    1. Hi Marilyn,

      I did bring my carry-on last year to Italy, but I was alone and on the big plane, the luggage rack was so high, I had to get help and I’m 5’7″. Also, I had an expensive bottle of wine that was a gift and I forgot that wasn’t allowed on the return trip. So, I’m checking the bag this time and taking on the plane, a good sized totebag.

  4. What a great example of a flexible travel wardrobe. The blue top is stunning, and if my days of wearing sleeveless clothing weren’t over and done, I be out getting one right now. It’ll look so pretty with the blue necklace, especially by candlelight, and with your coloring, the combination will be a winner!

    I can’t imagine getting by with a suitcase of that size. Very personal question here – don’t you ever spill on yourself? I practically have to double my wardrobe to allow for spillage.

    Have a great time. You will be a classy ambassador for the U.S., and we do so need that right now. Bigly.

    1. Hi Maureen,

      Yes, I spill on myself constantly. I imagine I will be washing stuff out fairly frequently in the sink. But we are also moving around nearly every day. 5 different hotels!

  5. Thanx for the wardrobe update- We are going to Ireland November 4 for 2 weeks and you just gave me some great, classic look ideas- I must confess, I have been buying up a storm and will have to return my green slicker, blue slicker, rose red raincoat, I already returned a LL. Bean yellow raincoat and yellow boots- when I tried them on, my husband laughed his head off, said I looked like a kindergarten fireman! He was right- you have made me see the light, I have been way off base- I must stay, half the fun of going on a trip is dreaming about it and planning it!

  6. Bon Voyage Laurel! Wishing you a wonderful trip, I will look forward to your thoughts upon your return. BTW, you look fabulous dahling!

  7. Love your selections and IMHO an excellent example of essentials that one could apply to a ‘capsule wardrobe’ whose concept was created by Susie Faux (a Londoner boutique owner back in the 1970’s). Talk about appropriate and co-incidence! °Û°
    P.S.: Particularly ♥ the little black dress, belt and suede boots.

  8. How generous and sweet of you to share your travel wardrobe with your readers. It’s really beautiful and everything is so well chosen. I enjoyed it so much, it’s almost like I get to travel vicariously. You have such GREAT taste. That teal blue blouse is to die for and I love your unusual jewelry pieces too. You will have a fantastic time on this trip. It sounds tailor made for you. Happy travels Laurel !

  9. Oh Laurel to be you… You have selected a beautiful wardrobe. I want that trench coat and that teal blouse and the multi stone necklace and both pairs of boots. Ok I’ll stop now. I hope you have a fantastic trip and can’t wait to hear about your travels.

  10. Wow, I love the choices you’ve made for your trip. I’ve already called BR to reserve a couple of your items! I’m also going to investigate the shoes you’ve recommended, they look beautiful AND comfortable!

    Have a wonderful trip!

    1. Hi Jane,

      Oh, that’s so cool! The BR closest to me, now is a gorgeous shop! It’s funny, but they have an interesting trench coat. I tried it on and it was very nice but couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t hanging straight. It’s not meant too! I’m not too fond of asymmetrical hems. To me, it looks like they goofed.

      But over-all, I’ve always liked their collections. I really like being able to walk into a shop and see everything within a few minutes, not traipsing over acres and acres of racks and thousands of choices. Too much.

  11. When I travel I almost always come home with several/many pieces unused. And I travel light. I’d be interested to read a post about how much was worn/not worn.
    I want to be as efficient as I can in packing.

  12. This has been such a fun and helpful series of travel wardrobe blogs. It’s embarrassing, but shopping and packing for international travel brings out all my insecurities. I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip and hope you have a terrific adventure. You’ll look great!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Me too! But… my little Friday clothing sale selections have been helpful in me getting over that! I just realized that! But, it means having to weed through a lot of stuff that should be on sale and finding the hidden gems.

  13. Thanks so much for the smart and stylish posts – I’ve forwarded this post to a 23 year old friend who is putting together her post-college wardrobe for her new job at the embassy! Just goes to show that timeless and classic stands the test of time! I would never have thought to buy a trench from Amazon!!

    1. Hi Tea,

      I was thinking about that too. I think that these are “ageless” clothes. I have a friend who’s 80. She’s 80 years old. HA! She has a better figure than a lot of college girls I’ve seen. She has GREAT legs, a long neck and perfect posture. Well, she takes 3 or more ballet classes a week!

      I’ve told her that someone needs to study her because I’ve never seen an 80 yr old woman who looks anything like this! She just giggles and rolls her eyes. I understand. Looking great but feeling like crap are not mutually exclusive!

  14. I love you wardrobe for your trip. I own a pair of ZBees and while great for the first few hours (I sell tile and the floor is all porcelain tile), the toe box is tight….as if they did not leave enough fabric over the big toe area. Just an FYI as you may not be carrying another pair of shoes to change into. Happy travels!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I’m sorry that the ZBees don’t work for you. Maybe you own a different model or a different width? Or maybe your foot shape is a lot different than mine. My first three toes are the same length! I have squares for feet! lol But, I’m on my fourth pair of these sandals.(size 8.5M – fits perfectly!) Have been wearing these for years now. (And yes, I wear them in the rain and snow. No, not if it just fell. I do have a pair of snow boots!)

      The ZBees are one of the few shoes that is roomy enough for my wide foot. No issue at all. If I have one small complaint, it’s that the velcro has a tendency to come undone.

      My foot problem isn’t really the shoes, but shoes can make it worse. It’s undoubtedly a nerve thing. I tried cortisone and it worked years ago on the left foot but on the right foot in more recent years, made it worse for a time. So annoying!

      1. Hi Laurel – I was caught by your comment about foot problems. This may not relate to your problem, but years ago I developed a Morton’s Neuroma in my left foot. It’s a pinched nerve in the center of the sole, just behind the ball of the foot. It results in shocky pain. The solution for me was to put a metatarsal pad in every shoe I wear. The pad pushes up and separates the tendons that are pinching the nerve. This may not be your issue at all but I just wanted to mention it.

        1. Hi Linda,

          Thank you. I appreciate that and I’m aware of that one, but the place that the pain is in, they say is not in the right location. I have tried pads but they don’t help.

          I had a couple of cortisone shots a few years ago, and it made it worse. They have done xrays and ultrasound and didn’t see anything amiss. Oh well.

  15. Such a beautiful wardrobe! I love it all, especially the gorgeous blue top and that orange bag! You will look beautiful and very classy. Wishing you a fantastic trip, and can’t wait to hear all about it. As always, love every post and so appreciate all you share. 😀

  16. Hi Laurel,
    After reading all the responses from some truly gracious women, I just have to agree with them all. Each day that I see your post is like a little gift, and today is no exception. Yesterday was one of those days in life – I know that I need say no more as I am sure everyone has them. Anyway, I woke up to your post and after reading it over coffee (too early for wine), I was smiling and remembering the joy and blessings that kinship with other women can bring to our hurried and stressful lives. You are such a sweet breath of fresh air and I thank you for sharing yourself with us. Oh, by the way, your wardrobe is fabulous! And about your feet, just remember what Billy Crystal used to say, “It doesn’t matter how you feel, it only matters how you look. And dah-ling you look mah-velous”! You will take London by storm girl. As others have said, can’t wait for the pictures.

    1. Hi Deb,

      Thank you so much! I’m so sorry that you didn’t have a good day. Oh yes, we all have them. And sometimes it’s DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS, YEARS and then it’s time to do something. At least it was for me. Your kind words are so appreciated! I’ve decided not to publish the nasties. This post brought out a couple,for whatever the reason. Maybe those are the ones who are having a lot of bad YEARS.

  17. Well, that was a lot of fun! I love your choices and they seem like you have all the bases covered. Bon Voyage and keep us posted.

  18. Love, love that suitcase BUT, as a gal who lived in London for 5 years, where will you have room for all those wonderful goodies to bring home! All those Harrod’s and Fortnum & Mason jars and crackers make fab holiday gifts! Carluccio’s Italian restaurants have gorgeous gifty goodies! Even Marks & Spencer…

    1. Hi Patti,

      That all sounds wonderful but there are 8 jam packed days and they do not include trips to any of those places. I also have to be mindful that I am traveling ALONE and have to be able to physically manage my things. :]

  19. Love all your selections! I wonder if perhaps after your trip you’d do another wardrobe post, letting us know what other clothing items you packed, and what did or didn’t work. I always pack way too much stuff when I travel and then end up not wearing half of it.

    Have a wonderful trip! I can’t wait to read all about it.

  20. Your wardrobe is as classy and timeless as your design style. All of the clothing is beautiful and practical. I’m beyond impressed with your ability to get by with one suitcase.
    You are so generous with your readers. It’s hard to explain how helpful your blog is each and every week but I hope you know how very much it is appreciated.
    You deserve to have the most wonderful trip ever. I can’t wait to read all about it.

    1. Thank you so much Janet. Well… I haven’t packed yet. But it was fine when I went to Italy. And I came back with more than I went with. A lot of the tops are very smooth and fold up into nothing. I also do have a large tote bag that’s coming.

  21. That blue top is gorgeous. I may have to snag one for myself. The only thing I don’t see are shoes more appropriate for wet weather. I recommend the Sorel brand which you can get on Zappos. They have very stylish weatherproof boots and wedges. I wore mine on a plane and walked all over rainy New Orleans without any trouble.

  22. I love all your choices!! I am headed on a cruise from Italy next week and will copy a lot of your items! I love the watch,
    ( especially, since I don’t have to worry about it fitting me!!) I am also going to order the Abeo shoe! I’m a flight attendant, and I am always looking for attractive “sensible” shoe that doesn’t shout “I’m in my 60’s and can’t wear cute shoes!!!” BTW, I had foot surgery for a fractured plantar plate.
    (after walking round the world last year😳) a diagnosis which 2 podiatrists missed, and was found by an orthopedic surgeon!! Google it!

  23. O!M!G!. I. Love. You! And (almost) all of your commenters because the whole bunch of you have the BEST ideas!
    Ditto the Sean Connery part.

  24. I love the trench and that top would be lovely if you’re not too busty (I am, boo!). It has such a nice drape and that color is to die for. I think your wardrobe sounds very sensible and pretty for the weather in the UK, and you’re wise to have another pair of shoes that are perfect and comfortable just in case.

    You’re going to have so much fun!

    1. well,Taryl. I’m built like a 12-yr-old boy. In fact, when my older son was 12 and at sleep-away camp, I went clothes shopping for him for school.

      Everything fit us perfectly. Well, him for only about a month. lol Not joking. He grew an entire foot in middle school!

      1. That’s too funny about the clothes swap! It will look amazing on you then, no doubt about it. Not every style looks good on everyone, but if they made that in a v neck I’d buy it in a hot minute because it’s beautiful.

        Can I say I just love the new widget function? I was a little nervous when you announced and began using it because those things tend to not play nicely with my iPhone but it’s sleek and super convenient for a visual board of images and quick shopping. Really a good choice!

        1. Hi Taryl,

          Yes, I have an I-phone too. And you may have noticed that my site looks a lot different on mobile. That’s thanks to Mr. Google. One day in the not-too-distant future, there will be a new website and it will all be better. After the trip, I’ll need to put more energy towards getting that done.

  25. I have that same Tumi luggage! I absolutely love it and I try to only travel with carry on now. Have an absolutely wonderful trip! You are absolutely right that English weather (in my experience) never reaches the depths of absolute horror that is an NYC downpour (especially after a snowstorm when it makes that lovely slushy liquid!)

    1. Hi Caroline,

      See? I knew that we are birds of a feather! I have never had such a luxurious suitcase. The previous ones were on special at Target. Don’t ask. Well, you can ask…

  26. Hi Laurel. I love everything that you bought but the one thing that I’m envious about is your Tumi luggage. I’ve traveled to the UK every year for the past 12 years, my daughter lives there, and I haven’t yet figured out how to travel light. Between my hair dryer, straightener, and makeup “shmear”, I just can’t seem to get it right! (I didn’t mean to rhyme). I hope you have a great time in London. I’ll be going mid-October for 2 weeks. Can’t wait!

  27. Love it all Laurel, you could shop for any day! I am now looking at the AT Chanel type jacket for myself. It will never date so could be put away until winter rolls around again next June. Have a simply wonderful time. Safe travels.

  28. Fantastic wardrobe, Laurel! I agree, the color of your blue top is gorgeous! I want those BR dark jeans too.

    So excited for you! Bon voyage!

    Side note – OK, my spellchecker is at it again! It wanted to make that ‘Bond voyage.’ Having a young Sean Connery/James Bond as your companion in London would be quite nice! Hey, a .girl can always dream!

  29. I absolutely love your design blogs and have to reader single one to the end. The only problem is that I have to stop what I’m doing to read them immediately. I am clearly a little impulsive but once I see one in my inbox, I can’t get anything else done until I’ve read it. Now I will have to do the same with any future shopping blogs because I actually have a very similar style and packing for trips has always been a huge challenge for me..plus the shoes, ugh painful or ugly is such a drama. Anyway have a great trip and keep those blogs coming;-)

    1. Well, that is such a lovely compliment Nancy! And I figure that others also have similar issues. Although, I don’t think I’ve come across anyone else with mine. My feet frequently hurt even when NOT wearing shoes. And yes, I’ve been to two podiatrists and an orthopedic specialist. Had Xrays. Ultrasound and yeah, you guessed it.

      Everything looks absolutely NORMAL!

      It is not plantar fasciitis. That is near the heel and on me, no issue. It’s in the ball between the 4th and 5th toes. I’m sure that it’s a nerve thing, but not much to be done about that.

      Sometimes it gives up on it’s own. So weird.

  30. Love everything you purchased! That blue blouse is a lifer! You will be able to wear that beauty for a long time. It is gorgeous! Now you have me shopping and I’m not going anywhere, save the grocery store! Ha!
    Have a wonderful time! Can’t wait to see pics when you get home!
    Safe travels,

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks so much!
      I’m planning on (hopefully) doing a little travel diary for a week from this Sunday which is at the half-way point. I can work on it for an hour or two every day.

    1. Hi Janice,

      I took a stab at it and came up dry. I put the image in google images and got alie express who said it doesn’t exist. and another one for ebay.uk but again, there was nothing there.

      1. Thanks for trying! I promise you I love all your clothes for the trip…. it’s the Pacific Northwest in me that loves a good sweatshirt, the jeans I’d never do but the sweatshirt looked so yummy.
        Have a fantastic trip.

        I still am eternally grateful for learning about Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls paint color from you. I just painted my entire house in it and it makes me so very happy.

  31. Is it an umbrella? Or maybe a hat…
    I want to recommend a shoe for you to try. I am an older dancer, and shoes are the only part of my wardrobe that I will spend big $$ on. Reiker shoes are sold on Zappos, and they are heavenly. Sometimes the styling is off, but some are cute. I can walk on concrete in them all day And the leather is really thin, so they shape to your feet, so go down a size if you are in between. I know it’s too late for this trip, but maybe for the next! Have fun!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m pretty big on style, but it’s really difficult. (fugly sandals aside) Unfortunately, cannot wear high heels or I would. When I was young, I remember hearing some older women bemoan not being able to wear high heels and I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about.


      I’ll definitely look into Reiker shoes. Thanks so much!

  32. Hi, Laurel, I hope you have a wonderful time in England! I am glad you got the Via Spiga. Trench coats are so great for travel and the scarves you are bringing will help you adjust for various temperatures. My husband is English and we have debated about rainfall in England vs. the US for the last 20 years or so… to include data research of statistics. Ha! So, what I can tell you is that while it rains more frequently in London than in NYC… it actually rains less (there is less annual rainfall by quite a lot). People carry raincoats all the time because it rains out of the blue and then just stops. The biggest point I will make is the one that bugs me the most… it takes ages for it to dry up! So, this means your open-toed shoe might drive you crazy – this is why they are always wearing “wellies”. You will have bright sunshine and wet ground for days – everyone will think it is beautiful out and you will just see the wet. I buy boots that are a bit too big and add an insole and thick running socks and that way my feet hurt less. Also, I discovered a brand of shoe I love for plantar fasciitis … Vionic. I am a shoe snob, think Stuart Wetizman, but I am impressed with the quality of this brand with a pretty inexpensive price tag.

    1. Hi MB,

      We have times like that when it is is wet, wet, wet for days– particularly in the spring. And then the temperature drops 30 degrees and then it goes up 30 degrees and then we get ten inches of snow dumped on us. LOL Last spring was like that. Poor bedraggled daffodils were positively shell-shocked!

  33. Thank goodness there is no jumpsuit that would get you thrown out of the mother island. Your trench coat search got me searching all over the Internet. I’m so happy you found one you love! I’m also just thrilled with your pieces. You’re going to look fabulous, darling… I don’t call anyone darling but your pieces really are timeless and classy. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel like everyone of us is living vicariously through you on this trip. Have THE best time ever!

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