Posts by Topic
I blog about sustainable fashion, earth-friendly fibers like hemp and Tencel, capsule wardrobes, travel wear, and related subjects.
I spent January in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, and it proved a perfect chance to put some of the tips that have appeared in Travel Tales posts to a(nother) real-world test. Teeming and tropical, “Jogja,” as the locals call it, is the cultural heart of Java. It’s also home to my daughter and her husband who love the city’s cultural vibrance. Crowned by an opulent sultan’s palace and thrumming with performance and visual arts, Jogja is also a center for batik and other artisanal textiles—aside from family, the other big drawing card for me.
The slimmed down travel wardrobe
I packed light with a capsule wardrobe of Sympatico styles. The sweltering heat and humidity brought home just how comfortable and breathable Sympatico’s tops are in the Light Weight version of my fabric. I brought three tops with sleeves and two sleeveless. Alternating them with a knee-length Flip Skirt, an Angled Skirt and pair of Cropped Pants offered a lot of possibilities.
On the right, I wear my Angled Skirt on a long day trip to Surakarta.
Two pairs of shoes, some jeans for the plane trip and the rare cool evening, plus layers for frigid aircraft cabins comprised my "outer wear" wardrobe. My suitcase was light and had space to bring home presents plus some stunning scarves--more about those and the fascinating craftspeople I met there in future newsletters.
Travel wear on the road
On the planes, I carried a synthetic backpack, sturdy enough to hold both my computer and iPad. A cotton knapsack was stowed in my checked luggage for carrying camera, wallet, map/iPad and a small umbrella once I arrived. I loved that knapsack, but sadly the zipper has become unreliable and the pack is worn. So I am on a quest for a well-made pack of natural fibers. If anyone knows of a good one, I’d love to hear about it.
(The photo, left, demonstrates the downside of a synthetic pack in the tropics!)
On excursions to see textile artists, attend musical performances or just to explore, I walked, took a "Grab” (the Indonesian Uber) and occasionally rode a motorcycle, the ride of choice for most Javanese. Crowded city buses and walking despite tropical showers didn't lend themselves to staying well-pressed and neat. But except for days when I switched to my synthetic backpack because my cotton one was wet, I managed to stay quite comfortable and presentable.
I washed a couple items, but mostly found that, despite having sweated profusely, odors in my Sympatico items dissipated when left to hang over night. (That’s thanks to the hemp content in the fabric, which is antimicrobial.) Spot cleaning spills was the order of the day to stay neat and presentable.
These winter getaways are wonderfully restorative and also are a fascinating glimpse into an unfamiliar culture. Stay tuned in coming weeks as I share some of my adventures and textile discoveries.
Jane’s Paprika Tuxedo Top accessorized with some well-chosen scarves served her well on a recent Japanese trip.Our latest Travel Tale focuses on a creatively simple packing plan. When Jane Averill packed for her recent trip to Japan, simplicity was key. As she writes, “The (Tuxedo) top was one of the few things I took with me, as I [...]
The impression many westerners have of South Korea is of a bustling, tech-focused economic powerhouse. Exploring the island of Jeju earlier this year helped me get past that stereotype, especially when I stumbled upon Hee Jin’s workshop in Jeju City.Eucalyptus imparts subtle earth and sky tones, beautifully rendered in this organically dyed silk scarf.It turns [...]
Although intrepid women explorers are sometimes shown wearing pants, there’s a convincing case to be made for the long travel skirt when it come to adventurous excursions. On my own overseas jaunts I’ve found a long skirt often makes an ideal travel companion. Why? Let me count the ways: A well chosen long skirt dresses up [...]
"I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase." Diane von Furstenburg Is it possible to travel with an all-natural, sustainably-made wardrobe? The answer to that question is, of course, it depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Sometimes those realities impose solutions that involve so-called technical fibers. Given airline weight limits, it [...]
Travel Tale: Our latest Travel Tale winner’s Tank and Trapeze Tops are staples in her on-the-go wardrobe.
Our latest Travel Tale winner has an appreciation for simple elegance in both industrial design and the way she dresses. Charlotte Clement’s account of her travels and the role her Tank Top and Trapeze Tunic play in her travel wardrobe earned her a Sympatico gift certificate for $100. Here’s what she says:Charlotte gets a lot [...]
Because so many of you have shared your adventures while wearing Sympatico, I was inspired to create Travel Tales — a semi-regular email feature.Send me your Travel Tale along with one or more pictures of you in your Sympatico wear and I’ll send you a $100 gift certificate if I use them. Email me with the [...]
Like so many Sympatico customers, Rebecca Allen is a frequent traveler. In putting out my call for entries for our recurring feature, Travel Tales, Rebecca responded with the following account of a recent New Orleans trip.Rebecca A, ready for her trip, in her Angled Skirt.I’m an archaeologist, which means that much of my wardrobe has [...]
Don't pack too much!It slows you down, tires you out and leaves no room for purchases. What's essential: passport or ID, money, good shoes, medications. What's smart: a coordinated wardrobe that looks stylish, feels comfortable and is culturally appropriate. Check the weather for your destination: what's the norm and what's currently happening? Look at photos on the internet to see how the [...]
When customer Emily Estes shared the details of a recent trip she made to the Texas capitol, it prodded me to mention Sympatico’s custom cuts and alteration services. Emily wanted me to make a modification to her Swallowtail Top sleeves, which I was happy to do in time for her Texas trip where she met [...]