The Sierra Tank Dress from Wool& - a sleeveless, knee length (on me, at 5'2"), a-line tunic that can be dressed up, dressed down, layered and worn in just about any situation. I would have gotten their Rowena dress (the long version), but frankly, it's too hot for long sleeves. The Sierra is a sort of terry fabric, merino with a bit of nylon and spandex. It's light, flexible, and drapes well. I've been wearing it in high heat. So far, it's felt comfortable up to about 90 degrees F. A number of women are participating in Wool&'s challenge to wear the same dress for 100 days straight! You can find their stories on IG with #100daydresschallenge. Men's clothing, made by their affiliate company, can be found at Wool&Prince.
Cloud Cap Stretch 2.0 Parka, Eddie Bauer
I've been looking for a fully waterproof, lightweight rain shell that I can wear over short-sleeved shirts or layers of long-sleeved shirt plus wool sweater. I also wanted something longer than waist, or even hip, length. Soggy thighs are not a pleasant thing when you're traveling. Voila! Bought one of these last summer and tested it out in very wet conditions this fall. It's the bomb. Stretchy, quiet (no swish-swish sound), truly waterproof. Nice hood. Folds down to almost nothing in a daypack so you can have it with you all the time. A good thing, because the only thing more changeable than weather in Scotland is weather in Iceland! Also, big time kudos to Eddie Bauer for offering outdoor wear in a wide of range of sizes. They've been working closely with Jenny Bruso of Unlikely Hikers fame to do so. Good on 'em.
Wool& Sierra Tank Dress
Willow Swing Dress, Wool&
I'm a big fan of merino garments for travel. They are tough, naturally resist odors so you can wear them multiple times in between washing, work well in heat or cold and provide a livelihood for my favorite animals on the planet, sheep. (Don't tell my dog I said that, please.) There's been a lot of buzz lately about the merino wool dresses offered by a company called Wool&. Lots of people are jumping on their campaign to wear the same dress for 100 days, called the #100daydresschallenge. You can scroll Instagram or other social media by searching that tag and see what it's all about. The three of us here at Rowan Tree Travel & Fibercraft have been trying them out. I want to share our thoughts with you so you can decide for yourself whether its worth the hefty investment into one of these dresses ($128 - $158, depending on style chosen). Audrey picked the longer-length Willow Swing Dress in Vintage Blue. She's been wearing hers for several weeks already, participating in the 100 Day Dress Challenge. You can follow her posts about the challenge on Instagram at @mekafarm. Audrey gives the dress big kudos for the following reasons: It's soft It's wearable in both warm and cool temperatures, so a multi-season garment Easy to spot clean She loves not thinking about what to wear each day and is comfortable putting it on each day It's making her reflect on multiple issues around clothing: how unnecessarily self-conscious we are, how lucky she is to have the funds to invest in a quality garment, that it's a privilege to attempt to reduce your textile footprint and that, in sum, she has too many clothes in her closet taking up space that could be used for yarn. A potential con: the dress is made of a pretty lightweight material, so she wondered if it would show some transparency in the fabric but so far, all good! Heather's thoughts: ""I love the pockets, (yay pockets!), the flow of the fabric, and the fact that it's a good base layer - not too hot on it's own and wearable in a wide variety of temperatures, great base for layering. (Greece in May will be really testing this - I will likely not be wearing it all day long.) At it's most simple I wear it on it's own with leggings, I put another skirt underneath if I want it to be longer, I wear it with capris or bike shorts in warm weather, or as a base layer in cold weather. It can be dressed up for date night, thrown on over jeans or worn to bed on a cold night. I am more likely to wear shawls when I am wearing a Wool& dress, especially my black one, so I love that it encourages me to highlight projects that otherwise tend to languish. I have two lengths - I prefer the longer one at the moment, because I have been wearing more wool leggings this winter, but I do like the shorter one with jeans and capris."" By the way, Heather is involved in her own 100 Day Dress Challenge right now. You can follow her adventures wearing her black Rowena Swing Dress on Instagram and Facebook at @rowantreetravel. And now, me. I have purchased two different Wool& dresses, but only kept one (the Sierra Tank Dress, long). Which did I rehome? I'll get to that. First, the Sierra review. Again, pics randomly snagged from the internet. Heather has two Rowena Swing Dresses -- one in (color) and one in (color). She couldn't send me a picture on such short notice, so I snagged these from the internet. I have mixed feelings about this dress. But in general, the Sierra tips to the positive. Pros: all that Audrey and Heather said, plus GREAT POCKETS and a thicker fabric that hangs well and feels very comfortable, sizing according to their website worked perfectly for a relaxed but not overly loose garment. Cons: boring colors (At the time, there were only three on offer. I ordered gray and then dyed mine!), the longer length adds only 2"" to the dress so there are no options for a dress that falls below the knee. And the one I didn't keep? The Willow Swing dress. I ordered the longer length, in Moss Green, size XXL. This, along with several others of their offerings, are now available in all kinds of fun colors. But the lengths are still short. I don't wear dresses above the knees in general because I'm over 50 and feel like a teeny-bopper when I do. (Unless it's really hot, and then I don't care what I look like.) I ordered some merino fabric on Etsy with the intent to sew on a band of contrasting color for additional length. After three weeks, I still hadn't gotten 'round to it and realized I probably never would. But the clincher for me on this dress is the fabric. It's thinner than the Sierra Tank. That might work for some people, but I found it too clingy. The skirt part clung to every type of legging I tried with it -- cotton, wool, synthetic. It also, and this may be a size issue as it wasn't offered in plus sizes, stuck to my butt and looked less than flattering. On the website, the dress appears generously A-line in profile. It should swing freely from the body. In reality, that absolutely did not happen for me. Sizing? Material? I don't know. But at that price, it has to be RIGHT for me to keep it. I would have returned it, but knew Audrey would enjoy wearing it, so sent it to her. There are a nice array of dress styles offered on the Wool& site. I encourage you to peruse them. Check out the #100daydresschallenge to see how the offerings look and wear on REAL PEOPLE rather than models. Then, if you like one and are willing to spend the money, place an order. Try it out. Their return policy is generous, so if you don't really like it, you can always send it back. Chances are good that you'll keep it."