Update Feb 2018: When I wrote this post a year ago I was quite happy with the travel pants from anatomie. However, within 6 months of owning them I had to throw both pairs away. The belt loops on the grey, flared pants broke and on the black skinny pants the seams along the crotch and inner thigh fell apart.
If I had purchased these pants myself, which retail at over $200 per pair, I would have been very disappointed by how long they lasted. Unfortunately, I would no longer recommend these pants – why spend so much on clothing when it will only last 6 months?
The long sleeved top and the cowl neck sleeveless top are still in great condition and I wear them often.
I’ve been travelling the world for the last 6 years, but I had never worn any clothing that was specifically designed for travel.
In fact, I’ve never been much of a fashionista. Most of my clothing is cheap and cheerful – purchased at Kmart or Primark and worn through quite quickly. I live out of a backpack and all the clothing I own fits in a canvas shopping bag, but I never really considered wearing “travel clothing.”
However, when anatomie offered for me to try some of their travel clothing I had a chance to see what I was missing out on. They sent me two pairs of pants, a cowl neck sleeveless top, a long sleeved top and a racerback top with a built in bra. I received them while travelling around Tasmania, so right away I got to try them out on some beautiful adventures and hikes.
They Felt Strange – At First
There was a period of adjustment when I got used to a feeling such a different fabric against my skin. I was used to wearing denim, so this incredibly lightweight fabric felt really strange to at first. It almost felt like I was wearing nothing at all. I wasn’t sure if they would fit because they looked so small when I first unpacked them, but they miraculously stretched to fit my substantial butt.
My friend Erica remarked, “They are like yoga pants, but fancy,” and she was right. They had the lightweight stretchiness of yoga pants but from a distance they looked like jeans or the type of pants you might wear to the office. They also have a bit of a modern look, which caused Lee to quip that I looked like I was wearing a crew uniform for an upscale spaceship.
However, after a few days of wearing my travelling pants the barely-there fabric started to feel normal. When I put my jeans back on now they feel strange and heavy. Weird.
What I Liked About Them
One of the huge advantages of these travel pants is that they fold up so thin. Unlike travelling with a pair of jeans, which can be bulky and take up a lot of room in your backpack, these pants and tops can be squeezed into the smallest crevice.
When I fold up my travel pants, they are only about as thick as a notebook and when I roll them up they take up less space than some of my t-shirts.
The long sleeved top is also great. Instead of lugging a big and bulky hoodie with me in case I get cold, I can take this top – which can be scrunched up into my purse and barely takes up any room.
This made we want to own an entire wardrobe of travel clothing, so that my clothes would take up less room in my backpack and I could lighten the load on my back (or have room for more coffee sachets and Nutella). I’m excited now because I could see myself going away for a few days, like when I go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for example, and only needing to take a small bag rather than my enormous backpack.
I also like how stretchy they are. They are made from Lycra, so it really does feel like I am wearing yoga pants all day long (and that, my friends, really is living the dream). It doesn’t look like I am wearing yoga pants though – so I can be super comfy without looking like a slob. I really look forward to when I wear them on an overnight bus or a plane, because they will be so comfortable to sleep in.
I wore the pants while hiking up to the Wineglass Bay lookout point in Tasmania. It was a steady uphill climb on a warm day, but the pants never became hot or uncomfortable. The fabric is really thin and stretchy, so I could climb on the rocks with ease. I think they would be great in countries like India where the weather is hot, but respect for the local culture dictates that I keep my legs covered.
Ok, here’s something else. These pants actually HAVE POCKETS. I know, right? Ladies, I’m sure you are just as fed up as me with wearing jeans with pockets not even big enough for a house key or, even worse, pockets that are sewn shut. What is the deal with those?
Also, best of all for a lazy girl like me is how easy they are to take care of. There’s no need for dry cleaning or ironing – which is good because I would never bother with that stuff anyway. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) You can wash them in a washing machine or even in the sink and they dry very quickly.
I washed them in a hotel room sink in Launceston, Tasmania just to see how quickly they would dry. The website says they would dry in 20 minutes, which might happen if they were outside on a sunny day. Hanging up in the bathroom of the hotel room they took a little longer – but were still dry within a few hours.
One of my worries about travel clothing was whether or not it would look strange and that people would be able to tell I was wearing clothing specifically designed for travel. I always think it’s hilarious when people take “travel vests” with thousands of pockets with them – you don’t need to dress like you are on safari when you are walking around Amsterdam or Rome.
However, I think my travel clothes look just like normal clothes. I wore the cowl neck top with a necklace, a pair of skinny jeans and black sandals when I went out for a few drinks in Melbourne and I fit in just fine.
The design is a good balance between stylish and practical.
The only item I haven’t fallen in love with is the racerback top, which is why I don’t have any photos of myself wearing it. There’s nothing wrong with the top itself – it just doesn’t really work on my body type and the built in bra squishes down my boobs in an unflattering way. I really need my clothing to work with my boobs rather than against them, as they need all the help they can get.
I don’t think this is a flaw with the top, it has more to do with my potato-like torso. It would work a lot better on a more slender and petite, rather than someone with broad meaty shoulders like me. Or, perhaps I just needed a bigger size?
It’s a bit disappointing because I loved the way it looked in the photos. That’s the only problem with buying clothing online – you can’t try them on and see how it works for your body type. Sometimes a piece of clothing looks amazing in the photos but it just doesn’t work on you.
However, the good news is that anatomie has a pretty decent return policy, so if you order something and find that it is the wrong size or doesn’t work with your body type and makes you look like a potato… you can send it back!
Are Travel Clothes Worth It?
Travel clothes are more expensive than regular clothes – but I think you do get what you pay for. You are paying extra for the fact that they are lightweight, they fold up to a third of the size of jeans and they can be washed and dried in a hotel bathroom without any need for ironing or dry cleaning.
If your lifestyle includes a lot of travel, it might be worth making the investment in a pair or two of travel pants and couple of tops.
After all, if you enjoy something and do it a lot – it’s worth spending a bit more on the equipment and gear you need to do it well. If the reduced bulk means that you can travel lighter and even pare down your load to simply carry-on, then the reduced hassle might be worth it.
For example, if you love running and you do it every day, then you are probably justified to spend extra money on a decent pair of running shoes because it will make the difference. If you only go for a short jog once a week, the shoes might not be worth it and you’re probably fine just wearing your old ones. The same principle applies to buying special clothes for travel.
However, don’t think that travel clothes are absolutely necessary for travelling the world. You can travel no matter what you are wearing. (As long as it covers your body and is respectful to the culture you are visiting.)