Monday Musings- Wardrobe Fatigue and Chiffon

Happy Monday, ladies. It never fails that when we travel, wardrobe fatigue sets in very quickly. I bring it on myself by traveling with very small bags, but the risk of lost luggage prevents me from doing otherwise.


I wear scarves more often when I travel because they help me switch up the look of basics, protect my hair from getting trashed on a windy bus ride, and cover my neck when the sun feels too strong. This little blue one is getting worn more than the others because it perks up gray, which I’m wearing ad nauseam. I spotted it at Banana Republic months ago but waited until it went on clearance to buy.


A few of you mentioned that large cruise ships often have “dressy” evenings, and it turns out we are! I don’t go overboard for these sorts of events, but I tossed in a long pleated chiffon skirt at the last moment, and it has served me well. It’s also brought back many fond memories of how differently I once dressed.

Many ladies are wearing full-on sequins for these evenings, but this old pull-on skirt fits the bill because it’s black, it’s long, and it’s chiffon. I haven’t worn it for at least 8 years, and it has survived over 20 years of closet cleanouts. In recent years, tulle skirts became the rage. I wanted one but never found one quite right because its stiffness felt over the top for me. I realize now that this softer chiffon is more my style because it’s more subdued.

I used to own many pieces by Babette, and sadly, this skirt is my last of her pieces. After almost 50 years in business, Babette liquidated all her clothes and closed her doors in 2016. Now that I’ve begun wearing this skirt again, I realize I want to find a similar brand. Her clothes were modern, sophisticated, unique, easy to wear, and artistic. Hmm…I have my work cut out for me.

Is there a style of clothing you used to wear that you’d love to bring back into your style recipe?

Thanks for reading, and remember to wear what puts a smile on your face:)





  1. Cath🇨🇦 says:

    I am a fan of PONANT, a French cruise line, with maximum just 180 passengers on their Explorer ships , with all suites having balconies.
    As a returning passenger, a bonus is having laundry done ( not dry cleaning). Especially nice, on a week long voyage, to have my nightie laundered, as well as some other intimates, and a couple of tops.

    The ads show elegant models wearing lots of linens in tans and whites, but in reality , passengers wore a lot more colour, and weren’t quite as slim!
    The dining room is less casual for dinner than other meals. I wore a couple of colourful kimonos ( one was a reversible blue from Chico’s purchased after seeing an earlier post of yours, Jennifer ) which worked well with coordinating tops and pants, and a dress in black and cream with strappy black sandals worked for the Black and White evening. Some men wore blazers , but many opted for just a smart shirt and tie. These evenings are listed in the cruise information, if one wishes to plan ahead for packing.
    Our Caribbean cruise in March ( Barbados to St Lucia) will call for lighter, casual, colourful clothing, but I will pack the two black and white dresses purchased three years prior, before the pandemic happened and this particular cruise was twice delayed. Finally out of their bags! 🛍
    Enjoy fall in the Maritimes! Hope you explored Lunenburg… such a gem!

    1. Our ship didn’t stop at Lunenburg, sadly. Thanks for the tip about Ponant. It sounds right up our alley for cruising. Laundry service would sure be nice! Have a great trip!

  2. It was smart to hang onto your skirt.
    It’s fine to clear your closet out, but formal wear should have different standards for the Goodwill bag. If it doesn’t fit anymore, if it was uncomfortable to wear, if it’s associated with an event you never want to think about again — it’s out. Otherwise hang onto it!

    I got rid of the dress I wore to my Son’s wedding back in 2016 after they split up. He’s getting married again this Fall and I went looking for dresses and found myself drawn to nearly the same dress I got for his first wedding. If I’d known happier days would be ahead maybe I’d have kept that dress around.

    1. I totally agree about formal wear and the goodwill bag. Congratulations on your sons wedding!

  3. Hi Jennifer, I hope that you are having a great time on your trip. I was wondering how you like your face mask that you decided to purchase for the trip. I’m traveling next month, and I was thinking of ordering them, but I wanted to hear your opinion.

    1. I love it! In fact, several people commented that it matched my outfit 🙂 I like the I can fold it flat to slip into my purse when eating and it keeps the face section clean.

  4. I always have a checked bag when I travel. I’ve been fortunate and never lost a piece yet. I do carry a backpack with necessities. I find a black sheath dress with a couple of different evening jackets takes me through any dressier occasions. I do prefer cruise lines without a formal night. I spent too many years wearing an evening gown to functions and simply do not want to that anymore. I still like to dress nice for dinner every night. My favourite cruise line for River cruises has been Scenic. For ocean cruises it is Viking. I prefer the smaller ships without hordes of people. The service is better, no children, the food outstanding, no problem getting a table at the specialty restaurants and the staff gets to know you which won’t happen on a bigger ship.
    I hope you are enjoying your time aboard the ship and in the Maritimes.

  5. I had a pair of wide leg chiffon overlay pants that I wore to many formal events. They made it through so many closet clean outs! Your skirt is the same idea!

    1. Yes!! Your pants sound like the perfect solution for formal events.

    2. When I lived in the Midwest and shopped at Dillard’s, I would always see the pants you are describing in either black or navy blue there. Just giving this shout out to try Dillard’s. If you don’t see them this month, maybe check next month as it gets closer to the holidays.

  6. We noticed the Viking River cruises were the most casual of all the 4 lines we have cruised. I only brought a carryon for our 21 day Grand European trip in winter. We have cruised over 20 times, and the one thing I always have to remind myself is travel and cruising most often require entirely different wardrobes…

    1. I agree! Totally different wardrobe needs for me. Your trip sounds amazing.

  7. I see you brought your fabulous Jennifer necklace! It is so beautiful. And the light blue shawl is the perfect topper. I think I see that you tucked your top (a shell?) into your black skirt. Is that right? I am so short waisted that tucking in really doesn’t work for me and that makes gathered waists on skirts a problem. I hope you are enjoying our Canadian east coast. All the best, Gayle. Burlington, ON

    1. Yes, I tucked and bloused it over the waistband a little bit. It’s a very inexpensive tee so I didn’t feel the hem looked good on the outside. It’s beautiful here!!

  8. I miss Babette, too! I have a pair of her black palazzo pants from at least 10 years ago that are so chic now. Thanks for reminding me about them.
    I also noticed Eileen Fisher has a new pleated olive dress for fall eerily similar to my Babette. Maybe that’s a hopeful sign of returning favorites to come.

    The original Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman lines were always aspirational for me in the ‘90s. But the names were sold for lower price markets. Not the same.

    1. I spotted that dress in gray this summer and wish I had bought it.

  9. I travel quite a bit & I own some pieces that I usually only wear on cruises. Some pieces like my Chicos traveler pants, crops & open cardigans are over 20 years old. I look for current tops that I can wear with these pieces. We’ve done a number of Viking & they are by far
    my favorite. Their atmosphere of casual elegance makes it easy for me to be dressed for dinner with simple black bottoms & a pretty top. Other big lines like Princess or Norwegian may say formal attire for a specific night & a glitzy top usually suffices. I’ve never seen anyone denied entry to the dining room & if you’re comfortable in what you are wearing it’s all fine.

    1. I liked the atmosphere on Viking too!

  10. We have cruised 5 times with Holland America. I would suggest he bring a jacket and tie. My husband travels with an Eddie Bauer navy blazer that packs well, but he usually wears it on the plane. In the winter, he wears a wool tweed jacket. Depending on how dressy I get, he sometimes skips the tie, but not on a formal night. Holland America passengers are a dressier and older, more traditional group than, say, Princess. For 21 days, there are usually 3 evenings that are dressy. On our HA cruise to Alaska 3 years ago on formal nights, men’s jackets were required for the dining room.

    1. This is a very different group than we had on our Viking Riverboat cruise. It’s so interesting how they vary by cruise line.

  11. Theodora Repose says:

    The original Coldwater Creek had beautiful real Silk Shantung shirts in verdant colors that fit perfectly. They closed down and reopened but no sign of the Silk Shirts.😪

  12. Jennifer, I started reading your blog just recently with one of yours from 2017-18 where you packed a quite elaborate wardrobe (fabulous) into a carryon and tote! A few years later, and you are a lot more relaxed, perhaps, post-pandemic, or perhaps, just with time…

    Re. Babette: I have just one pair of her pleated palazzo pants from her store in Los Altos, CA: much worn and loved. I read very recently of Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake’s passing: did you know that Miyake and Babette are co-credited with reinventing the Fortune pleat in the 80’s? Impressive!

    Re. cruise dress: every cruise line offers guidelines for dress code for each specific cruise, including the # of casual and # of black tie-optional evenings. Dressy evenings have long been falling out of favor, but several lines still favor a few dressy evenings bc their particular clients want it. I was told that the QE2 has all formal evenings, but that may have changed since 2018.

    We took a Crystal ocean cruise in 2013 which had 2 of 10 black tie optional evenings, a Crystal river cruise of 14 nights in 2018, all dressy casual (women wore nice slacks + pretty tops or a dress and men wore shirts of any type with a collar, some sport coats), and this year on a Viking river cruise, while the dress code said “elegant casual” for evening, cruisers were 50% in very casual day attire (sporty leggings) and 50% changed for dinner. [I read on that Viking was the most casual of river cruises.]

    1. Interesting to see how cruising has changed. We are used to Windstar cruises which they describe as having a “country club” dress code. Nothing too dressy but nothing too casual. My packing this year was haphazard because I was just too busy to give it the attention necessary before we left. I will be sure to plan ahead next time.

  13. Our cruise in April had all sorts of dressing for dinners. Sequins to shorts. I always sorry the airlines will lose my luggage but, in fact, the cruiseline did. About 10 minutes before sailing, they thankfully located it. Hope your cruise was fun!

    1. Oh wow, you were lucky they found it!

  14. Ah, Babette. While it was pricey, I wish I had stocked up . Distinctive style, and travels well. Yes, PLEASE, let us know if you discover something comparable.

  15. Interesting to read about your packing challenges. I feel the same way. I have all these clothes I love but so many are not “pack friendly”. So I also usually pick a dark palette and often do not pack my favorite accessories for fear of losing them on the trip. But I always sincerely consider myself lucky if vacation and these clothing challenges are the most stressful part of my life. When they are I put it into perspective and remember to be grateful that life is pretty peaceful at the moment.

    1. I love your attitude, Teri. I also leave my special pieces at home. I lost a treasured scarf on our last cruise and am sad every time I see it in a photo.

  16. What cruise line are you on, and where are you? We booked Holland America for three weeks. I think I will be fine, but my husband is wondering if he really needs to bring a jacket and tie. If anyone could tell me, I’d love the advice! Usually, men have it so easy!

    1. Mary Feances says:

      Linda, check the details before your trip. We were on HA once without a coat and tie for my husband. They would not let him in the dining room. There was no buffet that night. His only choice was room service. I hope they have changed. Have a great trip.

    2. I do recommend your husband pack a blazer. Several men are wearing full suits and ties. We are in the Canadian maritimes

      1. Jennifer, I am sure you will look fabulous with whatever you wear! I used to love Liz Claiborne. Two brands that still exist are: Jones New York, but the quality has deteriorated; and Eileen Fisher, quality still good but the styles are too shapeless and colorless. I just ordered the pants you are wearing on your cruise as well as a hooded sweater. So I’m giving EF another try on your recommendation. I still have some of her sweaters and matching tanks that I love. They are years old but still look good.
        Have a wonderful vacation!

      2. Thank you. Some days I look better than others:) I am patiently waiting for EF’s silk pleated dress to get marked down, but I fear it will sell out in my size before it does. I know it’s a risk plus the dress would have been perfect for this trip.

  17. I am not a neutrals girl, love the color! So I bring neutral pants and colored tops. I find that my JJill Wearever pants and tops are perfect for the dressier evenings. Looks like you are having great weather!

    1. I agree, many of the J. Jill Wearever pieces would be perfect for cruising.

  18. Loving that black skirt. It’s perfect for the cruise dinner.

  19. Babette was wonderful. I also miss their clothes. I find white a magnet for coffee drips and salad dressings. I travel with many colors. but white only in a no-iron blouse. But my old Chico’s basic mid-thigh black skirt and long-sleeved top always travel with me. With scarf and/or jacket, I can go anywhere.

    1. Some cruise ships have self-serve pay laundry facilities. These were popular.

      With carry-on being the preferred choice, I can see more cruise lines taking the casual approach and eliminating formal nights. Less luggage makes boarding easier for crew.

      Another handy tip: Downy makes a travel size Wrinkle Release.

      1. That wrinkle release would come in very handy.

    2. Your skirt and top sound like they’d be lifesavers for my travel wardrobe too.

  20. I too bring dresser black pants and dressier tops for dress-up nights on cruises. I also drag out my old prairie skirt in black crape material. Also is easy to go with dresser tops and present well.
    Most of the cruises we have been on have very relaxed dress codes. No tuxes or gowns. Kind of sad because that was very special.
    I carry a carry-on and check one bag. So far no problem, however I saw my checked bag fall off the luggage truck going to the plane. Glad they stopped to pick it up.
    Enjoy every minute of your cruise 🚢

    1. My heart would have jumped if I’d seen my bag fall off the truck! You are lucky they pickd it up.

      1. Love hearing about your trip, I agree – I also tire of my packed outfits. I also find I want to wear certain things over and over as they are comfortable. I too bring scarves that serve many purposes. Love the long black skirt.

  21. Jennifer; I love love love the black skirt and your comment “it reminds me how differently I once dressed”. So true isn’t it. I think about that all the time. Wearing Brooks Brothers suits for years in the corporate; I don’t know how I survived. Lol. But my post retirement job, 13 years in retail, opened my eyes to a whole new world! And I love your gray cardigan. I go it based on your recommendation from a previous post and its perfect. Thank you always for all your helpful hints and advice.

    1. I’m glad you like it too. I am wearing the heck out of that little gray cardigan.

  22. I wore dressy colorful or neutral evening tops with dressy black pants, black flats, and bling necklace on my cruise to the Mediterranean for formal nights. We had 3 of them on Princess, and they were optional. I brought all black pants, and then a mix of colorful tops, cardigans to mix and match for daily wear. I brought scarves and different necklaces. I bring a carry on, and a checked bag. I have to bring a curling iron, prescriptions, etc. I am like you I like clothes, and feel like I need to bring what I think I need for all situations. So far, no problem with luggage, and we go once a year to England. I wish I could travel with less, packing takes forever trying to decide what to bring.

    Have fun on your cruise. You look good in your black and white, very chic.

    1. Those are great ways to stretch your wardrobe!!

  23. Hi, Jennifer. I was wondering why you didn’t pack more white clothing items, but then I saw that you mentioned that lighter clothes show the dirt. But you aren’t digging ditches, are you? (Ha Ha. Hope not.) If I was packing for a cruise, I would pack lots of white pants and shorts, plus colorful printed tops that feature white in the background. Then one black pant and matching silk tank & cardigan for a dressier look. Scarves, for sure. Wishful thinking. Enjoy!

    1. I don’t wear shorts so they were never on my list but a few more skirts would have been a good addition for this cruise.

  24. I love the short cardigan you have been wearing. That seems to be something that has come back. Was that from Nordstrom? On cruises I always bring a long black dress with different event ng jackets. Seems to work. Have fun!

  25. I know you like to color code all your travel wardrobes, but I feel you should always add a couple of lighter colored blouses/tops to your packing. Any color would go with black pants or shorts! Then you would not get bored with your selections after a few days. I would be hard pressed to wear something “dressy” on a cruise! I never wear skirts or dresses. I’m always in a panic when I have to attend a wedding!

    1. I agree, lighter colors are nice. I do have a no-iron white shirt with me, a white tank, and a pink shell. They show dirt easier than darker colors so I find them less versatile.

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