A Convertible Travel Dress That Doesn’t Suck
I was sent my first convertible travel dress a few years ago to try…and it did not go well. I was excited to test it out because, back then, I was still a terrible overpacker and the thought of being able to pack one item for multiple outfits was enticing. The package arrived and I eagerly opened it up. “It’s…leopard print. Huh.”
While I can appreciate a leopard print shoe or bag, I’m definitely not an all over leopard print dress kind of girl. Especially not a clingy polyester leopard print dress, which is what this one turned out to be. The dress also comes in a blue/grey, but I didn’t get to choose. It was a long bodycon tube of a dress with a slit along the middle of the vertical seam. Paired with a bandeau top style piece of fabric, there was no way I could style the dress without looking like I was going clubbing. 20 different looks and every one of them made me feel like a hoochie-mama.
Needless to say, I never did review the dress (newbie blogger me didn’t know how to handle an underwhelming review) and have never worn it out of the house.
So when KameleonRose approached me to try out their convertible travel dress I was a little skeptical but even at first glance I could tell that this would be a different experience. Instead of trying to be something that could be worn a million different ways, they came up with a total of eight looks, five of which I could see myself wearing. That was enough for me.
When the navy blue dress arrived in the mail I was relieved to find out that the material didn’t feel anything like the thin cheap fabric of my previous dress. While it is a polyester/elastane mix it has a nice feel and weight to it. I can imagine that it would be fairly quick dry after a hostel handwash as well.
What I most liked about this travel dress is that it wasn’t based on a skin tight mini. The key for its convertibility is a row of buttons along the hem and the fact that you flip it upside down to change the look, one end loose, the other tight. Previous dresses I’ve seen have generally been one silhouette where you tie/arrange the top in various necklines, but in the end, the looks aren’t that different.
The Kameleon has two nice little extras built-in: a hidden zip pocket and a compression band to roll up and pack the dress more easily. It’s definitely a backpacker or flashpacker friendly dress.
I tested out the Kameleon on my recent trip to London and on a roadtrip around the Baccalieu Trail here in Newfoundland. I wore it as a dolman top/tunic with a pair of leggings for my overnight flight and it was a dream. The top was roomy and comfy while the bottom band was fitted enough that I didn’t have to worry about it riding up.
My only issue is that the spacing on the buttons was a bit awkward. There are seven buttons and with the middle three undone the neckline was a bit too wide to stay up on my shoulders when I moved around, but with only one undone, the neck hole available was too tight to be comfortable, and with just two buttons undone it, of course, was asymmetrical. If there were more buttons, spaced closer together it would allow for a more customized fit. I may just sew on a couple of those invisible snaps myself to get it just right for my frame, because everything else is great.
For a night on the town, I flipped the dress upside down and wore it as a strapless fit and flare style dress. When wore this way around, the skirt has a great drape. Paired with a pair of blush pink ballerina style block heels and delicate silver jewellry I felt piano bar appropriate. I think I may even pair this same look with a blazer for a work day outfit. Wear it with a denim jacket and trendy sneakers (like my beloved Adidas Superstars) and you’ve got a weekend brunch outfit. Going out to a cocktail bar or a dance club? Wear it as a mini skirt/halter top with a pair of heels.
There’s an option to wear the bottom as knee-length harem pants instead of a skirt, but you won’t see me in that look. It’s just not my style but I could see girls rockin’ it on a Southeast Asian beach with flip flops and a bikini.
A bit of tweaking around button placement aside, I think KameleonRose knocked it out of the park with their convertible travel dress. They really took the needs of a stylish traveller into account: quick dry, non-wrinkle fabric, wearable options, and limited hoochi-maman-ness. That’s how you design a convertible travel dress that doesn’t suck.