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December 2017 update: Unfortunately, the Ibex dress I had is gone as they have now gone out of business so we’ve added links to a similar dress by another merino wool brand.
Wondering what to wear in spring or autumn when the weather’s still cold but occasionally sunny? Dresses are a great option for this time of year. Take a look at the merino wool dress that almost made me overpack for Paris – I love it! I also share some other ideas for dresses that could make it into your cold-weather wardrobe!
Dresses can easily be layered with tights, scarves, and jackets for cold days and worn alone when warm. Find out more here.
Merino Wool Dress
What I Packed:
- 1 Jeans
- 2 Dresses
- 4 Tops
Additional, non-capsule pieces included: 2 outerwear, 1 pair of Ibex thermals, and 1 sleepwear set.
This doesn’t seem like much, does it? I even packed in all into my 30L daypack for a total of 4kg (9 lbs).
So how did I manage to overpack?
Keep reading to find out what wonderful item pleasantly turned my minimalist packing list into an overpacking experience!
The answer: THE MANSFIELD MERINO WOOL DRESS BY IBEX (Here is a similar dress from Pendleton.)
When I first saw this dress, I liked the idea of it. It had long sleeves, a classic shape, it was available in black, and it had a round neckline that covered me where I wanted to be covered without choking me.
In addition to being a basic travel wardrobe piece, my biggest selling point was that it is 100% Merino wool. This makes it ideal for travel in cold weather, plus it has the ability to be worn repeatedly without washing.
But I never expected to fall in love with it so much that I would wear it four times in one week! And in London AND Paris!
Originally I HAD planned to wear it twice: on my travel day to London and on my travel day back from Paris. This would have allowed me to pack only three tops and one more dress for the other five days.
When I first tried it on, it seemed to drown me in my 5’2″ stature, so I had it hemmed to 3 inches above my knee. This made a much more flattering and wearable fit.
Find out the best fabric alternatives to merino wool and why they are so great!
I paired it with black tights, black motorcycle boots, a black scarf, and a maroon leather jacket. As I walked from the train to the Tube and through London I couldn’t help but notice a certain bounce in my step. Was it the fact that I was wearing my favorite ten-year-old boots? A snug, rocking leather jacket? That I packed super light for my one week trip?
And then I realized it: No. It was the dress. It just made me feel good. It was comfortable, classic, and with the new hem–even sexy; modest, paired with tights, of course.
I can’t explain it, but I found myself seated in Heathrow waiting for my friend to arrive and falling more in love with the dress. At that moment I envisioned myself wearing it for our free New Europe city tour in Paris and maybe even to the Eiffel Tower two days later.
Whether you’re looking for something in autumn, spring, or a mix-weather trip – a merino wool dress like this one is a great choice!
A merino dress not only became my favorite during that trip but many readers have been also asking for more “dress me weather” ideas since this type of item allows you to still wear a dress without feeling super cold.
On that note, check out more popular picks for the best merino wool travel dress below!
Best Merino Wool Dresses for Winter and Fall
Lucky Brand Long Sleeve Wool Dresses
Though this is a blend (viscose/alpaca included), this Lucky Brand wool long sleeve dress is soft, shapes the body well, and has lovely detail with the pintucking at the sleeves.
One review says it all, “I love this dress. Great quality, soft, and flattering. I love the detail at the neckline.”
J.Crew Merino Long Wool Dress
While a classic black wool dress is a solid go-to, so is gray. This J.Crew merino wool blend dress is super versatile pairing well with loafers, ankle boots, or knee-high boots. The knit is superior so it’s not see-through and the polo spread collar with buttons gives it lots of styling options and the silhouette makes it classic and wearable for multiple years.
Try other accessories with it like a belt, moto jacket, and a stylish (but warm) hat!
Find out what’s the best merino wool clothing for travel!
Icebreaker Merino Rye Lane Dress
If you’re looking for relaxed wool dresses with long sleeves, this Icebreaker piece has a cute funnel V-neck with a zipper and is described as super soft and ideal for anyone who likes a looser fit. You can layer with cardigans, turtlenecks, jackets, and of course, you can add tights underneath.
One user raves about this, saying, “ Love this black dress! The knit makes it a great cold-weather option. With a turtleneck and leggings, it’s as comfortable as a flannel shirt and jeans, just way more polished.”
Woolly Ribbed Sleeveless Merino Wool Dress
For a bit of versatility, this Woolly dress can create many a merino wool outfit! Add a blouse or tee underneath, layer a jacket or blazer, or add accessories like a belt or dangly necklace. At mid-knee length, it’s a classic, yet simple piece that’ll last season after season!
A wearer shares the features of this dress, saying, “This is super soft and comfortable with a lot of stretch to the materia. The dress hangs beautifully and looks great with tights or hose. I wear this with a sweater over it and it looks great with a belt also.”
Made with breathable, odor-resistant and quick-drying Australian merino fabric it also has a lining so you have full coverage. You can also wear this in the summer!
These are the best merino wool sweaters, according to our readers!
Madewell Polo Dress Wool (Merino)
Take a spin with easygoing flair in this Madewell polo dress that’s a blend of merino wool and cotton. The spread neck and above the knee-length give it classic details but the fit is all relaxed. A versatile basic that you can dress up or down!
Citizen Cashmere Wool Tunics Dresses
Described as “the softest cashmere,” the Citizen cowl neck sweater dress is actually 90% merino wool with a dash of cashmere, and the combination is inviting beset with cozy pockets. Would look fab with long boots, leggings, and ankle boots, or on its own (but don’t sacrifice warmth when you don’t have to!).
One reviewer explains her total adoration of this dress, saying, “I love their woolen dresses! The knit has a nice weight to it which makes the dress feel and look rather luxurious. Worn it a few times with both flats and heels and loved it either way. The side pockets are a really nice touch, and look great with autumn-colored accessories”.
These are some of the warmest socks for cold-weather travel!
Smartwool Diamond Peak Quilted Dress
This Smartwool raglan-style dress is cozy and could be your “right one”! Made from a merino-polyester blend, It features a quilted front and back with long sleeves which keep you warm and front pockets that are great for storing your small essentials.
This is described as, “A great Casual dress for travel or out and about.” It’s also perfect to wear when you’re sightseeing. Just throw on some comfortable boots of your choice and you’re good to go! Comes in sizes XS-XL.
Shop: Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer Merino Wool Winter Dress
Super stylish, the Marks & Spencer midi dress is cozy due to the soft ribbed texture that allows for movement, yet has a nice-looking column cut. The little slit at the side also allows your legs some breathing room.
One reviewer says, “100% merino wool, so it’s a good value at the price and other companies are selling similar for much more.” A gorgeous winter must-have!
Learn more about how to pack for cold weather!
Shop: Banana Republic
Banana Republic Turtleneck Merino Wool Sweater Dress
Made from responsibly sourced wool, this Banana Republic dress is an adorable turtleneck style with a flattering silhouette, from shoulder to waist.
One happy user says, “This is a fitted but not bodycon dress. It’s true to size and not itchy at all! It falls well and I liked the hem detailing as well as the sleeves. Highly recommend it.”
Tip: you may not want a full dress, so maybe consider merino woolen maxi skirts, their length covers up the legs when chilly and a skirt allows you to revolve tops and create a “new” wool skirt outfit every time!
Merino Wool Dress Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|Lucky Brand Long Sleeve Wool Dresses||“I love this dress. Great quality, soft, and flattering. I love the detail at the neckline.”||Check Price|
|J.Crew Merino Long Wool Dress||The knit is superior so it’s not see-through and the polo spread collar with buttons gives it lots of styling options and the silhouette makes it classic and wearable for multiple years.||Check Price|
|Icebreaker Merino Rye Lane Dress||“ Love this black dress! The knit makes it a great cold-weather option. With a turtleneck and leggings, it's as comfortable as a flannel shirt and jeans, just way more polished.”||Check Price|
|Woolly Ribbed Sleeveless Merino Wool Dress||“This is super soft and comfortable with a lot of stretch to the materia. The dress hangs beautifully and looks great with tights or hose. I wear this with a sweater over it and it looks great with a belt also.”||Check Price|
|Madewell Polo Dress Wool||The spread neck and above the knee-length give it classic details but the fit is all relaxed. A versatile basic that you can dress up or down!||Check Price|
|Citizen Cashmere Wool Tunics Dresses||“I love their woolen dresses! The knit has a nice weight to it which makes the dress feel and look rather luxurious. Worn it a few times with both flats and heels and loved it either way. The side pockets are a really nice touch, and look great with autumn-colored accessories”.||Check Price|
|Smartwool Diamond Peak Quilted Dress||“A great Casual dress for travel or out and about.”||Check Price|
|Marks & Spencer Merino Wool Winter Dress||“100% merino wool, so it’s a good value at the price and other companies are selling similar for much more.”||Check Price|
|Banana Republic Turtleneck Merino Wool Sweater Dress||“This is a fitted but not bodycon dress. It’s true to size and not itchy at all! It falls well and I liked the hem detailing as well as the sleeves. Highly recommend it.”||Check Price|
Have you ever traveled with a merino wool dress? Please comment below!
For more travel dresses, please read:
- 17 Best Midi Dresses for Women That Are Versatile and Stylish
- The Famous Nordstrom Leith Dress Review
- Best Dresses With Pockets for Work, Play, or Travel
- We Found the Perfect Little Black Travel Dress
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*Ibex sent me a complimentary dress and I genuinely loved it!