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The Best Travel Dresses for Easy, Pretty Glamour: Leota

Packing pretty, easy travel dresses made our Ireland trip special!
Packing beautiful, easy travel dresses made our Ireland trip special!

Ever notice that people treat you better when you’re dressed nicely? As an experiment, what I packed for our week-long Ireland trip was… a suitcase full of cute dresses.

“How,” you may ask, “could you be so irresponsible? Dresses aren’t comfortable, nor are they durable.” Nope! If you say such things, you just haven’t yet been introduced to my favorite new dress brand: Leota.

Effortlessly glamorous in Leota a Bunratty Castle in Ireland.
Effortlessly glamorous in Leota at Bunratty Castle in Ireland.

This fashion revelation came the day I learned that my friend from college, Sarah, had started a dress company, Leota.

Once I heard that Leota was featured in magazines across the country, on New York City taxi infomercials, and even by the “Millionaire Matchmaker,” I knew I had to check it out. Upon opening the website, all I could do was clutch my heart. The beauty! The cuteness!

Rockin' the Perfect Wrap dress an a beautiful Ireland hotel lobby!
Rockin’ the Perfect Wrap dress in a beautiful Ireland hotel lobby.

Not only are the cuts and patterns of Leota dresses brilliant and unique, but their promise of “Effortless Glamour” is wildly true. Each day during our Ireland trip, I ended up wearing my Leota dress for twelve to sixteen hours: hiking the Cliffs of Moher, exploring Bunratty castle, sitting for long car rides, being thrown up on by the baby, going to fancy dinners, and so on.

Leota's Nouveau Sheath Dress, worn at Westport House, Ireland.
Leota’s Nouveau Sheath Dress, worn at Westport House, Ireland.

Through all these hours, I remained as comfortable in the Leota dresses as if I were wearing pajamas. (Yay for stretch fabrics!) However, unlike wearing pajamas, I was treated like a queen by everyone I encountered. “Ah hah!” I finally realized the one day I wore jeans and noticed people were a little less warm. “When people see me as fancy, they treat me fancy!”

Leota at O'Brien's Tower at Ireland's famed Cliffs of Moher.
Leota at O’Brien’s Tower on Ireland’s famed Cliffs of Moher.

Another key element of Leota is the fabric choice. Most of the dresses are machine washable (air dry), which proved a mighty fine trait when I was vomited upon by the baby.

They also don’t wrinkle, which I appreciate, given my incompetence with folding. Paired with black leggings and comfy flats or black sneakers, Leota has become my go-to travel dress brand.

This Ireland castle and moat call for a classy "Sweetheart" dress.
This Ireland castle and moat call for a classy “Sweetheart” dress.

Allow me to talk now about four of the hallmark styles of Leota dresses, because I’ve become obsessed with each — not to mention every new style that is unveiled. The red dress shown above and in the second photo is called the “Sweetheart” cut.

It has a meticulously stitched bodice that looks high-class, even if you haven’t showered in days. There is no belt, because the seams pull in the waist for definition, and the slightly poofed cap sleeves and flowing skirt give the coveted hourglass look.

Looking pensive yet fashionable with baby.
Both baby and I are fashionable, though I’m wearing Letoa, while Devi is in Hand-Me-Down.

The black dress above, also shown in the third and the second-to-last photo, is the famous Leota “Perfect Wrap.” It is a faux wrap, which means it’s sewn closed and won’t suddenly fly open and flash your goodies to the world.

It comes with a slim belt that matches the dress pattern, but I’ve seen people pair it with big, chunky belts, too. The Perfect Wrap is so classy that I wore it the White House when I was invited to a conference there!

Feeling jaunty in the Ilana Leota style at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.
Feeling jaunty in the Ilana Leota style at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.

The bright blue dress above and in the first and middle photo is the Ilana cut: a twirly skirt with a thin matching belt, and a reversible neckline (what?!) that is high-neck as I’ve worn it here, or a scoop neck.

You will see this dress over and over in my Ireland articles because it’s my favorite right now! Its clean lines make every photo look good.

This Leota dress went effortlessly from a fancy hotel to a wind and rainstorm on a cliff!
This Leota dress went effortlessly from a fancy hotel to a windy rainstorm on a cliff!

The blue and white patterned dress above and in the fourth photo is the Nouveau Sheath cut. It is a more casual dress with a looser fit, a wider belt, and reversible neckline that goes between V-neck (as I’ve worn it here) and high-neck.

I wear this dress often to my job as a teacher, because, like all Leota dresses, it transitions well from work to play, so I don’t have to go home to change after work if I want to look snazzy while heading downtown to meet friends.

Rockin' the Perfect Wrap dress in a classy Ireland hotel lobby.
Rockin’ the Perfect Wrap dress in Westport, Ireland.

What excites me about Leota — beyond the comfort, beauty, and durability of its dresses — is how innovative the company is. I’m on their mailing list, and eagerly await each email unveiling new patterns and cuts.

Though the signature cuts like the Perfect Wrap always remain, Leota is constantly adding new versions (ex: a longer or shorter skirt or sleeve), or introducing totally new styles. (I’m currently drooling over the new Lizzie cut, which features heavenly pleating to flatter all females.)

Further, each Leota color pattern is a collector’s item because they change with each new collection. This Leota geek is on the edge of her seat to see how the next collection will look!

Let’s close this outpouring of true love with some comic relief. Remember my suave photos with the blue building in the second photo above? Well, whoops! Look what happened…

Warning: Fashion shoots can result in blue hands!
Warning: Fashion shoots can result in blue hands.

So what about you? Do Leota dresses intrigue you? Do you agree that you’re treated better when you’re dressed well? Do share! To see an affiliate link to discount Leota frocks on Amazon, click here. Enjoy!

Leota was kind enough to provide the dresses, but all utter, total, and complete obsessions with Leota’s colors, cuts, and coolness are my own.


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Ashley Smith

Wednesday 26th of October 2016

My god--you're a living, breathing catalogue! I wish I was a dress person--I love simplicity. Maybe someday I will be! Then I know where to turn. :)


Thursday 27th of October 2016

Hehe! I wasn't a dress person before this. I wear them with leggings or loose pants underneath, so it's just as comfy as pajamas, but looks glamorous!


Monday 1st of February 2016

Hi Just came across this post (in search of travel dresses!) and had a question. I am going to Ireland this June, and was looking at some lighter packing options. You said you wore these dresses all the time, including hiking- I was wondering what shoes did you wear with them? The go to of flats don't seem practical for hiking- but I can't see your feet in the pictures to know.

I know it is a weird question but since you have done a little bit of everything and wore dresses, I would love to know what footwear you chose.


Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Hi Amber, Thanks for your good question! I wear various styles of black comfort shoes. In warm weather, I use Chacos hiking sandals. In cooler weather, I use Naot mary jane-style shoes that are super supportive. I also have a pair of light black New Balance sneakers that actually blend in well when I use black socks and leggings. You can see some photos showing both these shoes here: . Enjoy!


Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Hello, I'm Winny from Indonesia.. You are so unique using dresses like that while travelling and I like your journey, especially the photos are amazing.


Friday 22nd of May 2015

Thanks, Winny!


Sunday 22nd of March 2015

You look fabulous all the time, now we know how. Thanks for sharing. I've started adding dresses to my travel wardrobe recently now too. I feel far more fasionable.


Sunday 22nd of March 2015

Thanks, Deb! Just trying to be as cute as you. :)


Sunday 22nd of March 2015

Love your pictures! I own many Leota dresses and love them - they are so comfortable and so easy to pack and go. I usually reach for one when I slept in and don't want to think what I should wear. They are casual enough not to look like I am trying too hard to "dress up" and dressy enough to look pulled together. Word of caution, though: they fit smaller than a typical US sizing. I am size 12 to 14 in most designers, but have to take XL in Leota. Part of the reason is that I am busty (32G), but even so, I feel more comfortable in XL than L. I never had issues with static over tights, but I don't put them in a dryer (although one can throw them in a dryer if necessary), I just drip dry overnight. They look like new wash after wash. I am so glad that there is alternative to Onjenu - a UK brand that is similar in general philosophy, but I find Leota cuter and Leota's fabrics a better quality.


Sunday 22nd of March 2015

Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

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