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How to Pack 4 Dresses and 2 Pants in 1 With Magical Multi-Purpose, Reversible Clothes

Would you believe I'm actually wearing FOUR dresses here?

Would you believe I’m actually wearing FOUR dresses here?

Want the secret to packing light? Pack things that are also other things.

Huh? Well, you can work this in two ways. Way One: Pack clothing that can be used for multiple purposes, such as cute pants that are also soft and stretchy, meaning they can be worn either for a night out, or for lounging and eating marshmallows.

Way Two means entering the world of reversible clothing: shirts and dresses that flip for fresh new patterns and necklines when you tire of the old ones. Let’s dive into both clothing type options!

How to pack light by reversible dresses and stretchy dress pants.

1 dress with 2 necklines and reversible colors = 4 looks! (On Pinterest? Pin this!)

This month I got the opportunity to try out a clothing company called Betabrand that specializes in creative, travel-friendly clothes, many of which are multi-use or reversible. The “Beta” in the brand’s title has a fascinating reason: Clothing items are designed by real people, and the audience gets to vote on which proposals should be manufactured!

Have an idea for a shirt, bag, hoodie, or anything that doesn’t yet exist in the way you think it should? You can enter your own design concept on the site and stand to earn yummy, ongoing commissions if the design wins.

High kick in pants that are dress pants AND yoga pants!

High kick in pants that are dress pants AND yoga pants!

After seeing Betabrand ads repeatedly pop up in my social media feed (ahh, the power of persistent marketing), curiosity called, and I contacted the company to try out some of their most famous travel-friendly products: the reversible Round-Trip Dress, and the Dress Yoga Pants, plus the stretchy “Work-It Peplum Top.”

The day the package arrived was 90 degrees and dripping humidity. My friend Terri and I trekked to Boston’s stunning Arboretum for the photoshoot, pulling the van into a spot that might be described as semi-legal.

The Round Trip Dress in a blue pattern that reverses to gray.

The Round-Trip Dress in a blue pattern that reverses to gray.

“Better put on some face powder,” said Terri as we slid the van door open to a wall of heat.

“Uh, powder?” I replied awkwardly. I never wear makeup because it confuses me and feels creepy on my face, but slicked with sweat that day, I suddenly saw one reason for it!

We decided it wasn’t worth it to buy the makeup, since we both had to do daycare pickup and time was tight, so I slopped the sweat off as best I could with an old tissue from my purse. Class incarnate. Did I mention I’m not a real model?

We found a stump perfect for posing! We also found a rock I skinned my knee on.

We found a stump perfect for posing! We also found a rock I skinned my knee on.

Through marginally indecent costume changes in the back of Terri’s van, we managed to photograph all four sides of the Round-Trip Dress. I can officially declare that it is an awesome garment.

What are the four sides of the dress? High Neck, Low Neck, Print Side, and Solid Color Side. A fifth use for the dress that I didn’t try because of the heat would be layering it on top of a shirt. Could be mighty cute.

We found the real-life flowers to match the dress!

We found the real-life flowers to match the dress!

I like this dress, first, because it packs so many options in one, and will be perfect for my summer situation: I need to pack for four destinations over two months in one small suitcase. I get sick of clothes when forced to repeat the contents of one bag, so the Round-Trip Dress will be a breath of fresh air, come the fifth week living out of that suitcase.

The other reason I enjoy the dress, however, is the fabric: it’s stretchy and durable as a bathing suit, light enough to be tolerable in 90 degrees, yet opaque enough to be modest and to hide the fact that there’s a totally different pattern on the flip side.

The high neck solid color side of the dress might be my favorite, but it's hard to pick.

The high neck solid color side of the dress might be my favorite, but it’s hard to pick.

I also tried a second version of the Round-Trip Dress in a blue pattern which I loved, but the gray it reverses to made me look like a manatee. (Why do I always forget that I can’t do gray?!) I have therefore opted not to include any photos of myself in the gray side of that garment (vain censorship), but would awkwardly like you to know that the blue dress does reverse.

The lesson there is to pick a reversible dress that has colors on both sides which work for you, otherwise what’s the point of it being reversible if you’ll only wear one side? In general, I prefer solid colors that are darker, anyway, due to the many gooey substances my children smear on my clothes.

High-neck reversible dress power!

High-neck reversible dress power!

Speaking of children, let’s move on to the Dress Yoga Pants. Ever since having kids, normal pants annoy me. I don’t know if it was being spoiled by the comfort of maternity wear for 9 months, or simply having my belly shift shape so much, but normal dress pants make me want to punch things. It was, therefore, with great excitement, that I learned of Betabrand’s signature stretch dress pants.

Basically, the Dress Yoga Pants have a fake fly and fake pockets, plus real belt loops, so even though they’re stretchy, pull-on bliss, they look like regular office slacks. They come in Bootcut, Straight Leg, and Skinny-Leg, and a variety of colors, but what’s really key for 6-footers like myself is that they come in LONG! The long was so long, in fact (34 inches) that I had to get them hemmed an inch shorter to fit. This is plain shocking.

An artistic moment, walking through the Arboretum in the Dress Yoga Pants.

An artistic moment, walking through the Arboretum in the Dress Yoga Pants.

So, do the pants stretch? They sure do! They officially fit the bill for “things that are also other things” in order to pack light.

Not only could I do a high kick in them (see the third photo in this article, snapped shortly before almost toppling into the river), but when I was seized by a sudden urge to do a sweaty, modified Tree Pose (in heels, on a boulder), by golly, the pants stretched to accommodate that yogic impulse. Photographic proof:

These dress pants are also yoga pants! Perfect for randomly poses by the side of a river.

These dress pants are also yoga pants! Perfect for randomly poses by the side of a river.

Finally, a love song to the Work-It Peplum Top. Though I never can remember that “P” word (Plomplom? Pelumpadum? Pompadamp? Plop?), that waist ruffle is splendid for making a gal feel hourglass-y.

Terri and I proceeded to gorge ourselves on tacos after this photoshoot, and the pep — plua — perp — er, ruffly stuff on the shirt kept my resulting potbelly hidden from my family when I got home, so they were none the wiser that I noshed it up without them. Burp!

Yay for poofy purple flowers!

Yay for poofy purple flowers!

Let us review the lessons of this article, shall we? #1: Purple flowers are lovely. #2: Precarious yoga poses are not advisable to do in heels next to bodies of water. And finally, #3: Pack things that are other things, such as multi-purpose or reversible clothing.

I love you, Arnold Arboretum of Boston!

I love you, bright green Arnold Arboretum of Boston!

So what do you think? Which clothing items and brands work best for you in order to pack light? Have you tried any of these Betabrand items, and are you scheming to? Which looks are your favorite? Do share!

Reaching for packing secrets!

Reaching for packing secrets.

Betabrand provided me with clothing items to review, but all opinions and questionable “modeling” pose choices are my own.

 

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Cikasur

Thursday 7th of June 2018

This dress looks super handy for traveling PLUS I love the design !

Izy Berry

Sunday 20th of August 2017

Such a cute idea!! I just checked their site and $96 isn't bad!

Lillie

Sunday 20th of August 2017

Especially if you realize that it's an entire outfit! You can find even lower prices on the Amazon link, though, since those are earlier styles. Enjoy!

Reshma

Thursday 8th of June 2017

A reverse dress seems to be too fun! They are pretty too. Never thought about them before. Surely helps in packing light ;) Loved the stretch pants!

Saakshi Maheshwari

Wednesday 7th of June 2017

Woaah, I never thought of this! That's a very clever way of packing. I am going to use this while packing for my next trip to Indonesia

Siddhartha Joshi

Tuesday 6th of June 2017

Wow! It's unbelievable how that dress transforms...very very impressed. I wonder if they have something for men as well :)

Lillie

Wednesday 7th of June 2017

Yes, they have great clothes for men! Just got an email alert for a reversible men's blazer jacket that my husband would love.

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