After years of travelling the world as a journalist I’ve learnt a thing or three about how to keep the luggage light. One needs to choose a colour palette and stick to it, and pack dresses that go with coats and jackets that work with trousers or skirts. Also, some beautifully co-ordinating tops that can be worn under jackets, work with trousers and can also sometimes work under dresses (useful for turning short-sleeved or sleeveless ones into a professional outfit). And to make up for the lack of obvious dazzle, one wants to buy them in the most delicious and luxurious fabrics.
Lady Bamford has what you might call perfect pitch when it comes to exquisite, understated style. She takes double-faced cashmere and fashions it into simple but beautiful coats and jackets. She also uses alpaca, crepe de Chine and butter-soft lambskin in wonderful shades. Take the wool-crepe sleeveless dress (£800) in mouse – wear it over the button-cuff cashmere sweater (£595) in fawn and you have a wonderful daytime look. The sweater could also work with the night-blue jersey stretch pants (£425). Add the night-blue, double-faced-cashmere coat (£3,500, second picture) with a removable cape and leather pockets and you have the basis of an eminently sophisticated travel wardrobe. Winter and summer, Bamford always has fine cashmere/silk button-cuff cardigans (£625, second picture), which are so elegant they could be worn anywhere.
Akris, the family-owned Swiss company renowned for understated luxe, is another label that every frequent flyer should check out – and its ultra-light, reversible cashmere-fleece coat (£3,566, first picture) is an investment piece that will last for years. It consists of two layers, one black, the other brown, which can be worn together when it’s cold, or separately in milder weather. “A travel wardrobe has to be ultra-light, versatile, combinable and made of the best materials in refined colours,” says creative director Albert Kriemler, who suggests looking at Akris’s reversible grey wool-plaid jacket (£2,375) with a leather collar, which creates two looks for the price of one and goes beautifully with a sleek dress (£1,423) in the same plaid.
Not everyone knows that, as well as designer clothes by both big and niche names, Matchesfashion.com also sells its own line, Freda, which has a winter capsule collection that’s perfect for travelling. There’s a pale-grey silk/wool Chesterfield coat (£625) and matching sleeveless V-neck tunic dress (£345), which could be worn over a silk boyfriend shirt (£225) or a fitted cashmere polo neck (£195) for warmth. Then there’s a black pencil skirt (£270, second picture) with a sheer-mesh embroidered-houndstooth overlay, leather pencil skirts (£375) in charcoal or navy and simple yet stylish tops, including fitted T-shirts (£190) with shoulder pads for extra oomph, handsome ribbed jerseys (£325) with batwing sleeves and oversized cashmere-cable rollnecks (£450).