I have a slight obsession with travel wraps, scarves and ponchos. So much so, they’ve become a key part of my signature, everyday style – classic, classy and cozy. When I travel, especially for work, wraps become my little piece of home, warming me when I’m chilled, adding elegance to any look, and soothing me when I’m tired, stressed, or homesick. I’ve used travel wraps to cover up on chilly airplanes and trains; as a head scarf when it begins to rain unexpectedly; as a chic neck scarf for evening dinner or events; a throw blanket when I’m taking a quick nap on my hotel room lounger; and even draped over luggage to hide it in my rental car’s backseat.
But not all travel wraps are made equal – they vary in style, quality, durability and of course, affordability. Let’s take a look at what to look for when selection yours.
5 Qualities I Consider When Selecting Travel Wraps
- Material and Texture – Any travel wrap I buy must be very soft to the touch. If it’s going to be around my neck as part of my outfit, or touching my face while I’m snuggling on a resort lounger….the softer the better. As for material, I usually buy cashmere or cashmere blend, but will sometimes buy a cotton blend or even acrylic if I like the color or pattern enough. Expert Tip – I avoid large looped wraps (ie, crocheted) as they don’t keep me warm enough and they easily pull apart and snag on things, especially when rushing around the airport.
- Ease of Care – Although I prefer wraps that are machine washable, cashmere is not always washing machine friendly. However, many modern cashmere wraps are in fact machine washable, either on cold/hand wash or delicate. Acrylic and cotton are almost always washable. When in doubt, I send it to the dry cleaner, which I do 2-3 times a year depending on the extent of use. And I always clean it after an extensive trip (ie. Europe). After traveling across the pond and through multiple countries on planes, trains, subways and more, I never know what has mysteriously latched on to my lovely wrap.
- Size – When considering a new travel wrap, it must be large enough to cover most of my body when it’s completely open, but not too large where I can’t wear it tied up as a traditional scarf or find space to pack it in a carry on. For my petite 5’1’’ frame, I usually don’t have an issue finding a wrap that has full body coverage; however, most travel wraps I’ve seen these days will work for nearly all sizes.
- Thickness – When it comes to travel wraps, thicker is not necessarily better. Although I avoid paper thin wraps, a thin-ish wrap has several benefits. The lightweight nature of the wrap usually makes it more breathable, while the actual material used (like cashmere wool) keeps you warm. A thin wrap is also much easier to pack in my carry on or throw in a day tote while exploring my destination city.
- Color – My travel wrap colors have been fairly consistent. I gravitate toward solid, neutral shades – like cream, beige, dark green, navy and black. If I’m in the mood for patterns, I stick with the classics like plaid or herringbone. Going neutral and classic allows me to pair wraps with nearly any outfit I’ve packed for my journey, making it one of the most important and versatile pieces of my travel wardrobe.
3 Travel Wraps I Love
Best All Around Wrap = Jcrew Oversized Cashmere Wrap and Cashmere Poncho (Poncho pictured above, far left) – I LOVE Jcrew cashmere – long sleeve sweaters, tshirts, hoodies, and of course….travel wraps and ponchos! The price of Jcrew cashmere can vary greatly depending on the item. However, I’ve found Jcrew’s ponchos and wraps to be one of the nicest and most affordable cashmere brands on the market (ranging from ~$70-$115 on sale).
Best ”Blow Your Budget” Wrap – White + Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap (Pictured above, middle)- I received a White + Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap as a gift and completely fell in love with the wrap and the brand. Although the priciest of all my cashmere wraps at $350, the feel of this wrap is truly amazing!
Good Cashmere Alternative – Mark and Graham Italian Plaid Blanket Scarf (Pictured above, far right) – This oversized blanket scarf was also a gift (that I included on my wish list). Made from 100% acrylic, it’s deceivingly soft and the size is perfect to pair with a coat, sweater or blazer. It also comes in a huge array of colors and patterns. At just $49, it was hard to choose just one color.
And…that’s a wrap!