I’m “posing,” my face had just been done by a Lancôme makeup artist (he was in-between model appointments) at a Vogue-sponsored studio at our lovely Hotel de Crillon, Paris. I felt pretty! Note the trench coat – if you are a road warrior, read on.
It is rare for a new travel item to catch my eye. I carry pretty much the same stuff in Asia to Africa to wherever. But right before Larry and I were leaving for India, I saw a review of a travel vest in the LA Times. Ooooh, PERFECT – a gazillion pockets and a slender cut. I tend to want to have a lot of my stuff on me. Chapstick, ID, camera, snacks, hanky, money. Priced right, I ordered black and wore it around India practically daily.
Once you buy from Scottevest, you get emails constantly. The founder, Scott Jordan is kinda cute (don’t tell Larry I said so); I didn’t mind the emails: The trench is coming! The trench is coming! And then, the perfect storm. Longtime food pro friend, Denise Vivaldo invited me to travel with her to Paris. I needed travel clothes that were tres chic (Egypt, Kenya, Cook Islands require NON chic utilitarian stuff that packs down well, shakes off dirt).
Travel clothes are not the same as regular clothes. They need to have function and let me fade into the crowd, not scream “American tourist.” I AM a tourist, but just don’t need to call attention as we’re not the most popular travelers in other countries these days.
This literally turns your body into a suitcase. You carry double your carry-on bag. I am serious, with pocket after pocket on the inside of the garment, just keep loading the thing up. The day of our Hop On-Hop Off bus tour, I carried: wallet, Blackberry, gloves, iPod, lipstick, Canon G-10 camera, hanky, notepad, pen, sunglasses, water bottle (there is a seatbelt for a water bottle in a hand pocket), metro pass, hotel key. And some “stinky cheese sammies” Denise and I built from our room service breakfast at the Crillon. I was bulky, but it worked beautifully.
Look at the website for an x-ray of the coat; here are my fav features:
- The cut, style and length were just right. I am tall and prefer to appear lanky if at all possible. My vanity streak here.
- Side pockets have magnets, a funny discovery but I loved them. Besides keeping the pockets from gaping, there was something very comforting about that feature as we walked the streets and traveled the metro.
- Side pockets sooooo deep, all the way to the bottom of the hem, let me carry a full purse-worth of stuff. The entire time in Paris, I did not carry a purse. Denise and I attended the Paris Cookbook Fair, the Gourmand Awards, took David Downie’s walking foodie tour, a bus tour, walked like crazy day and night. No purse, awesome.
- The fabric is relatively soft and lint-resistant with a little brushing, although the lining looked rather crushed after a week’s daily use. I liked that the fabric wasn’t too slick for the belt to accidentally fall out.
- Machine washable. I did wash the vest before using and it came out a bit “worn” looking, OK for India. I did not wash the trench yet.
- Two flat breast pockets: one for my metro pass and other for the hotel key. I needed to be able to pull that little metro card out quickly in a crowd, swipe it and then zip back in before dropping it. The hotel door card key, also necessary to pull out quickly in case crooks lurk in the halls. Not at the Hotel de Crillon, however. You cannot get into that hotel unless you have business to conduct, multiple doormen ensure that.
- The eyeglass pocket has a bungee cord with a cloth at the end. That was useful for the camera lens, BTW.
- More pockets with other uses abound. Like when you get a new car, you discover all these nooks and crannies for stuff.
What I would change:
- Clear plastic windows on inside pockets looked cheap when my coat was draped over a chair. If that sounds snotty, so be it — I was in Paris during Fashion Week, for crissake! Look at that stunning picture of our hotel, below, and tell me you think plastic pockets would make you feel chic, non! When your pockets are your purse, you don’t coat-check. Why you need see-thru pockets, I dunno.
- The belt could be just 1 inch longer. It was cold, I had several layers under that coat, I needed a tad more length to tie nicely (their website models are skinny, so their belts look long). You tie trench belts, no matter if they are buckle. Just a law of fashion.
- The rubber neck loops for iPod cords scratched my skin, not good. And loading loops with your iPod, I don’t see why… maybe not choking yourself while you are rock climbing in Peru. But not in a trench coat.
For more info about their travel clothes, visit www.Scottevest.com