Resources & Reviews

RTW with Carry-On Only: Why the Kosan Go Travel Dress Made the Cut

An honest review of the Kosan Go Travel Dress—a stylish travel dress with pockets, an adjustable hemline, wrinkle-resistant fabric, and other backpack-friendly features.

An honest review of the Kosan Go Travel Dress—a stylish travel dress with pockets, an adjustable hemline, wrinkle-resistant fabric, and other backpack-friendly features.

Transparency: I received my Kosan Go Travel Dress for free before the official launch date. I am not a Kosan affiliate and do not stand to gain financially from promoting Kosan. I’m just a big fan of their work!

Packing for a round-the-world trip that would take us from peak summer conditions in South America to the depths of an Eastern European winter was no easy task. To make things more challenging, this trip we decided (for the first time ever) to travel with carry-on luggage only.

When you’re packing for carry-on, every item counts. Most of my luggage consists of clothing, so I had to be incredibly thoughtful about what I included and what I left at home. Each item I chose had to be multi-purpose (think yoga pants that double as pajamas and triple as a base layer in cold weather), and versatile enough to wear across all four seasons.

As someone who normally sticks to jeans and leggings when I travel, I was a little reluctant to give away some of my precious luggage space to a dress. I wear dresses all the time when I’m at home; but let’s face it, I’m not the trendiest traveller and usually go for practicality over style. Of course I still wanted to pack comfy ‘house clothes’ and a few outfits suitable for long travel days. After hearing so much about the new Kosan Go Travel Dress, I decided it was about time I lift my game.

As soon as I tried this dress on for the first time, I knew I’d made the right decision to bring it along for the RTW ride. Not only was it the perfect dress for the Colombian wedding we attended at the start of our trip, it’s also been great to have as a layering piece for less formal occasions.

A travel dress with pockets!? Say what!?

If you recognise the Kosan name, it’s probably because of the Kosan Travel Pack System—a five-in-one travel backpack the company launched via a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2017.

What would a couple of backpack designers know about women’s fashion, you might ask? Turns out, a whole lot. Smart design and functionality aren’t usually qualities I look for in a dress. But for a travel dress you’re going to wear over and over and put through the ringer a few times (literally)? On top of looking schmick, this dress has to perform.

As with their backpacks and packing cubes, Kosan has incorporated lots of cool features into the Go Travel Dress—top of the list being pockets.

Before Kosan came along, a stylish travel dress with pockets was basically unheard of. Pockets require extra fabric and closures, and most travel dresses just don’t have room for that.

The Go Travel Dress has no fewer than four hidden pockets: Two discrete slit pockets in the bust, and two invisible pockets on the hip that zip up for security. Because the fabric is so lightweight (more on that later), I probably wouldn’t use the pockets for a heavy item such as my phone. But they’re perfect for carrying small items you typically want to keep close when travelling, such as spare cash or a room key.

An honest review of the Kosan Go Travel Dress—a stylish travel dress with pockets, an adjustable hemline, wrinkle-resistant fabric, and other backpack-friendly features.

One dress, multiple looks

Another big bonus for travellers is the adjustable skirt, which allows you to change the length and style of the dress in a snap. Worn long, the dress is a flattering calf length with a slightly asymmetrical hemline. Fasten the three snap closures and the dress instantly shortens to sit just on the knee. Because the snaps are located along the seam of the front crossover panel, fastening them also gives the dress a ‘ruched’ effect around the tummy and hips. I generally prefer dresses that cover my knees, so I usually wear it down.

The versatile hemline really comes in handy, though. In Colombia, I wore the dress down for the Catholic wedding ceremony we attended, then hitched it up for the reception party afterwards.

In the process of changing over, I discovered that you can do up the snaps in different combinations for different effects. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but I quite like mixing and matching. Fastening the front two snaps gives the dress a ruffle front but with the same longer hemline. The snaps are also really handy for storage: I’ve been buttoning the dress up when it’s hanging so that it doesn’t drag along the bottom of those notoriously short hotel wardrobes.

The fabric

The fabric used for the Go Travel Dress is probably the feature I’m most impressed with. I’ve been through a few quick-dry travel garments in my time, and I suppose I was expecting a similar material. Matte, soft and very luxe, this material is a totally different story.

There’s no denying that this is a performance fabric: It has a four-way stretch, moisture-wicking and anti-odour qualities, and offers the wearer UV protection. It can be machine washed and tumble-dried (I never use a dryer at home, but it’s great if I’m sending clothes off to a laundry service while on the road). Best of all, there’s no need to iron the wrinkle-resistant fabric.

All that, and the dress still has a soft feel and beautiful drape. Packed down, it’s a little bulkier than I was expecting (a bit of extra material is needed for that flowy hemline), but it still compresses and is very lightweight.

An honest review of the Kosan Go Travel Dress—a stylish travel dress with pockets, an adjustable hemline, wrinkle-resistant fabric, and other backpack-friendly features.

Design, fit & sizing

My Kosan dress is a size M in the red floral print. In my opinion, the sizing errs on the generous side, simply because of the wrap-around cut and the generous amount of fabric used in the design. As you can see in the picture above, the shoulder seams are a smidgen too big for my frame. I probably could have gone down a size—but I generally prefer a looser fit, so I’m not at all bothered.

The fabric has subtle grey, peach and burnt orange flowers—feminine, but not too girly. The colours used make it easy to match the dress with other fabrics, including light denim, which I love. The dress is also available in block colours if you prefer.

The Go Travel Dress was developed with warm climates in mind, but I think it works just as well as a layering piece. In Colombia, I often wore it with a jacket; later in the trip, I might even pair it with a dark turtleneck and a pair of tights. Layering is also a good option if the country you’re travelling to calls for a more conservative style of dress.

The wrap-around design is extremely flattering and comfortable. The sleeves are a good length, and the wrap tie is generous in length so you can get a good side bow happening. I usually find v-necks too deep and revealing, but ample fabric in the crossover section makes this dress feel pretty modest, even by my standards. I love the cute keyhole cut-out detailing in the back, which not only looks great but also helps to make the dress more breathable. Kosan also has a sans keyhole option if you prefer.

Suggested reading: Top Ethical fashion and accessories brands for women who travel.

Made right

I’m also a big fan of Kosan’s brand values. As someone who seeks out ethical fashion whenever possible, their commitment to transparency and high standard of manufacturing ethics is a big plus for me. The brand’s two co-founders are experienced travellers themselves and know the value of travelling light.

I hope this is the first of many trips I’ll be taking with the Kosan Go Travel Dress in tow. Look out for more photos of me wearing it later in the trip!

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6 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Ash says:

    The dress looks great and I love how you styled it! I’m currently agonizing over purchasing this dress. If you don’t mind, may I ask what your height is? I’m 4″11 and wondering how the length would fall on me.

    1. Emily Lush says:

      Hello Ash! Sorry for the slow reply. I am 175cm or 5″7. Remember there are clasps to take the hemline right up (I didn’t have them fastened for these photos). The wrap-around style is quite a generous fit, so you could probably go a size down for the length and still have it fit well everywhere else.

      I hope that helps! It’s a beautiful dress!

    1. Emily Lush says:

      Hi Jen! Great question. I think the sizing is pretty spot-on. If anything, the M errs a bit on the generous side, simply because of the wrap-around design and the amount of fabric that’s in it. I would probably go with an S if you’re on the fence.

      I’ve added a few lines to the post to clarify this for other readers.

      I hope that answers your question!

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