Travelers: Behind The Style

Once upon a time, there was a dress. On the hanger, it was cute, but didn’t look like much. On, it was a dream. It didn’t wrinkle, it didn’t pinch, and it looked fabulous on everybody. This is the story of the original Travelers Dress… and its evolution into the reinvented styles we are proud to share with you today. 

The original dress to the left, plus some more of the classic looks.

In 1997, Chico’s Travelers Collection launched without an extravagant announcement or big expensive ad campaign. Instead, founder Marvin Gralnick sent Chico’s leading style expert around the country wearing the dress. It was an immediate hit. Why? The dress looked good on everyone. It made any woman who wore it shine, and was totally versatile: it could be paired with a belt, without, and showed jewelry off perfectly.

I get goosebumps when I think about the original Travelers dress. The whole idea was you could travel with this dress. It was a garment that made everybody look good and feel good; it was easy. It doesn’t wrinkle. It doesn’t wear out.
You can wear high heels, you can wear sneakers, flip-flops, whatever. That dress, that’s almost the epitome of Chico’s. You really were the best dressed woman in the room when you had that dress on, with no stress.

– Helene Gralnick, Chico’s Founder

Ever since then, Travelers has been a fan favorite for its flattering cuts, great looks, and total wearability. This fall, we’re pleased to introduce you to an evolution in the line, with updated styles, shapes, and patterns. Perfect for any occasion, from a trip to the store, to the trip of a lifetime. It still doesn’t wrinkle, and it still packs like a dream.

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61 Responses

    1. Beverly Ellis

      Where are the long Traveler skirts? Can’t seem to find it anywhere on your website; just a picture but no place to order.

  1. Anne Locke

    Yes, please bring that dress back. Also, the long pencil skirt – after about 20 years, mine has worn out ? and it’s been a staple for me.

    1. Mary

      I am on the same page.
      I would love the basics:long and short pencil skirt,
      Original dress . As a working Mom I need to be season less wardrobe builder
      That why this line works for me.
      I have been a customer from the beginning
      Love Chicos

  2. Sharon Sullivan

    I still have some of the original travellers clothes. The new ones have not lasted beyond 3 years and have a cheesy feel. I would buy the 1997 line complete. The new intros will not be flattering to the majority of your customers. I would dearly love a simple black sleevless tunic in travellers. I still wear it and have yet to find a replacement.

  3. Louise Yale

    Bring back the original long sleeve tunic and narrow pant combo (second from the left in your “original” photo). Sleek, chic and oh-so-wearable.

  4. Victoria aka Foxmommy

    The original dress looks great. I would buy that one in a New York minute! Also, I like the cheong sam style dress for a dressier look. . Sick of the low cut, bare/cold shoulder and funky strap dresses of this year!

  5. Carol Jansch

    Are you listening, Chico’s? Your customers are speaking of cheesy fabric, cold shoulder/low cut, funky straps and they are not buying them. The old clothes last, the new ones don’t – maybe making clothes not to last was a corporate decision.

  6. Mary Harrison

    I have a red pair of Zenergy pants that I have had for years. I love them and wish that Chicos would go back to their bright colored tops and practical pants. I do love the Juliet pants but I go into the stores now and come out with nothing.

        1. Maureen

          The Travelers items were originally made of Acetate & Lycra and carried the name Private Edition. Then they changed the fabric to Acetate & Spandex & the actual name to Travelers. The PE line lasted longer & did not give you what I call shiney butt syndrome. In reality I perfer it. However in reality can you imagine making a product that no one needs to replace? I’m not sure if they could make a black label Private Edition wardrobe, but it would answer a lot of questions and prayers! As for leaving the store empty handed, I find I do that when they badger me, at one point I actually told someone to leave me alone or I would leave, and she persisted so I set my 650.00 sale down on the counter & left. Chicos Used to be a fun relaxed atmosphere, that has changed drastically. I have been a Chico’s gal since you had merry go round horses in your windows! (22 yrs ago) There are wonderful “hidden” treasures in the store that if I had I not been harassed I would have found & loved, and please don’t judge me by what I’m wearing…you never know what can be behind a pair of riding pants and a slightly dusty tee….

          1. Doris

            You must have been in the Gresham, or store! I did the same thing there. Used to do big shopping there when visiting or. Not now. Lovely manager replaced by loud brassy one. And I agree about quality. When you replace excellent with mediocre you insult your loyal customers and once enough customers are lost you loose a company. Take care of us !

  7. Jerri - a Chico's Top Contributor

    Similar to the original Travelers, the Knit Kit basics are my favorite, when the styles are not too trendy. Pants, jackets, tunics, 3/4 sleeve tops, tanks, slim skirts in maxi/midi/knee lengths are great for work and traveling in black and ink colors. The Knit Kit and Travelers basics can easily be layered with a few on trend choices for versatility! Give us more!

  8. Laura

    I just cut my Chicos pair of jeans into cutoff shorts this year, 2016. I went to buy a new pair and was shocked at the price. My Mother bought that pair of jeans for me ~2009.

  9. Emily lancaster

    Years ago I had a bright blue short sleeved empire dress that was my fav ever. Please please make it again in a clear red and bright blue..a storm named Katrina claimed mine!

  10. Audie

    I loved the original Traveler’s collection. Stylish, great quality, etc. Hasn’t been the same in years. Chicos, please bring back the original collection!

    1. Sandra

      Please bring back some of the traveler’s classics!! Where have they gone?
      3/4 length 3 button v neck jacket, with slit sides.
      23″ pencil skirt
      Classic knee length travelers dress – sleeveless and 3/4 sleeve
      Ankle length flat front tapered pants
      3/4 sleeve boat neck top
      These should be called ‘the essentials collection’. They’re timeless and never go out of style for travelling.

  11. Marilyn Seastrand


    I agree with Audie 100%. I’ve loved the original Chico’s Travelers collection for many years and I hardly wear

    anything else. Really don’t like the new Travelers collection! Please, please bring back the original collection!!!!!!

  12. Donna Warren

    My first Travelers dress I took with me to Turkey. When I left the country, I left my dress with a lady we met doing missionary work on the Turkish border. She was thrilled.. And I was able to buy another one!! I often traveled long hours in Chico’s Travelers. I felt like I was in my pajamas, but when I arrived I looked as good as when i left. (Except for my makeup!)

  13. Bring back the original line and add a size 4. We,re older now and need more room in the waist but please keep the hourglass shape…no box cuts. I owned almost all the original line and traveled around the world but my 2s no longer fit.

  14. Joan

    Use to shop a lot at chicos. Hardly at all anymore as their fabrics and designs are not as well made or exquisite as they were. Clothes are an investment for me and for the price I want quality.

    1. Susan

      I totally agree with you. I have all my hole problems with Chicos tops. I blame it on cheap material. Never had the issue before this year. All my other tops are non Chicos top and have no holes.. I emailed into corp got a response and then nothing. Took 8 tops purchased this year in and all they said was my jeans button was causing the issues…hellos my jeans are Chicos……now they are not your daughter jeans and I no longer have hole in my my non Chicos Topeka.

  15. Ellen Breckenridge

    I’m adding my voice to the crowd–please, please, please bring back the original line and fabric! I’m still wearing some of my original pieces from way back when, but pieces I’ve bought more recently don’t fit nearly so well and definitely don’t last (stitching unravels, buttons fall off, fabric develops holes), so I’ve defected to buying clothes from another store that makes beautiful, high quality clothes. That’s what I USED to say about Chico’s.

  16. Vicky Sherrill

    I have many many items from the Travelers line — and still order or purchase more. They are among my favorite clothes to wear and yes, I still have some of the original line. However, getting the length and fit I need lately is sometimes a guessing game. I am not particularly tall at 5’7″ but many of the dresses are too short to be flattering on my late middle-aged body. Pants are the same — I cannot wear a tall size, and regular 29-inch inseams are too short. Can we add an inch or two to both?? (Not mid-calf on dresses but at least to the knee.) Basic black is my favorite but I do like some of the patterns I can wear with my basics and new colors are always welcome. I loved the bright greens of this past season. Thank you for this great collection!

  17. Jennifer

    Like other long term customers I rarely buy travelers any more. The fabric is thin, cheesy and does wrinkle in the washing machine. I’ve tried everything to remove the wrinkles.
    Also, going back to some classic shapes would get me back in a travelers buying mode. I need sleeves to the elbow and some room in the tummy. A sleek basic dress would be grand, as well as a tapered leg pant.
    I prefer solids, but have a lot of trouble removing spots from any colors but black. Would appreciate spot and wrinkle removing advice.
    I have been consistently wearing travelers around the world for nearly twenty years. But not now, for the above reasons. I hope you will return to your fine past.

  18. Beverly

    I have to agree with those who ask for the fabric of yesteryear. The new Knit Kit is an improvement. I’ve bought some of the newer Travelers and they just look cheesy. Please go back to better quality clothing.

  19. Melanie

    PLEASE bring back the longer length Travelers jackets with the buttons and/or snaps. Covers problem areas well and presents a nice long, lean line!

  20. Theresa

    LoveTraveler’s but agree with many of these women – please bring back the original Traveler’s material. The materials on the newer versions are NOT the same quality nor does it wear as well.

  21. Joan Simmons

    Loved reading the comments and love the old Travelers collection. As a borderline plus size woman the quality of the fabric, quality construction and cut has served me well on many business trips and vacations. Sadly I returned my last purchase online because of the cheap fabric. The current line does not pack or wear nearly as well. Please bring back the classics. The classic styles wear well for both formal and informal occasions and fit so well into the modern, active lifestyle. Thanks.

  22. Beverly Bryan

    I do not like the styles and fabrics Chico’s currently carries.. I have been a long time customer and just had on the local news Chico’s is laying off many of its employees in Ft. Myers… Maybe you should go back to quality and classic styles that we loved.

  23. I’m a very youthful-looking 70. Wear 0-1. Please stop with all the bling. Looks like Las Vegas! Go back to classy, beautiful and not all so boxy with the jackets.
    Thanks! Hope you really are listening to us.

  24. Laura Harris

    I’ve been a Chicos customer for years–loved the original Travelers line, wore Chicos outfit to work almost every day & always got compliments. Now that I’m retired I don’t “dress for work”, but still love the Chicos exercise clothes & the great looking, great fitting jeans & leggings, & casual clothes.

  25. WOW. Chico’s are you listening. Quality isn’t the same. Trendy styles are NOT what we are looking for, we want classics. And I agree, the NEW clerks push stuff on you. I bought stuff and then took it back realizing that although it all looked good on me I DO NOT wear trendy things. And especially jeans with holes in them. We ARE NOT POOR. We do not want to look like our daughters or granddaughters. We are classy ladies who love STYLE, not TREND. Please figure out the difference.

  26. Why offer PayPal online if you cannot return or exchange the item at your local Chico’s? Ordered two pairs of Travelers pants, size 2. One was missized so I took it with receipts to exchange. Was told no store would allow this because I paid through PayPal and I would have to ship it back myself. I have been a customer for years and love to shop online.

    1. Mary Rae Olson

      I too ordered something from Chicos and paid via PayPal, and encountered the same difficulty in returning. I will still shop Chicos, but will never use PayPal for purchases @ Chicos.

  27. Laura Allen

    I discovered several very nice outfits on the clearance racks at the Shoppes of the Bluegrass outlet in Simpsonville KY last month. My mother in law shopped Chicos when it first started in Sanibel Island and remained a loyal customer until she passed away last year. I was surprised to see how high prices have risen and think that Chicos may be out pricing itself. The clearance racks are about the only way I can afford to shop there, even though I like many of the styles. I find most of the associates very polite but will say that a few of them are quite openly judgemental of the customer! A customer is a potential sale and future loyal customer so don’t judge! If I like something, I will spend money!

  28. Selma Gevirtzman

    I thought it was only me that felt the material of the travelers was changing. The material is lighter, more wrinkles and the seat shiny. My old chicos never had any of those problems. Bring back the old quality and create new looks for some of the crops and long pants.

  29. Rose-Marie Dewey

    I am a curvy petite size 12-14 but I would like to see a travelers black wrap style a-line dress with 3/4 sleeves in a midi length. Other colors would be nice too. Maybe a teal or plum. I am going to a wedding and cannot find a dress to wear.. Also, enough with the skinny legged pants. They aren’t flattering on anyone except teenagers.

  30. Mary Rae Olson

    I still have and wear the original Travelers black dress. In fact, I have several Private Edition pieces that I continue to wear (including a purple/white batik shirt that was one of my first purchases). But Best Buy Ever at Chicos was a southwest blanket style long coat – original price was $299, but I found it 1/2 off ($100) at my local Chicos. I also had a 50% off coupon for any $100 purchase, so the coat went down to $50, and once my passport discount and a second birthday coupon was applied, I walked out with that coat for about $35.00, and I still wear the coat with as much joy as I did then.

  31. Ann Sinclair

    I started buying at Chico’s many years ago. I had gained some weight, and my first purchases at Chico’s was Travellers. My first pair of Travellers black pants in a 2, fit beautifully on me and the feel of the fabric was wonderful. I walked out of the store having spent over $400. I now wear a 1. I don’t buy Travellers any more because the fabric feels sleazy and shiny. Just not the quality of that first pair 25 years ago. I don’t even want to talk about the prices. I can only buy on sale now. What happened?? If you are going to charge these prices, please bring back the quality. Also, I have a lot of the first T-shirts I bought. Fabulous. What happened to the quality? Also, I just don’t like sleeveless tops. You used to make a longer short sleeve that I loved, but don’t see it anymore. I have some beautiful clothes in my closet, all from Chico’s, but don’t purchase anywhere as much as I used to do because of the quality of some of your items.

  32. Carla

    I agree with the above comments on the classic styles. I used to go into Chicos and buy several hundred dollars of things–not now. Who are you designing for? women in their 30’s? You could still do a line of classic clothes, like in the beginning. I would buy 10 of short sleeved Traveler’s mock turtleneck tops–you don’t make basic pieces like you used to. Many women over 50 have left Chicos…. maybe you didn’t want this market anymore?

  33. Jennifer

    I’ve been a decades long wearer of Travellers but no more. Seats of the pants shine almost as soon as worn, pieces wrinkle and cannot be smoothed, and the styles are no longer classic. As I was preparing to place my annual order of pants, tops, jackets, dresses, I took a look at last year’s purchases. Everything is wrinkled,unraveling, sloppy and thin. Chico’s, you have ruined the finest travel clothing line and lost me as a customer. I am more sad than anything else, and lost because I don’t even know where to buy travel clothing that is nearly as marvelous as Old Travelers.

  34. Wanda Mohr

    I stopped buying the Travelers line a long time ago since the quality had deteriorated. i was a great fan of the PE, but this mess they are selling is tacky and very thin, prone to wrinkle (traveling? I think not), as well as overpriced. Chico’s has deteriorated in quality and styling overall. What’s with the cheesy cold shoulder tops and ripped jeans? I agree with people here. They are not designing or listening to their demographic. Someone in corporate must have decided that they needed to appeal to a younger crowd. Newsflash Chico’s the millennials are NOT going to shop at Chico’s. They have a ton of young person stores like Gap, A&F, H&M etc from which to choose. We don’t. Wake up and hear your customers. I, like many others have noted here, have really curtailed my shopping at Chicos and may just stop unless they start hearing us.

  35. Judy

    RE holes – me too. All my newer Chico’s tops, especially the cotton type, have tiny holes. i was told my jeans were causing the issues as well. I even thought it was my washer, but none of my tops from other stores have the holes. I thought it could be my washer, it’s new, but no other clothes have the holes. Primarily anything cotton gets pinpoint holes and larger. I wear old Travelers and still have my pencil skirt and ‘the’ dress from the early 1990’s. New Travelers clothes are “shiny” and feel stiff. Chico’s isn’t what it used to be. Sigh.

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