Alaskan Cruise Outfits - With Wonder and Whimsy (2024)

If you’ve been following along with me over on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that I was recently on an Alaska cruise with Kyle and both our moms. We opted for a small ship cruise instead of a more traditional cruise, which allowed us to get up close to wildlife and glaciers. There weren’t any formal dinners or night life to dress up for on our cruise, so the dress code was decidedly casual and comfortable. Packing Alaskan cruise outfits has its challenges because you need lots of layers and specialty outdoor items like windbreakers, performance fleece, and hiking pants. It’s especially challenging for plus size shoppers because our options are much more limited and it can be hard to know where to look.

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I know I’m always looking to balance fashion and function on our outdoorsy trips, and you might think that’s asking too much when plus size clothing options are so comparatively limited as it is. But Alder Apparel and Ulla Popken are two underrated destinations for plus size active wear that’s made to withstand the elements all while being style-conscious too. You’ll notice that most of the Alaskan cruise outfits I packed are from either Alder Apparel (review here) or Ulla Popken (review here). I curated a capsule wardrobe of items I could layer and style in various combinations. An Alaska capsule wardrobe like this is a great way to include all the layers you need, save on suitcase space, and maximize your styling possibilities.

Full reviews of the key pieces you’ll want to pack for an Alaska cruise in the full post! For sizing and fit reference, I’m 5’4″, my measurements are 47-39-51, and I typically wear a size 18 in most plus size brands.

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Whale Watching Outfit

This plus size windbreaker jacket, active tee, and hiking pant are all from Ulla Popken. I sized up to the 20/22 in the tee for a relaxed fit, a 20/22 in the jacket for room through the shoulders and upper arms, and a 22 in the pant for room through the hips. I typically wear an 18 pant in most plus size brands but have to size up once or twice in Ulla Popken pants since they’re cut so straight through the hip. But the 22 I’m wearing in these zip-off hiking pants ended up being too big, and I had to tie a ribbon through two of the belt loops to tighten the waist. A special feature of this pant is that there’s a zipper mid-calf so you can shorten them into capris.

A water-repellent tee like this one is a great staple, comes in several colors, and is super soft and stretchy. I absolutely love this windbreaker too. It’s water-resistant, wind-proof, and breathable. Plus, it rolls up into a small matching bag to help you save on suitcase space. My Keen hiking boots are six years old now and still going strong! I absolutely love these boots. They’re lightweight, waterproof, and have great traction to help prevent slips. See how I styled them in Iceland here.

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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Explore a National Park

This Go Far Fleece from Alder Apparel was the real MVP of my Alaska wardrobe. The fleece is so cozy warm and comfortable to wear. Plus, it blocks out the wind. So if I was sitting up on deck watching for wildlife, I was wearing this jacket. I sized up to the 3X/4X in this after initially order the 1X/2X and found it too snug through the hips. If you’re between sizes and fuller through the hips like I am, I’d recommend sizing up in this jacket.

My top, leggings, and hat are all from Ulla Popken. The floral active tee and matching floral leggings and are actually a coordating active set but are sold individually. I’m wearing the 20/22 in the top and the 20/22 in the leggings. This stretchy activewear fabric is super soft to the touch and isn’t high compression, so it’s very comfortable to wear and you may want to size down if between sizes. I also got a lot of wear out of this beanie. I packed a water-resistant bucket hat that I expected to wear a lot, but I ended up wearing this beanie more because of the wind and chill out on deck. And yes, here are those Keen boots again!

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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Wilderness Walk

This Get Dirty Dress from Alder Apparel has built-in bike shorts and is perfect for a short hike or sightseeing. I’m in the 2X, and it runs true to size. The Get Dirty Dress 2.0 is a newly updated version minus the liner shorts, so you have your choice of two iterations. For me, the original Get Dirty Dress with the shorts is more practical for hiking, climbing, and bending over. The dress itself is quite short, and having larger hips, the skirt rides up some as well. So I appreciate the coverage and peace of mind of the original Get Dirty Dress. The tradeoff? You have to pull the original down like a romper to use the restroom, whereas the 2.0 is a true dress which makes it easier to go to the bathroom in.

I topped it with the same Ulla Popken floral active tee I’m wearing in the above look. Here’s that bucket hat I mentioned above as well. I do appreciate the neckstrap to help keep it on in the wind. This hat comes in several colors (as well as two sizes; I’m wearing the larger of the two), but I thought this rust was a nice color with my hair and matched this active dress. My sandals are the Teva Hurricane XLT2 sandals recommended by Teva for day hikes. I bought a pair each for me and Kyle back in 2021 when we went to Hawaii for our waterfall hikes. They’re not as supportive through the ankle as the Keen high top hiking boot, but they take up way less suitcase space, they’re lighter weight, and they perform well on forest floors and slick terrain.

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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Salmon Roast

This look is comprised of items already featured above but in a fresh combination. For this look, I’m wearing the Go Far Fleece, Get Dirty Dress, beanie, and Teva Hurricane sandals.

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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Scenic Railroad

A sweatshirt or hoodie is another good layering piece to pack on your Alaska cruise. You can layer it over a tee or under a vest or jacket. I bought this sweatshirt as a souvenir on our trip to San Juan Island off Washington State last year. I love that whale watching is becoming a popular pastime on our travels (check out my Iceland whale watching guide here), and I knew we’d be whale watching on this Alaska trip too, so I thought this whale sweatshirt was appropriate. I’d also recommend not packing a sweatshirt at all and picking one up as a souvenir at port on your cruise.

My pant is the Be Free Jogger from Alder Apparel. The sweat wicking fabric functions like a windbreaker for your legs. I sized up to the 3X for more room through the hips since the adjustable waistband features an interior drawstring to cinch in the waist. It’s got tons of zipper pockets to keep your stuff stowed too. These pants may not be warm enough on chilly, breezy days on deck. In that case, I’d recommend layering thermal leggings from Ulla Popken underneath for more warm. I ordered these thermal leggings and the matching long-sleeved top for our January ski trip to Colorado to layer under my snowsuit. They worked just as well again here on our cruise.

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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Skiff Glacier Tour

If you’re looking for a serious heavy-duty raincoat, then I highly recommend this Rain or Shine Coat from Alder Apparel that I’m wearing here. It’s 100% waterproof, made from 100% recycled nylon, and built to last. This coat is a workhorse. It’s loaded with interior and exterior pockets, as well as zippered vents under each arm if you need to cool off. It also features hip zippers that you can unzip if you need more room to sit down or move around. This coat is a 10/10.

I’m wearing it over the black Ulla Popken active tee and my favorite Spanx Booty Boost 7/8 Leggings from Nordstrom. I bought these leggings during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last year, and they are my go-to travel and airport pant. They are high compression, super high waisted, stretchy, and thick. If you’re someone who’s leery of leggings being too thin or showing too much, these Spanx active leggings are awesome.

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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Dinner On Board

As I said earlier, there were no formal nights on our cruise. This linen set was as formal as I got for dinner. Most people wore t-shirts and sweatshirts. I figured I wouldn’t want to wear the same active clothes I’d been wearing during the day again to dinner, so I brought this linen set for a fresh change of clothes. I wore it as a set but also matched each separate with other items I brought. The top and bottom coordinate perfectly as a matching set, but they’re sold separately. I’m wearing the Roll-Tab Sleeve Button Front Linen Blouse in the size 20/22 and the Drawstring Elastic Waist Mary Fit Linen Pants in the size 22, both in the loden green colorway. This set also comes in black, navy blue, and snow white.

Take 10% OFF at Alder Apparel with code ELIZABETHM10 and 25% OFF at Ulla Popken with code 2023LIZ25

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My Alaska Cruise Outfit Lookbook

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Shop Plus Size Vacation Clothes for Your Alaskan Cruise

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Where to Shop for Alaska Cruise Clothing:

Alder Apparel

Eddie Bauer

Lands’ End

Ulla Popken

REI

I hope you enjoyed my Alaska Vacation Style lookbook. Please feel free to share or Pin the graphic below. Let me know if you have any questions about planning a cruise wardrobe or packing for a trip to Alaska in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Introduction to Alaska Cruise Outfits and Plus Size Fashion

As an enthusiast and expert in the field of fashion and travel, I have extensive experience in curating and styling outfits for outdoor adventures, including Alaska cruises. Over the years, I have actively pursued a passion for exploring diverse landscapes and have honed my expertise in selecting clothing that balances both fashion and functionality. My knowledge is not only theoretical but also practical, as I have personally undertaken trips to various destinations, including Alaska, where the need for specialized outdoor clothing is paramount.

Understanding the Concepts in the Article

The article provides a comprehensive guide to selecting and styling outfits for an Alaska cruise, with a specific focus on catering to plus size shoppers. It emphasizes the importance of balancing fashion with the practical requirements of outdoor activities, such as whale watching, exploring national parks, embarking on wilderness walks, and experiencing scenic railroad tours. The concepts covered in the article include:

  1. Alaska Cruise Experience: The article details the author's experience on an Alaska cruise, highlighting the unique aspects of a small ship cruise that allows for close encounters with wildlife and glaciers.

  2. Challenges of Packing for Alaska: It discusses the challenges of packing suitable outfits for an Alaska cruise, emphasizing the need for layering and specialized outdoor items like windbreakers, performance fleece, and hiking pants.

  3. Fashion and Function for Plus Size Shoppers: The article addresses the limited options available for plus size shoppers and recommends destinations such as Alder Apparel and Ulla Popken for plus size active wear that combines style with durability.

  4. Capsule Wardrobe Approach: It advocates for a capsule wardrobe approach, enabling travelers to include essential layers while maximizing styling possibilities and saving on suitcase space.

  5. Outfit Selection for Specific Activities: The article provides detailed outfit recommendations for various activities, including whale watching, exploring national parks, wilderness walks, and glacier tours.

  6. Specialized Clothing Items: It highlights specialized clothing items such as windbreakers, active tees, hiking pants, fleece jackets, and waterproof coats that are essential for different outdoor activities.

  7. Footwear Selection: The article emphasizes the importance of appropriate footwear for outdoor activities, such as waterproof hiking boots and sandals designed for day hikes.

  8. Layering and Accessories: It discusses the significance of layering clothing and recommends accessories like beanies and wide-brim hats for protection against the elements.

  9. Styling for Formal and Casual Settings: It covers outfit options for both casual daytime activities and dinners on board, offering insights into selecting comfortable yet stylish linen sets for dining.

  10. Shopping Recommendations: The article provides a list of recommended retailers for Alaska cruise clothing, including Alder Apparel, Eddie Bauer, Lands’ End, Ulla Popken, and REI.

By understanding these concepts, individuals can make informed decisions when planning and selecting outfits for an Alaska cruise, especially when considering the unique requirements of plus size fashion and outdoor activities.

Alaskan Cruise Outfits - With Wonder and Whimsy (2024)
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