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7 Items to Smarten Up Your Travel Look While Still Being Comfortable

by Lisa Millar-Jones Mar 17, 2015

1. Joggers

Tapered sweatpants called “joggers” are one of the hottest new trends in fashion today. Utilizing the jogger pant in your travel wardrobe is a great way to pull off comfortable lounge pants any time of day. Technically joggers are spruced up sweatpants, but they’re usually more fitted and taper towards the ankle. They can be found in the traditional heavy knit, but now stores are carrying them in a variety of different materials including linen, leather, and satin. Some look like denim jeans.

The top of the pants normally hit right above your hips and can be elastic or drawstring. They are usually loose up top and may have a slight drop in the crotch, similar to harem pants, but not as drastic. The legs taper as you move down and have a banded ankle.

Unlike skinny jeans, your thighs are free from constricting fabric, and the material can be more breathable. Joggers for women look best paired with fairly loose or fitted tops of a shorter length. To make a longer top work, you can try loosely tucking in the front or knotting it at the side.

2. Roll-up flats

This is one of the most important accessories when it comes to travel style. You need pretty shoes that are comfortable. You don’t want to be sightseeing with sore feet.

Choose a pair that actually have a cushioned instep; as a result, you won’t feel like you’re walking around barefoot.

When faced with countless color options, you may automatically default to typical black or brown. While functionally these shoes get the job done, you may be missing out on a great opportunity to select one of the most versatile shoes for travel that could work with anything you pack. Since I prefer to travel with block-color clothing, adding colorful or patterned accessories and shoes helps to infuse some of my personal style into my travel wardrobe.

Not only are roll-up flats lightweight, you can stash them in your purse for a quick shoe change when your feet are too sore from dancing all night.

3. Convertible clothing

When packing, the main thing for you to look for in your clothing is versatility. The two main reasons for this are saving space in your luggage and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Though many of us aren’t yet in the space to buy solely fair-trade, locally made items, there are little steps we can take toward that lifestyle. One such step is purchasing clothing that can be used multiple ways.

There are actually a surprising number of stylish convertible garments on the market at every price point these days. Some items can be worn up to 30 different ways, including as a skirt, scarf, hood, purse, and in a number of dress and shirt styles. Versatile garments are a staple in any smart traveler’s wardrobe.

4. Compression socks

Nowadays you don’t have to sacrifice fashion for comfort. They now make lines of compression socks in a variety of designs and colors, and offer a choice of fabric for individual comfort including cotton, nylon, and wool. The cool thing is that compression socks make our legs feel lighter and more invigorated as a result of the knitting technology.

Compression socks work to increase oxygen delivery, decrease lactic acid, prevent cramps, and minimize muscle fatigue — especially after a long day of hiking or while flying.

5. Travel purse and daypack

Picking the best travel purse can be a tough decision. You need to balance practicality with style, and you also need to be aware that some popular travel destinations are a mecca for pickpockets. As a general rule I usually suggest bringing two bags: One for day and one for night. I also try to bring bags in neutral or metallic colors so that they match all of my outfits.

No matter what style of travel purse you choose to bring on your travels, there are important factors to consider. You need to choose ones that are practical. If you need to be hands-free to take pictures, then don’t bring a clutch. If you’re worried about theft then don’t carry a shoulder bag.

Pick a purse that holds all your possessions including your sweater, travel documents, reading material, snacks and gadgets; you don’t want to carry things in your hands while you’re handling your passport. Top tip: Make sure everything is easily accessible and leave your hands free for taking care of one item at a time or holding someone’s hand.

The best daypacks for long-term travelers are small backpacks — they’re the most convenient. Consider a daypack as the same thing as a day bag or day purse. Depending on your type of travels, the best daypacks for you might be a large beach tote, oversized purse, small backpack (15-25L), or luggage-style tote.

6. Leggings

If worn correctly, these could be one of the most useful clothing items you pack. Nowadays, leggings can be found in every color under the sun — they feature different prints, washes, and finishes, and can be worn in all sorts of different ways. For versatility, a solid, opaque pair of leggings in a neutral color like black, gray, or brown is best.

Sheer, footless tight styles are also great to experiment with, especially under shirt dresses. Leggings could also be worn under jeans to keep warm. They can be worn as pajamas in a conservative country, and worn on the airplane for comfort.

7. LBD and maxi dress

Assuming the temperatures are mild, dresses are easy to pack and can be dressed up or down. The perfect little black dress is lightweight, breathable, quick drying, flattering, and just basic enough to work with most accessories. Maxi dresses are comfortable and can be worn in conservative cultures.

Choose dresses that are super lightweight, easy to roll up, and compact enough to fit in your backpack. Cotton and linen are preferable for humid temperatures, and jersey is great for wrinkle resistance.

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