Fashion is my passion, but sometimes the latest trends and best tailoring can be a little uncomfortable. It’s fine to suffer for style when you’re just heading out for a quick dinner date, but it’s not something you want to do when you’re on the move.
I’ve worked in the fashion industry for years as an editor and stylist. When my work requires travel, I have to find the most comfortable travel clothes to show off my personality while keeping my budget in check and luggage light. It’s not an easy task, but it can be achieved by investing in staples. From layers, stretchy denim, styled fleeces to light-weight blazers, here’s my selection of comfortable travel clothes that make sure you disembark a flight looking your best.
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1. Durable denim
When it comes to comfortable travel clothes, a good pair of jeans should be the first thing you think of. Trends change constantly, but denim will always be a staple of any wardrobe. However, not all jeans are created equal. Cheap, thin denim not only wears down quickly but needs to be washed more. Do yourself a favor and invest in a high-quality pair of jeans for your travels. I am a big fan of Japanese and organic denim. These fabrics will offer you comfort, longevity, and easy cleaning when you’re on the road.
Women’s Everlane Japanese Stretch Jeans
Men’s Everlane Organic Jeans
2. Black staple peices
Coco Channel created the “little black dress” to give the world a clothing item that would go with anything. Black is still a must-have in any closet. It’s flattering on all figures, goes with all colors, and is easy to keep clean. For easy styling, always pack a few black items to mix and match with. For extra flair, seek out black pieces that have unique details like buttons, interesting hemlines, or a textured fabric. It’s the little things that make all the difference.
Women’s AlvaQ Button Dress
Men’s Everlane Henley Shirt
3. Jackets for layering
No matter what time of year you’re traveling, you should always bring a light jacket. Picking a color that is easy to match will be incredibly helpful when putting together multiple outfits. Black has always been a staple for this reason, but this year has seen a rise in the popularity of earth tones and browns. To get the most use out of this jacket, you’ll want to pick a fabric that is both warm and breathable. Cotton and flannel are safe and affordable choices that won’t wrinkle too much.
Women’s prAna Nikit Jacket
Men’s prAna Dock Jacket
4. Grommet belts
Once a staple of the punk movement, these belts have now entered the mainstream. Grommet belts are known for their double-pronged buckles and holes that go all the way around. The classic grommet belt has silver eyelets in each hole, but the modern equivalent is often more simple. By having so many holes, they offer many styling options. You can wear them around your waist, hips, or even use them as a bag handle in a pinch. If you like to spend a good portion of your trips eating delicious food, these belts will come in handy when you need to loosen them up a bit.
Women’s Bouble Grommet Belt
Men’s Dickies Leather Belt
5. A styled fleece
When it comes to fashion, fleece gets a bad rep. We all know that it’s one of the coziest fabrics you can wear, but for many, it conjures up images of camping and slippers. Luckily, there are many styled options that offer both form and function. Wear it on the plane when the AC is pumped up to high, on a hike to be photo-ready, and with a good pair of jeans to walk around a chilly city.
Women’s North Face Fleece Jacket
Men’s Mountain Hardwear UnClassic Fleece Jacket
6. Natural linen
In addition to warm layers, you need a few light and breathable pieces on your list of comfortable travel clothes. Nothing is better for heat than linen. Not only does it keep you cool, but it also helps you to look effortlessly stylish. It’s definitely a look most suited for the daytime, but with a few nice accessories you could transition it to a casual evening look as well. A tip for traveling with linen: If it wrinkles in your luggage, hang it up in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The steam will get it back to looking its best.
Women’s Ecodesign Linen Set
Men’s Faherty Linen Shirt
7. A smart blazer
Throw a nice blazer over a t-shirt and you instantly have a more stylish casual look. Throw one over a dress or button-up and you are ready to go to a five-star restaurant. Right now, the “dark academia” style is blowing up. It’s an aesthetic inspired by classic literature and gothic architecture. Wool blazers are a staple of the style and are going to be a huge trend when the fall comes. For travel, they have the added bonus of offering warmth and not wrinkling in your luggage.
Women’s Linen Blazer
Men’s Goodthreads Blazer
8. Sleek lounge pants
The first step of a vacation is transportation. Whether you’re taking a flight or a road trip, you’ll want something that’s incredibly comfy for your journey, but lounge-wear doesn’t have to be one-note. If you pick a sleeker option, you can pair them with a nice jacket and shoes for a daytime look. The key to finding pants that can achieve that is focusing on color and embellishments. You want to steer clear of patterns and logos and look for simple colors. Embellishments like pockets, racing stripes, and detailing around the hem can help to majorly elevate these pieces.
Women’s Aerie Leggings
Men’s Banana Republic Joggers
9. Sock sneakers
If you are planning a trip that involves activity as well as relaxation, a sneaker is a must. The recent trend of sock sneakers adds a cool twist to the classic shoe. A sock sneaker is known for having a rubber sole and a tight, knit casing for the foot. Not only do they make a statement, but they are extremely comfortable and breathable. Their flexible nature makes them easy to pack and most pairs are machine washable so they can look fresh on every trip.
Women’s Allbirds Wool Runners
Men’s Casbeam Knit Running Shoes
10. Chunky cardigans
Cardigans have often been viewed as a staple piece, mainly coming in solid colors with simple silhouettes. But with the knitting craze that came with quarantine, we are seeing bold, oversized cardigans making a splash in fashion. With celebrities like Harry Styles and Taylor Swift popularizing the style, you can expect to see it everywhere this fall. When packing a chunky cardigan, consider what base pieces you could layer it with. Since the cardigan will be your accent piece, it would look great over a pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt or even a little dress. Not only is it comfortable, but if you get lost in a crowd, you should be pretty easy to find.
Unisex Vorondolo Knitting Cardigan