Choosing the perfect travel wardrobe is both art and science. Your clothing selections can have a significant impact on how your trip goes — affecting everything from how you look in your Instagram photos to how comfortable you are in whatever climate you’re visiting. It’s a good idea to give it some extra thought before heading for the airport or hopping into your car.
If you find yourself freezing up every time you ponder how to best fill up your suitcase, take a deep breath. Breaking down the packing process into smaller steps can help you handle it like a pro.
These four tips will help you select the ideal travel wardrobe ahead of your next trip.
Do Your Research and Plan Your Packing Strategy
The first stage is simply doing some research about the place you’re visiting, especially if this will be the first time you’re doing so. You’ll definitely want to look up the average temperature at this time of year, as well as the weather forecast during your stay. You may also find it helpful to research your destination’s cultural dress norms — especially when you’re traveling internationally,
The next step is putting together a packing strategy. Will you be taking a carry-on bag, checking a suitcase or filling a tote? Getting an idea of your spatial limitations will help you decide how many outfits it’s feasible to bring along. How many days and nights will you be staying? Consider how many outfits it’d be optimal to bring, plus an extra everything just in case.
Start with the Staples
The best place to start is generally with your staple wardrobe pieces — this ensures you’ll have plenty of room for the essentials and makes it easier to build outfits around these key pieces.
USA Today offers these helpful ideas for basic travel clothes:
- A lightweight sweater in a neutral color
- A pair of comfortable, well-fit jeans
- Shirts you won’t need to iron to wear
- A pair of nice, non-denim pants
- Dress shoes and walking shoes
- A light yet dressy jacket for evenings
Of course, it’s up to you to customize your “must-bring list” based on where you’re going and your personal sense of style.
Add Pieces You Can Wear in Multiple Settings
Mixing and matching is the name of the game when it comes to travel. You want pieces you can repurpose across several outfits. Versatile, minimalist pieces will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of allowing you to wear them in multiple settings.
Black, white and gray travel clothes for women are famously easy to mix and match, pairing various tops and bottoms with little hassle — yet producing an overall polished effect. Contrast this approach with packing pieces that you can only wear with certain other garments and you’ll see why it’s a winner.
Choose Travel-Friendly Materials
Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to consider the fabrics of the clothing you want to pack. Some travel better than others when it comes to resisting wrinkles and standing up to differences in climate.
Here’s a rundown of fabrics conducive to travel from a blogger at Travel Fashion Girl:
- Merino Wool: This flexible fabric can help you stay cool in summer and warm in winter, plus its pretty wrinkle resistant.
- Cotton: Although cotton can get wrinkled in transit, it’s also super comfy and lightweight.
- Linen: Heading somewhere warm? Linen is quick-drying and sturdy; just make sure you pack it to minimize wrinkles.
Trying to create your perfect travel wardrobe? Get a plan, stock up on mix-and-match separates and pay attention to labels so you can treat each garment as needed.