Travel clothes for women is a hard category to shop: how are you supposed to maintain the balance between function and style, look great, while also living off a suitcase or two the entire duration of your trip?
We have already covered a list of our travel essentials for women but perhaps it is time for a more comprehensive guide on what to go for and what to avoid while you are packing for traveling. There are three essentials things you should be thinking about while packing:
When it comes to travel clothes for women, we usually have to choose between function or style. Most stylish travel clothes for women are rarely ever practical for traveling and the multi-purpose ones are hardly fashionable. Some clothes look good on Instagram while accompanied by the #airportstyle tag, but are usually made of stiff unbreathable fabric that either pill, wrinkle, take forever to dry, or aren’t very absorbent. On the other hand, while athleisure and leggings are comfortable, stretchy, and functional, we would hardly ever recommend wearing them while walking around Rome.
The best travel wear for women merges both of these worlds and manage to look good as well as feel good. So, when you are buying clothes for traveling, ask yourself if those items can do that. Are those pants comfortable enough to wear on a 14-hour Transatlantic plane ride? Will that top mask odor and absorb sweat if you take part in a tropical rain forest adventure? Will those shorts manage to hold on if you decide to hike up a dormant volcano? And will that blouse still look good if you take it out of your suitcase, don’t have the time to iron it, or don’t have access to an iron, and need to wear it to a formal bar?
Hence, when you are deciding on what to pack, think of both the performance and the style of the items you take with you and if they will make the ideal clothes for traveling.
The best travel outfits all have one thing in common: they are made of the right fabric. The clothes you are taking for your travels should be made of fabrics that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and easy to care for. Go for fabrics that are machine washable, wrinkle-resistant, odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, lightweight, and maintain their shape even when shoved in a suitcase for long periods of time. You really don’t want to deal with tangled rhinestones and chiffon in your suitcase while you are rushing to get on the cruise ship before it leaves! Of course, if you ever do run into such a wardrobe mishap while traveling, French entrepreneur Laure Heriard-Dubreuil has a simple little tool to prevent such catastrophes!
Here are our thoughts on some of the most common fabrics and their travel friendliness:
If you’re traveling to someplace cold, Merino wool is the perfect option. It is wrinkle-resistant, cozy, warm, lightweight, odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, and lightweight. It's also very breathable!
Polyester is a soft and comfortable synthetic fabric. So not only is it durable, quick-dry, and wrinkle-resistant but also very affordable! Polyester also doesn’t absorb much water and is very lightweight.
Nylon is more durable than polyester and absorbs about the same amount of moisture. It also falls in the lightweight no-wrinkles category so it’s perfect for suitcase travel.
This luxury fabric is perfect for winter travel. It is warm, lightweight, soft to touch, and looks very chic. There’s a reason a cashmere sweater is called a wardrobe staple! Cashmere is not completely wrinkle-resistant but if you leave it out flat for some time, the wrinkles straighten themselves out.
Spandex is featured in some of our favorite shapewear and workout gear, so we know that it’s great with moisture-wicking and odor control. Spandex blended with other fabrics also adds wrinkle resistance to the fabric so you don’t necessarily have to wear pure spandex.
Lyocell is a form of rayon and is commonly called Tencel. It’s machine-washable so you won’t have to worry about hand-washing your clothes during your trip. It’s also soft, strong, and doesn’t have wrinkling.
While traveling, stay away from 100 percent cotton! It takes too long to dry, will wick heat away from your body if it gets wet, and wrinkles very easily. Save your pure cotton for events in your own city!
Women's travel-friendly clothes should fulfill another requirement before you add them to your suitcase: they should be layer-able. Only take clothes with you that are timeless, fit you well, and the ones that you can pair with different things to make completely different outfits.
This does not mean that you should steer away from your personal style and wear something that is outside of your comfort zone. Be careful when you are shopping for new items for your trip, if you do not feel comfortable wearing it in your town, you will probably not feel comfortable wearing it in Costa Rica either.
In order to create a layer-able travel wardrobe, decide on a simple color scheme. Neutrals are usually the best for this. This will also help you better mix and match your pieces. Use basics and then use accessories to elevate your look as you go. If you find a fun accessory while traveling, add it to your looks as well! Such layer-able pieces also help you save up on luggage space as you get more options with the same pieces.
Accessories are a game-changer when it comes to changing your outfit so make sure to pack plenty. The best travel accessories give you the option of instantly dressing up or dressing down your look to match the occasion. A wide belt can be the difference between a bohemian beach dress and a sophisticated dress to wear to dinner so don’t skip out on those!
Some of our other essential travel accessories include:
Always bring a hat, especially a wide-brimmed one. It will not only add a certain flair to your look, but it will also act as sun protection. If it’s made from a waterproof material, it can help you in a sudden downpour as well.
Similar to hats, arm sleeves also possess the ability to instantly change your outfit. They can not only protect you from the sun’s rays but also protect you from insects and bugs. They are also incredibly helpful in places where modesty is desirable. We have a collection of thirteen light-weight, portable sleeves that you can choose from to add to your travel wardrobe. Did we mention that they are also excellent for chilly nights?
Scarves too can instantly change your look. Use it as a headband, a hair tie, a head wrap, or a shoulder cover, it’s all up to you. Fashion blogs are filled with the various ways in which you can tie a scarf so you will have no problem with styling them!
We have talked a lot about moisture-wicking, odor-fighting fabrics but perhaps the one clothing item that needs to do the best job at this are socks! Meredith Carey has talked about the best compression socks for travel and we have to agree with her. Compression socks can be a game changer during long-haul travels!
These are all the tips we have for picking travel clothes for women, let us know if you have any essential tips that you think we missed!
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