Selecting Your Travel Wardrobe

Packing for your trip starts way before your actual travel day. The process starts from the moment you start picking clothes to add to your wardrobe. Here are some tips to help you build a travel-friendly wardrobe:

Stick to a color scheme

One of the easiest ways to build a travel-friendly wardrobe is to pick one color scheme for your clothes. Do you live and work in a big city and want a metro-urban look? Consider picking black. It really goes with everything, and it’s very easy to add a splash of color (with accessories) for a personalized look. There are a couple of caveats for a black wardrobe: If you live somewhere where it’s very hot most of the time (since darker colors absorb more heat), or if you have pets that shed. Fur is very noticeable on black clothing, so unless you can be meticulous with a lint roller, you might want to choose another neutral color.

Do you live out in the country and prefer a more natural look? Consider going with a brown color scheme. You can really build around this, since any brown-based color should match. Tan, eggshell, burnt umber… they should all work nicely.

If you would rather go with lighter colors, consider just going with off-white or tan. Just make sure you wear a slip or camisole in case the clothes are a bit sheer.

Although it might be a little harder to find, navy is a wonderful travel color, as well. You can wear navy with any off-white item, as well as other blue-based pieces.

So as you go clothes shopping, keep your color scheme in mind. Before picking up a new blouse, ask yourself, “Would I be able to wear this as a travel outfit? Does this match my travel skirt?”

Pick wrinkle-resistant clothes

Try to avoid choosing fabrics that require ironing. Even if your hotel room has an iron, it’s extra time you don’t really want to waste. These days, it’s very easy to purchase wrinkle-resistant clothing. If you aren’t sure, check the manufacturer’s treatment label, and look for phrases like “do not iron,” or “iron on low.” For items that need just a bit of spiffing up, you can take a small spray bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser with you.

There are quite a few places that sell travel-friendly, wrinkle-resistant clothes. Some of my favorites, like Travelsmith, L.L. Bean, Lands End, and Magellan’s will have little icons indicating when something doesn’t need ironing.

Avoid dry cleaning

In addition to being wrinkle-resistant, some of these travel-friendly garments can also be tossed in the washing machine instead of sent to a dry cleaner. This makes traveling so much easier, since you can easily rinse off an item and hang it up to dry. Some items, like jackets, may require dry cleaning, but they also don’t need to be washed after every wear. Again, look for “washable” in the product’s description.


Not sure what kind of whether you’ll run into? Instead of taking a half dozen thick sweaters with you, layer instead! It’s very possible to wear several layers and be toasty warm, even on a wintry day. If you think you might encounter really cold weather but aren’t completely sure, take some silk thermal underwear with you. These are amazingly warm, and pack into little balls you can toss into your carry-on. One brand I like for women is Cuddl Duds, which come in all sorts of colors and thicknesses, so you can have them showing and not feel like you’re exposing your underwear.

In my example, I would start with regular underwear, then a layer of silk (thermal) underwear. Over that, I would wear pants, and a long-sleeve shirt. I might add a vest to this, over which I wear a fleece sweatshirt. Or instead of the fleece sweatshirt, I might wear a 3-in-1 jacket with an inner fleece lining that zips off and turns into its own fleece zippered top. Add to that, two pairs of thin wool socks (I am particularly keen on thin Smartwool socks, which keep my toes toasty warm), and a warm scarf. I could wear a hat on top, or just wrap the scarf around my head, and stay relatively warm.  As things warm up, I can go and remove various layers and adjust accordingly.

These are simple tricks, but they really work to make packing so much easier. Give these a try!

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