I spent many years traveling for business, but I never had to “dress for travel” because I was always in business ensembles. Because of that experience, I continued to think carefully about what I wore for traveling when that part of my career ended. I always wanted to look sophisticated and well-dressed – like maybe I was still a road warrior.
As the years passed, I slowly changed my travel apparel to reflect two things: 1) the fact that most people were dressing down and I stuck out, and 2) the fact that I wanted and needed to be comfortable – you know, i case I had to spend the night on the floor in the airport or really run to catch a train.
Now I follow some simple guidelines which I thought I would share:
Wear clothing that you plan to wear in some combination at your destination. If I wear leggings, I know they can double as exercise tights once I arrive. I will wear a duster sweater (bulky to pack) and then wear it later in my trip. This also presumes that I have picked a base color for my travel wardrobe of either black, navy, or a shade of brown.
Wear cute AND comfortable shoes. Nothing is worse than finding out that your shoes are uncomfortable halfway to your gate. I used to always wear a shoe with a heel (because I wanted to be taller than everyone else), but I have gradually shifted to certain low heels, cute flats, or sneakers.
Organize your clothing layers before you leave. Perhaps, like me, you fly from California to the East Coast in winter. I don’t need a coat on the front end but I’ll surely need one on the back end. So my winter coat is packed with gloves or mittens on the top of my bag for easy access after I land. Then there is the issue of staying warm and comfortable on the plane. I always carry a big scarf, an eye mask and earplugs.
Wear makeup and take the time to look nice! You never know who you’ll meet on the plane and don’t you ultimately just want to look better than everyone else you’re with?
Carry a chic carryall or backpack in addition to your handbag. What’s in mine? Earplugs, eye mask, big scarf, all my medications, my jewelry bag, reading materials, nutritious snacks, water, the newspaper and my computer and mouse. In the handbag (always!): Kleenex, ID, phone with boarding pass displayed, Ibuprofin, mouth freshener, lipstick, credit cards and cash.
Take a look at these great items for your next travel day.
My favorite feature in this ensemble is the shorter dress/tunic with the longer duster. It is so much fun to play with combining different lengths, especially this year when a plethora of long, short and hi-low tops and sweaters are around. I also don’t ordinarily think of gray as one of “my colors”, but I do love combining different textures of gray in one outfit like I’ve done here.
One way to cut through the boredom is to throw on a duster coat. This one is a dark tweedy one with many different red colors woven in. I told you the other day about my obsession with long sweaters? Well, welcome to my other obsession – long unlined duster coats. They make any outfit an OUTFIT in my opinion and they go so well with short or long skirts, wide or skinny pants. Try one out if you haven’t already.
Shop my picks:
See another way I’ve worn this top and pants together:
OK, so I had to “color outside the lines” one more time by wearing my trusty jersey duster as a dress. Actually Anthropologie sold this item several years ago as “lounge wear” – not even fancy enough to be worn out of the house. But I knew it had potential and it IS possible that I wore this far less as a duster and far more as a dress, The rest of this outfit is a slam dunk because I love the look of cognac leather with charcoal gray. Anyway, the lessons to be learned are 1) Never overlook the lounge wear sale section as a source of street clothes and 2) If it is dress length and overlaps in the front, your duster/jacket/sweater could be a dress!