When the things in your wardrobe at home just don’t seem quite right for your upcoming summer trip to Europe or the beach vacation in Cancun you have planned, it’s time to go shopping for stylish travel clothes to take with you.
The type of travel clothes we prefer are lightweight, comfortable, flexible, and versatile – but STILL STYLISH.
There’s no reason to give up style when you travel. You don’t have to reduce your wardrobe to beige pants and shapeless dresses. There are far better ways to fill your travel wardrobe.
Below are a few of our favorite travel brands and styles. We only include versatile options that can be mixed and matched and paired with layers.
Mix and match is the name of the game in travel.
If you’re looking to streamline your travel wardrobe with versatile, stylish pieces that will help you cut down on luggage, there are some great options below.
How to Choose the Best Travel Clothing
We’ve come to understand that the best clothes are quality clothes: they use the best fabrics that don’t scratch, snag or pill, they have the best features like hidden pockets and secure zippers, and they are designed and constructed well so they lay right and don’t become annoying.
We’ve come to rely on a few favorite travel clothing brands for reliable, high-quality travel clothes. Our favorites are Arc’teryx, Columbia, and Aviator.
When it comes to finding great travel clothes that are both functional and stylish, it pays to stick with the top brands that have proven themselves with reliable styles and great customer service.
Of course, you don’t have to choose clothing that is designed for travel for your trips, but we have found that there are many benefits to choosing travel-specific clothes.
- They’re typically lighter and streamlined so they pack down well.
- They are made with technical fabric that wick away sweat, prevent sun exposure, and provide flexibility for activities.
- They often don’t wrinkle when packed and dry quickly when washed by hand.
- They are made with functionality in mind and often have hidden pockets and special features built in like sunglasses wipes and even bottle openers.
Creating a Versatile Travel Wardrobe
For most every day travelers there are a few things you really can’t go without.
If you buy the right set of travel clothing, you won’t need many items. They will be multi-functional enough to be mixed and matched for all situations, like dining out at a nice restaurant, hiking, airplane travel, etc.
For women, we recommend stocking your travel wardrobe with the following versatile items:
- Travel pants
- Versatile skirt for women
- Versatile shirt
- Comfortable pair of capris or shorts for men
- Women’s dress that can be dressed up or down
- Travel jeans
- Lightweight jacket
Best Travel Clothes for Women 2019
Women's Travel Pants
One of the most important pieces of a versatile travel wardrobe is a great pair of pants that can be worn in just about any situation. The Nydra pants by Arc’teryx are those pants. They are really comfortable, with a casual, cotton-blend material that offer flexibility during activities like hiking, but are nice enough to be dressed up with the right top for a nice dinner.
These pants are very lightweight so they are breathable and quick drying. They have a double closure at the waist that doesn’t dig into you skin. They have a tapered leg that looks good with a pair of ankle boots, or flip flops. These pants will take you everywhere.Buy these pants
Women's Travel Skirt
One of my favorite skirts for traveling is the ExOfficio Wanderlux skirt. I’m always looking for clothing that is versatile and can fit many situations. This skirt is reversible, so it does double duty. One side is a smooth black and the other side is a textured pattern (it comes in many different patterns). If you’re a light packer, you can be confident that this skirt will suit many occasion and it doesn’t wrinkle easily.
There is one hidden zippered pocket on the side that is super convenient for storing a hotel key, ID or credit card. The material also has a UPF 30 sun protection built in.Buy this skirt
Women's Travel Shirt
I really like the long-sleeved Fernie shirt from Arc’teryx as a versatile travel wardrobe item. It comes in two colors that I think are easy to pair with black travel pants, that can be dressed up with a scarf for evening, but also provides casual comfort during the day or on a hike.
The reason I like the long sleeves to much is that you can wear it with the sleeves down, for a dressier look, or for cold mornings and then you can roll up the sleeves during the day or to make it more casual. They do have a short-sleeve version as well.
The material for this shirt is an air permeable, soft nylon. It’s a breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that also provides sun protection. While it has great technical aspects, it also looks nice enough to wear to dinner. The purple reign color is a nice rich color that can be worn with your black pants or skirt.Buy this shirt
Womens Travel Dress
One of the most important things to look at in a travel dress is the material. For it to be really versatile, it needs to be a breathable, flexible material that preferrably has wicking properties. This Toad & Co dress delivers on material, plus it’s eco-friendly. It drapes well, is resistent to stretching out and has a nice feel to it.
The dress is stylish and easy to dress up and down to fit the situation. The length is appropriate for every situation. I particularly like that it has a double-layer bodice, so it never feels like it’s sticking to you.Buy this dress
Women's Travel Capris
Columbia’s Anytime Outdoor line is great for travelers. I really like these capris, but I also really like their pants. The material is very soft and lightweight. It’s got a bit of stretch so it’s easy to move around, but they don’t lose their shape. They are probably the most comfortable pair of capris I have. I would wear them every day if I could.
The drawstring isn’t really necessary as long as you get the right size, so I’ve removed it. It felt like it was always in the way. None of the pockets have zippers, but the back pocket does have a Velcro closure. Another drawback is that the material does pill quickly once you start wearing them – mostly in the crotch. It doesn’t make them any less comfortable, but it would be nice if that wasn’t an issue.Buy these capris
Women's Travel Jeans
Aviator travel jeans and even better than wearing your most comfortable pair of leggings. They fit like skinny jeans, and have all the great features, like zippered and hidden pockets, but they feel like leggings.
The features of these jeans are what led them to be called the “best travel jeans in the world” by USAToday. They have six internal pockets – one pocket in the back is zippered for added protection, and one pocket is large enough to fit a cell phone.
They are made from a material that is breathable and cool. I was recommended not to put them in the dryer to extend their life, but it’s not a problem because they dry very quickly. Shape recovery is great – I’ve worn them for three full days in a row and haven’t had an issue with them stretching out.
I own a few pairs. I have the Performance Skinny and the Comfort Skinny, and I have one of each color. I have to say my favorites are the Comfort Skinny. The material is amazingly soft and luxurious. They are a dream to wear.Buy these jeans
Lightweight Travel Jacket
The Arc’teryx Atom Hoodie is one of the best lightweight travel jackets I’ve owned. It really lives up to its name in that it’s super light and can easily be stuffed into a backpack while traveling.
Just because it’s light doesn’t mean it’s not warm. It has a thin layer of internal insulation, topped with a super soft outer layer that is water resistant and protects against wind.
The hood is treated with a water repellent and it’s insulated, so you can trust it will hold up in all conditions. Really, it’s perfect for mild conditions where you just need a light layer to keep warm, but you don’t want to carry around a bulky fleece or jacket.
Arc’teryx makes this hoodie for both men and women.Buy the womens jacket Buy the mens jacket
Best Travel Clothes for Men 2019
Mens Travel Pants
These pants are the perfect combination for both active wear and evening wear. Aside from the small logo on the front of the leg, you really can’t tell these are technical pants. They pair well with both active casual shirts and dressier shirts.
The material is very soft to the touch, but it’ s durable. It’s also water and stain resistant, which is always a good thing when traveling. There’s a good stretch to these pants, so they’re comfortable to wear on the airplane, while hiking, or just for casual walking around. They don’t seem to stretch out with extended wear.
For pockets, there are two in front and two in back. I was worried about the zippered thigh pocket, but you really don’t notice it and it provides a great place to store your phone. They come in two colors: pilot grey and tui blue.Buy these pants
Mens Travel Shirts
One of the best features of this shirt is how lightweight it is. The fit was designed to be flexible for an active lifestyle, so it’s a bit longer than usual to allow for a large range of movement. The material is a polyester wool blend that allows for moisture to escape, while it resists odour.
It comes in 4 colors and I think they all look very nice with the Abbott pants. If you pack these pieces together, you’ve already got a great start to a versatile (and lightweight) wardrobe for travel.Buy this shirt
The second shirt I recommend for your travel wardrobe is the skyline button-up shirt from Arc’teryx. It comes in both long sleeves and short sleeves. Like the other shirt above, this one is also made of a really lightweight material that is wrinkle-resistant and offers all the great performance benefits like moisture wicking and temperature regulation.
The great thing about this shirt is that it looks very nice. It’s trim-fitted with clean lines and no identifying features that call it out as a performance shirt. It dresses up the Abbott pants really nicely and looks good under a great travel blazer for nicer restaurants.
The shirt comes in 3 colors: black, pilot grey, and blue.Buy this shirt
Mens Travel Shorts
These are exceptionally comfortable, cotton canvas shorts that are great for all types of travel, and can also be worn to work in a casual office environment. That’s what makes them one of Nick’s favorite pairs of shorts.
As with all of Arc’teryx clothing, the material is breathable and flexible so it’s always comfortable. The material doesn’t really look “technical” though, which is nice because they fit into every scenario with ease.
One interesting design feature is the gusseted crotch, which other travel shorts don’t have. It helps maintain the flexibility of the material. There are front and back pockets that are deep enough for your phone. And there’s also a small hidden pocket in the front for a credit card.Buy these shorts
Mens Travel Jeans
Nick has a pair of the Departure travel jeans from Bluffworks. These are probably the best pair of jeans he’s had in years. They fit very well – being neither too baggy nor too tight, with just the right amount of stretch and flexibility to be comfortable and stylish at the same time. They look really great on. You wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from a typical pair of jeans.
What makes them particularly well fitted for travel are two things. They’re made with a special cotton polyester blend that looks just like traditional jeans but acts like a great pair of travel pants – lightweight, breathable and fast drying.
Second, they have hidden pockets! There’s the five classic jean pockets, plus two hidden, zippered pockets in the back waistband. One is even big enough to store a phone or passport and it’s water-resistent!Buy these jeans
The clothing you take on vacation needs to be lightweight and easy to mix and match, so you can get the most out of your luggage space. We love these versatile and stylish travel clothes to form a wardrobe that can go anywhere with you.
Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.