If you plan to be wearing the same three shirts in all your vacation photos, you want them to be nice shirts. Enter: the eternal quest for the best travel clothes.
Rule number 1 is to stay within your personal style range. If your travel outfits don’t feel as good as the clothes you wear at home, you aren’t going to wear them. You want to feel like yourself on the road. If you weren’t already into the geometric prints that seem to reappear in travel clothing regardless of season, you’re not going to magically start being into them on your trip. Realistically, you may only need one or two new pieces for a trip rather than a whole new wardrobe.
Once you’ve decided to shop and drop, start off with a unified, simple color scheme so that you can mix and match across your items. Stick to a few basics that you can liven up with accessories, either packed or purchased along the way. “I love to pack clothes in neutral colors, because I know I don’t have to pack as many items and can always swap things around for a completely different outfit,” said designer Katie Schmidt. “Think of it like creating a capsule wardrobe, so you don’t end up with a bunch of clothes that can’t even make a single outfit, let alone several.”
After you’ve figured out the fashion, it’s time to examine function. Choose fabrics that are machine washable, wrinkle-resistant, lightweight, and either stretchy or loose enough to maintain their shape even when shoved in a packing cube and unwashed for long periods of time. Steer away from 100 percent cotton; it takes too long to dry and will wick heat away from your body if it gets wet. You also don’t want anything too bulky. The rolling strategy will help keep your clothes both compact and less wrinkled, so make sure your clothes can actually roll up.