Tuesday Travel Tips: Dress for Success (and Comfort) On Board Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Short haul flights, train trips and voyages in car are manageable even in uncomfortable clothes. But when you’re talking about hours and hours in some form of transport, concessions to comfort must be made. High heels, leather, and anything skintight–these are the things unbearable journeys are made of.

That said, you don’t want to be that slob with greasy unkempt hair wearing raggedy sweats or flannel rubber-ducky pajamas at Amsterdam Schipol, do you?

Of course not, and my sensitive, aesthetic-snob-eyes thank you.

Besides which, traveling is a great time to network and making new connections is unsurprisingly made more difficult by crimes against fashion and good hygiene. Because in the end, who’s going to take you seriously with Juicy Couture written in sparkly letters across your purple velvet hindquarters?

So here are my best general tips for long haul travelers that want to be comfortable without looking like they just woke up or spent a day at home watching a Modern Family marathon.

Comfortable Clothes for Traveling:

Breathable fabrics made from natural fibers with some stretch (10% or less spandex) are your best bet for comfort and wearability and will also keep you from sweating and smelling rank. Fabrics that are too thick or stiff will likely bother you after 5+ hours on a bus, train or plane, and fabrics that are too thin will wrinkle. Darker colors, and patterns seem to hold up to coffee and beverage spills better than pastels and solids.

  • Jeans with a little bit of stretch to them are ideal for longer trips. They’re breathable (so don’t stink) and hold up well to all the strange postures you bend into, while trying to get in a few winks. For a more formal look, go with baggier trousers in heavier cotton or wool fabric (no wool in summer, and no linen no matter what).
  • Socks should be 100% cotton or wool. Both fabrics breath, helping prevent serious foot odor. If you have cold feet, go for wool, it’ll keep your toes toasty. Another helpful note is to wear socks that match, and have no visible holes…..so you won’t be embarrassed when you want or have to take off your shoes.
  • Long-sleeved fitted cotton t-shirts are ideal for travel year-round. They’re not too warm for Summer trips, and can be paired with cardigans and sweaters come colder weather in Winter and Fall. Sleeves should never be tight or restrictive for traveling, as they will only become more uncomfortable.
  • A large pashmina scarf will keep your shoulders warm on your flight and can help disguise wardrobe malfunctions like a stained shirt, or ripped pants.
  • A comfortable jacket that’s mid-thigh length or longer doubles as a blanket and can dress-up a simple ensemble.

Comfortable Shoes for Traveling:

For comfort, close-toed, flat, supportive shoes that are easy to get on and off are best.

  • Skip old workout or running shoes, as they probably stink, and you’ll be embarrassed when the people the next seat over complain about the plane smelling like gym socks.
  • Sandals are okay for long-haul travel if you find them comfortable to walk in, but you’ll probably want socks to keep from freezing your feet off in air-conditioned cars, buses, trains and planes.
  • For travel and life, comfortable but attractive shoes like those made by Dansko, Clark’s, Skechers and Pikolinos, are ideal. There’s really no excuse for wearing worn-out nikes anymore, as now there are loads of beautiful, non-athletic shoes that are just as comfortable as your favorite sneakers.
Ideal Accessories for Traveling:
A nice bag, and attractive accessories will make you look and feel more human on your travels.
  • Garbage bags and recycled shopping bags aren’t convenient (things inside tend to spill out) and don’t add much to your look. A nice bag with plenty of pockets is your best travel buddy. Big bags with only one main compartment make it easy to lose your passport, tickets and the like in the chaos that reigns inside massive purses and duffles.
  • Fiber and wooden jewelry is the best for traveling–it’s durable, can be lightweight, and you don’t have take it off to go through security. Jewelry can really pull your look together, especially if you have your now-greasy hair in a ponytail, and no make-up on…
  • A watch, while you will have to take it off (unless it’s plastic) is a nice thing to have when you’re traveling. That way if your phone/tablet/laptop dies, you can still keep track of time.

Taking Care of Your Hair, Eyes, and Face During Your Travels:

Travel is hard on your eyes, your skin and your hair. Do your part to take care of yourself, and arrive on site looking and feeling better.

  • If you have long hair, wearing it up, back, or at least having a headband on hand to keep it out of your face while you fly will help prevent damage to your hair if you end up sleeping, as well as protect the skin on your face from any grease or products in your hair.
  • Don’t wear makeup on the trip, or wear your absolute minimum. Eye makeup can get in your eyes and make them itchy, not to mention smear and make you look like you never sleep. Foundation doesn’t usually look great after so many hours on, anyway. Let your pores breath.
  • Bring facial wipes to clean makeup and food off your face.
  • Bring face lotion, especially for air travel, which seriously dries out your skin.
  • Eyewear- Contacts are no good for long-haul travel, wear your glasses. Flying dries out your eyes, and the heat and air on buses and trains can also do a number on your baby blues.
  • Eye-drops will help keep you from scratching your eyes out or presenting red-eyes reminiscent of Half-baked or Dazed and Confused.
  • Chapstick or lip balm will keep your lips from peeling and flaking.
What kind of travel clothes do you wear?
Is keeping comfortable or keeping up appearances more important?
What’s the most uncomfortable clothing you’ve ever traveled in?




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