airport wear

Packing hacks: Why you need a travel uniform

Finding the formula for dressing and departing in style

Models wear one. CEOs wear one. Fashion designers wear one. Each of these frequent flying groups shares a commonality that soars beyond age, altitude, and attitude: They swear by a travel uniform.

Travel uniform: A go-to outfit that travels well, looks chic, and cocoons you in comfort every time you jet-set.

Much like having a set of travel toiletries at the ready for a last-minute trip, finding a getup you feel good in takes the guesswork out of packing, and is one less thing to worry about when you’re racing to the airport. It also shaves a ton of time off your trip prep.

The goal: Dress and depart without reimagining what to wear every time you travel. Supermodel and travel aficionado Doutzen Kroes agrees with this easy approach, telling Who What Wear, “I think the biggest mistake people make is bringing too many options when it comes to their clothing.”

Viewfinder Tip: To find your ideal travel uniform search for photos of your style icon.  Then, select similar threads from your closet and wear them out and about to test what works best.

After all, once you find a good thing, you stick with it—whether it’s a favorite travel destination, a best friend, or an airport outfit. Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s president and creative director even employs the “uniform” method with her midday meal. In a recent article in Bon Appétit Magazine, she mused about her “lunch uniform” (a cobb salad, if you’re interested), mentioning that for her, predictability is key, “it’s one less thing to decide.”

Applying this same logic to airport apparel, being able to copy and paste your travel uniform to 99 percent of travel scenarios and seasons makes for a more seamless home to hotel transition. 

Essentials of a style-savvy airport outfit
*It’s an extension of your personal style
*The color scheme always skews toward neutrals, or black and white
*The fabrics and layering tactics make it multi-climate friendly
*Uses a simple base that can be dressed up or down
*Looks smart enough for an airline upgrade or hotel room enhancement

Hers
airport wear + lady

travel outfit

Using black jeans and a white T as my travel uniform base, I add jewelry, and a sweater or scarf depending on where I’m headed. I also choose to wear easy-on, easy-off booties with socks so that slipping my shoes off at security is a breeze (and I don’t have to stand around with bare feet). Add a pair of sunglasses for those moments when it’s just a little too early (or late!) to face the light.

His
menswear + travel

airport wear + man

My husband and travel partner, Mr. Trip Styler, always chooses jeans for his base because they are bulky to pack and comfortable to wear in transit. This is always accompanied by a smart pair of lace-up booties, a white V-neck T, and a button-up shirt which he can add or subtract depending on the climate. While the jacket may shift from trip-to-trip, his favored coat is his trench because  it has lots of pockets and doesn’t wrinkle.

What does your travel uniform consist of?

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Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Trip Styler

Trish Friesen chose an unlikely profession given her fear of flying and propensity toward car, air, boat, train, and chairlift sickness. Thanks to Gravol, Sea-Bands, and cruise ship stabilizers, the reluctant—yet enthusiastic—jetsetter packs her bag once every two weeks to swim with sharks in the Great Barrier Reef or to sample the latest libation in Portland. Trish unpacks her suitcase in Vancouver, Canada, Eh! where she’s the editor-in-chief of TripStyler.com, a travel lifestyle website for aspiring jetsetters. Find her moonlighting on Expedia, Fodor's, Jetsetter, and as a travel expert on TV while circumventing the globe with her entourage: a MacBook Air, an Olympus camera, and the biggest carry-on she can fit on the plane.