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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
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.
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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