This is personal.

So this blog is a little out of the ordinary for me. Outside of our Personal Blog, James and I try our best to remove ourselves from the subject matter so that readers can draw their own conclusions about what’s most valuable. But, as I’m preparing for a big trip to Paris, it seemed appropriate (and most helpful) to share my strategy for packing travel wardrobe pieces that work for every season.

This is especially personal because I’ve not only purchased the specific items and brands below – I swear by them. Oh, did I also mention they’re all under a $100? Shoppers, start your engines.

If you’re living out of a carry-on bag and traveling for any extended length of time – likely between multiple seasons – it’s important that your travel wardrobe is especially versatile. It has to keep you both warm and cool. It has to be functional agains the elements. It has to be comfortable and fashionable and accommodate a variety of activities. Perhaps most important, it has to fit. And, in my case, it can’t cause me to overdraw my checking account. If I’m honest, I’d rather spend my money on dessert anyway.

#1 – A Faux Leather Tote

Nordstrom Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote
Street Level at Nordstrom, $48

Faux (or vegan) leather should be embraced by anxious travelers in need of one less thing to worry about. (Me.) Along with a lower price point, you’ll never have to stress about it getting rained on or freak out over scuffs and scratches – which I would do if I was carrying around a leather bag that cost hundreds of dollars. This specific bag is reversible and is virtually maintenance free. They’re not paying me to say that and, at $48, they don’t need to.

#2 – Chic Rainboots

Sam Edelman Tinsley Rain Boots
Sam Edelman on Zappos, $55

I love a good rain boot. There’s nothing quite so whimsical (even as an adult) as splashing through puddles or snowy slush in a pair of knee-high wellies. In spite of their practicality against the elements, they’re impossible to pack and don’t wear well on a typical day abroad. (Think squeaking through quiet museum galleries, leaving behind a murky trail.) An ankle boot is functional against anything less than 6″ of rain or show and can pair with a skirt and dark tights just as easily as your favorite jeans.

#3 – Versatile (and Fashionable) Leggings

RBX Prime Running Pants
RBX, $29-$49

When you’re traveling out of a backpack or carry-on, versatility is key. This is my go-to legging and it comes in dozens of styles and colors. Most are also high-waisted — you won’t be fidgeting to keep them up all day. Not just for working out, they’re heavy enough to add warmth under a pear of jeans and lightweight enough to be worn under a skirt in place of tights. Typically, I believe that pants and leggings are two different things, but I’ve paired these with a bulky knit sweater or a long silk blouse.

#4 – A Cashmere Cardigan

Hayden Cashmere Boyfriend Cardigan
BlueFly, $72

On the list of things that make me happy, cashmere ranks very high. It’s a great way to add comfort to your travel wardrobe, especially on long days of sightseeing. Button-downs in general are great for layering, but they’re especially handy in the spring and fall when the weather can abruptly change from mild to brisk. If you’re on a tight budget but still must have cashmere — and who doesn’t — you can usually find something at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and even H&M for around $60 or less, depending on the store and season.

#5 – Super Soft V-neck Tees

Mossimo V-Neck Micromodal Tee
Target, $12

These super soft, micromodal v-neck tees from Target’s Mossimo brand can be found in just about every retail location in the country. They are perfect for every possible wardrobe decision – including PJs and presumably space travel – and can be easily worn 2-3 times before needing a wash. While they really only hold up for about a year, they can quickly, easily, and inexpensively be swapped in and out of your travel wardrobe rotation. Looking to splurge? Look no further.

#6 – The Shirt Dress

Madewell Courier Shirt Dress
Madewell, $98

The comfortable, form flattering shirt dress is the perfect style of dress for foodie travelers who spend their trips sniffing out and gobbling down delicious local delicacies. It can easily be dressed up with a belt and a blazer and dressed down with a floppy hat (see below) and gladiator sandals. This style is sold just about everywhere and at varying price points so don’t feel locked into the Madewell example. Here’s another great option from RACHEL Rachel Roy ($70). Love the shirt dress and it will love you back.

#7 – A Floppy Wool Hat

ASOS Skinny Band Felt Floppy Hat
ASOS, $35

You might think hats aren’t your thing, and you’d be wrong. Whether you’re into a flexible wide brim or a stiff narrow one, a wool hat is an easy way to add a little pizazz to a travel wardrobe that’s mainly comprised of plain pieces that are easy to mix and match. They’re also multi-purpose. Keep the sun out of your eyes. Keep the rain and snow off your head. Put it over your face to keep strangers from watching you drool during your train nap. The possibilities are endless. Pro tip: hats make great souvenirs and won’t collect dust sitting on a shelf.

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One Comment

  1. What about for men??

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