Travel Clothes Guidelines

A big issue when assembling a travel wardrobe is figuring out how to be as stylish yet as comfortable as possible. There are several specialty lines of travel clothing available that attempt to marry this need for function and fashion. However, I find that they fall short in the cut and fit department. While traditional “travel clothes” serve their function I have found that the same elements that are found in “travel clothes” can be found at most major retailers or even in your own closet if you know what to look for.

Clothes billed as “travel clothes” are basically lightweight and made of mostly synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are more lightweight than cotton so therefore they take up less room in your luggage and if you launder them will dry much quicker than natural fibers. Luckily, synthetic materials are more commonly used or blended with other materials.

If you are assembling clothes for a trip to Europe here are some guidelines:

  • All clothes must mix and match, sticking to one or two dark neutrals makes this easy
  • Dark neutrals such as black, gray, and brown will help you blend in with European locals.
  • Clothes made of synthetic fabrics will dry quickly and be lightweight and compact (lyocell, modal, nylon, acrylic, rayon, polyester)
  • Cotton blended with synthetic fabrics are OK but you will slightly increase bulk and drying time


  • Hand washable lightweight silk (dries quickly, packs light)
  • Fitted and flattering clothes give a European vibe
    • Plan to layer clothing to adjust to changing weather.
    • If you don’t want to deal with coordinating colors, you can’t go wrong with packing all black and a few distinctive accessories.
    • Accessories play an important role in stretching your travel wardrobe by adding personality and style (this is what Europeans do)
    • They do sell clothes in Europe should you get invited to some fancy event.

    What NOT to Pack:

    • 100% cotton takes forever to dry and isn’t as compact as synthetics (a cotton blend is OK)
    • Avoid loose fitting clothing (relaxed fit jeans, etc.). You may not feel out of place here but in Europe you’ll feel dowdy (compared to chic and glam Europeans) in loose fitting clothes.


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