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The Best Travel Clothing for Women in 2020

The Best Travel Clothing for Women in 2020

by , December 18, 2019

Ladies, if you’ve looked for the perfect travel dress or a pair of go-with-anything pants you can pack for every adventure, you know what a struggle it can be to find the best women’s travel clothes. 

We want clothes that look good, but also perform—and usually it’s a one-or-the-other game. Fashion brands might look good on the ‘gram, but use unbreathable fabrics that pill, wrinkle, or take forever to dry. On the other end, athletic and outdoor clothing have high-performance technical features, but may lack in style (or, at least, the right style for the occasion).

Fortunately, women have access to a growing number of options for fashionable and functional travel clothes. Larger brands have been adapting their lines to the rising popularity of travel, alongside the increase in smaller companies focused on technical, travel-friendly women’s clothes. Gone are the days when travel means wearing your yoga pants for three days straight. Instead, find the best travel clothes for women among these brands.

VacayStyle

The best wrinkle-free travel clothes for women

No one wants their clothes to dissolve into a wrinkled mess in their luggage. And while pro packing techniques can help, clothes made out of wrinkle-resistant materials are an even better solution to the problem.

ADAY: The Everywhere leggings and sweatshirt

Everything from ADAY’s line of travel-friendly clothing is virtually impossible to wrinkle, odor-resistant, and pill-resistant. Specializing in technical clothing for women, ADAY offers something most women’s clothing brands don’t: timeless fashion pieces with ultra-practical features. But if your mind immediately flipped to zip-off hiking pants at the thought of “technical clothing”, worry not. ADAY’s clothes are fashionable enough for chic city streets and polished enough for out of town business meetings.

If you’re new to the brand, start with their uniform, The Everywhere, which features their best-selling Throw and Roll Leggings and Like a Boss sweatshirt, and the Dream Harder Tank to toss on underneath. All three are breathable, sleek, and ultra-comfortable—like a fashion-forward upgrade to your athleisure airplane outfit. At $230 for The Everywhere, and $68 for Got the Scoop, this combo is worth the investment—I’ve had The Everywhere for 2+ years and worn it on countless trips, and the pieces still look almost new.

Already a fan? ADAY fanatics will be happy to hear they recently launched a new set of silk-like tops and knit outerwear, that adds more familiar textures to their otherwise futuristic-looking line.

Lunya leggings Aday jacket

Everlane: Japanese GoWeave

Everlane has a cult-like following from fans who love their stylish—but not overly trendy—modern basics. When it comes to travel, their dresses, tops, and pants from the Japanese GoWeave collection come out on top.

This fabric is lightweight and breathable, yet has enough weight to provide structure and durability. It’s also a surprisingly wrinkle-resistant material (which I can’t say about their cotton), and holds its shape well while wearing it. After a full day in one of their GoWeave dresses, it still looked just as fresh as when I had put it on in the morning. 

For business travelers, their dresses and pants have an added superpower: they’re simple enough that you can dress them up or down, and magically transform your outfit from workday to day off.

Everlane Japanese GoWeave Dress, Cuyana bodysuit

The best women’s travel clothes for long flights

While you might get away with jeans on a quick two-hour flight, long flights require a different— and cozier—kind of attire. The best travel clothes for long flights are comfortable, stretchy, and versatile enough to keep you cool in a hot plane or airport, but warm when it gets inexplicably cold the next minute. 

ThirdLove: Organic cotton jogger set

While we’d all love to rock our favorite pair of sweatpants on a 12-hour flight to Asia, they’re not the most fashionable or easiest to pack. However, a lightweight pair of joggers, like Third Love’s Organic Cotton Jogger Set is a more polished and flattering alternative that also packs down small in your luggage. Made from an ultra-soft and easy-to-wash organic cotton fabric, this jogger and long-sleeve set feels like you’re being hugged by a cloud. The tapered and fitted legs also help keep the joggers from riding up if you move around a lot.

Ringing in at $109 for the top and bottom, it’s a solid mid-range choice for in-flight outfits, especially considering that it’s well made enough to last a while. After a year with my set, I still haven’t seen much pilling, color fading, or stretching—can your sweatpants say that?

ThirdLove Organic Cotton Jogger Set

Lunya: Restore Leggings

The best part about Lunya’s Restore Travel Kit are their Restore Leggings. Made from a soft and breathable pima-polyester blend, these leggings feel more like a cozy pair of sweatpants than athletic yoga pants. However, their fitted cut means they have a far more stylish appearance than sweatpants, giving travelers that incognito comfort you want from an airplane outfit. Plus, they have generous pockets that you can *actually* fit your phone in. 

The only downside is that the colored versions of Lunya’s Restore leggings look like lounge/sleepwear—the black version less so. Unless you don’t mind roaming the airport in a pair of (albeit, elevated) PJs, I’d recommend pairing the leggings with a lightweight top and sweater/jacket in a contrasting color instead of rocking the full Restore ensemble. 

Lunya leggings Aday jacket

Travel Tube Blankets: Classic charcoal wrap

I’m a firm believer that no long flight packing list is complete without a blanket scarf—especially on flights that want to charge us broke economy folks to rent a blanket. For this, Travel Tube Blankets’ knit classic charcoal scarf ($45) is my go-to. 

True to the name, the scarf is basically a giant tube that can be worn several ways. While out and about, you can bunch it up to wear as an infinity scarf. On long flights, extend it fully and step into the tube so it wraps around your entire body—and stays there, even during fidgety in-flight naps. Plus, the knit fabric feels like a soft, well-loved t-shirt. My only complaint is that it doesn’t pack down super small, so I usually end up wearing it in transit.

Travel Tube Blankets

White and Warren: Travel Wrap

A favorite of the editors at Conde Nast Traveler, White and Warren’s luxuriously soft cashmere travel wraps will make you feel like you’ve just gotten a travel upgrade, even if you’re not sitting in first class. Unlike Travel Tube Blankets, these wraps are open-ended, square scarves, so they’ll function more like a blanket than a sleeping bag. Even so, these wraps, which come in a regular and mini size, are cozy, stylish, and most importantly, multi-purpose alternatives to a travel blanket.

White and Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap

The best easy-care travel clothes for women

No one’s got time for a dry-cleaner on vacation. Whether you’re traveling to a more rugged destination or one-bagging it and need a set of easy-to-wash travel clothes, these clothes are both durable and easy to wash en route.

prAna: Halle and Briann pant

Light packers love prAna. Their clothes are technical and easy to care for, and particularly popular among adventure travelers who want a durable yet comfortable pair of pants that can withstand rugged hikes, climbs, and changes in temperature.

Of all of their pants, the Halle Pant is a crowd favorite thanks to its durable, water-resistant fabric and comfortable boot-cut fit. For Anna of Travel Like Anna, it’s her go-to for cold and warm-weather travels alike, since they can easily convert into capris. 

Personally, I have a more curvy figure and the cut of the Halle Pant doesn’t look great. However, their more fitted Briann Pant is made from the same fabric and still as durable and water resistant as the Halle. The only downside is that they don’t convert to capris (if that’s a feature you want) but it’s a good second option if you or your curves don’t love the Halle.

For a full outfit, pair your Halle or Briann pants with prAna’s Cozy Up Tank ($39) which is a soft, wrinkle-free, odor-resistant tank just made for travel. Bonus: the white version isn’t see-through.

prAna Halle Pant and Briann Pant

DUER: Denim shorts and jeans

Yes, you read it right, DUER makes travel-friendly jeans. Although technical synthetic materials and merino wool tend to top the lists for best travel fabrics, DUER’s cotton-polyester blend can hang with the best of them. Born from a mission to combine fashion and function, DUER designed a fashionable line of jeans which are also antimicrobial, stretchy, and temperature-regulating. 

IRL, these jeans lived up to my expectations. They’re stretchy enough to bike, hike, and move around in, and (the jean shorts at least) were still breathable in hot climates—not like traditional denim. When it comes to jeans, “perfect fit” means something different for everyone. So check out DUER’s line of women’s pants and jeans for your next wear-everywhere pair.

DUER shorts, Everlane top, Soludos Shoes

The best quick-dry women’s clothing for travel

Quick-drying fabrics are great for travel. Not only do they dry fast after a wash, but they also wick sweat away—clear advantage whether you’re working up a sweat hiking a trail or exploring a new city. For quick-drying women’s travel clothes, you’ll find a lot of options in outdoor and athletic brands, but also among those specializing in merino wool.

Uniqlo: AIRism underwear and tops

Uniqlo is one of the best budget brands for women’s travel clothes. While their affordable, packable light down jacket gets most of the attention, their underwear and basic tops from the AIRism collection are also worth considering for your travel wardrobe.

Although the AIRism tops and underwear use a fabric made from a synthetic nylon blend, it functions similarly to merino wool—at a fraction of the price. It’s breathable, adapts to different weather and temperatures, and, of course, dries quickly.

The only downside is that the AIRism collection tends to be a bit thinner and less durable than more expensive clothes from other, similarly functioning brands (i.e. it won’t last or retain its shape for as long). But, for the price point, it’s hard to beat.

Uniqlo AIRism

Woolly: merino wool tanks and t-shirts

Merino wool is a fabric so jam-packed with travel-friendly features, it’s hard to believe it’s also 100% natural. Made from a specific breed of sheep’s wool, merino is sweat-wicking, temperature regulating, breathable, odor-resistant, and wrinkle-resistant. Unlike other types of wool, it’s soft, not itchy. Even for folks like me, who are sensitive to itchy wools, it’s a really comfortable and easy-to-wear material.

Unfortunately, merino wool can be a bit pricey—but not Woolly. Seattle-based Woolly makes basic merino wool tees and tanks that are just as good as those at higher price points.

Woolly Tank Top and Crew Neck Tee

Athleta: Merino Wool Turtleneck & Wander Slim Ankle Pants

Quick-dry fabrics are more prominent in athletic and outdoor clothes, so it’s no surprise that Gap’s athletic line, Athleta, has a wide selection of sweat-wicking and quick-drying tops, pants, jackets, and underwear. However, they have some surprisingly street-style ready pieces in their collection which work for travelers who want the function of an athletic piece, but not the style. And, in true Gap fashion, these styles tend to be more timeless than other athletic brands, lending them a versatility and easy-to-match quality you want in travel gear.

Within their travel and commute collection, I recommend their merino wool turtleneck, which at $80 is a decent price for a merino top, as well as their Wander Slim Ankle pants. These simple black pants (which come in petite and tall sizes) can be styled for any situation, whether it’s a day of sightseeing, hiking, or even work.

Athleta Merino Wool Turtleneck & Wander Slim Ankle Pants

lululemon: Wunder Under High-Rise Tights

Over the years, I’ve tested a lot of travel clothes. But despite it all, my trusty, simple, all-black lululemon leggings are still one of my favorite and most versatile pieces in my travel wardrobe. 

They have the perfect amount of stretch, softness, and breathability for long flights, yet are discreetly athletic enough to look appropriate off the mat paired with boots or sneakers and a light sweater. They’re also versatile, working well for hikes, yoga, underlayers, and even casual days in urban destinations. On top of all of this, they’re quick-drying and sweat-wicking.

We all already know they’re not the cheapest, but they’re durable and will last through years of adventures.

lululemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tights

The best chic and stylish travel clothes for women

Whether it’s your honeymoon or an Instagram-heavy trip to Paris, some trips demand a more chic and stylish set of travel clothes. These brands provide styles you’ll look damn good in, while standing up to your travel needs.

Londre: The Multiway swimsuit

The swimsuits made by the Vancouver-based bodysuit brand, Londre, are nothing if not sexy. From backless one-pieces to flattering high-waist bikinis, Londre’s swimsuits are chic in a timeless, French-girl sort of way.

It’s not style alone that makes them one of our top picks for women’s travel clothes. The fabric Londre uses for their swimsuits is odor-resistant, quick dry, and (get ready for this) has a matte finish designed to let their one-pieces double as a body suit. Not to mention, each suit is made from recycled plastic. Yes, they’re stylish, but they also have technical, travel-friendly features, and an eco-friendly mission that makes them stand out from other swimsuits.

Although you can’t go wrong with any of their suits, The Multiway ($126) allows you to get multiple styles in one suit. However, the long strap means it doesn’t pack down super small. If you’re okay forfeiting some flexibility in style for packability, I’d recommend The Minimalist ($98) in matte black or white instead—it’ll still be able to double as a body suit.

Londre bodysuit

Cuyana: Luxury Maxi Wrap and Bodysuit

Although Cuyana originally launched as a bag brand, they’ve since added an ever-expanding clothing line to their catalog. True to their “fewer, better things” mission, it’s full of well-made, timeless, go-with-anything pieces that don’t just allow you to own less—but pack less as well. After all, why bring three sweaters when you have one that fits perfectly and matches everything?

In general, Cuyana is more focused on elevating wardrobe basics than engineering the ultimate wrinkle/odor/water-proof clothes, but a pima-modal blend, which they use for a number of pieces, is good for travel. It’s stronger (i.e. less likely to wrinkle) than 100% cotton, breathable, and more resistant to shrinkage. Similarly, their micromodal fabric is incredibly soft, moisture-wicking, and also breathable.

If you’re looking at pieces from Cuyana for your travel wardrobe, skip the silks (though they pack light, they wrinkle easily). Instead, look for their pima cotton and modal blend staples, like their Wrap Maxi Dress, or their micromodal Seamless Bodysuit, which can double as a base layer or be worn on its own in cool weather.

Cuyana Wrap Maxi Dress and Seamless Long Sleeve Bodysuit

The best women’s travel clothing for hot climates

For warm weather adventure travel, prAna (mentioned above) and Smartwool (next up) are two of the best brands for clothes. But, for cute honeymoon, vacation, or post-adventure lounging outfits, our next two picks take the spotlight.

VacayStyle: 2-Piece Dress

VacayStyle’s clothes are designed with the needs of light-packing travelers in mind. Knowing that easy to mix-and-match pieces are at the center of any light packing list, they’ve created two-piece dresses, rompers, and jumpsuits that also double as separates. This versatility means you can create 3-4 different outfits out of every set.

VacayStyle

In testing their 2-Piece Halter+Ruched Dress, its versatility was one of the best parts, but not enough for most people to justify the price point. Fortunately, it’s also well-made and has a loose yet flattering fit. The synthetic, polyester-elastane fabric has a soft, almost suede-like feel to it and, being a bit thicker, won’t reveal what color undies you’re wearing to the world. It’s fairly wrinkle-resistant and easy to hand wash and dry on the go. The halter comes with a generous built-in bra which, depending on your preferences, could be a pro or a con.

My only qualm is that it doesn’t pack down as small as I’d like. The halter, for example, is about double the size of a simple cotton tank by Everlane.

VacayStyle vs Everlane tank tops

Toad&Co: Faro, Windmere, Rosemarie

I’m not sure if we should be this excited for pockets, but I’m legitimately this excited for pockets. On dresses. Made from eco-friendly materials. With the exception of a few sweater dresses, pretty much every one of Toad&Co’s travel-ready dresses has pockets, which is reason enough to love them.

But it’s not just pockets that make Toad&Co’s crowd favorites, like the Faro, Windmere, and Rosemarie dresses excellent additions to your packing list. They’re also made from travel-friendly fabrics, like ultrasoft and breathable micromodal (Daisy Rib), or a sturdy, hard-to-shrink organic cotton and Tencel blend (Faro, Windmere, and Rosemarie). The designs are simple and mostly come in solid colors, making them easy to style up or down depending on the occasion.

When buying a dress, pay attention to seasonality. Toad&Co sometimes rolls out seasonal variants of old favorites, like a thicker fabric on the Faro for their fall/winter collection.

Toad&Co Faro Dress and Daisy Rib Long Sleeve Swing Dress

Women’s travel clothing for cold climates

When traveling to colder destinations, don’t mess with bulky pea coats and sweaters. To avoid surrendering half of your luggage space to your outerwear, travel with a down jacket and layerable pieces.

Arc’teryx: Andra Rain Jacket & Cerium LT

For cool but wet destinations (hey, Dublin) Arc’teryx’s Andra Rain Jacket is a stylish yet high-performance pick. Made from a lightweight GORE-TEX fabric, the Andra is a high-quality jacket that effortlessly resists and protects against the elements—seriously, the raindrops just roll off, keeping you dry and happy.

Except, it doesn’t look like it’s meant for the outdoors. With a sleek, mid-thigh cut and soft, muted colors like Kirigami (dust pink) and Whiskey Jack (deep, reddish grey), and discreet side pockets, the Andra has a much more urban look than most rain jackets from both Arc’teryx and other outdoor brands. For urban and adventure travelers alike, this versatile, high-performance jacket meets the best of fashion and function.

For even colder destinations, Arc’teryx’s Cerium LT down jacket will give you more warmth, while also packing down into a small and lightweight—under 10 ounces (280 grams)—package. It’s lightweight enough to be worn on its own over a t-shirt in cool fall weather, or over a warmer base layer if temperatures drop below freezing. Made from high-quality 850 fill-power down, it’s both warm for its weight and super compressible, so it won’t take up much room in your bag when you’re not wearing it. However, it’s not waterproof and may need a shell over it for wet, winter weather.

Arc'teryx jacket ADAY leggings

Patagonia: Down Sweater Hoody

A high-quality and high-performing down jacket doesn’t come cheap, but Patagonia’s Down Sweater Hoody, at $279, is one of the more affordable jackets in its category. It’s slightly less water resistant and weighs 3.2 ounces (90 grams) more than the Cerium, but is still overall warm and compact. It packs down small, and keeps you warm with an ethically-sourced down lining— which is in line with Patagonia’s broader mission to produce sustainable gear. For most travelers, especially those who mostly stick to urban destinations, it’s more than you’ll need for your adventures.

Patagonia Women's Down Sweater Hoody

Smartwool: Base layers

The secret to packing light in cold weather? Layers.

Well, layers and a smaller bag.

But seriously, easy-to-layer pieces are a frequent traveler’s secret to keeping their winter packing list light and avoiding bulky, hard-to-pack sweaters and jackets. For cold climate base layers, Smartwool has your back. Made from merino wool (hands down the best travel fabric for many, many reasons), Smartwool’s base layers are naturally temperature regulating, sweat-wicking, and odor-resistant. 

For cold-weather travel, throw on a pair of Smartwool’s 150 Base Layer Bottoms and long sleeve underneath your favorite travel outfit to transform it into a winter-ready ensemble.

Smartwool Women's Merino 150 Baselayer Long Sleeve and Women's Merino 150 Baselayer Bottom

Best business travel clothes brands for women

Not every trip is fun and adventure. Us hustling ladies have to work, too. While traditional women’s business clothing is perhaps the worst example of form over function, there are a few standout brands changing that. These brands have designed business-ready apparel for women (blazers, work pants, blouses, and skirts) with technical, travel-ready features.

Ministry of Supply: Kinetic Blazer, Dress, and Pants

When it comes to finding the perfect women’s blazer for travel, Ministry of Supply has perhaps the best option out there. At $275, the Kinetic Blazer is definitely an investment piece, but if you often travel for work, it’s worth it. 

The blazer is made from Ministry of Supply’s synthetic, polyester “Kinetic” fabric, which is moisture-wicking, breathable, wrinkle-resistant, and (yes!) machine washable. Its four-way stretch also makes it incredibly comfortable to wear, while still maintaining the polished structure of a more traditional wool blazer. Last but certainly not least, it comes with two outside pockets and one inner pocket—all of which are actually, truly, really functional pockets.

To complete your work travel wardrobe, Ministry of Supply also has a line of professional pants and dresses made from their travel-ready Kinetic fabric, like their timeless sheath dress and slim pants, and blouses from their ultra-breathable Apollo fabric. With Ministry of Supply, gone are evenings spent ironing your blazer with a tiny hotel iron or end-of-day conference sessions in a blouse that’s turned into a rumpled mess.

Ministry of Supply Kinetic Blazer and Kinetic Sheath Dress

Betabrand: Dress yoga pants

Not all of us have the luxury of working in our yoga pants (#FreelancerLife) but Betabrand’s popular dress yoga pants bring that perk to the business casual world. As the name implies, these pants look business but are covertly asana-ready.

If you need to go straight from boarding gate to board room, these pants are quite possibly the best accomplice for the job. They’re comfortable and breathable enough for flights but professional in style. They will seamlessly glide through the transition—and spare you from pulling a Clark Kent in a tiny airplane bathroom.

Betabrand Dress Pant Yoga Pants

Wool&: Dresses

Wool& is the sister brand to Portland-based merino wool company, Wool&Prince. While Wool& has several different dress styles and cuts available, the one thing they all have in common is the material: merino wool (some are 100% while others are a blend of merino and nylon). Like anything made from this travel super-fabric, they’re breathable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, and quick to dry.

For cooler weather or transitional seasons, their Rowena dress is a simple piece you can easily dress up for business meetings, or down for a casual day on the town. However, some may find the Clara dress offers a slightly more polished look for business travel. No matter which dress you select, you might find yourself getting rid of every other dress you’ve ever owned and simply living in Wool&’s do-everything dresses.

wool& rowena swing dress and clara shirt dress

Get ready to fly in style with the best travel clothes for women

The best women’s travel clothing doesn’t sacrifice fashion for function—or vice versa. Brands that truly excel at women’s travel clothes do both. For function, look for fabrics with stretch that are sweat-wicking, breathable, odor-resistant, and wrinkle-resistant (like merino wool). Bonus points for anything that’s quick-dry or has pockets. For fashion, focus on timeless, well-tailored basics that can go with everything—so you can build more outfits with fewer articles of clothing. 

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler, or prepping for an outdoor adventure in some far-flung corner of the globe, these brands will have you covered (literally) for your next trip.

Everlane Japanese GoWeave Dress, Cuyana bodysuit

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