While paparazzi photos of celebrities might suggest that it's common to emerge from an international flight wearing heels and inexplicably unwrinkled clothing, this travel approach doesn’t always translate IRL. And it shouldn't have to. The best travel outfits for summer — be it a trip for work or pleasure — don't necessarily call for anything overly precious. It’s about comfort, relaxation, and practicality, which can still result in amazing travel style. As proof, look no further than frequent-flying influencers who’ve perfected their on-the-go look.
With stamps from places like Turkey, Morocco, and Sweden in their passports, the women below know to anticipate blasting A.C.s and chairs with minimal legroom. They include writers and influencers who are frequently on assignment for work and designers who produce products in countries far from their home. And though they can whip up an inspired look without hitting 30,000 feet, they've also learned to craft outfits that can survive a middle seat assignment and honor their unique personal style in equal measure.
Fashion's continued prioritization of comfort, namely on the most exclusive world stages — see: Valentino's collaboration with Birkenstocks, or Chanel-branded leggings prevalent on its Resort 2020 runway — means the idea of a red-carpet-ready travel outfits in 2019 seems more outdated than ever. In its place is something much more interesting and considered. And ahead, find five such examples and all the details on how to shop it for yourself.
“I've pretty much nailed down my own personal go-to outfit for traveling that works wonders for me,” says creative entrepreneur and founder of One Stop Away, Anaa Saber. “It's nothing comparable to what Rihanna or Beyoncé would wear while traveling, but still works!” With plans to travel to Denmark in August for Copenhagen Fashion Week, she explains how her approach is all about comfort: “My go-to look consists of cozy sweatpants coupled with a matching hoodie and of course, sneakers. I love a good sweatsuit combo for the plane ride. My favorites are from Aritzia, Aime Leon Dore, Nike, and Cotton Citizen.”
As a self-professed “always on the go” person, model Ali Tate says she’s become something of a master of travel outfits. “I'll always wear a stretchy yoga outfit for planes so I can move however I need.” As she's currently in the middle of a few different summer vacation plans — "I just got back from three sunny days in Portugal and next weekend I may just pop over to Sweden to kayak in the archipelagos and experience some 24-hour daylight." — Tate says her favorite athleisure styles come from Free People and Beyond Yoga, and seemingly make catching flights a bit more stress-free. “I can breeze through airport security and always look put together while sporty and chic.”
“I think for a long time I scrambled to find the perfect travel look. It's such a hard composition to put together because you have to consider space, arctic temperatures in planes, where you'll be landing, how much crap you want to be lugging around with you in the airport, and so on,” says journalist Marjon Carlos of a very relatable struggle. “I was lost and always thought I couldn't wear my normal clothes, that somehow airport style was a different version of your personal style.”
Carlos, who’s just returned from traveling in Turkey and Maine, says that one piece changed her approach and inspired her current go-to look: a tracksuit from Ganni’s Pre-Fall collection. “It's so '80s soccer Mom, but cut really well, and I remember wearing it out one night with heels and being so comfy but sexy. I then thought, ‘You should wear this traveling to Turkey…’ Worked like a charm! I just threw on my International Girls Crew Nike Cortez's, which are super comfortable, and added some hoops. Lastly, I chucked a bulky tote for a fanny pack, which leaned even more into the American tourist aesthetic, but it kept me hands-free. It felt like me, but just at the airport, and I kind of laughed at how remarkably easy it all was.”
Between her upcoming trips to Sedona, Denmark, Germany, and a road trip from Serbia to Croatia, Mama Cax's travel schedule is entirely jam-packed. And throughout, her travel look remains a mixture of polish and practicality. “My favorite travel outfits are high-waisted slacks with comfortable sneakers. For long train rides I often carry a large blankets and traveling by plane a jean jacket as it can gets cold at the airport,” explains the model and activist of her approach. “For extremely long flights I opt for maxi dresses as they allow me to remove my prosthetic leg in flight.”
For Giovanna designer Leonora Arslani, planning a travel outfit is simply a matter of smart packing. “I always travel in something I’m going to wear as I think a 'travel outfit’ is a waste of space,” she says. “My absolute favorite article of clothing to travel in is an oversized white poplin shirt dress. I love it because it’s comfortable and classic and something I will wear on my trip as well as in transit. I wear it as a dress, a top over jeans, and a layering piece over other dresses or tanks. It also goes perfectly with Giovanna mules and sandals.”
As her newly launched line is made in Morocco, she says she’s heading back there soon to work on new styles. “I have also been dreaming of a trip to Japan for some time so I’m hoping to make it happen this year!”