How To Expertly Build Your Travel Outfit to Save Room in Your Suitcase

Create the Perfect Travel Outfit

Do you stress over your travel outfit? I know I do. I typically opt for a pair of jeans, a tee, and a blazer. But our family recently embarked on a very long trip to Vietnam and China, which involved quite a bit more planning and like 22-hours travel time. I only took a carry-on suitcase, so saving space was top of mind. When traveling light and long distances, your travel outfit is especially important! Not only did I need to be comfortable for the epic long plane ride, I also needed the pieces I wore to function for the rest of the trip. Below, I’m walking you through how I built my perfect travel outfit that’s comfortable, pulled-together, versatile, AND helps me save space in my suitcase.

By the way, we’re going to have a LOT of travel content coming soon including more info on our family trip to Vietnam and China, everything I packed, and SO much more. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter here so you don’t miss out on anything new!

travel base outfit

Step #1) Build Your Base Layer

Lightweight Tee or Top

When you’re building your travel outfit, the base layer is SO important. On those long-haul flights, this is what you’ll sleep in. My base layer included a wireless bralette, my go-to white v-neck tee by ATM. I didn’t snap a picture of it to include in this post, but it’s underneath the sweater I’m wearing above (more on the sweater below). I’ve owned it for many years and it’s a favorite that I wear with jeans, pants, skirts, etc.

Comfortable Pants

On my bottom half, I went with a pair of super comfortable pants by Nili Lotan. They’re a thicker cotton that still feels lightweight and breathable. They’re soft, have a drawstring waistband, and cool raw edge details. The waist area has a slouchier fit, which I love, but the tapered leg still gives nice shape. The neutral chalky color is perfect for versatility and being able to wear them with other pieces in your travel wardrobe.

Comfy Shoes

To complete the base layer of my travel outfit, I went with a pair of New Balance sneakers. Wearing a pair of your bulkiest shoes is ideal in terms of saving space in the suitcase. I also opted for sneakers because they are comfortable and I can haul a** if I need to in an airport. There is NO telling how many times I have sprinted from one part of the airport to another. I’m always perplexed when I see women in heels in an airport. These sneakers are super cute with versatile, neutral colors, and they were perfect for lots of walking and sightseeing when we got to our destination!

Reminder: This base layer outfit is what I stripped down to and wore while on the plane and to go to sleep. We sat in business class so you have the option of wearing their pajamas, but if you’ve tried them before, you know the fabric isn’t the best. I’d much prefer to wear my own clothes.

open-knit sweater by Varley

Step #2) Add A Sweater

Over my white ATM tee, I added this open-knit sweater by Varley. It’s super lightweight, breathable, and has a 3/4 zip that I can wear open or closed. Because the weather is warmer in Vietnam, I only brought one sweater, and this was it! It’s a great neutral, versatile piece I wore over and over on the trip.

longline blazer by Camila Coelho Create the Perfect Travel Outfit

Step #3) Layer A Blazer

The tee, sweater, and pants alone were pretty casual, so I wanted to add an element to this look that made it feel more pulled together. This longline blazer by Camila Coelho was perfect and made the whole outfit much more elevated. It’s a gorgeous tan color, has a longer, boyfriend blazer fit, and exaggerated padded shoulders. I considered other outerwear options like a cropped trench, but that didn’t make as much sense for the rest of the trip. It’s SO important to consider how your airport outfit will function with the rest of your travel wardrobe! This blazer pulls double duty…it looks great with my travel look but I also wore it on the trip over shorts and a tee, and with pants and tops.

scarf for travel

Create the Perfect Travel Outfit

Step #4) Add a Scarf

I’m always cold in airports and on planes so I also added this pretty scarf by Reiss. I also love to have a scarf as an extra accessory. You could always ditch the scarf and the blazer and keep it leaner. I’m just showing you what works for me and how layering all of these pieces really does help me save space in your suitcase! Plus, I took the scarf, blazer, and sweater off after I got situated on the plane.

I think the perfect travel outfit depends on the length of your trip and where you are going. What is YOUR perfect travel outfit? Let us know your formula in the comments below!

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5 thoughts on “How To Expertly Build Your Travel Outfit to Save Room in Your Suitcase

  1. I’ve started wearing a maxi skirt for travel. Looks great in the airport and saves space in my suitcase by wearing bulky items, but I layer cropped yoga pants underneath since I always get cold! Once I’m on the plane it’s easy to slip the skirt off and I’m in yoga pants and a shirt. Super comfy!

    1. Cute idea, Eva! I would love to see a picture of you in your maxi skirt. Thank you for sharing! Erin xo

  2. I travel overseas numerous times a year, and this is pretty much my outfit as well. If I am going to a cool-moderate climate I do a trench instead of a blazer. One thing I always add that you do not- a wool tank underneath everything. I get cold easy and it wicks moisture away and doesn’t retain stink- perfect for those long hauls. I check a bag most times (I like to shop) and a pair of leggings and underwear are in my personal item. If for some reason my luggage is delayed, I have PJs and plenty of options.

    I can’t remember the last time you did a video on petites, but I am a curvy petite and struggling to find quality natural fiber blazers for an extreme hourglass shorty – in beige, cream, tan, or browns, where I can wear layers without drowning in fabric. Please consider. Thanks for all you do!

    1. I just recently discovered Reiss petites…and I am in LOVE! Have you tried the usual suspects like J.Crew, Banana, Ann Taylor, J.Crew Factory, etc.? P.S. I have two wool tanks. I use them for skiing mostly. Had not thought of them for travel. TFS! ~Erin xo

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