A versatile travel wardrobe is essential to any journey; whether one night or 100, tropical or arctic, casual or formal, you will need some clothes.
Of course, putting together your “travel wardrobe” is a matter of taste, budget, and destination. But there are essential pieces that you can use in almost any climate or social situation. So I took a little shopping spree through Amazon Essentials to see how many of my basic travel wardrobe pieces I could find at bargain prices. There were lots of them! All are well designed and well made from quality materials.
But before we start shopping, consider my three rules that any garment must pass before putting it into my suitcase.
3 Rules For A Versatile Travel Wardrobe
Before I pack an article of clothing, I ask myself, “Does this pass my travel wardrobe rules?” All the Amazon Essentials garments I suggest in this article pass all three.
Rule 1: The Garment Must Be Worn More Than Once
The glittery cocktail dress stays home when I know I will only attend one elegant event during a trip, and the dress will only be worn once. Instead, I pack my black silk jersey outfit. It works for fancy and casual occasions and has three pieces that can be worn individually. It’s always with me when traveling. It’s versatile, timeless, and can be packed in a one-gallon plastic bag for a month without wrinkles.
Rule 2: The Garment Must Match Something Else
When it comes to colors for my travel clothes, I build each trip’s wardrobe with two colors only. One neutral — black, tan, grey, or white — and one bright color that adds a bit of pazazz to my outfit. With this rule, all my pieces can be interchanged to make different ensembles.
Rule 3: Easy Care Is A Must
If you’ve used a hotel’s laundry service recently, you may have discovered that dinner costs less than laundering your jeans. I rarely travel with a garment that can’t be laundered in the sink with shampoo from the hotel shower if necessary. So I look for lightweight fabrics, run-free colors, and natural fibers. Linen, silk, and cotton are my favorites. For synthetic materials, jersey is my hero.
I don’t take a bulky coat unless traveling in snow and ice conditions. Instead, I use the tried and true “layers method” of adjusting to changing climates or temperatures. Amazon Essentials has all the layering pieces you need. I like these:
An outerwear vest is one of the best layering pieces you can pack. At least one is always with me when traveling. It gets lots of use, even in hot climates with cool nights, on a long flight it’s ideal for over air conditioned planes.
I like this Essentials vest because it has a full-length zipper, side pockets, and a generous mandarin collar to keep your neck warm or fold down when not needed.
The 100% polyester fabric comes in 24 solid colors and 9 patterns. Sizes range from X-Small to 6X.
A classic cardigan sweater can take you anywhere from an afternoon tea to an evening on the beach at sunset. Wear it with a skirt, jeans, or shorts, or over a t-shirt, turtle neck, or collared blouse. A timeless cardigan will be a travel wardrobe staple for years to come.
The fiber mix of 58% cotton and 42% synthetics comes in 28 colors, with sizes X-Small to 6X.
Winter, summer, spring, or fall, you need a versatile tank top in your suitcase. Layered under shirts, tops, or sweaters gives your core extra insulation. But it is ideal for hot temps as a stand-alone.
The fiber mix is 55% cotton and 45% synthetic. The tanks come in sets of two and dozens of colors. Sets come in solids, stripes, and mixtures of both. Sizes X-Small to XX-Large.
Yes, we are all wearing leggings, even some of the fellas. I own several pairs of Essentials leggings and always travel with them. I wear them as PJs and under skirts, and when the weather is chilly, they go under my jeans.
The fiber mix is 50% cotton and 50% synthetic. The leggings come in 20 colors. I love them because all sizes are sold in short or long lengths for sizes X-Small to XX-Large. Under $16.
This long-sleeve poplin shirt travels with me on every trip. I love the versatility. I wear it under my blazer with a skirt or jeans, even shorts. I use it as a light jacket or beach coverup. Last year I decided to get adventurous and ordered one in blue stripes.
The fiber is 100% lightweight cotton. The shirt comes in 21 colors and patterns, including solid white and solid black. Sizes X-Small to XX-Large.
I know I don’t need to sell you on t-shirts. They are a handy wardrobe staple worn by millions every day. Folks wear them alone, under shirts as an extra layer, under a blazer, and as a PJ top. I’ve selected a v-neck, but Essentials also sells scoop and traditional neck styles.
The fiber mix of 56% cotton and 44% synthetics is nicely breathable. The t-shirts come in sets of two or four with 36 combinations of solids and stripes. Sizes X-Small to XX-Large.
A long-sleeved shirt is vital in a travel wardrobe. I like this particular shirt because of the collar. The mockneck keeps your neck warm but is not as tight as a turtle neck.
The fiber mix is 56% cotton and 44% synthetic. The shirts come in seven solid colors for sizes X-Small to 6X.
I typically travel with lightweight casual pants rather than jeans for two reasons. Have you ever tried to get a pair of jeans dry in less than two days in a hotel room? It’s a challenge. These Essentials chinos are lightweight and casual for daily wear. Easily upgrade your look with a blazer and scarf.
The fiber mix is 98% cotton and 2% synthetic. Pants come in nine solid colors for sizes 0 to 20.
A simple skirt is an essential travel wardrobe piece. This knit midi can be rolled up or folded and come out of the bag unscathed. The pull-on knit has a soft fit. I’ve selected a midi skirt, but shorter and longer versions are available.
The fiber mix is 95% rayon and 5% spandex. The skirt comes in 11 solid colors and 4 patterns for X-Small to 6X.
Belgian designer Diane Von Furstenberg made the “wrap dress” a wardrobe basic. Flattering to all body types, this easy-to-wear dress can be an elegant basic black or carefree patterned “day dress.” Whether you choose a basic black or floral pattern, your wrap dress will get loads of wear while traveling.
The fiber mix is 95% polyester and 5% elastane. The dress comes in 4 solid colors and 5 patterns for X-Small to 6X.
Pro Tip: When a surprise gala event comes your way while traveling, consider renting your fancy duds at a bridal shop.
I’m not sure who designed this clever little shoe, but they are genius. This durable yet foldable flat is another piece that will get loads of wear. I wear my black pair with dresses and skirts, long and short, casual and swish. They add an “Audrey Hepburn” look to jeans, slacks, or shorts. They can be a good substitute for slippers.
The flats are 100% synthetic material that comes in faux-leather and faux-suede finishes. They come in 31 solid colors and 5 patterns for sizes 5 to 15. There are wide, and half sizes available for each size.
3 More Travel Wardrobe Tips
- Accessories are your best friend when giving your basics a new look. For me, that’s a scarf, but jewelry is also a good addition. Hats can change the look of things. Try a pair of colored leggings or bright socks for a pop of color.
- Before packing, lay out what you intend to take. Does every piece pass the three rules I outlined above? If not, put it back in your closet. Then, see how many outfits you can make with what’s left. You’ll be surprised.
- Do not pack anything that you have never worn — especially shoes! If you plan to get a new pair of walking shoes or hiking boots for your trip, buy them a few weeks in advance, then wear them and break them in. Nothing is worse than ill-fitting shoes and blisters.
Shop Amazon Essentials first for those versatile travel wardrobe basics. You’ll find quality, variety, and unbeatable prices. If you bought everything in this story at the time of publishing, you’d spend $259. Add shoes, accessories, undergarments, and plane tickets, and you’ll be ready for your next travel adventure.
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