The Perfect All-Around Women's Travel Outfit

Oct 16, 2010
Outside Magazine

As an active gal who prefers standing to sitting, running to walking, I dread packing for a trip. By the time I've taken into account the varying weather of my destination(s); the comfort factor when traveling long hours; the hiking and running and the occasional dressed up night out on the town; I have a mountain of gear next to a suddenly puny-looking suitcase. And with those Draconian extra baggage fees on most airlines, an extra bag isn't an option.

So last month, I decided to put an end to this "suitcase problem" by seeking the perfect all-around travel outfit. You know, that holy grail that every traveler dreams about-- an outfit to be worn anywhere, to anything. I traveled through four different countries with varied climates, countless airports and a scattering of train stations, bringing with me a ton of the latest travel apparel on the market. The bad news is  I had to find a way to fit it all in my suitcase. The good news?  A few clear winners emerged. Check out my top picks below.

Nau Bi-Carious Shirt, $85  Bicariousshirt The designers at Nau nail it with this ultra-breathable lightweight button up. Don't let the seemingly delicate jersey cotton Bi-Carious fool you. Despite it's tailored side panels, and feminine cuffed sleeves, I found it was built to be treated rough and tumble. Best of all, the breathability and V-neck collar made me feel just as at home in a swank cafe as on the summit of Corno Grande.

Columbia City Slickerz Roll-Up Pant, $60 City_Slickerz While their name might imply otherwise, I discovered the City Slickerz were the perfect pants to wear just about anywhere. Sleek and constructed of a superfine, water repellent material that contours nicely to the body,  these adjustable pants were fantastic for all sorts of weather and locales. If it was hot, I simply rolled them into capris. If it was cold, I let them down. I never had to worry about getting into the Vatican or any other church. No shorts allowed? No problem.
Smith Novella, $139

Smith novella I've learned that sunglasses are essential while traveling. And with a full wrap structure, the Novellas not only provide excellent eye protection they also pack some serious style. But these shades were not just built to be pretty. They're also polarized, with sturdy handmade acetate frames primed and ready for the outdoors. Lightweight, and scratch-resistant, I loved wearing them rock climbing.

Columbia Plush Peak Full Zip Hoody, $85

Plush_peakFuzzy, high pile fleeces have been on the market for a few years now, but few are as toasty. Boasting a full zip, the Plush Peak is the ultimate convertible with elastic wrists, thumb holes, and zip pockets. Sure, a soft shell might take up less space but when so much about travelling is uncomfortable, I'm a sucker for a wearable blanket.  Plus, I discovered it was an excellent defense against aggressive airplane AC.

Smartwool Roundabout Scarf, $40 Roundabout
Amelia Earhart always wore one when flying. That's because nothing dresses up an outfit--or warms you up more economically than a scarf slung over the neck. The Roundabout is made of fine jersey knit Merino wool, so while it drapes beautifully, it's light weight despite its length. It packs as much heat as sweater but can be stuffed in a purse or a backpack at a moments notice.  

--Shauna Sweeney


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