4 Tips to Avoid Looking Like a Hot Mess on Trips

a woman walking with a hat and suitcase

On a day to day basis, you probably manage to dress well and looked pulled together. But when traveling, it’s easy for that to all go out the window. Style often gets sacrificed when exploring the world – you want to pack light, for the elements, and don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing each day, etc.

Fret not, it isn’t impossible to be your fabulous self (maybe not your MOST fabulous self, but close) while living out of your suitcase. Here’s some tips on how to do it.

1. Focus on wrinkle-resistant fabrics

One of the easiest ways to look like you’re not living out of a suitcase is to wear clothes that look like, well, they haven’t just come out of a suitcase.

You don’t want to waste precious vacation time ironing, so bring fabrics that travel well. Jersey is a great option since you can find in everywhere from loose, chic pants, to evening wear. Lyocell, a semi-synthetic form of rayon is also quite wrinkle resistant.

a red halter dress with a keyhole
KUT from the Kloth Lyocell Crepe Swing Dress

Cashmere is super soft, feels incredible, and although generally thought of for bulky winter sweaters, can be pulled very thin for amazing spring/summer wear.

a woman wearing sunglasses and orange sweater
J.Crew featherweight cashmere long-sleeve tshirt

And great news for those who live in their jeans – denim is a easy travel option. Besides legwear, a denim jacket is a perfect travel layering piece.

a woman in a denim jacket
Lee Modern Series Jacket

Even with fabrics that don’t wrinkle so easily, if possible, travel with a garment bag to save yourself some unavoidable packing creases.

2. Bring cute streetwear sneakers

It’s a solid bet that you’ll be spending a fair amount of time on your feet while traveling. Unless you’re barefoot in the sand, a good pair of sneakers is ideal for the job. Instead of bringing your gym shoes, pick a pair of stylish – yet sensible street sneakers. Worn with your durable denim jeans cuffed slightly to show them off, you can get around comfortably, but not looking like you’re headed to a workout.

a blue shoe with red and white stripes
Keds Champion sneakers

3. A fabulous jacket

A great jacket always tops things off well. Most climates require a bit of layering, and having a great leather or denim jacket (as mentioned above), or lightweight blazer will pull your look together.

a woman in a red jacket
BCBG Welt Pocket Tuxedo Blazer

4. Don’t forget accessories

Accessories don’t just look good, they’re also functional. Forget hauling around the gigantic backpack (ugh!) and swap in a reasonably sized sturdy leather cross body bag. Be willing to invest a bit of money getting a quality bag – if you take care of it, it’ll last you YEARS – and a classic design without too much detail will always be in style.

a red leather bag with a strap
Visconti Flap-over Shoulder Messenger Bag

For jewelry, leave items of sentimental value at home – if lost, it could ruin your whole trip. Instead, pack some glitzy costume jewelry. It can be inexpensive and flashy – have some fun with it without the worry of it being left behind.

Invalid request error occurred.
INC Pavé V Style Cuff Bracelet

Looking your BEST while traveling shouldn’t be your concern – having amazing experiences should be the priority. But, you don’t have to look like a schlub, either. Following these tips helps you focus on making memories, without worry that you won’t be able to post the amazing pictures you took because of how you’re dressed.


Colleen Bayus is a personal wardrobe stylist in the Washington. D.C. area. Her company, Styling by Bayus, provides personal styling, shopping, and closet organization services. If you haven’t had a chance to spring-clean your closet, she’s currently offering a 15% discount on closet organization. Contact her for details.

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

Related Posts:

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *