Is it possible to look stylish when traveling?

hi i read a lot about what people wear while traveling. I felt that most people (from what i read here on this blog) prefer to have comfort over looking good :) I want to have both comfort and style while traveling, is it possible? I like fashion (kind of well mannered fashion...i like my Chanel and Louis Vuitton Is there any reason why I shouldn't be dressed as I do every day when traveling? (of course i'll opt for flat shoes...and that is what i wear everyday). Thanks, Xx

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5619 posts

Of course you can wear what you ordinarily do. The difference between being at home vs. traveling is how you can clean your clothes. I think you would have problems packing clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8672 posts

I think you can look stylish and still be comfortable, I know I try to, I am not in sweat pants and gym shorts, and I am comfy. Shoes are the place you may have to compromise a bit, even my normal comfy shoes are not so comfy to walk 10 miles a day in.. but I still have some decent looking shoes that I can take. I find one has to be careful with flats, they have so little padding and support. And Andrea brings up a good point, I bring things I can wash and wear easily, I am not ironing on my vacation and I can't afford to send my laundry/drycleaning out on holiday, so keep that in mind.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3994 posts

Nope. (kidding) Ditto - laundry and shoes are your limitations. You spend a lot of time walking on cobblestones, and that's completely different from the paving stones we have here. You need a harder/stiffer-soled shoe to bear the brunt. That's why many of us end up wearing some sort of 'athletic travel sandal'...NOT because we think they are so fantastically chic, but because we are so dependent on our feet while traveling. And you either need to devote precious travel time to doing laundry at a laudermat, or you bring things that will wash and dry in a hotel sink well and quickly. That usually means some compromises made to any sense of 'fashion'. Many of us would love to wear crisp, white pants on vacation, but that's not practical. Plus at home, most of us don't spend hours everyday for 1-6 weeks out and about in all kinds of weather, going from one museum to this church to that must-see garden. You get hot and sweaty, and typically there isn't any A/C to cool you off - not even in restaurants. I really have a hard time staying cool, calm, and collected and looking pulled-together while traipsing about Florence at 87F. In full sun. Some trips I look better than others; I try :-/

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3098 posts

I think if fashion is important to you at home you will find a way to work it out when traveling. As we occasionally travel with lots of women photographers it is very often all about our cameras and our fashion! I spend a lot of time figuring out my travel clothes as it is important to me how I look and feel. I do want things that mix and match and I travel very light but I always have some kind of cool outfit I can put on each day. I actually kick it up a notch when I am traveling.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5330 posts

Of course you can be stylish while traveling. Wear what you wear at home if it is comfortable and if you don't have to worry about cleaning it. People going to work in the city center where most tourist attractions are often located, are of course more fashionably dressed than tourists usually are, but wearing decent pants, blouses, scarves, and jackets are certainly manageable while traveling too. Even great, fitted jeans, with the right shirt and jacket are going to look stylish. Look at some webcams or Google street views of the cities you are going to visit, to see what people are wearing.

Posted by Lee
1017 posts

Of course you can. My wife is living proof. She has great taste in clothes so she looks good in whatever she wears, even for a transatlantic flight. "Stylish" does not equate to "uncomfortable"--for women or men.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
831 posts

"People going to work are of course more fashionably dressed than tourists usually are..." On our next trip to Europe, I'll have to investigate what construction workers, window washers, street cleaners and the like are wearing these days.

Posted by D.D.
375 posts

I believe that if you are comfortable with your appearance you will be more relaxed and will have a better time. So my answer, Fa, is that yes, you can dress in a similarly stylish way when traveling as you do ordinarily. This doesn't have much to do with designer labels or price, in my opinion, but rather with being able to put together stylish outfits from a limited number of pieces. As mentioned by previous posters, mix and matching as well as using neutral basic pieces with pretty accessories can be both comfortable and chic. Remember that you can wear the same or similar outfit often because the same people will not be seeing you day after day (except for your travel partners, but they will be in the same boat). Look for a brand of shoes with good support that look neutral. I favor brands such as Ecco, but there are many others. Happy travels.

Posted by Fa
41 posts

thank you every one! i'm gonna look hot :) lol...

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
556 posts

Fa, look hot! - "because you're worth it!" @ Tex - That was the nicest statement about your wife, and in general the nicest, simple, most on-target statement from a male on fashion that I have seen. Thanks! I believe in looking stylish even when you are getting the mail or taking out the garbage, so travelling international I think is even more so a reason. You have to represent yourself, your family, your country. And there are enough low-cost materials and styles that mean you don't have to stick to grungy tennis shoes, wrinkled khaki capris, and faded polo shirts just "because you are traveling". I had bad experiences with carrying too much luggage in my attempt to be stylish, but I have learned and am much better. For example, I take stud earrings: small, light, you can take many and still not take us much room or weight, and they can make a shirt pop. LOVE make-up, but instead of a 10-lb makeup bag, I stick to a neutral eyeshadow quad which goes with everything, mascara and gloss. Long-wearing liquid foundation makes me ready to face border control after a long flight. And my uncle, Dr. Scholl, makes padding for almost every style shoe, so now we can wear cute little ballet flats without compromising comfort. And if an orthropedic style sandal is needed, and in lots of cases, it's best, I just make sure I polish my toenails something bright and colorful. I don't know where you are going, but in lots of European cities, you have actualy Chanel and Louis Vuitton STORES, not mere sections in a department store, so represent!

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2367 posts

I was waiting for a comment about "how European women dress"... People in Europe are just like people in US: they dress up or down according to many trends and varying levels of style. There is no reason why one shouldn't dress in Europe as they dress back home in USA for similar weather or activity conditions. The trick is more about packing, which I concede is much more complicate for women for the simple reason women wear is more diversified than men (who will use mostly combinations of pants and (t)-shirts).

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
951 posts

I try to dress sensibly......clothes that can be washed without ruin...clothes that don't ruin in the that last all day long without pain....would I take to Europe what I would wear on a night out on the town? Yes and no. We travel in winter, so I bring jeans. Can be worn multiple times without looking worn mulitple times. I wear jeans for a night out on the town mabe with a dressy pair of shoes. I wear sweaters, thin, washable, from Gap so they have some style sense. I wear merrell boots, they look nice with the jeans. Dont get to wear boots too much here in Florida. I leave the dressy shoes at home; dont want the extra bulk in my pack and the boots don't look too unclassy. In terms of jazzing up outfit with cool jewelry, I don't when I am abroad. I am afraid to lose the stuff and I don't want to take the chance. Some people jazz the outfit up with a nice silk scarf instead of jewelry. I even leave my diamond studs at home.
I think we can be stylish but sensible comes first for me.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
851 posts

My wife shops for a living. She is a costumer in the film business and worked on Ugly Betty which was as fashionable a show as it gets, she knows her fashion. She commented that the stores were full of the same clothes in Paris and Rome that we have here in Los Angeles. She wanted to dress fashionably on our first trip and even brought some very expensive boots so she could look chic in Paris. We had to stay in the Marais because Alexander McQueen and John Galliano frequented the area. After a week on our trip she was looking into shipping stuff home to lighten her bag and those boots were at the top of the list. Her priorities changed to being comfortable and wearing something that looked and felt clean and not having to lug a heavy bag. She wore her Tomms a lot and even without the support you get from hiking shoes she felt fashionable enough and comfortable. Next trip will include a weekly visit to a laundromat so we can carry less, not be doing laundry in our hotel room and have a "real" experience of doing something that the locals do. She still laughs about lugging those damn boots around Europe and never wearing them. She wouldn't stay in the Marais again either and wants someplace quieter with better markets. We will visit at least one of several fashion museums that we didn't get to and maybe one or two of the Paris based designer stores like Chanel.

Posted by Mme Eli
1170 posts

I have started buying nice looking costume jewellery to use on trips, after losing one side of a very expensive diamond earring in Austin. My pieces help to spruce up an outfit. I also take a couple silk scarves as well. Sometimes the weather is awful...cold, damp and raining. Who cares about fashion then? You just want to stay DRY. I'm a fashionista at home, and though my clothes look smart on trips, they're casual, can be hand or laundry washed, doesn't need dry cleaning (who wants that on vacation?), and above all else, shoes that don't hurt my feet. They are not fancy, and I wouldn't wear them at home to go to a museum, but I'm also not walking 10 hours a day on cobbled streets. My daughter, the biggest fashionista I know, is admired by all the young and old men (the latter annoys me!), yet she takes comfortable, easy to care for clothes, and still looks well put together. It's more about attitude and confidence. Not everyone in Europe looks like they're wearing Chanel and LV.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7825 posts

Europeans have very small closets full of very nice clothes. They manage to look stylish. When you shop for clothes, shop with an eye for traveling - lightweight shoes, fabrics that can travel well (non-cotton, quick drying, wrinkle resistant) - then just pack a set of nice clothes that mix-match.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Yes, but as people stated above, foot comfort is imperative. Otherwise, just bring cute, comfy clothes and fun scarves to accessorize. I sometimes see tourists who go around in sky high heels in NYC, and I roll my eyes. I imagine that approach would be even worse in the land of the cobblestones. Checkout the blog at for some ideas on looking cute. It's geared towards younger ladies (don't know your age), but there are some good ideas there.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
760 posts

You can look nice, but the high end fashion should probably stay at home. Can you get a couple of pairs of nice BR khakis (various colors), some fun and sensible t-shirts, and puma sneakers? If so, you will be comfy and fashionable.

Posted by Leslie
Atlanta, Georgia
387 posts

I spent a week in Rome a couple of weeks ago wearing 4" Prada boots (7 miles a day). It can be done. Depends on the lady wearing it. I wore 4" Dior boots in Paris a few months prior to that (10+ miles a day). I'm 40. Not that young. My only point is that just because it doesn't work for others doesn't mean it can't for you. Fa, look at Tods. Amazing and trendy flats if you can't do heels. Worked great for my sister. My secret shoe is my Cole Hahn boots with Nike insoles. They make ballet flats that I understand are wonderful. Bring your fab wardrobe. I always do. Best place to have one! The stuff you buy at Phipps is the same you buy in Europe.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
556 posts

I agree with Leslie - to each her own regarding heels. Personally, flats make my feet feel worse and super flats on cobblestones isn't comfortable. It's like you can feel every stone. That is why I mentioned Dr. Scholl. A little lift/padding goes a long way if you are wearing a traditional flat (like a ballet flat) and not a shoe "made" for walking (like EasySprits or similar with built in padding, sometimes an inch or more). I wear 3"-4" heels on the regular, and while I can do it on non-special occasions like at the mall or grocery store, I can't pull it off walking long distances or on cobblestones. However, when I see someone walking in heels on the streets of a major city, instead of rolling my eyes, I'm like "awwww I wish I could do that!!".

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
556 posts

I forgot to ask: why should the high end fashion stay at home? Not like I own any ...unless someone donated it to Goodwill and they didn't realize it was high end when they put it on the $3.99 rack... But IF I did, and if if was comfy and easy to care for, I would take it. And if it's a bag, I would take that too. If there is a fear of a greater risk of theft, I get that, but I plan on guarding my personals on a high level regardless. I don't want my bag stolen whether it's Gucci or Goodwill.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11436 posts

but you can get the VAT refunded at the end of your trip as you're leaving, which takes some of the sting out of it. Just ask any retailer and they will explain about the VAT. Just don't wear any of it. The merchandise must be unused when you are leaving Europe to be eligible for the VAT refund. There are a few hoops to jump through. As far as asking any retailer about the program - only the larger ones or high value item sellers are likely to be aware and up on the latest changes.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
556 posts

I didn't read where someone said a man "must not respond". It is common on a fashion related question for one or two males to chime in with a sideways, unrelated reply, perhaps trying to be funny or sarcastic. And yes, it gets old. But no one here is banning men from the topic. If you know nothing about a topic and cannot make a comment that lends to the progress of the conversation, male or female, then it's best to not reply.

Posted by Nancy
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
68 posts

I think I have the clothing thing down but I find the biggest barrier to looking fashionable for me is my hair! I just cant seem to get the blow dryer situation figured out. On my next trip I will purchase a hair dryer in Europe. :)

Posted by Fa
41 posts

Thank you guys again for all your help !! I can't wait to look faboulos in Europe :) lol...

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1490 posts

We've managed to travel to Europe almost every year for the last 10. As the years go by, I find myself trying to dress just a bit nicer. We leave on Wednesday for Puglia/Italy. I'm wearing jeans on the plane that I plan to use rolled up as capri style pants when I'm in the mood. Otherwise I'm packing a striped maxi skirt from JCrew, a straight black skirt from GAP and a black maxi dress, and a new adorable dress (hits just below the knee) I bought at GAP today. I'll wear some nice t's all from JCrew and on my feet, Tom's for the trip over and leather sandals for everyday touring. (DSW - B.O.C brand) I'll take a couple of cute necklaces and inexpensive earrings and of course a scarf (but just one, I might buy one there if I find something I love) Also in my suitcase will be 2 sweaters for the plane ride and cool nights. One is black and very light weight, the other a bright yellow - I'm ready for some flash of color. I'm a total JCrew gal, I like the style, it fits my age group (almost 60, but a young thinker/looker) Everything I'm packing is light weight jersey material, won't wrinkle and looks really nice and flowy, and will be cool in the 70+ temps in the forecast. I've gotten away from shorts and capri pants and moved over to skirts and dresses. I took a skirt a few trips back and loved much cooler and I felt a bit more dressed up without being uncomfortable.

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
310 posts

I've deleted and edited a few posts here in order to clean things up a bit. As a reminder, please be respectful of others comments and opinions. Avoid direct responses to others' comments unless your response is completely positive in nature. Keep it friendly, please.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3098 posts

Fa... take a look at a fashion post from a young woman who went with a group of us to Spain & Morocco and looked amazing every day. She started blogging right about that time and has a fun, bohemian style... called My Closet in Sketches...enjoy your fashion while in /Europe...

Posted by Lori
Miami, FL, US
21 posts

I am far from a fashionista, but some of the nicest clothes I have were bought in Europe (in my case very boho and bought in various flea markets). I actually am more open to wear somewhat more creative outfits when I am traveling. It is worth it to spend at least a little time poking around shops while you travel.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
760 posts

Someone asked why should the high end fashion stay at home, and as others have stated, it's just my preference, and since Fa asked, I thought I'd pass along my thoughts. If you are looking for permission to wear top end designer stuff, then by all means do so. I do at home as well. However, I see traveling to destinations that require lots of walking much like going on a hike. I just cannot walk 10+ miles a day in heels and nicer clothing that will get soiled with perspiration (even flats get uncomfortable since you need a little lift and support in the heels). I think you can look very fashionable in more casual clothing, and that seems more appropriate to me. Taking something for a couple of nights out seems like an okay idea if you have the luggage space, but day touring in heels and high end designers does not make sense to me. But again, if you can pull it off, then please do so.

Posted by Cindy H
San Jose
122 posts

Late to the game, but commenting anyway. Yes, you can travel lightly and be fashionable! It isn't either/or. Create a capsule wardrobe with pieces that mix/match/layer with each other. Pick a darker neutral for "formal" look, a lighter neutral for "fun" look, and add in pops of color with shirts, scarves, and statement jewelry. It helps if the clothing is washable. I usually bring a sleeveless dark neutral dress. I can pull top/shirts over the dress for a skirt look. I also bring 2 neutral pants (who looks at them?) 2 cardigans. I bring a nice tank that I can wear under other shirts. I bring one button down shirt that my be worn open or buttoned up. This usually has roll-up sleeves. Then I bring 2-3 other shirts. My lighter pant usually has roll-up legs that convert to capris. I also bring a print skirt. All skirts/dresses fall at the knee or slightly higher to work with lower heeled shoes. Shoes: Gladiator sandals, Low heel boots work well. Espadrilles are nice for summer. Wedge heels also help. Think faux for jewelry. Makeup: Decant, decant, decant. Use eye drop bottles, contact lens case. Most products don't need the full 3oz. Take smaller bottles to take more product.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

This seems relevant: Gap is currently selling a 4-in-1 dress/maxi skirt that s lightweight and comes in back but also fun striped patterns. I am getting black so I have unlimited accessory and shirt/cardigan/jacket options when traveling with it.