The Go-To Clothing Brands We Trust for Every Trip
Confession: even seasoned travel editors have been known to throw their bags together the day of a trip. It helps to have a stellar travel wardrobe of easy-to-layer and hard-to-wrinkle pieces. Want a closet full of travel-ready basics? Here are the best clothing brands for building a perfect-for-anywhere wardrobe from the ground up.
For affordable and on-trend pieces, we love the Target-owned brand Prologue. The line focuses on classic styles—crew-neck pullovers, long-sleeve shirt dresses—so it's a great starting point for building a collection of solid basics, with some standouts sprinkled in. PS: Nothing is priced over $50. Talk about hitting Target’s budget bullseye!
For minimalist, well-made items at slightly higher price points than Prologue, look no further than Everlane. The San Fran fave makes just about everything you could possibly want to pack, from sweatshirts to street shoes. As much as we love Everlane's layer-friendly clothes for men and women, they're not even our favorite thing about the company. The brand is committed to ethical business and production practices, so everything you buy was made with every consideration towards the environment and the people involved with its creation. The clean aesthetic makes it easy to throw together great-looking outfits, and it's nice to feel good about where your dollars are going at checkout. We especially love the company’s ReNew line, which repurposes recycled plastics into fabrics so soft and cozy, you’d have no idea they were plastic bottles in their previous lives. (Everlane is pacing towards using zero new plastic by 2021.) In addition to quality cashmere and cable knits, items like the Day Glove ballet flats, the Twill Weekender (the quintessential carry-on), and the Modern Snap Backpack are also very popular with Everlane travelers—and What to Pack editors.
With plant-based, thermo-regulated, and wrinkle-release fabrics, the NYC-based ADAY is the perfect counterpart to Everlane. While Everlane’s product line covers spring through winter, ADAY focuses on seasonless articles that work for any destination, any time of year. It’s a line versatile (and durable) enough to cover most of your travel bucket list. Try the brand's Experiments capsule collection—day pants, a jacket, and a tank in selectable colors and sizes—as an easy way to incorporate a few of their simple garments with your tried-and-trues.
What's the golden travel rule instilled in you since childhood? Bring enough underwear! Organic Basics is here to disrupt that notion, among other things. The environmentally conscious Danish company makes extremely high-quality underwear from durable fibers (like organic cotton and recycled nylon) and real silver (a naturally antimicrobial element) that can hygienically be worn multiple times between washings. Garments feature Polygiene—a low-concentration silver chloride that naturally eliminates odor.
Lou & Grey
Known for their ridiculously cozy Signaturesoft Collection, Lou & Grey offers go-to clothing staples in velvety, fleecy, and all-around super-soft materials that are ideal for long days on the road. Their custom knits and fabrics feel like cashmere, but wear like durable all-purpose pieces. Each items maintains a tailored look befitting of parent company Ann Taylor, even when cut a little loose for extra stretch and flexibility. Their best-selling tie-front shirt is a travel favorite for its flattering fit and Tencel fabric, which doesn’t require ironing. If you add just one item to your travel wardrobe, make it a pair of their signature sweats, like this polished pair in boucle and tweed.
Outdoor Voices' official hashtag is #DoingThings, but it might as well be #GoingPlaces. The wildly buzzy brand is built for all kinds of movement, from killer barre classes to running Sunday errands, but its super-durable and activity-friendly leggings, sports bras, tees, tanks, and hoodies are perfect for every step of travel, from on the plane to on the ground.
Whenever we go anywhere, at least three Madewell pieces come along for the ride. (Our black Roadtripper jeans, grey cashmere cardigan, and chambray shirt make one heck of a travel uniform.) Also, it was Madewell (or was it our Instagram feed?) that introduced us to our latest swimwear obsession, Summersalt. No vacation suitcase is complete without a swimsuit, and we rely heavily on Summersalt's affordable and adorable one-pieces and bikinis when packing ours. Bonus: all are made with UPF50+ material from Italy.
Live the Process
It's 2019. It's all about self-care, and lifestyle collection Live the Process is here for it. The brand's lineup of travel-friendly garments and athleisure gear encompass lightweight, layerable tops (including cotton-and-cashmere tees and wrinkle-resistant knit sweaters), cozy outerwear, and stylish workout clothes (their fold-over Geometric Leggings and adjustable Radius Bra are shoo-ins for a wellness retreat). All Live the Process clothing is made by women in the U.S.
We have to give Loveappella a shout-out for creating the ultimate maxi dress for travel. It's the perfect piece for just about every trip and activity, from sunset cocktails on the beach or visiting Thai temples, where covered knees are required. The label's short-sleeve jersey jumpsuit (how we love a one-and-done outfit) and foldover jersey maxi skirt are also no-brainer travel staples. Loveappella's clothes roll easily so they're not wrinkled on arrival, and work beautifully for museum-filled days that go straight into late-night party scenes.
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The Pacific Northwest-based Columbia is our sportswear pick for any camping, hiking, mountaineering, or generally outdoorsy trip on the docket. The brand practices responsible manufacturing and corporate transparency, allowing customers to see exactly where their products are made. Their ReThreads program encourages customers to return their used products to Columbia stores to they can be entirely recycled and repurposed into new items for use. Plus, Columbia is the only major sporting goods company run by a woman; "Tough Mother" Gert Boyle has been steering the ship for going on five decades.
"I'll never wear another pair of shoes again." Most soon-to-be Allbirds devotees have at least some variation of this thought within 10 strides in their new shoes. Insanely comfortable on, and ultra-light in a travel bag, Allbirds' merino-wool sneakers and slip-ons are made with moisture-wicking wool certified by ZQ, a program that ensures animal welfare and sustainability standards. Allbirds' insoles are made from castor bean oil and laces come from 100-percent recycled plastic bottles. Even the boxes are made from recycled cardboard. Another perk? Allbirds are fully machine washable—just tuck them in a garment bag and wash on cold. And if you're thinking, "cool, but do they make clothes?"—the answer is no. But we'd be remiss not to mention them as one of the best brands for travel.
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