How to Travel in Style

Heading out of town for the holidays? No need to sacrifice fashion for comfort—Karen Klopp of What 2 Wear Where gives her best picks and tips for looking chic in the air or on the road.

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Little Black Dress

Let's start with the absolute essential of any trip: the little black dress. We chose this versatile one from Nicole Miller. Add a jacket and scarf for day, add a statement necklace and pumps for evening. Nicole Miller has engineered these dresses to be incredibly flattering for all body types. As with most knits, we recommend ordering your size as well as one size larger, to find the perfect fit. It is better to go a little bigger and have to take in the seam a smidge than to wear something that's too tight.


Nicole Miller sleeveless tucked dress, $275;

Courtesy of Nicole Miller

Knit Top

These tops are our go-to for travel. On their own or under a jacket or cardigan, they really hold up. You can wear them over and over without washing and they're comfy enough to sleep in. Love them for the plane—you can curl up and relax, read or watch a movie.


J. McLaughlin Catalina ¾ sleeve print tee in sequoia print, $155;

Courtesy of J.McLaughlin

Day Blouse

We call this our “Day Blouse,” but this one is so versatile, it can go day or night. The tie is so chic and of-the-moment. It would look smashing under the jacket for an out-of-town meeting or lunch with Aunt Rose. And we love that the tie is unattached so you can take it off for a more casual look with jeans.


Tory Burch Waverly blouse, $425;

Courtesy of Tory Burch

Dinner Top

This is our “Dinner Top,” and every travel wardrobe should have one. No one does ruffles or the color brown like Ralph Lauren, and here, they're combined for a stunning look. Just imagine all eyes on you as you stroll through the lobby, coat slung on your sleeve, heading for the lounge. Pair this with the stretch wool pants, Pumps and a clutch and you have a look that says night-time glamour in any language.


Ralph Lauren Tilda plaid ruffle wrap blouse, $120;

Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Cashmere Cardigan

A perfect travel companion that comes in 14 crush-worthy colors. We chose the delicious caramel...YUM. You will wear this cozy cache of cashmere everywhere and with everything. It will be one of your layering pieces on the plane and can double as a pillow, or wrap it around your neck to ward off a chill.


J. Crew cashmere boyfriend cardigan in caramel, $198;

Courtesy of J.Crew

Tweed Jacket

Wow! That is what we said when we saw this jacket—so stylish and well priced. Talk about a dress-up, dress-down piece. This one has it all, including the burnt caramel color that really pops with our color scheme.


J.Crew vintage tweed jacket in burnt caramel, $198;

Courtesy of J.Crew

Quilted Vest

This is an absolute must-have for transitional dressing. Vests are such a great layering piece that add warmth and style without the bulk. We'll take this one on the plane and then around town by day. It even looks great over your exercise clothes for an early morning walk in your destination city.


Jones New York quilted safari vest in spiced chocolate, $89;

Courtesy of Jones New York

Slim Black Pants

These pants are so comfortable and always look great. We'd wear them on the plane and over and over again. They don’t lose their shape after hours of shopping, sight-seeing or lounging.


Ralph Lauren mani stretch jersey pant, $75;

Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Bootcut Black Pants

These are the pants that we wear out at night to a cozy bistro and dinner with friends. Pair them with a pump, your ‘Dinner Top’ and a clutch and you will go anywhere in style.


Ralph Lauren Camaron stretch wool slim pant, $130;

Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Pencil Skirt

This is the perfect skirt to throw on with flats and black tights for a day look, or dress up with pumps and take it to the office. It pairs with every other piece shown in this slide show, which is what makes it such a valuable and versatile part of your travel wardrobe.


J.Crew No.2 pencil skirt in black, $120;

Courtesy of J.Crew

Trench Coat

We are obsessed with this fabulous leather coat. It is an investment piece and will never go out of style. We call it a “throw and go”—it doesn’t really matter what you wear under it. Leather and suede are such great travel pieces because they can stand up to lots of use and abuse.


Brooks Brothers double-breasted leather trench coat, $798;

Courtesy of Brooks Brothers

Ballet Flats

We know that Tory did not actually invent the ballet flat—but she has taken to an art form. We like a little structure in our flats and these are the perfect pair to add a little punch of one of the season’s hot fashion trends, animal prints. Psst: Always pop a Dr. Scholl’s insert into your flats for endless hours of comfortable walking.


Tory Burch Celinah ballet flat, $250;

Courtesy of Tory Burch

Classic Pumps

Love the shape and texture of an updated, elegant pair of pumps.


KORS Michael Kors Elgin calf hair pump, $295;

Courtesy of Michael Kors

Leather Tote

Seriously, Michael Kors has so many handsome totes, it was hard to decide on one. It came down to the orange ostrich (punch of color, statement piece) which, we think, is a true knock out. Too much color for you? It also comes in black.


MICHAEL Michael Kors Bedford large dressy tote in orange or black, $328 each;

Courtesy of Michael Kors

Fringed Wrap

The absolute essential item for travel is the wrap. It can multi-function as a pillow or a blanket, all while looking great and complementing your color palette. At Nordstom, you can find the best selection and price. The combination of cashmere, wool and silk make there own label wraps lightweight and warm. Don’t leave home without it!


Nordstrom “Double Face” eyelash fringe wrap in spice, $88;

Courtesy of Nordstorm

Statement Necklace

We love shopping Topshop for accessories and found this statement necklace there. You can pair it with your LBD or with both your day blouse and dinner top to add a little shine. We love the subtle matte finish of the “beaten discs.”


TopShop Beaten Disc necklace, $40;

Courtesy of Topshop

Resistance Bands

These resistance bands are the perfect way to fit in a little workout while traveling and on the go. They barely take up any room in your suitcase and you don’t even have to go to the gym. Just use them right in your hotel room.


Resistance Bands, $11;

Courtesy of

Fit Flops

When there is simply not enough room for sneakers, we like to pack these Fit Flops. If you haven’t tried them, you are in for a treat. They have "Microwobbleboard™ technology." In English: the sole has subtle instability that challenges the wearer's legs.  These are the most comfortable, supportive shoes we have ever worn, and we often throw them in our bag for long distance walking and overnight flights.


Fit Flops Walkstar III in black patent leather, $64;

Courtesy of

Knit Leggings

These Gap leggings have supersoft stretch. When paired with the V-neck shirt and vests, they can take you from relaxing to the gym to out and about.


Gap stretch knit leggings, $20;

Courtesy of Gap

Simple Tee

This cozy-comfy top is so good for lounging in the room, going to the gym or out for a morning hike. And with its flattering V neck and slim fit, it could just as well take you to the lobby for a little people watching.


GAP Pure Body V-Neck T, $17;


Have room left in your suitcase? Choose from our 20 Great Face-Framing Blouses.


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Courtesy of Gap

First Published October 17, 2011

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