5 Tips to Travel Light and Dress Well at the Same Time

It’s surprisingly easy to travel light and look good both on the plane and at your destination. Here are some tips from a stylist on how to do it right.

Between the hassle of flying, jet lag and hauling your luggage around, traveling is challenging enough without worrying about looking fashionable while you do it. But Kate Young, a New York-based stylist who counts actresses Margot Robbie and Michelle Williams among her clients, says that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to look stylish on the road.

“Anyone can look chic while traveling, and there’s no need to spend a lot or pack a lot to do it,” Ms. Young said. She noted that she travels several times a month and rarely checks in a bag. Here are her best tips to traveling light and looking good at the same time.

Pack Clothes In Three Coordinating Colors

When deciding what clothes to pack, choose pieces in three matching colors so you can mix and match each piece to create multiple outfits for different days, or even different occasions. Pick the colors based on where you’re going.

If you’re headed to Paris or another urban destination, for example, any combination of black, white, navy and charcoal is a good bet. For a beach vacation or outdoors excursion, khaki, off-white (or white) and bright hues like orange or yellow always work. Ms. Young likes white linen in particular because it’s cool in warm weather, can be worn during the day and is also nice for evenings out. And when it comes to the actual articles of clothing to take, Ms. Young said that a pair of jeans, a pair of nice pants, a striped button down, a blazer and a comfortable T-shirt are always good options. “Ideally, you should be wearing each piece two or three times on your trip,” she said. “Anything less is a waste of space.”

Minimize the Shoes

Most women don’t need to bring more than three pairs of shoes on any trip, Ms. Young suggests. Exercise sneakers, a comfortable daytime shoe to walk around in (loafers, for example), low boots or sandals and, for evenings, heeled sandals if you want them.

Men on the other hand, can generally get by with two pairs: Sneakers and loafers, which can be worn both during the day and at night. And a tip for everyone when it comes to sneakers: Many sportswear brands make lightweight pairs that fold, to take up less space in your bag.

Of course, there’s no reason to pack or choose your shoes strictly based on traditional gender roles. Pack light and choose a few pairs that serve multiple purposes, rather than trying to bring a pair for every occasion or every evening.

Fly in Exercise Gear

Exercise clothes are becoming increasingly fashionable, and for flights, especially long-haul journeys, they’re incredibly comfortable to wear. They also fold neatly and fit into virtually any bag.

Ms. Young suggested that women consider compression leggings, along with a long-sleeved cotton top and coat while men try a pair of track pants and a track jacket, or a half or full-zip hoodie.

Accessorize the Right Way

A few key accessories can change the look of an entire outfit, Ms. Young said. On her travels, she always packs some costume jewelry, like a statement cocktail ring and a pair of oversized earrings. She also packs her makeup in a sleek pouch that doubles as an evening bag. Men, alternatively, or people who don’t wear jewelry, should consider a few pairs of bright socks in fun patterns, just to add a little personality to otherwise simple, coordinating outfits.

Bring One Dressy, Flexible Outfit

If you have a formal evening or event planned during your trip, don’t bother with bulky dresses and heavy full suits and jackets that take up a lot of space.

Ms. Young suggested that women opt for a slip dress, high-heeled sandals and a pair of bold earrings, while men should go for a pair of slacks, a flexible, multipurpose blazer, a crisp white shirt and loafers. Ideally, all of these are things you could use for another evening, a different outfit, or can be packed easily without adding bulk to your carry-on.

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