How to Build a Travel Wardrobe

By Teo van den Broeke
09 September 2019
Fashion, Style, Travel
Travelling a lot? Short on time? Follow GQ's guide to building the ultimate travel wardrobe.

I've been travelling a lot lately. I've been to press days in Paris, Sunday brunches in Milan and Friday night watch dinners in Geneva, all in the name of luxury journalism.

I'm absolutely not complaining. The great thing about working in a job like this one is that you get to travel the world, seeing the most amazing things before everyone else. What's more, you get spoilt rotten.

What I have realised, however, is that this kind of peripatetic existence – one which means you don't know where you'll be from one hour to the next (though if you're looking for me, I'll probably be crying into a strong black Americano in DXB Terminal 3) – is that you need to be really organised about your wardrobe.

The key to building a travel wardrobe, I have found, is to create a foundation of basics upon which you can easily build seasonal pieces and accessories. For me, this consists of a pair of navy-blue pleated trousers (with a cuff) from Dries Van Noten. The style is slimming on fat days, they work with my hip-to-calf ratio (large to enormous) and they look effortlessly chic. I also carry at least one navy merino wool crew neck jumper with me at all times, the best of which are either from John Smedley or Uniqlo.

On top of that I have my crease-resistant light wool field jacket from Caruso, which works as a casual piece on down days or a more formal garment as required. I also have a great cashmere button-up bomber jacket from Zoe Jordan (in navy, quelle surprise), which looks great worn over a T-shirt and/or beneath a casual jacket (my Caruso one, for instance). On my feet, it's a pair of Neapolitan-style chestnut-brown snaffle loafers from Gucci, which can look either ultra-smart teamed with a long blue sock and tailoring or super causal worn with a white sock and some denim.

It's this capsule wardrobe that I travel everywhere with, whether I'm away for just a night or travelling for an entire week. Depending on the space available in my suitcase, I then build up more fashion-forward pieces on top of it. An oversized cape coat in camel cashmere, for instance, or a raised-lapel double-breasted jacket from Wooyoungmi; likewise, a patterned bowling shirt from Prada or a dusty-pink suede jacket from Dunhill.

Anything looks good teamed with the pieces in this capsule wardrobe. Everything is easily layer-able and, most importantly, of a consistent hue – so if I get caught short and have zero time to get ready because a PR has given me a 6am call time for a Used Battery Conference in Cannes, I can throw everything on in the dark and I'm good to go.

So here, to help you dress for (if not address) your own work-life balance, is my ultimate guide to peripatetic dressing.

Oh, and download the Headspace app, that'll help too.

Tapered twill trousers by Dries Van Noten, $252.50, mrporter.com

Travel field jacket by Caruso, approx. $11340, carusotravelcapsule.com

Classic cotton T-shirt in white by Sunspel, $90, sunspel.com

Midnight-blue pullover by John Smedley, $130, johnsmedley.com

Cashmere and wool mix bomber jacket by Zoe Jordan, $422.70, harrods.com

Laburnum Long Men's sock by Pantherella, $31,50, pantherella.com


Via British GQ