Tomorrow afternoon, as soon as I’m relieved of my interning duties, I will be sprinting to Union Station for the Acela up the Northeast Corridor. A lovely weekend outside of the Beltway awaits me, and I can hardly wait. What I can wait for, however, is the second-hand embarrassment I often feel when traveling. Whether train, plane, or automobile, some women just can’t seem to look presentable.
I get it; there are all sorts of impediments to feeling and looking good. There’s no leg room; the temperature hovers somewhere between Absolute Zero and bitterly frigid; the air will dry out every last drop of moisture from your exposed skin, yet simultaneously force your face to breakout as if you have the Bubonic plague and leave your hair greasier than you thought possible. If you’re flying, you inevitably attempt to smuggle on enough facial moisturizer, body lotion, dry shampoo and lip balm to combat these last ills only to be singled out for a personal screening, which of course leads to your cherished products being thrown in the garbage bin because they’re over 3 oz. or don’t fit in a quart-sized Ziploc bag.
“If I’m going to look like trash anyway,” you think… But no, dear reader, you mustn’t allow yourself to go down that dark and dangerous path of thought. The inconveniences and discomforts of travel are hardly an excuse to let everything else fall apart, and it’s far too many times I have seen otherwise well-dressed women show up at Terminal D in sweatpants, Uggs, and a t-shirt. In fact, I’ve even been that woman… although I was traveling to Nationals with my high school crew team at the tender age of 16, if that makes a difference.
With traveling comes great responsibility, and it’s far too easy to allow yourself the belief that function takes precedent over form when you plan on spending a couple of hours in transit. And this is coming from someone who takes the role of function very seriously.
There are far too many ways to look put-together and be totally comfortable while traveling, so stop fighting it and listen up.
On a plane, you have to be aware of security. Nobody likes the person who takes three years to remove every bangle and belt and absurd shoe, so go easy on the accessories. This is a good rule for traveling in general, though: whether you face TSA or not, you’re simply going to be more comfortable the simlpler you keep things. And remember, you’re going to be freezing at some point and sweating at another, so layers help. I like a comfortable pair of stretch knit pants like these from DvF – no belt required, and no uncomfortable grommeting digging into your back during the flight like jeans.
Diane von Furstenberg Knit Suiting Pants (Saks Fifth Avenue, $245)
Pair with an interesting top, a cardigan, and, to fight off the mid-flight chills, an oversized scarf or wrap. And don’t forget simple shoes – please no straps, buckles, laces, because you’re only holding me up behind you. I like a pair of ballerina flats.
Short-sleeve Braided Top (Banana Republic, $49.50)
Madewell Oversize Cardigan (ShopBop, $88)
Refined Silk-Cashmere Wrap (J. Crew, $75)
Studded Faux-Leater Ballet Flats (Old Navy, $17)
Finally, my top trick for staying fresh and looking good while traveling: Boots No. 7 Quick Thinking 4-in-1 Wipes. This fabulous British drugstore brand finally made its way across the pond a couple of years ago and is now sold exclusively at Target. I highly recommend these wipes for cleansing, toning, moisturizing, removing makeup, and generally helping you keep a fresh face during your travels. Still not ready to face the world once you disembark? A big pair of paparazzi-blockers will do the trick, even for the everywoman like you and me.
Boots No. 7 Quick-Thinking 4-in-1 Wipes (Target, $6.29)
Carrie Sunglasses (Fred Flare, $11)