Style Guide: Have Clothes, Will Travel
BYT at large | Jun 12, 2013 | 9:00AM |

Welcome to travel season. Whether you’re a (gorgeous) musician on tour, a person who travels in style for work or just a BYT reader experiencing some serious wanderlust right now (and with our 125th year anniversary celebration of Nat Geo just around the corner this Friday, who could blame you for catching the exploring bug), we understand how important it is to pack efficiently yet fashionably. So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite jet-setters for some premiere packing/fashion/style-your-heart-out advice.

Contributions by Laura Burhenn, Kathryn Bangs, Michael Parker, Brandon Weight and Shauna Alexander

Laura Burhenn

DC songbird, formerly of Georgie James, currently heading up The Mynabirds and on-tour with Postal Service as 1/2 of their girl team with Jenny Lewis (BONUS: catch them @ Merriweather on June 18th). Also-recently featured in VOGUE’s recap of Coachella, making her ofiicially a tour-packing pro of the highest order. Stay in touch here.

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I think it’s important to pack light when you’re traveling so you have room to pick up treasures along the way. Take this Zara smoking kimono jacket and these Clark’s mules that I picked up on our latest European tour. I love them with a vintage thrifted cotton and lace shirt, vintage beaded necklace, high-waisted shorts (from Urban Outfitters) and handmade long-strapped clutch by Shelter Protects (DC BASED! Woot!). I always pack a pair of black jeans, too — they go with anything and work for colder weather.

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I went to a year-naming ceremony at the start of this year and came away with this for my 2013: “The Year of Walking Bravely into the Wild Unknown.” You never know what’s gonna happen, so you’ve got to be ready for anything. Anyway, I don’t know what the official status of leggings are, but they’re my travel staple. You can wear them with dresses, do yoga or go running in them, and sleep in them. So this next outfit is a leggings-optional one. Dress by H&M, denim shirt by Levi’s, faux snake wedge booties by Rosegold, vintage ankh necklace (my dad brought it back from Egypt for me when I was a kid), crystal and turquoise earrings by Stone + Honey, and The Wild Unknown tarot deck and guidebook by Kim Krans — in case you’ve got questions about where to go next.

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Onesie vintage jumpsuits are my favorite thing ever right now — although you’ve got to make sure you’re not gonna be using gnarly porta-potties when you’re wearing one. I found this floral one in Reno, Nevada (for nearly nothing), and was photographed by Vogue in it for their best-of Coachella style spread. It’s a testament to having fun with style and not spending a fortune. The necklace was a gift from my cousin and his wife, the shoes are by Born and are the most comfortable things ever. And it’s important to have inspiration on hand (hence the copy of the Great Gatsby I picked up at a used book shop in boise) and a place to record it when it strikes (Moleskin journal plus a handful of paint markers).

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You never know when you’re gonna get to go swimming at the beach or a hotel — or when it might rain. If you don’t have room to pack extra sandals, flats will always work in the sand. This outfit is waiting for the perfect vintage kimono robe, which I’ve been hunting for forever, and which I WILL find on the road eventually. Thrifted sun parasol/rain umbrella, sunglasses and bathing suit separates from Target, and thrifted gold flats.

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Not pictured: Crosley Cruiser portable record player that Ben brings along on the road for this Postal Service tour. I’ll be packing one of those on future Mynabirds tours, for sur

Kathryn Bangs

Former DC sommelier, current Brooklynite – toggling between coasts, conducting business poolside at resorts in Palm Springs and Arizona. 

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Vintage Gold & Coral Geometric Ring from Cartier and 1970s Orange Monkey dress. Both from, Look-a-like Céline bag from some sketchy street vendor. 1970s Polyester never wrinkles and large, brightly colored bags carry everything while clashing with everything equally.

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For poolside board meetings – Austin cut-out dress by Opening Ceremony. Found at Bergdorf Goodman with House of Holland eyewear. When traveling, I hate mixing and matches pieces —  something always goes missing or gets dirty, rendering all the pieces worthless. I depend on a few good dresses that are buttoned-up enough for Manhattan and playful enough for Palm Springs. (Dress – Opening Ceremony; and, Sunglasses – House of Holland)


Michael Parker

Tried & true jet-setter, VP of something awesome, and most definitely has more frequent flier miles than you (and me combined).

I remember as a kid taking Aeroflot flights across the North Pole to Moscow, waking up as the plane would shake wondering why the hell there was duct tape all over the ventilators. I would sleep curled up on the floor because the Russians would always smoke like chimneys in those days and it was the only place I could get a reprieve from the lung-punishing air. Though there was a curtain dividing the smoking and non-smoking sections, the sexed-up stewardesses would roll drinks on a cart while smoking their duty-free Marlboros as they passed out rubbery Chicken Kiev dinners and generous Stolichnaya cocktails. Even then, as a kid unable to breathe on the planes and even now, on a 2am red-eye out of JFK (my personal hell) there is still something magical about travel. Walking away at pace from the security check (that you just ROCKED because you are such a travel pro) towards your gate, there is still that rush and tingle of excitement. I think style plays a big role in that, keeping things stylish and romantic when you fly makes that plastic-cupped gin and tonic feel like a celebratory cocktail with Roger Sterling. I basically think that when you fly, you should look like you want to be there. It’s good for business (I have met countless contacts on airplanes) but more importantly it’s good for the soul. Suddenly where you’re going seems worth going to, and you realize that the miserable dude in sweats and crocs complaining about the long line doesn’t really get it. Traveling isn’t an obstacle, it’s worthwhile and it’s a privilege. So let’s get you dressed.

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I wear some combo of this on most trips, it’s easy and you throw any of this stuff in your luggage or get more formal without thinking much of it. I think what’s cool about a charcoal blazer (especially in DC) is that everyone is rocking navy-everything, all the time. Charcoal goes with everything, but it’s a little bit different, and it’s a no brainer in terms of matching. I have one charcoal blazer and I wear it all the time with practically everything.  The key for this blazer being a good traveler is that it’s made of wool, which breathes better and is more forgiving than polyester. Rock it with a t-shirt combo and you’re good on any coast, in any country. This setup is a good platform for your trip, you can wear basically any shirt under the blazer and dial things up or down based on what you’re getting into.

The t-shirt in that deep red marl is probably one of my favorite colors and Red Marl goes especially well with darker colors like Navy and grey. I’m trying to avoid neon colors because they look too YOLO these days. Now for the best bit… luxurious pants: The Bonobos No-Iron pants are so fucking comfortable I don’t even know what else to say, BUY THESE PANTS, let them engulf you into casually luxurious 100% cotton cross-species hedonistic love-affair. They don’t wrinkle, and these ultra dank nugs of pure comfort are so practical and flexible that you will shower me with gifts once you  try them. I wear them often. Sometimes I find myself rubbing them and cooing to myself like a pigeon. Socks? I lose so many socks that I go to Costco and buy the GoBro (The name sells itself) cotton gold-tips in big 12 packs for $10. Cotton is important, you want your toes to breathe. As for the shoes, I became a life-long Johnson & Murphy shoe-buyer about 4 months ago, when I was buying a couch on craigslist from an elderly man in Georgetown. I greeted him warmly at the door, and took my shoes off instinctively (Taiwanese programming). Upon seeing my shoes he smiled and said “I see you are a man of taste”. He pointed to his collection of J&M shoes and went to pour us a glass of scotch. We spoke for a while and he gave me free advice on how to avoid paying income tax. It was amazing. From that moment I decided that wealthy luxurious bros of a certain age probably know what’s good and that I would stop buying Aldo and switch over the J&M. Johnson & Murphy have been making shoes since 1850, and is one of the last companies still making shoes in the good old USA. As for accessories, I don’t wear a lot, less so than when I am traveling (one less thing to forget in the hotel room) but I always wear a watch. For one thing, it’s convenient if you need to remember two time-zones or if your phone breaks. More importantly, travel is all about going somewhere different, wearing a watch and changing the time reminds you that you’re somewhere else. Sturhling makes awesome and affordable watches that are good for skinny dudes like me with slim wrists. (Jacket – Ben Sherman Wool Blazer, T-Shirt – Asos V-neck Red Marl), Pants – Bonobos Friday Pants, Shoes – Johnson & Murphy Clemmons Penny, Socks – GoldToe Canterbury Dress Sock and, Watch – Sturhling Black Belmont Watch)

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Sometimes you need to head straight from the airport or train station into a meeting or formal event. Whether it’s a wedding or a client pitch you want to look and feel great. I went with Indochino’s essential grey suit; it’s really affordable and made-to-measure just for you. It’s wool so it breathes and won’t wrinkle too badly. You can even customize the monogram to say whatever you want. I discovered them through the Founders Card, which is an amazing service if you travel a lot. My buddy Marcus is using this for his wedding and I think it’s tough to beat $330 for a custom-fit suit. When you board the plane just ask the stewardess to hang your blazer in the closet if you’re worried about wrinkles, but it should be ok. I think the tailoring on these suits is absolutely fucking amazing.

Underneath the suit we’ve got a Jack Spade Vance seersucker shirt, which is just about the best thing out there in terms of breathable fabric. The ridged internal lines mean the fabric doesn’t rest against your skin, allowing air to flow under your arms as you reach for that 2nd cocktail. Keep your tie rolled up and tucked into mason jar or plastic bottle until you need it, and put it on before leaving the airport. Finish this with a beautiful Sturhling Ascot watch and you’re ready to kill the game. (Suit – Indochino; Shirt – Jack Spade; Shows – Johnston Murphy; and, Watch – Stuhrling


Garment Bag: A lot of people bring garment bags with them on airplanes to keep their suits from wrinkling, I used to do that but don’t bother with it anymore. Firstly, Some garment bags can be as much as a few hundred bucks, which is an outrageous price for something that will just be hung up anyway. I would just use the cheap garment bag that you got when you bought your suit and folding that into your luggage if you have a separate compartment, otherwise just hand it to the stewardess as you board the plane. As long as you have less than two suits, it won’t count as a carry-on.


Moneyclip: I find wallets to be uncomfortable and bulky for long trips so I try to slim down while I am on the road. I usually put my cash, business and credit cards in a moneyclip and throw it in my jacket’s breast pocket. I leave my wallet in my carryon and transfer everything when I get to the hotel.

Bag: I don’t own this bag, but I want one. The Hard Graft Heritage leather bag is sexual, though a bit pricey. As an anglophile and Arsenal fan maybe I can win one on a big bet on the Gooners for the Premier League next season. Unlikely.

Portable power. I never go on a trip without some portable power, the Anker unit is cheap and does the job without taking up much space at all.

Noise Cancelling Headphones: If you fly red-eyes or need to be functional when you land, get something to deal with noise. Cheap CVS earplugs work, but if you’re on the road often enough do yourself a favor and buy some noise cancelling headphones. Make sure you pack extra AAA batteries because there is nothing worse than your headphones dying when you’re airborne and someone’s shitty kids start to cry. These with a pillow and an eye-mask and I can sleep through anything.

Inflatable Air Pillow: Works like a champ, saves space and can be used as an inflatable mo-hawk when you get bored. (Amazon)


TripIt. If you don’t have it already, it is a lifesaver. It scans your email and automatically sets up your itinerary, hotel, transport and frequent flyer miles without you having to do anything. No more searching through your email for your flight or hotel information.

XE Currency. Doesn’t require internet and gets all your currency conversion done in one place.

WhatsApp?. Uses WiFi to send messages so you don’t go broke on texts.

SkypeWiFi. Now you don’t need to pay for GoGo Inflight separately, you can just use your Skype Credits to get online in airports and hotels.


FoundersCard. Basically, you pay a fee and get discounts to amazing services. Ace Hotel in NYC for $150? Standard in LA for $130? Discounts on airlines, car rentals, travel services (Free Trip-it Pro), discounts at Indochino and Bonobos and the list goes on and on. I used it to get $100 worth of free clothes from Trunk Club, definitely something to look into.

Fortnighter. Ever wanted a Lonely Planet guide just for you? Fortnighter has local travel guides make up a plan to fit your schedule so you can make the most of your trip. If you’re on a 5 day trip, it comes to about $40 a day, which is pretty reasonable.

Uber/SideCar. Saved my life more than once, get a car anywhere any time. Sidecar isn’t as ubiquitous as Uber, but is way cheaper and I use it in San Francisco over Uber for that reason.


Brandon Weight

The cutest male intern we’ve got all summer (because I’m pretty sure he’s the only one)

Layers help in airports, but with the near-certainty you’ll be late for your flight/your cab/your cinnabon, make sure your basics are covered. These linen shirt and short combos will keep you cool and look even better with seatbelt-induced wrinkles. Just pair ‘em with a bag below that suits you best.

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Buy locally, travel globally. DC-based designer Read Wall, know for his eponymous sportswear brand, is at it again with American-made totes and bags. With the Jack Russell Duffel, the largest in the series, expect a waxed canvas and vegetable-tanned exterior that’ll only get better with age. The line is still on Kickstarter, so back the project for a bag that’ll make everyone in first class jealous. (Bag – The Jack Russell Duffel, $295, Terrier Bags by Read Wall; Shirt – Slim Irish Linen Shirt in Broad Stripe, $89.50, J. Crew; Shorts – Beach Short, $195, rag & bone)

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By now, the rectangular white label with script type is seen everywhere. Only because Herschel won’t stop making amazing, inexpensive bags. Each color they offer comes in nearly every bag style, so it’s easier than ever to color-coordinate your luggage. And, if the duffel were to say, end up in the back of a rain-soaked truck, it’s machine washable. Not like it’s happened to me before. (Little America Backpack, $89.99, Herschel; Ravine Duffel, $64.99, Herschel; Linen Short Sleeve Shirt, $56, American Apparel; Shorts – Hawkings McGill, Urban Outfitters)

  • LOOK #3

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Travel with expensive camera equipment? Not quite ready to drop a few benjamins on a case worthy of Joe McNally? Pelican, the boxy-but-protective case maker, also sells foam inserts on the side. Grab an old carry-on, custom-cut the foam to your bag and equipment, and save yourself some cash in the process. Plus, rolling around with an average carry-on won’t show the world that you’re holding equipment worth a small credit union(Carry On – Traveller’s Choice, $75, Amazon; Foam Inserts – Pelican, $43, B&H; Shirt –  Slim Fit Linen Shirt Plaid, $98.50, Club Monaco; Shorts -Stapleford Utility Short, Urban Outfitters)


Shauna Alexander

BYT Photographer and recent returnee from an amazing trip to Berlin (that yielded an unexpected 26 hour layover. United sucks!!!!!!)

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Despite all these grand illusions of looking like you just stepped out of a Billy Reid or Ralph Lauren photoshoot, let me tell you it’s best to dress comfortable when traveling — especially when disaster strikes.  Look, I’m not saying you can wear your pajamas on the plane (that’s just lazy), but when an unexpected 26 hour layover hits at Berlin-Tegel (literally the worst airport in the world), you’ll be happy you opted for comfortable over high fashion.  Ladies, a great pair of leggings is the easiest pair of pants you can own. Plus if you get them in black, they’re ultra slimming so no one will ever know how many bags of Haribo gummi bears you’ve consumed while waiting to hear something/anything from the airline about your plane malfunction.  Your best t-shirt in a flattering shade or cool print is definitely number two.  Here’s where you can inject a little bit of fashion sense in an otherwise very normal outfit (the quintessential band t-shirt is also perfect for starting up conversation with fellow passengers around hour 7 of your delay).  Then top that with a long chambray shirt, which allows you some options in case the airport is cold (sleeves down!), hot (sleeves up!), you just spilled your entire latte all over yourself because you’re over-caffinated (new shirt!), roll it up to be a pillow, etc.  As for shoes, I actually prefer to wear a little bit of heel despite the innate internal monologue of “Wear Chucks! Weeeeeeeeeear Chucks!” that booms through my brain.  For starters, these heels are zip-off so they’re literally on and off in no time at all (which makes getting through security a breeze).  Plus, they’re hella comfortable (and they make your legs look great, especially with those tights), in case that 26 hour layover yields any cute foreign boys as company.  And no matter the weather, I always carry-on some kind of jacket, which makes for a great blanket substitute if your airline doesn’t provide them.  Don’t forget the purse that is big enough to essentially double as an extra carry-on, ahem!
Style as you normally would with cool rings, a unique necklace, at least two hair-ties as “bracelets” (they come in handy both for dealing with your hair and for wrestling closed that damn bag of gummi bears you can’t stop eating).  I’m a big fan of bringing a fedora, which can totally act like an eyemask if the terminal is too bright and you’re stuck there without a hotel transfer.  Lastly, bring enough entertainment and cash to get you through the worst of times.  A Kindle is great, but only when fully charged.  A MacBook Air is perfect (especially if it’s loaded up with your favorite tv-shows), but eventually you’re going to have to fight for a charger.  The best thing I can recommend to make less than ideal airport experiences better is to carry plenty of currency for whatever country you’re in (to be used for vending machines, lunch, etc. when the going gets tough and your airline ignores your pleas for civil rights); a goodie bag of snacks, mints, water and aspirin (no one is as young as they think they are while being forced to stand and/or sit on the floor of an airport terminal for over ten hours); a magazine you haven’t thumbed through yet; a phone charger that’ll hook up to your computer (so that when you do get that highly coveted outlet you can charge both your macbook and you phone at once); and, most definitely enough attitude to get you bumped up to business class (or in my case, my own row for a flight back to DC on Lufthansa) for all the inconvenience. (Handbag – Balenciaga Classic City; Leggings – H&M; T-Shirt – Ralph Lauren; Chambray – Madewell; Shoes – Urban Outfitters; Hat – TopShop; and, Rain Jacket/Parka – Top Shop)