You’ve tried packing cubes and rolling your shirts up Marie Kondo–style and yet, most likely, all your clothes still come out of your suitcase wrinkled when you reach your destination. Or maybe you have an important meeting right after landing, and your once-polished outfit looks rumpled after hours in economy. Like other travel dilemmas — finding a bag that’ll fit under the seat in front of you or trying to sleep on a transcontinental flight — arriving with a suitcase full of wrinkly clothes can be solved. To avoid pricey hotel dry-cleaning services, or risky sessions with your in-room ironing board, we asked nine women in the travel business to recommend the best pieces to wear and pack while you’re away.
Best wrinkle-free pants for travel
For travel pants that are comfortable, stylish and low-maintenance, Jeralyn Gerba, co-founder and editorial director of Fathom, likes easy pieces from Eileen Fisher. “She’s known for researching and developing materials that are responsible, sustainable, and high-performance while also being crazy chic,” says Gerba. “I love her uncrushable Tencel, a tree fiber textile produced with near zero waste — the drawstring pants and blazers look really good after long-haul flights.” The adjustable drawstring allows for in-flight comfort while the textured crepe lends them a sophisticated look.
A similar pair at a lower price point, these slim, drawstring pants are a favorite of Sarah Corsa, a trip designer at Journy. She likes that they’re “lightweight and rarely wrinkle.” Gerba also looks to Athleta for “casual basics with the occasional flair,” and says their athleisure pieces offer “a nice alternative to the straight-up sweats uniform” while traveling.
Outdoor Voices, makers of our favorite “sleek and tailored” sweatpants, are another frequent flier go-to for easy-to-wear pieces that’ll look fresh after a long journey. Journy co-founder Leiti Hsu, calls the RekTrek pants “the ultimate in comfort.” She says they “stay crisp from laundry cycle to laundry cycle” and “look way more pulled-together than yoga pants.”
“I have a few pairs of stretchy but tailored trousers from The Row that are incredibly comfortable and easy to pack,” says Jen Rubio, co-founder and chief-brand officer of Away. They’ll give an outfit more polish than a jogger-type pant while still being wrinkle-resistant and non-constricting on long flights. Rubio says she’ll pair hers with a T-shirt and leather jacket.
Based in San Francisco, the clothing start-up Betabrand sells pieces based on crowd-sourced designs, like these trouser-style pants that come highly recommended by Larissa Hayden, deputy director of events at Atlas Obscura. She likes that they’re crafted “with comfort, durability, and professionalism in mind,” and have all the comfort of stretchy sweats.
Best wrinkle-free leggings for travel
If you’d rather go the leggings route, Melissa Hie of Girl Eat World swears these jeggings “look exactly like jeans but are very stretchy and comfortable like leggings.” She says, “I would just pair this with a comfortable button-up shirt if I need to look somewhat put together straight off the plane.”
For leggings that can be dressed up, Hsu likes this expensive-looking (but actually quite affordable) faux-leather pair. “Tuck them in your carry-on for a sexy go-to that [can go from] day to dinner in any city,” she says. “They’re secretly lined with cozy fleece on the inside; all the better to brave your next winter dining adventure.”
Best wrinkle-free tops for travel
Travelers love Uniqlo’s affordable and durable pieces for comfort and style. Hie says their button-downs are perfect for wearing with leggings to easily look put-together. And while she normally prefers natural fabrics, when it comes to travel she says, “I go with polyester-blend fabrics since they don’t wrinkle as much.” Like polyester, rayon is far more wrinkle-resistant than cotton or linen.
Also polyester, but with a silky feel and sweet ruffle details, this packable top is one of Corsa’s favorites. “It can be worn in basically any climate, for tons of occasions,” she says. “It never wrinkles and still looks new after years.”
Gerba calls Uniqlo’s warming Heattech turtleneck, an essential layering piece for cold-weather travel or even ice-cold planes, “basic, but solid.” In warmer climates, Stephanie Park, co-founder and vice-president of operations at Journy, likes the brand’s AIRism line. “Not only do the breathable base layers release heat and moisture to adapt to different weather conditions, but they also remain remarkably wrinkle-free, even after long flights,” she says.
According to Rubio, Theory’s “crepe knits will never wrinkle, no matter how much of an overpacker you are,” which is good news if you need to look professional right after a red-eye flight.
Best wrinkle-free dresses for travel
Simple, packable slip dresses were called out by several travelers as highly versatile items. Hie opts for colorful ones from Singapore-based, women-founded brand Love, Bonito. “They are made out of a polyester blend and [don’t] t get wrinkled even if they are straight out of the suitcase,” she says. “I love them because they are very basic, which means I can pair them with accessories to dress them up or down.”
Rubio counts her black Nili Lotan slip dress as ones of her perfect travel pieces that’s “practical and comfortable, yet stylish and versatile so that my look can easily transition from day to night.” She’ll wear it with a blazer and loafers on the plane, and switch to boots once she lands. And while it may seem like a fussy pick, Gerba says she frequently packs silk because “it looks good, weighs nothing, and its wrinkles fall out easily.”
For a fraction of the price, Journy trip designer Lauren Witte likes this bright Everlane wrap dress which, she says, is also “made out of wrinkle-resistant fabric,” and can work for both casual and dressier events.
If slip dresses aren’t your style, Hsu says she’s “obsessed with Wolford’s selection of stretchy dresses that roll up almost as tiny as hosiery.” Since it takes up barely any space she says they’re the ideal “just-in-case” dresses to pack if the need to dress up arises, and she calls her simple, black sheath “a lifesaver.”
Best wrinkle-free layers for travel
Like the Eileen Fisher pants recommended by Gerba, this blazer is made of Tencel and can withstand long flights and not-so-tidy packing. Plus, as several of our travel pros noted, blazers play well with basics like lightweight tops and cami dresses, giving you some mix-and-match outfits for your journey without having to overpack.
“A black versatile cashmere wrap is a must-have for my busy travel schedule,” says Elizabeth Fuller, director of marketing and partnerships at Black Tomato. “It doubles as a blanket on a chilly flight and won’t wrinkle if you stow it in your carry on to go through security.” She likes the very elegant. fringed Loro Piano version, but if you’re on a budget, the under-$100 silk-blended wrap from cashmere startup Naadam will also do the trick.
Like Fuller, Hsu thinks quality cashmere is a worthwhile travel investment. “Compared with other fabrics, cashmere doesn’t require washing all that often and is naturally temperature moderating,” she says, making it a natural fit for an on-the-go lifestyle. Her favorites are classic cuts with unique details from brands like Reformation and Rag & Bone.
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