Planning a vacation inevitably entails considering your wardrobe needs. Whether you're lounging on the Aloha Deck or climbing Mt. Everest, you are going to need some gear specific to your activities, not to mention the climate. You want to look good, if not cutting-edge fashionable, and feel comfortable. Luckily, there are many travel-clothing stores that can make you look good and feel good at the same time.
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Travel-clothing stores used to be a rare breed. They specialised in overly formal clothing that came in matching sets, somewhat like designer luggage. Other travel-clothing stores operated in the tradition of the J. Peterman Company, a business that sold the image of whirlwind, worldwide tours along with their clothing, a concept that was cleverly spoofed on television's "Seinfeld" show.
As travel has become more frequent and accessible, stores selling travel clothing have multiplied. The most popular companies, such as TravelSmith, Tilley Edurables and Magellan's Travel Supplies, specialise in durable, yet tailored, clothing suitable for a typical vacation of walking neighbourhoods and crumpling outfits inside luggage. Other companies, such as REI, Title Nine, and Nomad Travel and Outdoor, target adventure and extreme travellers with their gear. For those seeking more style and less moisture-wicking, there are lines at Chico's and, yes, J. Peterman to satisfy your needs.
Excellent travel-clothing stores should offer key features. First, the clothing should travel well. If it needs to be ironed and dry-cleaned, it probably has no place in your luggage. Materials that are typical for travel clothing are Lycra, microfiber and cotton blends. Silk can be a good fabric as well because, even though it wrinkles, it can be washed by hand and hung to dry in an instant. It is one of those miracle fabrics that is weightless, yet provides good warmth, all while allowing your skin to breathe.
Stores such as L.L. Bean, Patagonia, Tilley Endurables, North Face, Rockport, Columbia and TravelSmith are popular places to shop because they offer smart separates that endure.
Your shoes are the most important element of your wardrobe to consider when shopping for travel clothing. Certain brands stand out as the favourite shoes for travellers. For women, the popular brands are Ecco, Patagonia, Keen, Dansko, Rieker, Rockport and Privo. For men, travel shoes by New Balance, Rieker, Lambasa, Patagonia, Clarks and Ecco are favourites.
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