What to wear on a summer travel day

Y’all have probably noticed: it is hot. Really hot. And humid. This is the time of year when I start writing about how to keep cool and pack smart ON bermudawhile looking professional on a business trip. (Check out two of those posts here and here). My advice from then still stands:

  • Light, breathable fabrics
  • Layers
  • Dresses and skirts rule

But sometimes I have days where all I do is travel, and I don’t have to go straight to the office. On those days it feels silly to get dressed up in my business casual finest just to sit in a dirty plane. At the same time, I don’t want to bring a whole bunch of extra stuff in my suitcase. In the cooler months, it’s easy–wear a nice top or cardigan with jeans and cute flats. Done. But in the summer, in most places, it’s just way too hot for jeans and I often struggle with the replacement.

After much (probably too much) thought, I’ve finally decided on what the ideal summer travel day outfits are:

A dress. Probably the coolest and simplest option. Take a cardigan in case the plane is cold. Maybe wear some bike shorts (or the awesome Jockey Slipshorts). Bonus points if it’s a dress you plan to wear as on of your work outfits. Jersey is my favorite, since it’s so soft and comfortable (like this one from Boden)

A skirt. While not as simple as a dress, a skirt and top combo is certainly a viable option for a travel day. You get the benefits of a dress—breezy, cool, and comfortable—but you can mix it up a bit more.

Shorts/cropped pants. Almost as breezy as a skirt but more functional. It really goes against the grain for me to wear shorts on a work trip, even for a travel day. But it’s so much cooler. I choose a longer, Bermuda-style pair (like these from Old Navy) and wear them with the same stuff I wear to work– a nice top or cardigan and cute flats. If you can’t quite get there, wear crops or capris. Of course if I am going to see a client or coworker, I am less likely to choose the “shorts” option.

My mom likes to wear maxi dresses on travel days, and she looks super cute and I know she’s very comfortable. So if that works for you, awesome. Maxi dresses make me too warm! They are the same as jeans in my book. It makes me sad because I like them so much, but oh well.

I know some of this seems like common sense, but I swear a struggle with it every trip in the summer. Last week before I left for New Jersey I stood in front of my closet for like ten minutes. (Pretty sure it was heightened for that trip because I also visited my uber fashionable younger sister….)

Readers, do you plan what to wear on non-office travel days? Does it matter if you are going to see someone you work with?


  1. Don’t forget skorts as a nice in-between option. Many of the new ones are knee length, making them acceptable for nicer situations. If you get a skort in travel friendly material it can make the transition from trail to restaurant.

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