When I started traveling full-time in 2007, I had a wardrobe designed to sustain the rigours of my active lifestyle. And I had the right idea with my choices; everything was light, quick-drying, wrinkle-free, and multi-functional.
Problem was, I hated it.
I felt frumpy all the time. There was no style to my clothing; it was simply functional and little more. And my colour choices were off; too many mis-matched outfits meant I needed to carry more clothing (that I didn't like) to make it all work. So on top of everything else, my bag weighed a ton.
I've come a long way since then.
The contents of my bag have evolved a few times over, as I've developed my own travel style, eliminated the things I didn't need, and replaced the things I didn't like.
In fact, although I travel full-time with one checked bag, if I get a chance to leave it somewhere for a while, I can travel indefinitely with carry-on baggage only.
Recently, I had the Encircled Chrysalis Cardi along for one such carry-on journey, and it earned its place in my bag.
Here are the criteria I measure up against any potential travel wardrobe additions/replacements. Think of your travel wardrobe as a cookbook; it's a matter of choosing the right ingredients.
The Chrysalis Cardi is tops on the multi-function scale. You can wear it about eight different ways – more if you're creative. This versatility adds a lot to a wardrobe, enabling it to adapt to different situations and style requirements.
I learned – the hard way – that you don't have to sacrifice comfort for function. Choose something that you're going to love wearing; when you travel, you have limited options. Make 'em count. The Chrysalis Cardi excels here as well, with a material so comfortable you will consider sleeping in it at some point.
When you feel frumpy, it trickles into other areas of your life. Choose something that fits your style (but won't offend other cultures); again you gotta love your clothing.
Packs Light and Small
The weight and size of your bag is directly proportionate to your misery on the road. Save yourself the hassle of lugging around a massive bag and pack light and small. The Chrysalis Cardi is a little bulkier than most of my clothing, however it makes up for this transgression with its multi-functionality.
At some point you'll probably need to hand wash something and dry it overnight. The Chrysalis Cardi should always be hand-washed; the bad news is if you're drying it inside without much circulation, it can take up to a day to dry properly.
If you need an iron to make it work, it doesn't belong in your travel bag. Your clothing should come off the line looking like it came off the showroom floor. (Incidentally, you can't iron the Chrysalis Cardi – nor would you ever need to).
Depending on where you are traveling to, finding suitable replacement clothing might be a challenge. Reduce the chances of that happening with quality choices. You may spend more initially, but the longer wear – and other benefits above – make it a wash. With tender care (and a reasonable amount of abuse), I suspect the Chrysalis Cardi will last me for ages.
Choose three complementary colours as a theme and stick with them throughout your travel wardrobe. That way everything matches up and you have more options.
Now that the Chrysalis Cardi has worked its way into my travel wardrobe, it has accompanied me on my latest carry-on travel mission: I'm enjoying some free accommodation in Panama for two months! It is perfect for cooler nights – either on the town, or snuggled up at “home”.
My travel wardrobe selections continue to evolve with my style, destinations, and activities. But these core criteria above are always my guide
Guest Post by Nora Dunn, the Professional Hobo
Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo; a woman who sold everything in Canada (including a busy financial planning practice) to travel the world in 2007. She has been on the move ever since, having perfected the art of traveling full-time in a financially sustainable way. Testament is in her latest e-book: How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter @hobonora.