Travel Costume

To help me pack less clothes, I try to erase the idea of different outfits, or even a capsule wardrobe idea of mix n match. I wear one “travel costume” the entire trip. This does not mean wearing the same underwear the entire time, just being ok looking the exact same the whole trip. I also try to have a little fun with it, imagining myself as a cartoon character (ex: you’ve only ever seen Ned Flanders wear one thing, right?) Actually my motivation was behind a Tom Robbins character, Switters, who wears a suit everywhere around the world. I liked the idea but took it down a notch.

Does anybody go for the one look travel costume?

On a trip through central Europe last year for a few weeks I knew we were gonna be walking through mostly cities and wanna look cool (or as cool as I can be), walk a ton, and see some outdoor national park (easy hiking on well maintained trails). I kept wanting to bring my trail shoes and some more outdoor stuff, but remembered being in the bottom of the Grand Canyon one time. We were sitting down taking a rest and eating a snack before heading back up and we saw a man walking down wearing nice jeans, a leather jacket, black dress shoes, and some aviator sunglasses. Stopping near us he lit a cigarette, smoked and took a sip of water, said “magnifique” half-heartedly, then turned around and walked back up. Got me thinking.

Here is what I wore on our Euro trip:

Clarks desert boots


Outlier Futureworks in Navy. One pant for the trip. When is the last time you had a catastrophic pant emergency?

One maroon polka dot shirt sleeve shirt from H and M. Best shirt ever and I wear it all summer at home. Very light weight and dries pretty quick.

Light brown blazer I’ve had for a while. Linen blend. It wears like a shirt jacket but looks pretty decent. Key travel piece. It had some pockets on the inside which were great for my small camera and extra stuff.

I normally wear a baseball cap in the sun, but it looked funny with a blazer, so I went full old man and got a short brimmed floppy hat (hunter thompson style) and called it good.


Underneath I had:

Wool socks (from costco, 4 for $10 and they last for years) x3

Basic grey Uniqlo t shirts that I like x 3. They’re cotton but pack small.

Boxer briefs x 3 (some quick drying synthetic Haynes or something)

I had a light rain jacket and Pata-puffy in the bag for when it got cold and rainy.


I also brought a long sleeve button shirt, and after not wearing it for a few days, didn’t touch it for the trip. I thought I needed a backup. Lesson learned.

Also brought and used:

some Bolivian linen striped pants my brother picked up years ago for nighttime lounging. I also wore them as a scarf, but my wife wouldn’t stop laughing so I gave it up. Still a pretty good travel hack I think.

Some light running shorts that I used from occasional swim trunks once we got to Croatia.


There we go. I had clean socks, underwear, and t shirt each day. Spot cleaned the pants as necessary. This all fit in a small daypack and when we cruised the city I would just put a camera and the puffy/rain jacket (plus my wife puffy/rain jacket) in zipable tote bag and cruise the town.

Planning our next trip through Italy and am considering just wearing a suit and bringing a briefcase 🙂

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  • stupid-sexy-jake

    I’m the opposite actually. I really regret having very similar looking shirts (navy blue and black merino). I usually see the receptionist at my apartment on my way out each morning and stop by the same 711, coffee shop and food joints just about every day and I feel like they’re thinking “this dirty backpacker is wearing the same clothes AGAIN. I bet he doesn’t even shower”.

    I know I shouldn’t care what others think and they probably don’t even notice but I still wish I had more variety.

  • sudosussudio

    Yeah I do something similar. Just change out the base layer. Great for backpacking in Europe but one time I did this when on a family trip and they noticed and did not approve haha.

  • katmndoo

    Pretty similar for me, just not as stylish. Just spent a month in Baja/Sonora with two changes of merino underwear/tshirts/socks, a light merino hoody, pair of shorts, pair of pants. fleece and a down jacket. Had a long sleeved button down and a spare pare of pants, both worn exactly once.

    Did I care that I looked about the same every day? Nope.

    Honestly, probably could have left the backpack I used at home, along with the m43 camera kit, the button down shirt, extra pants, linen travel towel, and sandals. All of this was used none or once.


    I did have two pairs of shoes, though.


  • _-_happycamper_-_

    I did something similar on a few trips and liked it so much that I started doing it full time. The colours change with the day but I wear the same two pairs of prana stretch Zions, a couple different colours of the same T-shirt and either one of the two same grid fleeces that I have. My wife calls it my uniform. Like you said it sometimes makes me think of a cartoon or video game character sometimes.

  • onlyblackcoffee

    I’m working on doing something similar. Trying to collect more “packable” stuff though first. I’ve got a pair of Outlier SDs in black that I think will be great to pack and I’ll wear another pair of pants when flying (probably another Outlier variant) and I’d like to wear one t-shirt and a hoodie and then pack another t-shirt and a button up. Ideally they would all go with each other so I could mix and match. I usually only take one pair of shoes with me unless I know I’m doing something that requires 2. Plus various changes of underwear and socks.

    I don’t think my wife would let me travel with just “one” outfit ever haha.

  • Hakote

    I like variety, and I’ve adopted a kind of “if it fits, it ships” philosophy here – I carry one large Eagle Creek Compression cube. Whatever fits in there I can take. If it doesn’t fit it doesn’t go. In the summer the cube might have a few tees, a sundress, and some shorts, and be half full. In the winter I might carry a baselayer, a sweater, and heavy pants. No matter what, I never consider myself overpacked, as long as everything fits in that cube.

  • Paperback_Chef

    Agree with your approach, I generally bring one of each outerwear/pants item then two wool baselayers, and just dress the same everyday. I think the key is being well groomed and slightly more formal (so your linen blazer sounds like an awesome choice). For Mexico City soon I’ll be packing some olive J.Crew chinos, black leather soccer style sneakers (similar to Adidas Samba), a long sleeve button down plaid shirt, a denim jacket, and a couple wool T-shirts. It also helps prevent screaming “I’m a tourist!” when you’re wearing clothes similar to what locals might be wearing.

  • alexkwa

    I generally wear a cotton tee from Uniqlo and Outlier SDs an entire trip. I use the ranger hoodie from Triple Aught Design and some nike sneakers.

    Everything is in black. This is pretty much what I wear when I’m not traveling too so I feel comfortable. I think the key is to stop dressing for others but for yourself.

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