An Update on Clothing Optimized for Travel

This is a bit more of a sartorial topic than what I usually write about, although not the first time I’ve discussed clothing for travel. Yes, it’s been quite some time since I’ve written anything on my blog, but this is the topic that came to mind to discuss.

It’s been a few months since my last trip, however I have been doing a lot more business travel post-pandemic than I had been prior, when most of my travel as a digital nomad was to destinations I chose purely for personal reasons. As such, my travel wardrobe has gone through quite a bit of change, as I need to be presentable when giving talks at conferences, meeting with customers, or attending other business functions. That means no more flannel shirts and hiking pants made with technical fabrics, which while durable and great for travel are far too casual for my purposes now. For those of you who have spent some time with me, you also know I prefer to travel very light while not compromising in any way on quality, I truly want the best of everything.

For the last three years I’ve been slowly going through different brands and items trying to find what works, and while “best” is subjective, for my purposes the things I really look for in clothing I want to travel with is the following:

  • Comfortable
  • Durable, especially through “thunderdome” laundering
  • Packs well, and shakes out of a fold with no to minimal wrinkles
  • Looks nice

I am now wearing completely different brands of pants and shirts than I had three years ago when I started on this journey, but the undershirts and socks that I found and recommended in my prior discussion of travel clothing have really stood the test of time.

Socks and Undershirts

There really is no better undershirt than those from Icebreaker, I prefer the Tech-Lite and Cool-Lite series t-shirts as undershirts, which come at around an average price of $75 each. I first bought these in May 2017, and since then I’ve continued to acquire additional undershirts sporadically, I now have gotten rid of all the others I had prior and only wear these. Some of the shirts in rotation are the ones I first bought, because they really are that durable and they really do get softer with washing. Merino wool in general is a wonderful material, it helps regulate your body temperature, is naturally antimicrobial, and doesn’t wrinkle when folded.

For socks, I’ve been primarily and now exclusively wearing socks from Darn Tough. I mostly wear the mid cushion hiker’s quarter-length socks, however I have a few longer pairs for wearing with boots also. I first started wearing these socks in May 2016, and they were part of the mix I brought with me on Remote Year, and they’ve generally held up very well. Due to some of my foot problems and failing to fully treat them I tend to be especially hard on socks, and the socks from Darn Tough lasted nearly 4 years before I started to wear through right at the ball of my foot, only on one side. Since finally getting custom orthotics inserts in 2022 I have not worn through any socks, as the weight of my foot lands more evenly when walking with my foot problems properly treated. That said, with lesser socks I might get 6 months to a year out of them prior to wearing through, so these are truly quite durable, and they’re comfortable as well.


I’ve been through several brands trying to find the right pants, thinking I had landed on the best ones a few times along the way only to find a flaw in how they held up over some period of time. I’ve arrived at three different pants that are in my wardrobe currently, with a top pick I’m trying to migrate entirely to over time.

Bluffworks Ascender Chino

The first brand that seemed to finally be what I was looking for was Bluffworks. They are focused on making travel clothing that looks good, and to be fair to them 3 of the 8 pairs of chinos I bought have held up very well, including the very first pair that I bought in the Fall of 2021. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the other 5 pairs, which have since been irreparrably damaged along the way and replaced. I want to like these more than I do, they look great and they are nearly entirely wrinkle resistant, but they just aren’t as durable as they ought to be. Still a great choice if you’re perhaps less brutal on your clothing than I am.

UnderArmor Match Play Tapered Golf Pants

I first bought these in the latter half of 2022 at an Under Armour outlet store in person, after deciding I wanted to try my hand at golf. The tapered fit of these pants helps them look much sharper than they would otherwise which keeps them from being a bit too casual to qualify as business casual. They’re clearly more suited for the golf course than a business meeting, but not so much so that anyone would think you’re out of place. The stretch waist and general construction is pretty durable, and they’ve mostly held up well. Unfortunately I’ve had a few lose the top button or had the cuffs fray, so while 4 of the 6 pairs are still in rotation, these aren’t my best pick.

Jack Archer Jetsetter Tech Pants

I first bought these in January 2023 with a single pair along with 4 other brands while I was trying to find my replacement for the above, and of those 5 brands, Jack Archer ended up well above the rest. I’ve since bought 2 more pairs, and these three pairs of pants are my favorites within my rotation. First of all, they look much more professional than the other options, while being very well made. The button and zipper feel nice, they taper into a very tailored fit while still being comfortable, and they never have any wrinkles coming out of my suitcase ever. As my other pants become damaged, I am planning to replace them with these. For right now, at least, these are the best travel pants I’ve found.


Shirts have been a real journey for me, because it’s so hard to find dressy shirts that are both durable and travel well. The majority of dress shirt brands you could find at a typical department store have been something I’ve tried, and nothing has particularly worked well. I was able to find a Michael Kors shirt that was “travel stretch” or similar and had a textured striped design that both prevented wrinkles and hid them, but it was on clearance at a Men’s Wearhouse when I bought it and I’ve never seen another example of it, and I looked for awhile. In the end, giving up my flannel hiking shirts when I travel was the most difficult part, because a typical cotton dress shirt is about the worst thing to travel with. In the end I’ve only found two shirt brands I like for travel.

Land’s End No-Iron Twill Shirt and No-Iron Oxford Shirt

The first one of these I got was a gift from mom, sometime around 2016. That shirt I still wear today and it still looks as good as new, and really does live up to the no-iron promise when traveling. It’s been durable, it looks good, and travels well. So, I finally broke down and bought three more shirts, of the No-Iron Twill variety, in November 2023. They’ve been working out great for the most part. I have only one complaint about these shirts from Land’s End, which is that the collar has a tendency to crease or roll, instead of wanting to stay in its flat form. It’s generally easy to resolve by running your fingers along it with some pressure as you hang them out of the dryer and making sure you check the collar fold after you button the top button, but it is something that I find a bit annoying and it made me keep looking to see if something better is out there.

Twillory Performance Shirt

The first of these I bought in November 2023 along with a few other brands, at the same time I ordered the 3 shirts above. I love these shirts from Twillory. Any creases that happen from folding in your suitcase come out with one good shake as you are hanging them up in the hotel room. The fabric feels nice and soft, isn’t too heavy, and while they come with nice heavy collar metal collar stays, the collar holds its form so well I generally travel without any collar stays in them and wear them that way. The first of these that I got has held up exceptionally well the past few months, however I haven’t yet got to put these fully to the durability test. I am certain the shirts above from Land’s End will stand the test of time, but I still need to see that happen with these ones from Twillory. Given how they’re wearing right now, though, I think they’ll end up just great. For right now, these are my favorite shirts and the best travel shirts I’ve found so far.

With that, I don’t have much more to say. My next trip coming up is a couple of weeks in Estonia and Finland. I’m really looking forward to exploring the history of the region, especially the electronics and telecommunication museum in Taillin, Estonia and the iron working and scissors museum in Fiskars, Finland. I may write a trip report after I return, although I’m very very behind on the trip reports. Since my last time writing here I’ve been quite a few places, and have started taking my stepdaughter and my wife with me. We’ve been to Milan, Rome, and Lake Como in Italy, Barcelona, Spain, and Amsterdam. While I am not constantly traveling like I was as a digital nomad, I try to leave the US at least twice a year and take at least a couple of weeks each time I do.

Happy Travels