I Used to Panic Shop Before Every Trip, But These 9 Purchases Made Me Stop


(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

Even though I've written plenty of stories about packing over the years, I don't always practice what I preach. Packing isn't my forte, and I typically find myself scrambling at the last minute to put together appropriate outfits, which inevitably leads to panic shopping. The problem with panic shopping (besides stress and high express shipping costs) is that you generally only think about this one occasion instead of considering longevity and what you need in your wardrobe. Needless to say, it's not the smartest way to spend your money. 

Finally, I decided to change my ways and make a concerted effort to plan ahead by stocking my wardrobe with versatile, packable pieces that work for various locations I may travel to. Since slowly adding these pieces to my wardrobe, there's been a noticeable decline in last-minute panic shopping on my part. So naturally, I thought I'd share my list of travel-friendly purchases in case you, too, are guilty of the same. Scroll to shop in advance of your next trip. 

Lightweight Jackets

I never want to embark on a trip without at least one jacket, no matter the time of year or location. The type I have the most trouble finding is lightweight jackets, so when I see a good one, I add it to my cart immediately.

Shop Lightweight Jackets

Day-to-Night Tops

Tops that can easily transition from day to night are important when you have limited space in your suitcase. My best advice is to keep it simple and pick things you'd be comfortable wearing multiple times. 

Shop Day-to-Night Tops

Hands-Free Bags

Traveling with the wrong handbag is a mistake I've made more than once, so I started searching for mid-sized shoulder and cross-body bags that comfortably fit my essentials, go with everything, and don't require carrying with my hands.

Shop Hands-Free Bags

Striped and Neutral Tees and Tanks

When making my packing list and choosing my outfits, I opt for a striped or neutral tee almost every day. That's why I regularly stock up on these essentials.

Striped and Neutral Tees and Tanks

Chic Flats and Low-Heel Shoes

This one probably goes without saying, but walkable shoes are essential when traveling. That said, I don't always want to wear sneakers, so chic flats and low-heeled shoes are a shopping priority of mine.

Shop Flats and Low-Heel Shoes

Midi-Length Skirts and Dresses

I find midi lengths are perfect for travel. They're easier to get in and out of Ubers than mini lengths, and they won't drag on the ground like maxi lengths.

Shop Midi-Length Skirts and Dresses

Loose and Lightweight Trousers

I'm definitely not opposed to wearing jeans when traveling, but I already own plenty of those. Loose and lightweight trousers are more polished than jeans and will take up less room in your suitcase. They're also something I'm lacking, so they've been at the top of my travel shopping list. 

Shop Loose and Lightweight Trousers

Oversize Button-Downs

Oversize button-downs are as versatile as it gets. You can wear one out at night and then over a swimsuit the next day. Plus, they look equally cool buttoned or unbuttoned over a tank or swimsuit.

Shop Oversize Button-Downs

Chic Accessories

I know this is a bit vague, but I'm referring to accessories that will dress up whatever you're wearing for an evening out. Especially if you're only bringing a carry-on, you may not have room to pack an entirely separate outfit for the evening hours. But the right accessories can transform your look.

Shop Chic Accessories

Next up, 30 no-regret finds I know I'll wear for years.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.