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​​​​​​​​​​​​By: Allison Dolder McDonald

Allison McDonald lives in Newport Beach, California with her husband Ben and their dog Clementine. As a Miami University graduate originally from Columbus, Ohio, she's retained a healthy dose of Midwestern prep, with a little big-city edge that came from living in Chicago for three years post-grad. Allison is the co-founder of Tartan & Sequins, the lifestyle blog/love child of two California girls who share a passion for all things preppy and fabulous. 

​Let’s be honest – the road to finding one’s perfect travel outfit is long, winding, and littered with regrettable choices. The absolute most regrettable of travel gear, pour moi, would be when I strutted into the airport wearing heels at the tender age of nineteen, off to visit my long-distance boyfriend. If you aren’t already aware, heels in an airport are much, much worse than snakes on a plane. I’d had intense delusions of grandeur imagining myself strolling leisurely through the concourse, the picture of glam, heads turning as I passed, strangers whispering, “she must be in college!” Instead, I looked like a grade-A Bozo, skittering precariously past TGI Friday’s, frantically trying to make my connection through Washington Dulles. I just barely made the connecting flight, and had to change into tennis shoes to go out for the night upon reaching my destination. Not cute.

The lesson I learned that day was that there’s nothing more chic than dressing for utility. As I grew older and wiser, I began to take note of the smarter-looking stylish girls in the airport – the ones who looked unruffled and nonplussed by travel. The common denominator was that they looked completely comfortable, while in no way sloppy.

I’ve found that the key to a great travel outfit is to wear pieces that can be worn easily with multiple items in your suitcase, and to layer like nobody’s business. First and foremost, you must be wearing comfortable pants – I know that some people can travel in jeans, and God bless them – but I find them totally uncomfortable for long periods of sitting.  I swear by J. Crew’s Pixie Pants. Their thick, opaque fabric, jodhopur-esque detailing and back zipper all lend a dressy air, and no one needs to know that they feel like sweatpants.


​​Regardless of season, I reach for Claridge King’s Yachting Stripe Tee – a girl (or gentleman, for that matter) can never go wrong with a Breton stripe. The tee is perfectly long, and its magical linen blend ensures that you’ll be cozy without being overly warm. Similarly, I always have a light pashmina with me when I travel - even in the summer, because airports and plane temperatures can still be freezing and a little something around the neck can keep you surprisingly warm.

In terms of my outer layer, if I am in cooler climates, I like to add a fitted blazer. But for warmer weather, I reach for a lightweight army vest. The blazer (or vest) is key for me, because I must always have ample pockets in which to stow (and subsequently misplace, causing a five-alarm search hysteria) my boarding passes, iPhone, and lip gloss.

Finally, I pour one out for all those girls traveling in heels, and I slip on my Tory Burch Driving Moccasins, grab my beat-up leather duffel and my trusty L.L. Bean Boat-and-Tote bag, and prance through security. There’s something very liberating about knowing that I have an outfit that (hopefully) wouldn’t humiliate my Grandmother, and that doesn’t slow me down in the slightest.


Fashion | ISSUE III


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