Say No to Havaianas
Perhaps the greatest pitfall of digital nomad fashion is the regular use of sandals. We get it -- it’s hot, and they’re convenient -- but just because you live abroad doesn’t mean your feet need to scream “vacation.” In many countries, wearing sandals is one of the easiest ways to stick out like a sore thumb or toe?
If you’re looking to assimilate, or just cover up whatever is going on down there, start rethinking your travel fashion from the ground up. Over the last few years, there’s been a massive influx in the number of companies making excellent do-it-all shoes that are simultaneously comfortable and stylish. Brands like Allbirds, Altra, and Xero have designed shoes specifically for fashion-minded travelers. Even Vans’ Ultra Range or the original Adidas will get the jobs done.
Socks: The Easiest Way to Add Some Flare
Working our way up, wearing some funky socks is by far the easiest way to draw a compliment or two. Brands like Stance, Jimmy Lion, Happy Socks, and Soxy make stylish socks that can go with any outfit.
If you’re looking for durability, Darn Tough is the clear industry leader when it comes to comfortable merino wool socks that last a lifetime. Literally -- they have a lifetime guarantee, and you can trade in your socks any time. Check out their “lifestyle” line for the more flavorful options.
Get Some Versatile Bottoms
Just like we once parted ways with a blanket or a stuffed animal, it’s time to now part ways with those egregiously long and shiny gym shorts we’ve held onto since high school. They’re comfortable, and the elastic waistband makes it easy to overlook how much the tacos have put on, but the stains and the Tigers logo aren’t doing anyone any favors.
When it comes to bottoms, brands in the rock climbing industry make some of the best products for extended travel. Prana, Vuori, and Patagonia are some of our favorites. They make stretchy, water-resistant, all-purpose shorts and pants that can easily be worn out for a night on the town.
Rethink the T-Shirt
Don’t overlook the value of a clean, soft, well-fitting shirt. Subtlety is sometimes the name of the game in travel fashion, so get your hands on a few lightweight, quick-dry shirts that aren’t too baggy and don’t immediately pronounce your backpacker-ness.
Merino wool is the grandfather of travel fabrics as it’s odor-resistant, simultaneously breathable and insulating, and it doesn’t wrinkle. Check out brands like Unbound, Outlier, or Wooly Clothing Co (pictured above) for a more budget-friendly option.
Have at Least One “Going Out” Button-Down
Everyone has their favorite party shirt -- but who says it needs to be for parties? One good strategy for upping your fashion game is to treat Mondays like Saturdays. Sometimes it’s not easy to have the motivation to put a decent outfit together when you’re only venturing as far as the cafe or the coworking space, but wearing a fresh shirt can change your attitude and the way you approach the day. Any lightweight, sweat-proof shirt from your local outdoors shop should do the trick.
Level Up Your Accessory Game
When all else fails, spice up your fashion game with a set of tasteful accessories. Watches are the most obvious, and we reckon you can find one that fits your style even if you’re not a watch guy. Opt for a sleek look from brands like MVMT, go for the rugged look with something from Garmin, or for the surf look with something from Rip Curl. Hats, bracelets, and even rings can all be a part of your repertoire.
Written by Dillon DuBois