what should i buy? What are you wearing? What are you packing? I often get these questions. The last question is the most popular because I’m not only known as a fashion expert, but also a take-out-only traveler. I could undertake a trip of three days or ten days; I’m going to lift my suitcase in the upper bin. In order to make sure I fit everything I need in one piece of luggage, I always make sure to pack wardrobe essentials that I can wear in a number of ways, including an absolute must-have: a sweatshirt. round neck t-shirt.
Using carry-on luggage makes me much more aware of what I’m carrying and of those crucial pieces I don’t leave home without. Why a crew neck rather than a hoodie, a zipper or even a cardigan? For me, the look is more refined and versatile. For the plane, it’s jet set chic with comfortable black leggings, a white t-shirt and sneakers. It can also be cute and preppy with denim shorts for an afternoon of sightseeing and even dressed up when tied around the shoulders in a strapless maxi dress for a night out at a seaside restaurant. The classic crew neck is a timeless, sporty and on-trend piece, not to mention it’s less bulky and easier to pack away than a hoodie.
With over 15 years of experience in fashion writing and styling with expertise in the sportswear and leisurewear market, I know exactly how to find the perfect sweatshirt. When shopping for a new crew neck for your next trip, my top tip is to choose a hue or print that will keep it versatile. A solid neutral like black or gray will not only help keep stains to a minimum, but will work with everything from jeans to floral maxi skirts. If you choose a graphic print or sweatshirt, make sure you don’t mind showing up in all of your photos. My friend learned that lesson after wearing the same logo hoodie on a European adventure. Our photos ended up looking like an ad for the store.
The good news about crew neck sweatshirts is that there are a variety to choose from at all price points. Keep reading to shop my favorites from Amazon, Nordstrom, Zappos, and more.
Hanes EcoSmart Crew Neck Sweatshirt
A heather gray sweatshirt is a classic. It feels vintage yet modern and goes with everything. With an oversized fit (it’s available in sizes small to XXL), this selection from Hanes is sure to keep you warm on the go or on a chilly morning or evening. To make it a night look, wear it with dark blue or black jeans and ankle boots. Add a trendy earring to dress it up even more.
To buy: amazon.com, from $11 (originally $18)
Alternative Lazy Day Sweater
I tend to travel with a lot of black basics for obvious reasons; they go with everything. A black sweatshirt will go directly over your patterned dress and work with your bright pink shorts. It’s a blank canvas that can read urban, seaside or country, depending on how you style it. This pick has a classic, relaxed fit that makes it ideal for layering. What makes this sweet option even better? It’s made with 20% recycled materials, so it’s the perfect option for anyone looking to shop more sustainably. It is available in sizes XS to XL.
To buy: zappos.com, $34 (originally $65)
Zella Explore Lightweight Hoodie
Soft, smooth and made from 100% cotton, this lightweight garment has a particularly practical feature: a kangaroo pocket. It’s great for storing your phone during a flight or keeping it handy for a photo while strolling around town. The drawstring hem lets you go for a looser, more relaxed fit or a tailored fit for a put-together look. Another feature perfect for cold planes or cold weather is the thumbholes on the cuffs. Just swipe your finger for extra coverage to warm cold hands.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $59
Bingerlily crew neck sweatshirt
For those who like to wear color, the variety of bold hues offered in this sweatshirt will make it hard to choose just one. Crafted from a soft, pill-resistant cotton, spandex and polyester blend, this piece features a ribbed hem and cuffs for a supple, stretchy fit. With a more fitted shape, it’s a piece that doesn’t compromise on comfort and will never look neglected.
To buy: amazon.com, $23
Varley Davidson sweatshirt
While the zipped collar brings a more sporty touch, the shawl collar and ribbed cuffs of this sweatshirt give it a comfortable and refined look. Another reason why it’s a great choice for travelling? The piece offers several different styling options due to the neckline. For cold weather adventures, consider wearing a turtleneck underneath for extra warmth and a layered look. Alternatively, you can wear a camisole underneath and unzip the collar to show off layered gold chains or a statement necklace. The cotton, polyester and spandex sweatshirt is available in sizes XS to large.
To buy: zappos.com, $118
Vineyard Vines Sunset sweater in cotton and slub linen
Yes, it’s technically a pullover, but with a relaxed design, it has the feel of your favorite sweatshirt but with an elevated look. Although I’m careful when choosing a printed sweatshirt, what I love about this dip-dyed number is that it brings cheerful and happy vibes. It’s also perfect if you’re going on a beach vacation and will pair perfectly with indigo and white denim. The rolled neckline offers a looser fit while maintaining a clean look. Its size varies from XXS to XL.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $168
The Happiest Aerie Oversized Crew Neck Sweater
If you tend to lean towards a casual look, this oversized crew is a great option. Crafted from lightweight fleece, this piece is highly packable and won’t take up too much room in your suitcase or purse. It’s also longer in the back to provide extra coverage, which is perfect for anyone planning to travel in tight-fitting leggings or bike shorts. The frayed seam keeps this top on the casual side, but half tucked into jeans and worn with heels it will create a cool look for a night out exploring the local bars. Since it’s available in 10 colors (and sizes XXS to XXL), you’ll be able to choose between neutral tones or bold pops of color.
To buy: aerie.com, $42 (originally $60)
Sweaty Betty After Class cropped cotton-blend sweatshirt
Boxy and cropped doesn’t necessarily mean messy and unflattering. This pretty top is perfect for anyone who is going a little more fashionable. It’s also a great option for buyers who love bold hues, as it’s available in eight gorgeous colors. Filled with comfort-focused features like flatlock seams, French terrycloth lining and thumbholes, this cotton and modal sweatshirt is ideal for long days of travel. It’s fitted through the arms, making it a little more fitted to the body for a flattering look. Plus, it falls at the hips and will pair perfectly with any high-waisted pants.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $68