Create a Travel Capsule Wardrobe: The Ultimate Guide
Pack light, they said. It’ll be easier, they said. Yeah, right. If you’ve ever tried to pack lightly for a trip, you know it’s pretty much impossible. You either end up overpacking or under packing, and neither is ideal. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are some tips for packing light and staying organized while traveling:
We need to get one thing straight, before we dive in. I hate checking a bag. You can read more about that HERE, but let’s just say that I’ve been burned by checking on! After traveling on numerous European trips, mid-western trips and Hawaiian trips that all exceeded 10 days, and never carrying on, I feel like I have traveling lightly down pat!
Alright. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can dive into my Travel Capsule wardrobe plan.
My challenge, and I absolutely choose to accept it, is to take 11 items and turn it into as many outfit looks as possible. This capsule is designed to work for summer, spring, fall and….ok, not winter. Ha!
These wardrobe essentials for traveling consider a few different things:
- Items to wear for casual touring.
- Items to wear to perhaps a work meeting.
- Items to wear to a nice dinner.
So many of us are combining the above three things when we travel so I felt the need to build a capsule, and looks based around checking everything off the list, so it really is an all-encompassing suitcase.
Now grab your luggage, a notepad, and let’s get to work!
Traveling light can be a daunting task, especially when you’re trying to pack a capsule wardrobe. But with the right mix of pieces, you can create an array of outfits that will take you from sightseeing to dinner dates without any fuss.
What is a capsule wardrobe and why would you want one for travel
A capsule wardrobe for travel is a new trend that’s super stylish and oh-so practical! It allows you pack your travel wardrobe in a suitcase without sacrificing style. Basically, it involves only packing essential pieces – ones that can be mixed and matched without looking tired or drab.
Capsule wardrobes might also consist of interchangeable colors and patterns so you have complete flexibility in going from day to night. The bonus with this type of wardrobe is you’ll never run out of outfit ideas because the same pieces are used to get totally different looks. Plus, who doesn’t love having more options while travelling!
Shop Travel Capsule Shoes
How to create a capsule wardrobe for travel
Whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist, creating a capsule wardrobe for travel is an essential part of the packing process.
Start by ditching any unrealistic expectations of having the perfect outfit for every occasion or destination. Instead, focus on selecting comfortable and versatile pieces, such as a pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down.
Lastly, don’t forget to use accessories strategically – opt for multi-functional items and natural materials like wicker woven baskets. Now go forth and hit the road in effortless style!
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What to pack in your travel capsule wardrobe
- One pair of jeans
- One pair of dress pants – for work or nice dinners
- An easy, neutral dress that’s wrinkle free
- Dress shoes
- One easy to style necklace
- Cap for sunshine
- A light sweater
- A basic tee
- A nice top
- A versatile blazer
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Tips for packing light and staying organized while traveling
- Start by making a list of everything you think you need to bring. Then cut that list in half. Seriously. You don’t need half of the stuff you think you do. Just focus on the essentials.
- Pack versatile, neutral color items that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. That way, you can get more mileage out of fewer clothes.
- Invest in a good carry-on bag that fits everything you need but isn’t too bulky to lug around.
- And finally, try to travel light mentally as well as physically. By this I don’t mean to do less, I mean to stop making it all about what you wear. You do not NEED a new outfit for every day! You don’t NEED to make every touristy thing or every dinner a fashion show. Remember that to carry less can be totally freeing. You may be pleasantly freeing it feels to pack lightly, have a smaller choice of what to wear, and focus on the experience and less so on the minutia of every outfit.
- Lastly, honestly. Please don’t forget that by packing less you’ll go without. And if you do need something extra, that’s what they have stores for!
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Shop Travel Capsule Accessories
The best places to buy clothes and accessories for your travel capsule wardrobe
I shop where the basics are plentiful and well made. I’ve never been one for fast-fashion or trend dressing. I’d rather buy once, and wear forever. So I shop for basics at J.Crew, Madewell, Saks and occasionally Shopbop.
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How to mix and match items in your capsule wardrobe to create different outfits
Here’s the fundamental way to mix and match – and that’s to create one cohesive color palette. You really won’t find a bright green top, or yellow skirt in my mix.
Big shocker here – I pack blue’s and gray’s! You’re floored, I can tell. But for real, packing those two colors let’s you interchange the items to create different outfits.
Can you throw in a bold top? Totally. Do you want to grab a brightly colored dress? Sure, go right ahead. But do that if you have room after you pack the essentials.
But my best advice would be to add color with a pretty scarf – something small, something versatile that can be draped around your shoulders or tied in your hair, for the color!
What else to pack
Once you have those basics packed then, it’s time to add in the “essential peripherals” like
- A light jacket
- Pairs of socks…you get the drift!