A vacation capsule wardrobe has clothing that works in a variety of situations and will also fit into a carry on type of luggage. The point of the capsule is to keep your wardrobe (and your luggage) small, light, and easy to carry. Choosing pieces that will mix, match, and layer with each other is the key to making your capsule stretch. Since bringing your whole closet isn’t an option consider the following when choosing the clothes you want to bring:
- Create a Simple Color Palette– Pick three or four colors that coordinate. You’ll be able to mix and match better.
- Where are you going?– Think about the season and the temperature. Will your clothes suit your activities?
- Create a List– Search for items in your closet that fit your color palette and are appropriate for your destination’s climate. Then, narrow down your choices by considering what you’ll need based on your activities.
- Create Outfits– Try to make as many outfit combinations as you can using the items you selected. Remove any items that aren’t used in outfits so you don’t pack anything unnecessary. Make sure everything can mix and match. Ideally, all your tops should go with all the bottoms you’re bringing. If you have time, try your outfits on to make sure the proportions are right. I like to document my outfits by taking pictures so I remember the outfits I created or you can use an app like Stylebook.
Picking the basic wardrobe
The basic wardrobe for a week-long vacation should consist of:
- 2 bottoms (one dressy, one casual). Even if the season is warm, one of the bottoms should be pants in case the weather turns cooler.
- 3 tops (one dressy, one 3/4 length or long sleeves). The long sleeves are for protection from cold weather and mosquitos. The shirt should be light weight.
- A sweater or jacket
- A pair of nice walking shoes
- Undergarments & toiletries
- Rain protection/sun protection
Extras to add if room permits:
- a dress
- dress shoes
- another top or bottom
- swim suit
- more accessories: belts, scarves, jewelry, purse
How to Fit Everything
Depending on the length of your vacation, to successfully fit everything in your carry-on, you’ll need a little help from luggage organizers like packing cubes. Ziploc bags are great too because they are inexpensive and you can see the through them. The point is to separate clothes and pack them as tightly as possible.
- Packing Cube or Ziploc bags – Packing cubes help organize your luggage & wardrobe. I purchased these from Amazon. I like that they come in many colors; perfect for organizing other members of your family with their own colors or for packing outfits by days. Ziploc bags are a cheaper alternative and even allow to you squeeze some air out for tighter packing. For both types of packing aides, you can separate by outfits/days or by types of clothing i.e. tops, bottoms, undergarments.
- Clear Zip Pouches – These are great for holding toiletries. Having another pouch is great for keeping purse essentials together too.
- Shoe Bags – Ok you don’t have to get fancy. I use grocery bags all the time to wrap my shoes in. I’ve even seen shoes wrapped in shower caps! But if you want cute shoe bag options you can find a few on Amazon. The point is, who wants dirty shoes near your clothes?!
Wear some double-duty items on travel day and you’ll save a lot of space in your bag:
- Sneakers/Boots – Trainers and boots can take up a lot of room in a small bag. If you know you’ll be working out or needing some heavier shoes, consider wearing them while traveling.
- Jeans– Unless you’re packing jeggings, denim can be heavy and sometimes bulky. Wearing them can save some room in your luggage.
- Cardigan and Lightweight Jacket– Dress in layers instead of a heavy coat. Even warm places can be chilly at night – if you wear a lightweight jacket, it may come in handy later. We know that it can get cold if traveling by plane!
There are so many amazing options in luggage these days! For a capsule wardrobe, you are going to want to go small, lightweight, but durable. It’s really a matter of preference whether you like a backpack, weekender type of tote, or hard shell spinner. If you are going to be on a plane, ideally you want to make sure to choose a bag that would fit in an overhead compartment or even under the seat. You will have to check with each airline for their specifications on size and weight.
Now that your bags are packed, it’s time to go find adventure! For more inspiration and tips check out my travel board on Pinterest!