Far Away Fashion

How to Plan a Travel Capsule Wardrobe in 5 Steps

Who wants a bulging case and last minute panics about what to wear when you want to be out and about exploring anyway?  Here’s how to plan a travel capsule wardrobe in five easy steps.

If you’re like me then you know the drill.  You leave packing right until the last minute, throw in as many clothes as you can for as many different eventualities as you can, sit on the case… and then come back having worn maybe a third of it.  Argh!  By the time you read this post I’ll almost be on my way back from Canada – the first trip I’ve taken in a while – and this time around I’ve promised myself to streamline my travel wardrobe and only pack clothes that I know that I’m definitely, absolutely going to wear.  I’m yet to be converted to the whole capsule wardrobe thing in my day to day life, but I’m definitely on board when it comes to travelling.  Who wants a bulging case and last minute panics about what to wear when you want to be out and about exploring anyway?  So, without further ado, here’s how to plan a travel capsule wardrobe in five easy steps.

1. Do Your Research

Before you even touch any clothes, you’re going to employ a bit of Google-Fu.  Research where you’re going, how long for and what you’re going to be getting up to while you’re away.  The answers to these questions are going to help you build a destination appropriate capsule wardrobe:

  • What’s the weather going to be like where I’m going?
  • Are there any events that I need to bring specific outfits for (like a wedding)?
  • How long am I away for?
  • Are there any local customs when it comes to fashion (will I need to cover up?)

2. Plan Must-Have Outfits First

Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to get stuck into your wardrobe, starting with the must-have basics.

A Travel Outfit

What are you going to wear when you’re on the road/in the sky?  Set aside something comfortable that will work as your “Travel Outfit”.  The bottom half is the most important part in my book; I like to be comfy if I’m going to be sitting down for a long time, and like to wear a pair of shoes that I can slip off if I want.

Event/Activities Outfits

Are you going to a special event while you’re away?  Are you going to be doing a certain activity that’ll need a certain outfit?  Are you going to be swimming?  Make sure these outfits make it into the suitcase before any others.

Knickers and Pjs

We all sleep, we all wear underwear (…right?).  So make sure you’ve got enough to see you through.  And when it comes to underwear, pack a variety that’ll work with different outfits (Spanx, Stick on Bras etc…).

3. Try On Some Outfits

With your must-have items sorted it’s time to work out what else you want to pack, keeping in mind that you want to build a versatile, interchangeable wardrobe.  You want colours that work together (some people like to choose black and white with accent colour) and items that are going to layer well.  Again, think about where you’re going, the weather and the sort of things you’re going to be doing.  Ask yourself:

  • What am I going to wear if it gets really hot?
  • What am I going to wear if it suddenly gets chilly?
  • What if it rains?
  • What am I going to wear during the day?
  • What am I going to wear out at night?


4. Build Your Capsule from the Core, then Add Extras

Now that you’ve got some ideas, you can start building your travel wardrobe starting with the basic core capsule items.  Here’s a basic list, obviously it’ll be different depending on where you’re going, for how long and your person style, but it should be enough to get you started.

  • Bottoms:
    • 1 Pair of jeans
    • 1 Pair of black jeans (that can be dressed up or down)
    • 1 Skirt
  • Tops:
    • 2 T-Shirts (one white)
    • 2 Blouses
    • 2 Vests/Camis (for layering)
  • Dresses:
    • 1 Casual
    • 1 Fancy
  • Outerwear:
    • 1 Jacket (what kind of jacket will depend on your destination)
    • 1 Jumper/Cardigan
  • Shoes:
    • 1 Comfortable pair for walking (trainers or boots)
    • 1 Pair of smart flats (could be sandals or ballet pumps)
    • 1 Fancy pair (evening shoes or heels)

Once you’ve got your core capsule sorted, you can start adding extras and statement pieces. 🙂

5. Add Accessories

Now that you’ve planned your outfits you can start adding accessories.  Try and streamline, picking items that will go with everything you’ve picked out so far and make sure you’ve covered the essentials like bags and belts.

And there you go, one travel capsule wardrobe that’ll free up some space in your suitcase and stop all those last minute wardrobe panics!  Have a great weekend guys! 🙂

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