Planning My Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Capsule Wardrobe: A small collection of intentional and thoughtful clothing pieces to last for a purpose or season of your life (a spring/summer capsule wardrobe, a business-professional capsule wardrobe, etc). The idea is to streamline and simplify your closet to be filled with truly useful clothing for specific situations and environments.
This past week I’ve thought a lot about my clothing, what pieces are purely ridiculous for my lifestyle, and most importantly, what uses I have for them. And guess what? I came to this. My lifestyle requires strange things from my outfit choices! I’m a strange mixture of seasonal business-professional and every day wear and a mini year-round capsule for… wait for it… travel. Yep! I’m planning my travel capsule wardrobe with pieces specifically for my adventures abroad.
Now before I go on to explain how this idea has come to be, I’m going to direct all curious minds to Caroline’s blog, Unfancy. Caroline is hands down the capsule wardrobe queen. She’s nailed this minimalistic approach to fashion on it’s pretty little head. And she also happens to have a TON of amazing resources to peruse through so you can plan your own capsule.
The final consensus to create travel’s own separate mini capsule wardrobe came from the realization that having 15 or so pieces to fit into a carry on for adventure purposes leads to an easier time packing light. Think about it! How nice will it be to have just a few pieces to fit into a suitcase? And in those few pieces, a platitude of stylish and useful outfits are guaranteed to come out of it?! See what I mean here?
Now, I will say this! 1. Many of these pieces will be incorporated into my everyday spring/summer capsule wardrobe, so they’re definitely not off limits in the real world. 2. These pieces are a base to which I will add a piece or two for the varying locations/ climates I might venture off to. 3. I have not included bags into this equation. Why? Because the type of travel I choose (adventure/backpacking vs. hotel resort hopping) and what the airline will let me bring on a plane without charging an arm and a leg varies greatly between trips. I’m still up in the air about what bags to bring, honestly. But I do know I’ve been eying up my friend Liz’s leather-goods line!
Here are the pieces on my shopping list for my travel capsule wardrobe:
Okay, here goes… Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a top hoarder. That’s why restricting the upper half of my body to just three-four tops has been tough! After creating Pinterest pages purely designated to color palettes and curating my favorite fashion looks, it became very clear that my taste actually steers away from what I have in my closet! I love minimal, light and neutral tanks and tee shirts that are able to transition from jeans to tucked into a midi skirt. Now, of course, this girl’s going to be in South East Asia this summer, so… yeah. Note to self, Laura: Say no polyester. Say yes to cotton, linen and rayon. Say yes to fabrics that won’t become a crinkled mess after you through it into the suitcase after a long hike. Because god knows, you will eventually do that. (Okay, I’m done talking in third person now!) Who likes short shorts? Admittedly, not me. What can I say? I’m pasty! I’m as porcelain as they come. But hey, when the climate calls for 90 degrees every day (yes, it’s true) I’ve gotta let go of my vanity issues! Linen army green shorts are a nice switch up from these classic black shorties that I always lean towards. I’m on the fence about the practicality of this skirt, especially because I know that my knees are required to be hidden when visiting ancient temples (that’s where a scarf/sarong comes in handy, I hear). But I will say that it’s a great option for dressing up with a tank and heels when going out. It adds a little bit of a sexy/formal flare than the dresses below!
By the way, generally my long term travels happen in the summer. Hence the tanks/shorts/dresses vs. parkas/boots. These pieces are based on that idea. I’m not opposed to a trip to, say, Iceland (sooner rather than later)… but the great thing about this capsule wardrobe is that many of these pieces work in either weather, while a few others can be traded for another warmer option. For example, sandals can be swapped for boots, a parka and a thick knit sweater can replace two dresses. You get the idea.
Dresses and rompers are the bestttt for packing light. It’s an entire outfit in one little piece! Easy as pie! I’m a girl who likes to feel unrestricted in her clothing, so I lean towards swaying, breezy dresses that I can add a belt to if I want to accentuate my waist. Rompers were my absolute favorite this past summer in Rome! Stylish and I don’t have to worry about crossing my legs like a lady 24/7? SCORE.
Having a few layering pieces is crucial for traveling. No matter what conditions you’re expecting, it’s nice to have the security of popping on a jacket while on a chilly plane or switching into jeans when the temperatures drop after dinner. Confession: I bought a leather jacket similar to the one shown above while I was in Scotland this past year and it saved my freezing *ss. I’ve been hooked on it since. At this point, it’s almost like my travel buddy. This little guy is coming to keep me warm on the plane and possibly save the day if we experience a chilly night in Japan. The jeans and scarf are necessary too! Because planes are cold, people. Planes-are-cold!
Let’s get some shoes! Oh my gawd, shoes! Anyone? Anyone? Flashback to when YouTube was this new kid on the block. In all seriousness, I know paring down shoes to three may be difficult to some, but I’ll say this…. “Girl, you already know that you’re going to buy a pair while you’re out there!” Save yourself some room to bring them home! Think of what you’ll be experiencing and what footwear is appropriate for it. Examples: Sneakers are almost always a must if you’re walking, period. Sandals, especially slip on sandals, are important for quick removal when coming in and out of buildings, stores, temples, etc…. as well as on the beach. And finally, everyone needs a nicer shoe for going out.
To summarize, what I will be shopping for are:
3-4 light, neutral tanks and tees + 2-3 shorts (possibly replacing the skirt) + 1 skirt + 3 dresses/rompers + 1 pair of jeans + 1 scarf + 1 jacket + 1 pair of slip on sandals + 1 pair of sneakers + 1 pair of heels = 15-17 pieces in total
So there you have it! These pieces are what I’ll be scouting for in what little free time I have between now and June! What do you think about the minimalistic, capsule wardrobe movement? Are there any pieces above you think should be replaced with something else? Anything I’m forgetting? Let me know in a comment!