I don’t know about you, but I believe that half of the fun of a trip is the planning and the anticipation. And that means buying stuff.
Back me up on this. I am sure I can’t be the only one who loves buying a new fill-in-the-blank before a big trip. It’s part of the process! And whether that shiny new object is a suitcase or a sweater, when you know you are buying it for a vacation, it becomes that much more special. Especially this year.
Whether you have plans to wander the globe by summer’s end or just to head across the state, I’m talking all about the clothes to take with you, and building a stylish and versatile travel capsule, in today’s video.
For some people, style is the first thing to go when planning a trip. They pack for practicality and comfort, period. And so they take the hats with the weird flaps on the sides, or the chunky and unattractive walking sandals, or buy something with the name of their destination on it. But there is an art to travel, to exploring and immersing yourself in different settings and cultures, and clothes are a part of that.
You want pieces that repel spots and smells, stay relatively wrinkle-free, and look and feel fabulous.
That can be a tall order, but with a little planning and intentionality, it’s a totally achievable goal. Here, my strategies for building out a travel capsule that will ensure you’re ready for future travels near and far.
Pick a Color Palette
Building your travel capsule around neutrals makes sense for a variety of reasons. They are subtle, don’t draw too much attention to themselves, and always look elegant and appropriate. But possibly the best reason to start with neutrals is their versatility. Choose 2-3 main neutrals for your travel capsule. White, black, and denim blue would work well, for example, depending on your coloring, and use them for the bulk of your travel wardrobe.
One the foundation of your neutral wardrobe is built, you can add a pop of a favorite color, if you wish.
Incorporating a couple of colorful pieces can keep your travel capsule interesting. One of the easiest ways to do this, however, is through the use of completer pieces (i.e. jackets) or accessories, as in these examples.
Start With What You Own
I know it can be tempting to buy all new clothes for a trip. Instead, save some of that money for shopping when you arrive at your destination by starting with what you have. If you’ve done a good job of building out a wardrobe full of versatile and neutral essentials you should have all that you need for your travel capsule.
Fill in the Blanks
After assessing your wardrobe neutrals and choosing the hardest working pieces, your next step is to shop for what’s missing. And to help you do this, I create a travel capsule filled with effortless pieces from travel-focused brands. These are pieces made from high-tech fabrics that don’t wrinkle, stain, or smell. Some of them even eliminate cellulite and negotiate world peace. 😉
Pack Pieces, Not Outfits
You want every single piece you take on your trip to work hard for you and to earn the right to be in your suitcase. After all, that’s precious real estate. (Of course, there are rare exceptions such as costumey or location specific pieces). And that means that each of those pieces should work in multiple outfits. When you pack outfits, you end up taking items specific to creating that one look, and ultimately, you overpack.
Pack Twice as Many Tops as Bottoms
This is a good general rule of thumb in any capsule. Tops are more memorable and more prone to getting dirty, so pack double the number of tops as you do bottoms.
Once you have your capsule pieces chosen, create as many different outfits as you can. Really look at your itinerary, including dress codes, temple/church visits, fine dining, theater, and local norms, and make sure that you have an outfit for every event you have planned.
Be Ready for Anything
Hard working versatile clothes mean that you’re ready for anything, from sightseeing excursions to 5-star restaurants. Layers are essential to staying comfortable both en route and at your destination, so make sure that your capsule accounts for temperature changes.
Here, my suggestions for the pieces to take for a two week trip to an urban or suburban setting. You’ll want to make some changes to this lineup if you’re heading on a beach vacation or on an adventure trip that involves outdoorsy stuff.
For example, I hear that there is something called a walking shoe, but that might be an urban legend.
Here’s the breakdown:
- 4 bottoms, including a versatile pair of pants in your dark neutral, light and dark jeans, and possibly a white pair of jeans or a lighter pair of bottoms
- 7-8 tops, including tees, a neutral sweater, and a button-down
- A versatile dress in your dark neutral
- A cashmere or merino wrap
- A versatile blazer to dress up any outfit, or the jacket/cardigan of your choice
- A convertible crossbody bag that doubles as a clutch/belt bag/etc.
- A waterproof trench with removable hood
- A pair of booties in your dark neutral (these are so versatile and can be dressed up a bit or worn casually)
- A pair of sneakers in your dark neutral
- A pair of metallic flats
- Optional: A pair of pretty flat sandals in summer or a pair of pumps in your dark neutral
Here are some travel-specific essentials that I love for their versatility and style. As you can see, these pieces are all pretty expensive, but if ecofriendly, hard-working, and high-tech pieces are important to you, then you might want to invest in a couple. Everything in this post and video can be found in this catalog.
Splurge Travel Capsule
Steal Travel Capsule
I hope that this post gave you ideas and resources for building your own versatile travel capsule, one that takes you on many fun and safe adventures!