Going on a trip this year? This travel capsule wardrobe will make packing super easy and fun!
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What is a Travel Capsule Wardrobe?
A travel capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing pieces, that can be interchanged easily to create several outfits. With a capsule wardrobe like this, you will have multiple coordinating outfits for your travel capsule wardrobe.
If you need something like this for your everyday wardrobe, check out these wardrobe guides!
Why Do You Need a Travel Capsule?
Travel should be simple and does not have to be complicated. A huge part of travelling any distance is packing!
Here are a few of the benefits you could experience with a travelling capsule wardrobe.
- Packing light
- Avoid checked bag fees (I refuse to check a bag!)
- Save time getting dressed on vacation
- Pre-planned travel outfits
- Save Money by packing items you already own
- Reduce decision fatigue
- Enjoy more vacation time and lessen “I have nothing to wear” frustration
- Increased organization
I’ve been that girl on a trip, the one who packs way too much and returns from vacation with a load of clean, unworn clothes. It is frustrating!
Even more, that same girl lugs around a heavy suitcase and waists precious vacation time at baggage claim. Don’t be that girl!
There is so much freedom in packing light and utilizing a capsule wardrobe. You could get so much time back on your trip with a travel capsule wardrobe, and who doesn’t want more vacation time?!
How to Build a Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Pack in 5-6 day increments
You should pack enough clothes for 5-6 days worth of outfits. If you need more outfits, plan to do at least one load of laundry.
I know, laundry sounds like an inconvenience but it really isn’t, especially if you have laundry on site during your travels. It is well worth it to gain the benefits of packing light.
Pack Lightweight Layers
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Layers allow for outfit versatility, which is key to any capsule wardrobe. Lightweight fabrics are easier to pack and more compact. If you want a carry-on only lifestyle, this rule is key to follow.
Wear bulky items on travel days
If there’s a bulky item I want to wear on a trip (chunky shoes or a denim jacket, for example) I make sure to wear those on “travel day”.
Whether you are driving a long distance or flying on a plane, wear the bulkiest items, if you can, on transportation days. This will free up precious suitcase space!
Choose Neutral Colors
Neutral colors are the foundation to building any type of capsule wardrobe. By packing pieces that are only neutral colors, you will be guaranteed to mix and match effortlessly.
Neutral colors include black (or navy blue), white, blue denim, gray, tan, and olive green.
Pack low maintenance fabrics
Choose clothing that is less likely to wrinkle while packed away in your suitcase. This will ensure your outfits look fresh and avoid the need to iron while on vacation. If you do have wrinkle-prone clothing, try packing a compact clothes steamer!
If you plan to do laundry on an extended trip, make sure to pack washing machine friendly garments. Avoid packing dry clean only items!
Stick to the basics
Remember, versatility is key. A basic white t-shirt can be worn more ways that a puffy sleeve, floral smocked top!
When packing, lay out everything you plan to take and make sure every item can be mixed and matched together.
Here are a few basics to consider for summer travel: white t-shirt, black tank top, denim shorts, linen pants, and a neutral dress.
Travel Capsule Wardrobe Checklists
Spring/Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Use this list as a packing guide for all of your warm-weather vacations, including beach trips, cruises, and Caribbean escapes.
- 2-3 basic tops (t-shirts, tank tops, tunics)
- 1-2 short sleeve or sleeveless elevated tops (blouses, button downs or tanks)
- 3 bottoms (denim shorts, linen pants, flowy shorts, or lightweight skirts)
- 1 lightweight layering top for unexpected weather or air conditioning (knit cardigan, sheer button down, etc.)
- 1 dress
- 2 bathing suits
- 1 cover-up
- 1 comfortable pair of walking shoes
- 1 pair of beach sandals or flip flops
- 1 pair of dressy sandals
- 2 bathing suits (1 to wear while 1 dries)
- 1 mesh pool/beach bag
- 1 packable sunhat
Below is an example of a summer travel capsule wardrobe.
shop this capsule
Fall/Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Use this list as a packing guide for all of your cooler-weather vacations, including fall road trips, holiday travels, and sightseeing in the city. Remember to wear bulky items on travel day! Check out this capsule wardrobe for holiday travels!
- 1-2 long sleeve layering tops (thermals, blouses, cotton shirts)
- 1-2 sweaters
- 1 cardigan
- 3 comfortable bottoms (trousers, jeans, faux leather leggings, etc.)
- 1 packable puffer coat
- 2 shoes (flats, boots, sneakers)
- 5 pairs of socks
- hat, scarf, and gloves
Below is an example of a Fall/Winter travel capsule wardrobe.
Weekend Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Going on a quick weekend trip? Consider packing these items. Get inspired with this packing list for weekend trips! This capsule can be switched up for warmer weather using lightweight tops & bottoms, instead of what is listed here.
- 2 basic tops
- 1 sweater
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of faux leather leggings
- 1 dress (to dress up or down)
- 1 pair of walking shoes
- 1 pair of walking sandals
- 1 layering jacket or top
Below is an example of a weekend trip travel capsule wardrobe, linked here.
Active/Outdoors Travel Capsule Wardrobe
- 4 shirts or tank tops in quick dry, breathable fabric
- 2 pairs of active pants
- 1 pair of active shorts
- 1 pair of jeans (for down time activities)
- 1 packable jacket
- 6 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of active shoes for your planned activities (water shoes, hiking boots, trainers, etc)
- 1 pair of casual shoes (for down time activities)
Business Travel Capsule Wardrobe
If you will be travelling for business and have several meetings requiring business casual or business professional attire, consider packing these items.
- 2-3 professional button downs or blouses
- 2 professional bottoms (trousers, pencil skirts, etc.)
- 1 casual top (for down time)
- 1 blazer
- 1 pair of dark wash jeans (for dinner with colleagues or clients)
- 1 pair of professional shoes
- 1 pair of business casual shoes
- 1 small bag for evening events
- A portable clothes steamer (to ensure your clothing is crisp for work!)
Below is an example of a weekend trip travel capsule wardrobe.
Clothing Essentials for Travel Capsule Wardrobes
While there is not a definite list of essential clothing items for travel, there are a few essential pieces that are generally suitable for a capsule wardrobe.
The essentials required for your travel needs will be determined by your travel destination, destination activities, expected weather, and personal style.
Use the below guide to get started on your packing and inspire your personal travel capsule wardrobe. These 7 items are a great staring point and easy to build out into a full travel capsule wardrobe using other items from your closet.
- basic t-shirt (white is always my go to)
- basic tank top (great for layering
- 1 layering top (button down, denim jacket, or comfortable blazer)
- 1 pair of denim bottoms (shorts and/or jeans)
- 1 dress or midi/maxi skirt
- 1 pair of versatile & comfortable sneakers
- 1 pair of dressy shoes (flats, strappy sandal, booties, etc)
What NOT to Pack for Travel
Here’s a list of 6 things items to avoid packing your travel capsule.
- High maintenance fabrics (leave dry clean only items at home!)
- Trendy items you cannot mix and match with other pieces
- Too many bulky items (1-2 pairs of jeans is enough!)
- Anything that is uncomfortable or things you wouldn’t wear at home (the goal is to wear & love what you pack!)
- Extra valuables and gadgets
- Formal attire & shoes (unless your plans require it)
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bandırma oto çekici says
You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like that before. So great to find someone with some original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!