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CLEVER CAPSULE WARDROBE: STYLISH TRAVEL CLOTHES

I was recently on a family vacation cruising to Costa Maya and Belize. Now, I am not sure how many of you have ever cruised before, but if you have- you know how small the rooms can be. Even the cruise staff crack jokes about it, and with 4 of us to a cabin, plus all our luggage and its contents, you can only imagine the tight fit.

Funny thing is, on this particular ship the bathrooms were quite spacious! My point of all this is it got me thinking that although travel is fun and relaxing, packing and what to wear can be a real source of frustration. We all want comfort and function in our travel clothes, but still fashionable, or at least look half way decent in all those vacation photos. So, unless you travel Downton Abbey style, butler included, you are schlepping and packing your luggage yourself.

Capsule It!

One of the best ways to save space, lighten your luggage load, and still look great is by capsuling your wardrobe. Creating clothing capsules is a clever and easy way to travel with fashion versatility. Once you get the idea of how capsules work, you’ll be able to plan your style and function around them and give yourself tons of options. Best of all, you’ll save space in your luggage for all the shopping you will do on your trip!

A capsule is a group of 5-12 pieces that work in combination with each other. (photo credit Pinterest)

Travel Capsule

If your travel wardrobe is too cluttered, cleverly use the formula below to help pair it down, which will also make deciding what to wear so much easier.

Tips to Capsule Travel Clothes

1. Start packing 1-2 weeks before your trip. This gives you plenty of time to create your wardrobe and map out when you might be wearing each outfit. I personally will jot down each outfit for each day or activity. This is key to not over pack. Look at your itinerary and plan accordingly.

We love the Pack This! Pad, from Knock Knock, $7, to be able to visualize your needs easily.

Knock Knock Pack This Pad

2. Packing for changing temperatures can be bulky, so unless you are heading to a cold weather destination, my favorite piece to pack to ward off a chill is a pashmina. It packs lightly, can keep you warm especially if you layer, and it doubles as a modesty piece that you can wear to cover your shoulders when visiting cultural churches, temples or other scared places.

Sky Travel Wrap

Mer-Sea & Co. Sky Travel Wrap, $110

3. Take 1 medium/large carry-on tote with essentials such as a book, electronics, I.D. and other items you do not want to chance left in your checked luggage, and a small cross body bag that you can use as your day bag on your sight-seeing excursions. This way you can leave your larger bag in the hotel and only carry the bare minimum out and about for the day. The smaller cross body can double for your wallet in the larger tote.

Frye Tan Olivia Tote

Frye Tan Olivia Tote, $189

Anti-Theft Signature Double Zip Crossbody Bag

Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Double Zip Crossbody Bag, $52.99

4. Let’s talk neutral shoes, as these little beauties are essential to a great trip, but they can take up a lot of space in your luggage – and comfort is a must! I opt for shades of neutral, specifically nude, so they go with everything, or you can do a pop of color if you are keeping your outfits neutral. For you heel loving ladies like me, the best bet is a wedge, they can easily pair with dresses, shorts or pants. Nude Walking Wedge and Gladiator Wedge are two great choices. If flats are more your style, then look for something that can easily transition from all day to dresses for evening dinner. This pointy toe Rothy flat makes a great choice, and with so many colors and space saving style you can easily fit a few pairs in.

Clarks Women's Annadel Eirwyn Wedge Sandal

Clarks Women’s Annadel Eirwyn Wedge Sandal, $55-$99

Dansko Women's Vivian Gladiator Sandal

Dansko Women’s Vivian Gladiator Sandal, $69-$182

Rothy Flax Birdseye

Rothy Flax Birdseye, $145

5. Lastly, choose pieces from your travels that you love to be in and are comfortable. Items you would wear at home. I love to find shawls and pashminas traveling as a useful memento of my trip or a unique piece of jewelry – saves space in my luggage on the way there, it is an easy keepsake to bring home, and it is something you can wear back home to remember your trip.

How to Do a Capsule Wardrobe

  • 1 x Jacket/Cardigan/Pashmina
  • 4 x Pants/Skirts/Shorts
  • 4 x Tops
  • 3 x Shoes (heel, flat/walking shoe, workout/sport)
  • Stay neutral so they go with each outfit. I love a nude or tan shoe.
  • Accessories are a great way to change up your capsule and they don’t take up a lot space – so have fun here!
  • Don’t forget to add other essentials such as swimwear, workout wear, coat, gloves depending on destination/weather.
  • Substituting a dress instead of a top or bottom will reduce the total number of outfits. You may want to add a dress in as an additional piece to increase your variety. Remember it must work with the jacket/cardigan.
  • Look to find a common color in patterns so mixing is easier, and bottoms in shades of neutral such as black, navy, or tan go with everything. Each piece should be able to be mixed and matched with at least 3 other pieces in your packed wardrobe (except for the accessories).

Bon Voyage and Stay Stylish- Tara


Tara Hooper
Personal image and professional consultant. Effective communicator. Transformation queen. Confidence creator. 

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