I used to wish that I could bring just about everything in my closet with me on a trip. I wanted to be able to choose an outfit spur-of-the-moment, and feel like I had every option packed. But it never really works out that way, does it?
Packing in as much as possible, there’s always something left behind, and I would still be stuck standing in front of my suitcase wasting precious vacation time looking for the right outfit. Then there’s the big suitcase, the baggage fees, all the luggage lugging.
It didn’t take me long to switch over to a packing style that let me make all the decisions ahead of time, pack lighter, and still feel stylish on my trip: a travel capsule wardrobe. I aim for a well-edited, remixable collection of clothes that can see me through my trip, so I can get dressed on autopilot and focus on enjoying my latest destination.
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exploring Versailles in September.
The first step to designing a travel capsule wardrobe is to find the pieces in your closet that will work best for whatever is on your itinerary. Wandering through the Left Bank in Paris is going to require a different packing list than hiking in Cassis, but I always start with my staples for the season – this post has my top 10 items for fall.
Round up everything that seems like a good fit for the trip, lay it all out (or use this app). You’ll start to see a nice collection coming together – tops that work with multiple bottoms, colors that pop up in a few different places. Once you have some items set, it’s easy to see gaps or pull out something that don’t work with the rest. Download my free travel capsule planner to guide you through the process!
For longer trips, I pack about 25 items/20 outfit combinations, but if it’s less than ten days around 15 items/11 outfit combinations is plenty for me. Click here for a 25-item fall capsule that could see you through a longer trip.
I love when clothes toe the line between basic and fun. A green ribbed top, a striped sweater, a polka-dot blouse – they’re each simple enough to mix and match, but a little more interesting than basic black.
Three pairs of shoes can see my through almost any length of trip: leather sneakers for lots of walking, simple mules for travel days and lazy weekends, and a decidedly stylish shoe to balance out a simple outfit.
You could easily swap out the leather jacket for a trench coat if that’s more your style. For me, a roomy tote bag (market trips and travel days) + a cute crossbody bag (easy exploring) is the perfect formula. Don’t forget a little jewelry!
my free printable five-step
guide to packing light &
traveling in style