Keep your travel wardrobe simple and varied through the art of coordination. Just throw in a few accessories for a look that’s individual yet stylish
|Picture: Tim Walker via Pinterest|
DOES this picture look familiar? Do you feel like this before you head off overseas or for a weekend away? Not sure what to pack? Struggling to keep under those weight restrictions? Or just want to keep your luggage to a bare minimum? If you answered yes to all these questions, then you need a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe
is a small, considered collection of clothes that provides a minimum
number of garments to meet your daily needs. It is also the solid foundation on
which to build the rest of your wardrobe. Limiting your choices will help you
one capsule wardrobe won’t deliver what every woman needs for every occasion. What
you need for work obviously won’t be suitable for the weekend; nor a week
in the sun in Tahiti or a week skiing in Aspen; shopping in New York in January
compared with shopping in Singapore in July. Despite the obvious need
for different items, underpinning every “capsule wardrobe” are key essentials. Classic
packing for any trip overseas – for work or pleasure – the three most important things to consider are the weather, reason for travelling and the places you’ll be
But even I struggle to pack the basic essentials. My excuse – I like to be prepared for everything!
You really don’t need hundreds of pieces
The trick is to pack a well-edited, coordinating wardrobe where all the pieces work together.
You really don’t need hundreds of different of pieces
to look good. With some careful thought and planning, all you need are eight to
10 key pieces to create 30 looks or more. In my former life as a fashion editor, one of the most popular stories I did was “Eight garments, 50 looks”. No, that’s not a mistake! Eight garments, 50 looks. Every season, I would re-work or update the same story idea, incorporating the latest trends, colours and prints.
But the key is colour. A truly successful wardrobe is one based around dark-coloured
basics (one that works with your skin tone, hair and eye colour) such as black, navy, grey or brown. Then add a neutral such as white, ivory,
beige or stone. Once you’ve got that sorted, choose
a highlight colour, one that works back with the other two. Maybe red, coral,
turquoise, green or blue – whatever works for you. This is also a great way to introduce some print
pieces, preferably in colours that will work back with the other two. But EVERYTHING
you pack has to work back with three other things in your suitcase. (Look here to get an idea of mix and match pieces in blue. Maybe substitute the blue trousers for black ones ... you get the idea.)
Next thing to consider is to invest in clothes that travel well. For example, fabrics that are lightweight and don’t
crush – think microfibres, jerseys, cashmere and those with added stretch for
comfort. Also choose fabrics that can be hand-washed and dried quickly. You really
don’t want to be bothered with dry-cleaning while on
the road or using the hotel laundry facilities – they’re expensive!
remember, if travelling in economy, you’ll generally be restricted to check in 20kg and
carry-on 7kg only. However if you’re travelling in business or first class, you
can check in up to 40kg, so you probably won’t feel the need to be too streamlined.
But it is still wise to pack smart. That way it leaves you some space if you
wish to do some shopping!
So let’s start
- A dark-coloured lightweight wool suit where the jacket and pants can be worn
separately forming the base for several other looks. Such as pants with jumper
or shirt. And the jacket over a dress, T-shirt, simple knit and jeans. If you
don’t own or need a suit, then pack a smart jacket in a dark colour
that can be worn over jeans, pants, dress or skirt.
Little Black Dress – one that can be dressed down
for day and dressed up for night
wrap dress or a simple dress in a colour co-ordinating print for day
quality T-shirts in white and grey marle in a variety of necklines or a classic Breton-style stripe top (the
stripes provide relief from plain colours)
or jeans, but make sure that both are smart and tidy, and lightweight.
Many seasoned travellers advise against denim as it is heavy and
bulky. So instead look for lightweight stretch cotton khakis, cargo pants
- A pashmina or a warm wrap – particularly
important as this can be packed in your carry-on luggage to keep warm (we all
know how cold the air-conditioning on a plane can be!) or thrown over your
shoulders to keep out the chilly evening air if out and about
trench coat, waterproof Mac or a coat in a warm but lightweight fabric
Think jumper and matching cardigan in complementary colour palette or highlight
colour. They can be worn together or separately to provide several different looks
(only if you wish to swim). A classic black or white one-piece can
also double as a bodysuit under a cardigan or jacket
- Yoga wear
or a stylish tracksuit if you wish to travel comfortably, workout in the
hotel gym or go for a walk
are critical. I suggest ballet flats or loafers for everyday
comfort – ones that work under jeans or pants, dress or skirt
a good pair of runners, particularly if you plan on doing plenty of walking
you’re travelling for business, pack one pair of black heels but keep them
simple and classic. They should be comfortable, take you from day
into night, and match everything in your suitcase.
everyday leather day/tote bag, preferably one with plenty of pockets
- A lightweight
nylon across-the-body travel bag/smart backpack or something similar
- You really don’t need a lot. But a mix
of statement accessories to take you from day into evening and stick to one colour.
Avoid the real things purely from a security point
can completely change an outfit and are in incredibly versatile. Think
bad hair day, extra warmth, swimsuit cover-up. They’re also very European.
But be sure to choose one that will pair well with every outfit combination
- If you’re travelling to
colder climes, rather than take a bulky heavy wool or cashmere coat, which will
take up half your case, invest in woolen thermals instead. Unfortunately,
thermals may not be sexy, but they are practical and very sensible. They are
lightweight, take up no space in your case and will keep you warm and toasty
under your other garments. And maybe take a pair of boots, gloves and a beret.
So, what have I forgotten? Is there one wardrobe essential you can’t travel without?
Or an accessory that changed the way you travel? Do you have any travel advice?
Would love to hear from you.
Labels: 50 looks, capsule wardrobe, classic basics, core essentials, eight garments, travel, what every woman needs