We are about to embark on a 3 week trip through France and Italy and of course, my first thought was "How in the WORLD am I going to fit 3 weeks of clothing in one suitcase??" I know that a few of our clients have planned extensive travel for their honeymoons and, after talking with them and exchanging helpful ideas, I wanted to share how I packed for a month of travels.
Creating my travel capsule wardrobe
After worrying about buying 30 pairs of pants (really...no, really...) I remembered that my adoration for a capsule wardrobe could easily be translated to a travel wardrobe, making a set of versatile, interchangable outfits consisting of pieces that I truly love. Here are a few tips I'd love to share about my process:
Travel capsule wardrobe tip #1: choose your base neutral color
First, I selected my base neutral. In my mind, this would something like black, brown, or navy. I chose black after looking at what I had on hand. I did almost go with navy...but I always feel a little weird about what shoes go with navy. So I skipped it. I don't need that kind of stress...
Travel capsule wardrobe tip #2: curate your pants
Then I curated my bottoms as I figured this would be the simplest task for me. I tend to keep my pant/skirt options simpler than my tops, so I only have a few staples to choose from as it is. I chose a pair of comfy cropped denim, a pair of boyfriend jeans, and a pair of black denim.
Travel capsule wardrobe tip #3: mix and match your tops
I laid out all my pant options on the bed, took out every single top that met the parameters "do I feel fabulous in this?" and laid them on the bed above the pants. I then mixed and matched pieces to create outfits. If a top was neutral, went well with black and I could create 3 distinct outfits with it, it was included.
Travel capsule wardrobe tip #4: Add in layering pieces
I have a great selection of basics-short sleeved white, black, and gray tees, long sleeved gray and white tees, and a striped shirt. Then I supplemented those with some prints and a pretty blush silk top.
Since we are traveling through France and Italy, two fairly different climates during a season change, layering pieces will be key to navigating the variation in weather.
I have a camel schoolboy blazer and a leather moto jacket and I love how each of these pair so effortlessly with so many items in my collection! Now, I'm totally hoping it's a little cooler than we expect because I'm dying to wear these pieces!
I then chose jewelry and scarves to add layers. I have a layered pearl necklace, a sparkly statement necklace, and then a sweet and simple gold chain...which I will realistically wear almost every day. I love simple understated jewelry pieces!
Travel capsule wardrobe #5: Identify needs and go shopping
After I laid out my tops and bottoms, I noticed a few holes in my wardrobe where I needed some versatile items. I restocked my basic tees (a certain puppy snacked on them when we first brought him home...oops...) my layering options were basically non-existent as well.
I have been wishing for that camel schoolboy blazer I mentioned above for well over 2 years, but there was always something more important to get instead. I knew I would wear this piece quite a bit and when I saw this piece on sale, I was so happy to pick one up! I also picked up a black moto jacket as I knew this would be a lovely cropped piece for pairing with the dresses I have packed.
I also refreshed my shoe options as my basics tend to get a little beat up during wedding season. I picked up a pretty pair of black d'orsay flats, a pair of scalloped nude flats, and a pair of comfy, coastal feeling sandal (I really am just not ready to get behind the birky trend. This was as close as I could get!)
One of the pieces I'm most thrilled about purchasing was a gently used crossbody leather handbag. I found a beautifully broken in JCrew Tartine bag with pretty brass fixtures, the perfect pebbled leather, a fully zipping closure (important as petty theft is one of the biggest sources of crime in the EU) and a crossbody strap.
Travel capsule wardrobe tip #6: Break in your new pieces
This is so so important! I will be active in these pieces and I don't want anything to hold me up as we plan to walk extensively in these items. I gave myself a purchasing deadline of one month before our departure. I made all my purchases prior to then and then broke in my shoes and some of my denim.
I am a little nerdy about breaking in my shoes and had a break-in schedule to minimize blistering. I think it worked preeeeetty dang well-comment if you want to know more!
Travel capsule wardrobe #7: plan ahead
Real talk-my biggest concern was having enough clothing to last a month. I didn't think a capsule collection would survive this trip for that reason. But then I realized a startlingly simple reality. France and Italy have washing machines. And I can use them.
So when we land, I plan to pick up detergent so we can wash our clothes during our trip. Below are a few of my favorite basics and then a few ways I plan to create outfits from them!
I would love to hear packing strategies from other seasoned travelers! Has anyone else created a travel capsule wardrobe?
Select sources linked below:
Cropped jeans (discontinued, but white available here) | Cami | Schoolboy blazer | Tees from J.Crew and Gap | Distressed boyfriend jeans | Black denim | Mini tartine bag | Palm dress | stripped ponte dress (discontinued, similar here) statement and layered pearl necklaces: J.Crew Factory | Black d'orsay flats