The Stylish Traveler: How to Create the Perfect Travel Capsule Wardrobe

3.12.24

I don't know about you, but I've been guilty of packing way more clothes, shoes, and cosmetics than I could ever use during a trip. I start off organized, but by the time I finish I'm just throwing random things into my luggage "just in case"! After many years of traveling for both business and pleasure, I've finally come up with the perfect packing formula that works every time. It's a minimalist travel wardrobe and it's like a microcosm of your everyday capsule wardrobe. I've found that when you plan ahead to create a tight packing list of classic styles that are able to mix and match together, you can create endless outfits and always look like you're wearing something new! These pieces also work for many different occasions, ensuring you always have the perfect thing to wear wherever your trip takes you.

The best way to achieve this is by sticking to a neutral color palette so that everything works together. Pack quality items because these pieces of clothing will work overtime and you don't want any fashion mishaps. And focus on versatility so that each item carries it's weight (literally!). For shorter trips it's easy to pack light, but if you follow these general rules of thumb, you'll be able to avoid overpacking and the need for a large suitcase.

As for cosmetics, I like to pack products that are a 2-for-1, meaning they have multiple uses so I can pack half the amount. And as a bonus, it also takes half the time to get ready!

I've created three examples of minimalist travel outfits and shared my favorite products below. The pieces from all three looks can be mixed and coordinated together for endless outfit possibilities! And they work for various types of weather all year round. You can shop from each edit via the links below to create your own mini travel capsules - now let's get started!

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Look One:

The clothing items in this edit are quintessential classic style but never boring. With so many ways to layer and style these, you'll always look fresh & chic. These pieces can be pulled together into one outfit or split apart into over 10 different looks. These are the items I always pack for a trip, no matter where I'm heading.

Tank tops: Tanks are great for any weather - to be worn alone when hot or as a base layer when cooler. I always make sure to pack at least 1-2 tanks in neutral colors. J. Crew, Perfect Fit High Neck Tank

Light weight sweater: A lightweight cashmere sweater doubles as a layering piece and a scarf to wrap around your shoulders. Both comfortable and great for styling, a grey v-neck or scoop neck goes with everything in a minimalist wardrobe. Theory, Cashmere Sweater

Pair of jeans: If you are not already wearing one to travel, you certainly need to pack a perfect fitting pair of jeans. I love a straight leg because it's classic and can be dressed up or down. The leg shape goes with any shoe whether it's a sneaker for running around during the day or a heel for heading out at night. Agolde, 90's Straight Leg Jeans

Button-down shirt or Dress shirt: Another classic that can be styled in so many ways and is super-versatile, a button-down shirt in a classic color or stripe is a must-pack. Veronica Beard, Amelia Button-Down Shirt

Black leather jacket: I love to pack a black leather moto jacket for it's versatility and it adds a bit of an edge to a classic wardrobe. This one is the perfect length and weight for travel. Closed, Leather Biker Jacket

Pairs of shoes: Sneakers are a must when traveling as you are often on your feet all day or walking a ton. And if you are someone who likes to workout while away, you'll need a pair of sneakers then too. I love these Nike's because they are super functional and a mix of neutrals that help tie all of these pieces together. As you'll see in the other looks, you can easily pair sandals and heels back to this edit as well. Nike, Phoenix Suede and Canvas Sneakers

Tip: If you are going somewhere with extremely cold weather and need to pack heavier pieces, wear boots and your thickest sweater to save space in your suitcase. You will most likely take them off on the flight and will need them as soon as you land so it's a perfect strategy!

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Look Two:

This edit skews more towards spring and summer but works for the fall too. And mixed with Look One, these pieces can really be worn all year round.

Trench Coat: The most classic of all the coats, the trench never goes out of style. Fashionable and functional (doubling as a rain jacket), this can easily pair back to jeans or over a dress for a business function. Homme Girls, Cotton Trench Coat

White jeans: The wider leg and length of these jeans are perfect to pair back to sandals, sneakers, or heels. With the clean wash and front pockets they can also be dressed up or down easily depending where your day takes you. Jeanerica, St Monica Flared-Leg Jeans

White t-shirt: A little white tee goes back to everything. This one has such a pretty stitch and neckline so it's a little more dressed up than your basic tee making it more versatile. Leset, Pointelle-Knit Cotton T-Shirt

Sandals: Flat sandals are the easiest thing to pack as they take up no room in your suitcase! I love a strappy pair for their versatility and ability to be dressed up or down. A. Emery, Lucia Leather Sandals

Tote bags: A tote bag is a must on any trip. When away from your hotel all day, you need a bag large enough for all of your daily essentials. And of course if you're shopping along the way, it's much easier to use one bag than carry multiple shopping bags. This one from Bembien adds some texture to your look and is a great size and weight for travel. Bembien, Gabrielle Woven Leather Tote Bag

RELATED: In the Trenches: 8 Stylish Ways to Wear a Trench Coat This Spring

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Look Three:

If you are going on a business trip or traveling for a special occasion, you will need a couple less casual, timeless pieces that easily slot into your minimalist capsule wardrobe. Dress clothes can also be versatile, styled multiple ways and worn for many different occasions.

Little Black Dress: This LBD is the perfect length and style - classic enough for a work event, but stylish enough to be worn out for dinner or drinks at night. It's also a knit dress so it's really comfortable, easy to pack and won't wrinkle as easily as woven dresses. Anemos, Knit Mini Dress

Classic black blazer: A black blazer is a wardrobe staple that can be worn over your dress or back to jeans from Look One and Two. This style from Veronica Beard can also be worn with different hoodies zipped in and out which make it even more versatile for travel! Veronica Beard, Miller Dickey Jacket

Classic black heels: These heels are classic with a bit of an edge to ensure your look is anything but boring. Wear them back to this dress or with jeans for a night out. Aeyde, Saga Leather Pumps

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Beauty Routine:

Keep your beauty routine clean and simple. I recommend taking the following with you that also pull double duty and give you a beautiful everyday glow.

Tinted Moisturizer: This moisturizer has SPF 30 so it's great to wear all day long and it's tinted which doubles as a light foundation. Who doesn't love a 2-in-1 when trying to pack light?! Nars, Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

Cheek and lip tint: Another 2-in-1 from Jones Road, this tint can be used for cheeks, lips, and even eyes. (Okay, so 3-in-1, even better!) It gives such a beautiful rosy glow, no one will know you just got off an 8 hour flight. Jones Road, Miracle Balm

Thrive mascara: The best thing about this mascara is that it washes off clean, leaving no residue behind on your face. Which means you don't have to travel with extra makeup remover to remove the dark circles most mascaras leave behind. Thrive Causemetics, Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

Once you have your <u>minimalist travel capsule wardrobe</u> set, you can then add a couple of statement pieces to compliment and enhance your looks. Just don't go overboard! Follow these guidelines on your next trip and you'll be shocked that not only do you not overpack, but that you are able to get the most out of the items of clothing you actually bring with you. The easiest way to ensure you have the right look for anywhere your trip takes you is to pack the right pieces. If you follow these edits, you will always feel like the girl who got it right for every occasion.

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