What to pack? A travel wardrobe capsule

I like to keep a travel ready suitcase packed with a travel capsule wardrobe. I have found that this works for me because I don’t have to stress about what to pack and I am usually so sick and tired of my clothes by the time I get home I don’t want to see them again for a while. With a capsule, everything mixes & matches so I can fit everything into a carry on bag and avoid checking my luggage. Also, with a separate capsule, I don’t have to worry about my favorite bag getting destroyed by some mysterious sticky substance from floor of the airplane or the black grime in the taxi staining my pants.

My travel capsule is based on the type of traveling I typically do. Generally I go places that I can walk a lot; often I’ll visit a city and a small country town or seaside village in the same trip so I need versatile clothing that can go anywhere. So, what is in my capsule?

Well, my capsule is mainly black & white because I love neutral colors and black works well for travel (it hides the travel grime pretty well). Everything in a capsule must be able to mix and match with everything else. I choose items for my capsule that reflect what I wear in my regular wardrobe (in fact, it looks pretty much like my regular wardrobe that I wear at home).

Here is what I pack:

Black Yoga Pants & Jacket (I wear these with a black tee & my athletic shoes on the plane….with all the hassles of fly nowadays, I prefer to be comfortable. I also wear these when working out or lounging)

Black pants I like ExOfficio for travel they generally resist wrinkles and dry quickly if I have to wash them while on the road.

Jeans. I live in jeans and travel with them even though they are heavy to pack.

Black dress in a classic versatile style that can be worn day or night.

Bermuda Shorts in a khaki tan

Skirt generally a black a-line skirt that can be dressed up or down is a really workhorse in my travel capsule.

4 – 6 Tee shirts long & short sleeve, Round neck & v-neck, for me, it is always solid black and white tees, sometimes a stripe or a favorite color or two.

Print Blouse to add a little interest to my outfits. I like a grayscale print but choose any color that works with all of your other clothes in the capsule.

Cardigans. I love cashmere cardigans. I usually have a black cardigan and a solid color cardigan to add some interest to my pretty much neutral wardrobe. The black cardigan is a staple for me. The colored cardigan varies depending on my mood…this year I like light grey…choose what ever color makes you happy. In the summer I pack a cotton cardigan and the winter cashmere or lightweight wool.

Blazer. Throw a blazer over a tee shirt & jeans and you have transformed your outfit. I have a black blazer that is made out of soft stretchy cotton that is as comfortable to wear as a sweatshirt but looks so much more pulled together.

Trench Coat. I like trenches that have removable liners…that way you are ready for whatever weather you encounter. I have a black one but a tan one would work fine too. To save space in my suitcase I throw this on over my yoga pants and jacket on the plane.

PJs & travel Slippers. I have a light weight pair of cotton Pjs and lightweight travel slippers that I travel with….you never know when the fire alarm will go off and you will need to leave your hotel room…so choose something presentable to sleep in.

Swimsuit & Sarong I always throw a swimsuit in my bag…I like a tankini or a one piece suit. A sarong makes a good cover-up (and can double as a beach blanket) and doesn’t take up much room at all.

Dressy shoes that I can walk at least 1 mile in (as much as I love them, this leaves high heels off my list) I take a pair of black or metallic Ballet Flats. I am currently loving Mephisto’s Kaisy ballet flat…they are very comfortable and designed for walking and I can pair them with a dress or shorts or pants.

Casual athletic type walking shoes. These are not your typical white tennis shoes. These are shoes that are comfortable to walk in but look a little nice than the typical running shoe. I have a pair of Mephisto that I like and I also have a pair of Puma Imani’s that I switch between. These are the shoes that I wear on the plane. I never wear brand new shoes when I travel…I always make sure that the shoes I travel with are broken in and comfortable…who needs blisters when traveling!

Pair of Havainas that I can wear to the beach or use as a casual sandal

Scarf I have a black, white & grey striped scarf that I travel with. It works year round. You can pick any color or print that ties you capsule together. Slip your scarf in your tote and use it as a blanket on the plane.

Belt. I pack 1 belt that can be worn with jeans or over a cardigan or top to add interest. I choose to travel with a black leather belt.

Underwear. I travel only with nude colored undergarments. They do not show thru white clothing. I take 2 bras, 7 pr underpants (I like Hanky Panky’s original rise thongs. They are comfortable and do not leave me with a visible panty line and they hardly take up any room in my suit case). In the winter, I throw in a set of silk long underwear.
Socks. I take 7 pairs of black Tilley travel socks and 1 pair of black tights (incase it is cold and I want to wear a dress or skirt).

Watch. I like simple oversized classics watches…so I choose a men’s version Timex from J. Crew.

Jewelry. Leave the good stuff at home. Don’t wear anything flashy…you do not want to draw unwanted attention from thieves. I wear my wedding band and a simple pair of silver hoops when I travel. If I decide that I need a necklace or bracelet when I arrive at my destination, I go shopping (you can find some really nice inexpensive locally made pieces when you travel).

Tote. I am currently using a Longchamp Planètes black on black tote. I like a lightweight tote that zips.

Cross body Clutch I am currently loving Rebecca Minkoff’s Moring After Clutch. I can slip it into my tote on the plane and it is ready to go to dinner when I arrive at my destination. I like the fact that it can be carried cross body and frees up my hands.

Umbrella. I always keep an umbrella in my tote bag. Totes makes a nice Flat Fold Umbrella that is small and lightweight.

Sunglasses. I have a classic pair of RayBan Wayfarer Polarized sunglasses that I keep in my tote.

Toiletry Kit. I keep travel size containers (GoToob’s are really nice travel size containers) of my favorite shampoo & conditioner (I generally do not sure styling products so I don’t travel with them). Travel size toothbrush & toothpaste, a mini magnification mirror (that can stand up on its own), tweezers, mini hair dryer, small Mason Pearson brush & comb, mini flat iron (I don’t use this often but it comes in handy when my hair gets frizzy and out of control), a couple of hair bands (I have long hair and like to pull it back sometimes), nail file, lotion, sunscreen, facial cleanser, make up remover, facial lotion, eye cream, lip balm, exfoliant, Advil, pepto bismol, alka seltzer, feminine protection, razor, small bar of soap and a quick dry Aquis microfiber washcloth.

Make Up Case. When I travel, I like to keep my make up pretty minimal. Foundation, Blush, Mascara & Lip color/gloss that’s all I need. I keep it in a pretty make up case that I can drop into my tote.

Other items I keep in my travel tote. An Ipod, Netbook, small camera, a platypus water bottle, a few Kind bars, chewing gum and my passport. I also like to keep a separate wallet with extra pockets for foreign currencies.

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