Having a travel capsule wardrobe that works is essential when travelling for an extended period. This is our second 6 week trip to Europe and I always spend considerable time planning what I will take to wear.
Once we have done our travel planning I start at the most obvious place which is the weather forecast for each destination. For this trip we are transiting through Singapore and then travelling to Paris. From Paris we head South to Portugal and Spain, before returning to the south of France, then back to Paris via Lyon. Singapore will of course be hot and humid, with tops of around 30 degrees Celsius. Paris could be anything from 20 to 25 degrees but based on past experience I am expecting around 21 degrees and quite likely some rain. As we head south, the weather will warm up to mid to high 20s until we get to Lyon, when it will be cooler at 18 degrees maximum.
What activities does the travel capsule wardrobe need to provide for?
With the weather in mind, I then focussed on the activities we would be enjoying. This step gave me a feel for the type of footwear I would need as well as how dressed up I might want to be (or not).
Walking is very much on the agenda so comfortable shoes were a must. Shoes are heavy too, so I had to be very disciplined in my selection. I was fortunate enough to be gifted some new shoes from FRANKiE4 Footwear, which fit the bill perfectly. I trimmed my shoe selection down to two pairs of sneakers and one pair of low heeled ankle boots. Want to know more about why I chose these shoes?
We don’t plan on much fine dining on this trip, so the need to dress up is minimal. We do have one splurge night planned whilst we are in Provence staying with friends, and I packed an easy care dress which will suit for that and be practical for the rest of the trip. I also had a Westfield gift card ‘up my sleeve’ and once we arrived in Canberra I added a second dress; an easy care tencel shirt dress. In the past I have always flown wearing ponte pants, but during my planning I realised that these were going to be redundant whilst on the ground, so I removed them from my list. I decided that I would fly in dresses instead which would give me more flexibility.
The rest of my clothes are smart casual separates which allow me to mix and match and (hopefully) not feel too bored with my selections. A great place to find travel separates is the Basics Collection at Adrift Clothing.
When to start building your travel capsule wardrobe
I commenced gathering clothes about 6 weeks before departure, grabbing them from my summer wardrobe and storing them in a spare cupboard. This allowed me to visually appraise my selections and have time to refine by adding and deleting items.
I started with a selection that looked like this, knowing too that I had some items (kindly gifted) arriving from Yarra Trail. After a couple of weeks I decided to settle on a red/white/blue theme and removed the blush dress and the blush tee and also one of the two pairs of shorts. I also noted down each item and began to check them off against each other i.e. which tops went with which bottoms – this gave me a count of the total number of outfits. At this point I went back and looked at what I packed last time; that confirmed that I was at risk of taking too much and that removing the dress and tee was the right decision.
My final list was this:
Adding to the basics of my travel capsule wardrobe
With my colour palette and basics in place it was time to add both some accessories and some outerwear, the latter to cope with weather variations. I also added a cream merino top to wear back with jeans on any cooler days.
To cope with weather variations I included a trench coat, a hat which squashes flat for packing and a lightweight Paqme rain coat with hood.
The greatest risk with a travel capsule is that it becomes boring and so I rely heavily on accessories to mix things up and add colour and variety. I also like to travel with pashminas for warmth in flight.
Follow me on social media to see my travel capsule wardrobe in action.
So, now my bags are packed and my clothes for our first flight leg are laid out ready to wear. I hope I haven’t missed anything and that I haven’t taken too much. I will wear my boats and trench coat in transit as that will help lighten up my luggage. I think (hope) I am in pretty good shape.
How do you put together a travel capsule wardrobe? Do you start weeks ahead or pack at the last minute? What tips do you have to share?