With all the things that millennials are killing — like diamonds, chain restaurants, and the souls of anyone older than 35 — it makes sense that the majority prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things.
A travel capsule wardrobe paves the path for minimal decision-making when it comes to what you wear, so you can focus on the important stuff when you travel. Like figuring out how to nab the crown jewels and evade Scotland Yard. That Bumble dude who wants a partner-in-crime is going to be so impressed!
This travel hack gives you a simple, compact wardrobe that’s easy to pack, stow, and mix and match over the course of your trip to Cuba, the vineyards of Italy, or the rugged hills of Kyrgyzstan. Fashion blogger Kathleen Harper of Kat’s Fashion Fix recommends 30 items or less with a specific emphasis on comfort, style, and adaptability. Think: Jeff Goldblum.
HOW DO YOU BUILD A TRAVEL CAPSULE WARDROBE?
Harper emphasizes a need for “basic pieces you can get multiples uses out of that don’t require a lot of styling or attention. Take a minimalist approach and don’t get too wild with colors or prints.” Basically, she’s saying our burlap sack is working for us.
Keep it basic: first, start with a bag you love (like one of these hardside carry-ons). Then, pack clothes that are easily adaptable to whatever you might get into. If you want to zipline in heels, that’s on you. If you don’t, think jeans, basic shirts, or the classic Silicon Valley multimillionaire attire (looking at you, Zuck).
Harper uses the plain black or white t-shirt as a prime example of something that’s simple, yet not boring: “While every capsule wardrobe requires a simple black tee or white tee, the type of tee is completely up to you. Do you prefer v-neck or crew neck? Long sleeves or short sleeves?” Emblazoned with “GIRLS GONE CRUISIN’” or “Will Run for Wine?”
“It’s essentially as easy as grabbing a top, a bottom, and a shoe, and knowing that every time the pieces will go together and look great,” Harper says. Unless, of course, you pull a Winnie the Pooh.
By packing like this, it’s possible you’ll omit something you love, but a travel capsule wardrobe isn’t a creative death sentence. Combine a statement necklace, Kate Middleton’s hat from the royal wedding, and a fanny pack, and Karlie Kloss will be knocking on your door for fashion tips.
TRAVEL CAPSULE WARDROBE: SUMMER TIPS
Summer is in theory the perfect time to travel. There’s nice weather, time off from school, and summer Fridays at work. On the other hand, no one wants to see Dave from sales at the beach. Especially not after hearing about his workout routine every day for the last four months. See Dave. See Dave’s abs. See us head to the snack bar.
But the sweaty season is also the easiest to pack for, thanks to light pieces that don’t take up a lot of space — unlike Dave’s meal prep. Dammit, Dave, we talked about this!
Anyway, to create the perfect summer wardrobe, start with staples:
- basic white t-shirt
- basic black t-shirt
- a pair of jean shorts
- a pair of long pants (for cooler nights or museums where they’re cranking that air conditioning)
- a few swing dresses (roll and shove into the random crevasses of your suitcase)
- a few light jackets or pullovers and skirts that give you a variety of silhouettes
- Pack your sandals: one pair with a strap behind your heel so they stay on well, and one pair of slide-on sandals.
- Wear your sneakers or walking shoes on the plane. They’re bulky, and the hardest to play suitcase Tetris with.
Finally, consider investing in a multi-use fabric like the Twelveways that allows you to create a dozen looks with a single piece. Sure you could screw up and look like a Cirque du Soliel reject, but get it right, and you’ve hit the jackpot. Minus the noise and the money.
TRAVEL CAPSULE WARDROBE: WINTER TIPS
For winter travel, you have to maximize space with bulkier items. Your favorite oversized sweater is as comfy as a sleeping bag, but it’s also the same size, so unless you want to sleep in it, it stays home where your roommate definitely won’t borrow it.
Here’s how to adjust a capsule wardrobe for winter travel:
- Black and white tops are still a must, along with a handful of colorful sweater-sized sweaters.
- Sneakers, neutral heels, or nicer boots can round out footwear for many occasions. Just bring something appropriate for your trip – don’t be stuck at a winter gala for the Abominable Snow Man in dirty sneakers. Trust us on this one.
- Double down on pants. Pack jeans and a pair of warm, comfortable black pants. They match everything. Except your black shirt that’s a slightly different shade of black.
- For light jackets, viable options include cardigans, leather, denim, or bomber jackets. Think of your fashion icons as an elementary school teacher, Justin Theroux, Canadians, Amelia Earhart.
- Or, if you want the Swiss army knife of jackets, check out what the Baubax jacket which The Daily Beast believes “may just be the best travel jacket ever made.” It has a built in eye mask to help you evade the incessant talker sitting next to you, who didn’t get the hint when they saw your headphones.
- You’ll still want comfortable walking shoes, but maybe opt for booties (like a good Chelsea Boot) to give you more protection from the cold and potentially snow. Frostbite was so last winter.
If you’re going somewhere super chilly (like Reykjavik), wear thin long underwear and your heavy jacket or parka on the plane and stuff the latter in the overhead bin. The right kind of long underwear is relatively thin, but will still keep your limbs pretty toasty. We’re just waiting for this look to show up on the Victoria’s Secret runway.
Traveling in the spring or fall? Just adjust the recommendations. Pick a thinner or thicker jacket, or throw in a pair of fleece leggings. Google the weather before you go like the Internet-savvy person you are, and remember you can always shop when you get there. Because with all this extra room in your suitcase, of course you’re going to bring more things back with you! The best kinds of souvenirs are the ones you get to keep yourself.
Sorry, Dave. None for you.