8 Key Pieces for Packing a Capsule Travel Wardrobe

If you’re a frequent traveler, then you probably already know that packing for your next trip can be a tedious and time-consuming activity, particularly when it comes to clothes. This is especially true when you’re deciding on what specific outfits to wear and the amount of clothes you need to take with you. Oftentimes, travelers end up packing more garments than they actually need, resulting in their suitcases becoming overly bulky and heavy.

woman luggage

Luckily, you can streamline your packing process and make dressing up a breeze by creating a travel capsule wardrobe. A travel capsule wardrobe refers to a small collection of high-quality, versatile, and timeless clothing pieces that can be packed easily when one has to travel. It’s a pared down selection of clothes that’s usually composed of twenty-five to fifty fashion staples. These are items that always pair well with one another, so they can be mixed up to create a wide variety of outfit combinations. Since every piece in a capsule wardrobe has a timeless design, they’ll also never go out of style. This reduces decision fatigue and helps you look stylish with minimal effort.

Many fashion-savvy travelers have adapted the capsule wardrobe for a more convenient packing experience that doesn’t sacrifice style.

What to Keep In Mind When Building Your Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Firstly, you’ll need to pack clothing items that suit the weather of your destination. For this reason, clothes that can be layered are ideal, as you can easily add or remove these layers to suit the weather conditions of your destination. It also prevents you from bringing too many bulky outerwear pieces that could weigh down and bulk up your luggage.

When it comes to the colors of your garments, it’s best to choose items in neutral colors. Neutral shades can be paired with any color, so you don’t have to overthink your outfits. Black, gray, white, navy, and beige are some classic examples of neutral colors.

Also take note that a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe is typically much smaller than your usual capsule wardrobe. It’s usually composed of a minimum of six clothing items and a maximum of fourteen. The types of items that you include in your travel wardrobe is ultimately up to you, but there are a few essentials that every traveler should consider packing on their next trip. If you’d like to know more about what to pack, below are eight key pieces to include in your travel capsule  wardrobe:


It’s best to pack around three bottoms for your trip. These pieces should be versatile enough to be dressed up or down depending on your needs. Leggings are an ideal option for many travelers, as they’re lightweight, extremely comfortable, and come in a variety of designs. If you don’t have a pair of leggings, don’t fret. You can easily buy cotton leggings today as they’re readily available in both online and physical stores. Jeans are also good bottoms for traveling, since they’re classic pieces that pair well with almost any top. Plus,  denim is durable and thick enough to withstand cooler temperatures while being breathable enough for warmer weather conditions. If you’re heading to a destination with a warm climate, also consider bringing shorter bottoms, like mini skirts, knee-length skirts, capri pants, and the like.

Casual Tops

Similar to your bottoms, it’s best to pack at least three casual tops that you can wear while you do your travel activities like sightseeing. T-shirts in colors like white and gray are great options, as they go well with almost anything. Tank tops are ideal tops for warmer weather and can be layered with other closet items like scarves and cardigans.

Button-Down Shirt

It’s good to pack at least one button-down shirt, especially when you’re traveling for work. After all, you’ll need a dressier top if you’re expecting to attend some meetings—whether they’re virtual or face-to-face. Additionally, try to choose dress shirts that are made from anti-wrinkle materials or fabrics that are easy to maintain. A crisp and low-maintenance shirt will not only look impeccable during your work affairs, but also save you the trouble of looking for a clothes iron while you’re far from home. Plus, you can easily toss it into your luggage without any hassle or fuss.

Little Black Dress

If you’re going to be having an active nightlife during your travels, you should definitely include a little black dress in your wardrobe. It’s a simple, fail-proof, and sophisticated clothing piece that will always look chic. You can spruce it up with a pair of pumps and some jewelry, or wear it with leggings and boots in colder weather.


A cardigan is a useful addition to your travel wardrobe. It’s not too bulky and can be thrown on top of your base layer, like a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. It can also be worn underneath your outerwear if you need the extra warmth. Besides functionality, cardigans are also stylish pieces that can make any outfit look preppy and put-together.


Sometimes, a cardigan isn’t enough to keep you insulated in frigid temperatures. If you’re traveling to a place with very cold weather, it’s always best to bring one piece of quality outerwear. In this case, a jacket or a coat is usually more than enough. Rain jackets, field jackets, denim jackets, and leather jackets are all great options when it comes to staying warm and fashionable.

For extra coverage, you can opt to bring a coat. Trench coats and puffer coats are posh yet functional outerwear for winter weather. Additionally, since outerwear tends to take up a fair amount of space in your luggage, you can opt to wear yours on the way to your destination to lessen your baggage load.


Accessories can complete an outfit and give it an entirely new look. They’re small but mighty wardrobe pieces that certainly shouldn’t be skipped when you’re packing. Wearing items like patterned scarves, shades, gloves, hats, and jewelry is the perfect way to spruce up any clothing ensemble. Keep in mind that the kinds of accessories you’ll bring will depend on your personal preferences, so stick to pieces that feel right for you.


Ideally, your travel capsule wardrobe should include two pairs of shoes. One pair of casual footwear and another pair of dressier ones. Your casual footwear should be comfortable and multi-functional, so you can wear it throughout your travels. Shoes like sneakers, ballet flats, and loafers are great options for this purpose. Meanwhile, your dressier footwear is meant to be worn during more formal occasions, like work events or evening affairs. Shoes like block heel sandals and high-heels are perfect for this purpose.

Much like clothes, you should also keep weather conditions in mind when selecting your footwear. For warmer weather, you can consider bringing open-toed shoes like strap sandals for your casual footwear. For colder weather, booties and knee-high boots are cozy options that’ll keep your feet warm and protected as you travel.

Remember, you don’t have to bring your whole closet selection on your next trip. With just a few versatile and functional items, you can create an assortment of stylish looks for any kind of destination. By creating a travel capsule wardrobe, you can save time on packing, keep your luggage light, and still look glamorous wherever you go.


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