The Secret To Packing Light | Creating a Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit

How amazing does it feel to be able to explore the world again? 


For several years, the Covid pandemic has caused travel to grind to a halt globally and disrupted all our plans. And while it may not be completely over yet, most of us are now able to resume travel for both business and leisure. Never again will I complain about tasteless airport coffee!



Wonderful as it is to be allowed foreign holidays again, for a lot of people packing light or packing for a week away in hand luggage is a challenge.


Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit


I consider myself a packing ninja.



Wondering what clothing to take for a European vacation? Feeling a headache at the thought of travelling with hand luggage only? Sighing over the effort of creating a travel capsule wardrobe? Chronic overpacker? I got you. 




Several decades of packing for holidays, packing for business trips and always trying to avoid the dreaded baggage carousel have forced me to get it down to a fine art. And as I’m always eager to learn more tips on travelling light myself, I’ll also share mine and show you what I packed and how I planned for my seven day break on the Amalfi Coast.



The Secrets To Packing Light


Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit


Check the itinerary and the travel schedule


It all starts with this. A lot of overpacking is down to not knowing what to expect. So remove the uncertainly by doing a little homework before you fly. First, map out roughly what you’ll be doing on each day. It doesn’t have to be exact, but having a clear idea of the types of situations you’ll be in will let you know what clothes you need to take. Then check the weather forecast. While it's always a good idea to have an emergency coverup, being aware of the temperature and types of weather at your destination when you’re going to be there helps you rule out a lot of useless items.



Choose a travel capsule wardrobe with a colour palette 



The trick to creating a small, focused edit of clothes is matching the colours. You want to pick a maximum of five shades to wear. This ensures that each item you pack pairs easily with other items and takes the fuss out of getting dressed. It also gives you options, even when you’re only taking a few pieces. As a neutral gal, I’ve stuck to black, white, beige, blue and khaki. But the approach also works if you love jewel tones or brights -  although you should still aim to make at least two of your shades a neutral for maximum versatility.



Choose light breathable fabrics and layer up



Travelling can mean a lot of changes of temperature in a short amount of time, so you want to aim for lots of light layers that you can swap out easily as the conditions change. Natural, breathable fabrics are also the best for this as they let the air circulate and cut down on that fusty, dirty feeling you can get while on the go. Silk, cotton and cashmere are all great options and they don’t have to be expensive these days.



Limit the amount of shoes you take 



Shoes are the number one culprit for heavy, bulky bags, so you need to be really ruthless in your selection. Aim to wear one pair to the airport that you can also use out there, and then build your outfits around a maximum of three other pairs -  extra points if you choose flat sandals as they take up far less space.



Layer up for the airport 



This one is the golden rule. If you have something bulky to take, aim to wear it while travelling. I will usually travel in a pair of trainers, as they are comfortable and practical but also the bulkiest shoes I’m likely to be taking. I’ll also aim to layer up a couple of light jackets as well - both so I can combat the changing temperatures while in transit but also as less things to pack.



Follow the 54321 rule



There’s a simple mathematical formula that works really well for keeping your packing streamlined and your vacation outfits on point, and it's as simple as 5,4,3,2,1 - that is in your suitcase you have no more than: five tops, four bottoms, three dresses/ pairs of shoes, two bags/sunglasses, once each of accessories. Remember you also have the things you can wear to the airport on top of that!



These tips have always served me really well for up to a week or two away from home, and they can easily be adapted for business travel. You can see how I’ve put them into practice with the graphic below, that shows the items I’m packing/wearing to the airport for a seven day break in Italy.



How To Choose A Travel Outfit

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips, travel outfit, airport outfit



White bodysuit | Zara

Patterned silk trousers | Bella Luxx 

Grey cashmere bomber jacket | Pure Collection

Khaki lightweight packable puffer jacket | Uniqlo

White canvas trainers | Veja

Blue small rucksack | Longchamp



My travel outfit uses all my bulkiest items, like my trainers, but it's made up of pieces in a colour palette that pair with all the other items I’m taking. Layering a bodysuit, a light shirt, a cashmere layer and a packable jacket means I can be insulated against a chilly UK morning or a cold plane cabin, but I can quickly remove and pack away these layers when I reach that Italian sunshine. Breathable fabrics like cotton, cashmere and silk will keep me super comfortable on the move.




Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Seven Days In Italy



To combine with the pieces I’m travelling in, I’ve packed following the 54321 rule as follows:



Five Tops

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


Black bodysuit | Zara

Nude bodysuit | Zara

White and blue patterned linen top | George

Oversize white shirt | Very

Blue chambray shirt | Topshop



Four Bottoms

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


Olive linen trousers | Zara

White cotton shorts | The White Company

White and blue patterned linen shorts | George

Beige, black and white geometric patterned midi wrap skirt | Zara



Three Dresses

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips



White shirt dress | In The Style

Blue and white patterned silk sundress | Madewell

Black linen cut out midi dress | Zara


Three Shoes


Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


Black quilted chunky sandals | Chanel

Clear gold studded sandals | ASOS Design

Black and white stripe espadrilles | Toms



Two Bags


Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


Straw tote bag | Longchamp

Small cross body bag | Marc Jacobs



Two Sunglasses


Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


Black acetate frames | Chanel

Tortoiseshell flat top frames | YSL


Two Swimsuits

Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


White waffle texture swimming costume with tie straps | South Beach

Khaki leopard smudge frilled bikini | Love Stories x H&M


One Hat/Scarf/Beach Towel


Holiday capsule wardobe, packing light, travel tips


Monogram band straw panama | HA Designs

Light cotton embroidered scarf | Paul Smith

Large monochrome stripe beach towel | Dock & Bay



There's lots more travel content to come ' but if you've learnt anything useful to help you pack light, what was it? Let me know!


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