How To Create Your Own Travel Capsule Wardrobe To Make Packing Easier

You may have heard of people creating capsule wardrobes to help simplify their lives and cut down on closet clutter and thought to yourself, "Yeah, that's cool, but I could never do that." If you find the concept of downsizing your closet at home a difficult pill to swallow, why not start with a travel capsule? After all, deciding on what to pack for your next trip can be almost as stressful as getting to the airport on time, and a travel capsule could help put an end to this.

The concept of a travel capsule is not all that dissimilar to a regular capsule wardrobe that you would create at home. The primary difference is that it will be significantly smaller — about three options for each type of clothing — and focus on versatility, keeping a variety of temperatures and activities in mind. This will make it so much easier for you to quickly grab what you need, reduce the weight of your luggage (which is also great for the environment), and never leave home without exactly what you need for your trip.

Let's build the base and start with bottoms

To build a sensible selection of outfits for a travel capsule wardrobe, we need to start with the bottoms. Try to select three different items that are neutral in color or material and can be matched with any of the tops you choose to bring with you. Our first suggestion for bottoms would be lightweight loose trousers or wide-leg pants. If this is already setting off alarm bells, stick with us. These pants are actually a great option for all seasons. They're easy to pack, they can be dressed up or down, and they are super comfortable. When paired with some tights, they can keep you warm in the winter. In the summer, the loose fabric will keep air flowing where it needs to flow and help keep you cool.

After that, you really can't go wrong with a pair of comfortable jeans. Their greatest feature is that they don't need to be washed as frequently as other styles of pants and can easily be cleaned when they do get dirty. While they can be a bit heavy for traveling, when matched with the right top, jeans can be worn almost anywhere in any season. Finally, consider packing a skirt. The length doesn't matter as long as you're comfortable in it and it's versatile enough to wear while walking around or going out for a nightcap. If you're not a skirt person, a pair of tailored shorts can work great, too.

One-stop shop tops

Tops are oh-so-much fun. They can completely change a look and make you feel super confident when paired with the right bottoms. You can easily accomplish this part of building your travel capsule wardrobe with a white cotton t-shirt, a silky black top that can dress up any of your bottoms, and another casual top like a button-down or (if you're feeling daring) something with a plunging neckline.

Finding the tops that go with everything else in your capsule can feel like an uphill battle when you're not into neutrals or basic patterns. While most examples of capsule wardrobes shy away from bright colors and patterns, we don't think you have to do the same when traveling. Play around with all the different tops you have in your wardrobe — even the ones that you would never have thought could be a match — and see if they'll fit with the bottoms you've chosen. You might just find your new favorite outfit.

For the winter and shoulder seasons, make sure you pack at least one lightweight long-sleeve shirt that you can layer underneath some outerwear or wear over a top for extra warmth.

Outerwear must-haves for every season

If you're headed to Europe during the cooler months for your next trip, you'll probably see a lot of leather jackets. If you want to blend in, this is your ticket to anonymity. Not only are leather and pleather jackets warm, but they work for every kind of outfit and are totally acceptable to wear to a nice dinner out.

If you don't care about fitting in, or you just don't like the leather jacket look, a jean jacket is equally versatile and suitable for multiple seasons. You might find some difficulty pairing a jean jacket with jean pants, but the look can definitely be pulled off with the right touches and some confident swagger. If there's ever a time to try out double denim, it's on a trip to Europe.

A statement piece for your outerwear is also a fantastic idea. A brightly-colored, knee-length coat for the winter months is just the thing to brighten up your day when the weather is a bit dreary. And if you're going with neutrals for the rest of your clothing, this will definitely spice things up.

The right shoes can make or break your next vacation

Shoes are one of the most important considerations when packing, and we don't just mean in a fashion sense. You'll likely be doing a lot of walking on your trip, and bringing shoes that are brand new or not made for many hours on your feet can lead to discomfort. So, whatever you bring, make sure they not only match your clothing options but that you break them in before packing them. If they aren't comfortable to walk in for long periods, you'll probably regret bringing them.

In addition to walking shoes, you might also want to bring something nice for the evenings. Strappy sandals with short heels can be worn to the beach, to a nice restaurant, or even for short walks around the city. If you have a pair made of a neutral material like brown leather, even better. Flats with a structured toe and small heel are also a super classy option and can keep your feet protected from the elements.

These options will change a bit if you're going somewhere that's a bit more tropical or outdoorsy. In these cases, you might want to bring sandals that are comfortable enough to walk in so your feet can stay cool and dry. A pair of flip-flops are also never a bad idea, no matter where you go.

Now let's see what's missing

While a travel capsule is meant to reduce the amount that you bring with you, in the end, it has to be unique to your own style and fit your destination, as well as the season. You'll also probably need different clothes if you're planning to do physical activities. So don't shy away from bringing some extra clothing and/or shoes if there's room for them — there's no sense in sticking to a strict travel capsule if it's going to negatively impact your trip.

If you want more of a safety net, workout clothes don't take up much room and they can also double as sleepwear, so it's a win-win. For accessories, consider sticking to pieces that will match everything. A simple silver necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings can really complete an outfit. Most jewelry doesn't weigh very much, and a couple of statement pieces add a bit of interest to neutral outfits.

Lastly, when it comes to undergarments, stick to pieces that will be flattering under all your tops and bottoms. Try to find items that also match your skin tone so they can't be seen through the fabric of any of your clothes. And, as always, bring more underwear than you think you'll need, travel capsule or not!