Your twenties are filled with opportunities to see the world. Exchange programs, volunteering overseas, working abroad, and backpacking trips are popular ways to get some travel experience – provided you can get your stuff together.
So for all of you world travelers, here’s a guide to creating a small, capsule wardrobe for an extended stay away from home.
The basics of packing.
A capsule wardrobe is a small wardrobe full of basic pieces that can be used to create many outfits. Since most of us only wear about 25% of our wardrobe with any regularity, a capsule wardrobe monopolizes on the pieces that you wear frequently and can mix-and-match with ease. It may take a little forethought, but a capsule wardrobe is a great way to have many outfits without the fourteen suitcases.
You’ll want to do your research before packing: How many bags are you allowed? What are the dimensions? And, most importantly, what are the weight restrictions? A light-weight, easy-to-maneuver suitcase will be a great travel companion for your extended trip.
Next, you’ll want to consider the climate of your destination and your length of stay. Will you need just summer pieces and a couple of items for cooler nights? Or a suitcase filled with layers to see you through a miserable Scottish winter? You’ll want to make sure you pack for the weather.An example of a capsule wardrobe using just neutral colours
What you’ll need.
You’re probably wondering how many pieces of clothing you’ll need to get through the duration of your trip – but keep this in mind: you’ll be able to do your laundry once every 7-10 days.
Realistically, you’ll want to pack a week’s worth of bottoms: this can include jeans, shorts, skirts, and dress pants. What you pack comes down to personal preference: do you only wear pants (if you’re a guy, then probably) or do you also wear skirts and dresses? Are you willing to commit to wearing a particular skirt or dress once a week? Ensure that the pieces you choose are versatile and worth carting half-way across the world.
You’ll probably want to pack a few more shirts; maybe 5 t-shirts, a few collared or long-sleeved layering shirts, and three or four long-sleeved sweaters/blazers. Again, this comes down to your personal style.
Designing your capsule wardrobe.
Start off by picking out your neutral pieces. The bulk of your wardrobe should be neutral colours: black, grey, beige, brown, and navy. I know that this sounds boring, but when you think about it, but how often do you pair a bright top with a colourful bottom?
One of the easiest ways to assure that your pieces are easily interchangeable is to pick one or two colours to add to your wardrobe – ideally colours that are flattering for your colouring. Select a few pieces in these colours to add a pop to your daily wardrobe.
Items that you pick for your capsule wardrobe should have a lot of versatility; pants that you feel comfortable wearing to school and on weekends; skirts that you can wear to class but also for a night out on the town; and shirts that are casual and a couple to dress up in. You want to have the option to mix and match your tops and bottoms – which is easiest if you stick to neutral bottoms and a mixture of coloured, patterned, and plain tops that can easily be layered together.
And what about shoes?
You’re going to want to limit yourself here. Aim for three pairs: one comfortable pair of sneakers for walking, one pair of cute flats to dress up your outfits, and one pair of heels for nights out on the town. If you’re a guy, this is probably a whole lot easier!
Your capsule wardrobe.
The hardest part about packing a capsule wardrobe is leaving your favourite outfits behind. But you’re sure to appreciate your efforts when you have a cohesive wardrobe that fits into a single suitcase. Make it your own by adding a few signature accessories and you’ll be all set to travel in style!