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  • Erica Bradley

Pack Light, Pack Right!

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

When you travel, are you the one with the biggest, heaviest suitcase? Are you the one that puts it all in a big, heavy suitcase to hold everything? Do you pack complete outfits to wear on the entire trip? Perhaps it is time to consider a new method!

It is totally possible to minimize your wardrobe without surrendering your style. You can simply pack a few key items, maintain versatility in your outfits, build a tight and stylish wardrobe without adding too many pieces, and enjoy the pleasure of a lean suitcase devoid of only safe, boring, basic options.

But figuring out what to pack and how to plan outfits can be tricky!

Read on! We’ll have you flying with a smaller suitcase or maybe even just a carry-on in no time! Saving you tons of time and energy – and help you avoid some major headaches, including lost baggage, excess baggage fees and heavy suitcases you have to drag up a flight of stairs.

Let’s look at a few essential tips…


Find out the weather forecast for your destination

Is it going to be hot or cold? Sunny or rainy? The type of clothes you pack will be determined by the weather, so pack accordingly. Bring two weather-appropriate outerwear options that you can layer together if needed. Gray, camel, navy, or black are favorite choices. Stay away from white because these pieces can sometimes get a lot of wear, and white can get dingy easily. A denim jacket is a good option.

Clothes Fabric/Material

If you will be traveling to a hot climate, be sure to pack clothes made of cotton or linen, as those fabrics breathe well in warm temperatures and will keep you cool. If a cold climate is where you will be traveling, pack a few items made of wool to hold in the warmth.


Are you going to be sightseeing and doing a lot of walking, attending special events or traveling for work? You can pack only casual clothes, only dressy clothes or a mix of both depending on your activities during your trip.

Dress Like the Locals

Find out how the residents of your destination dress to blend in. Dressing in attire that makes you stand out is not recommended during travel. Research how the locals dress on Google or Pinterest to find out more.


Pack Core Essentials

Rely on core essentials to build your travel capsule wardrobe and you will have endless outfit possibilities! Core essentials are neutral-colored basics that are classic, timeless, and never go out of style. They are, for example: blue jeans, black pants, black skirt, white/gray/black tee, white blouse, denim jacket, utility jacket, black flats, etc.

Start at the bottom

The easiest way to begin your packing is to start with your clothing bottoms. This can be a range of items depending on the weather at your destination. A safe trio to begin with is one piece of denim, black, and khaki each. This can be an assortment of pants, shorts, or a skirt. For instance, bring black pants, jeans, and a khaki skirt. Or swap the khaki to other neutral colors like navy blue, chambray, or olive green depending on your preference at the moment.

Never pack complete outfits. Instead, pack individual items.

Packing complete outfits (a top and bottom and/or layer) can lead to overpacking. When you focus on packing individual items (X number of tops, X number of bottoms, X number of layers, etc.) you will have the most outfit possibilities because they will ALL coordinate!

Use Neutral Colors

Make sure to pack clothes in mostly solid, neutral colors, like black or navy, gray, white, beige, tan or camel. Use black or navy as your base color when building your travel capsule, so all your clothes will coordinate!

Adding Accent Colors or Patterns (Optional)

Add some spice to your travel capsule by adding one or two accent colors. Or, if you want to add a pattern for variety, add only one top or bottom as the pattern piece. If you are packing only clothes with neutral colors, you can add color to your travel capsule with a scarf, belt or jewelry!


Wearing the right kind of shoes on your travels is very important! You want to wear shoes that not only look great but are comfortable for walking. Here are a few examples brown sandals or black slip-on sneakers (sightseeing, warm weather), neutral, strappy, low-heeled sandals (events/dinner, warm weather) black pumps (business trip events, warm or cool weather), black or neutral loafers (sightseeing/dinner, warm or cool weather), black or taupe booties or black or brown tall boots (sightseeing, cold weather).


You don’t want to overpack your suitcase with accessories since you can use accessories repeatedly throughout your trip. You can pack these accessories and/or wear them on the plane to save room in your luggage/tote/handbag:

· Brown or Black Crossbody Bag – This type of bag can be worn as a shoulder bag or across your chest. If you get one with handles, you can also carry it like a handbag. If you have one with a zipper and no outside pockets, it will keep thieves and pickpockets away, and also wear it across your chest to be secure.!

· Scarf – Cashmere scarves are not only soft, but they are warm too, especially in cold climates.

· Mix & Match Jewelry Pack up to 2 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings and a bracelet all in the same jewelry tone so they all coordinate. And, if mixing metals is your personal style, go for it!

· Hat – Either wear it on the plane or pack a “packable hat” in your suitcase. Straw hats are great to wear in the spring and summer and wool hats are best for fall and winter.

· Beanie – If you are traveling to a cold climate be sure to pack a beanie in a neutral color, like black or gray to coordinate with all your outfits.

You are almost ready to pack but first, pack all items with the intention of wearing each item in a variety of outfits that work in at least three different occasion types.

This could be dressy, professional, and casual. Or it could be relaxed, and polished. It all depends on your lifestyle and the nature of your trip. When you consider using each piece with this kind of versatility, you’ll be able to build a stylish capsule wardrobe for any trip and have a lot of great outfits on hand for any occasion.

Extra TIP: What To Wear On The Plane

You can wear one of your outfits from your travel capsule wardrobe (to save room in your suitcase) and pack the rest of the capsule in your carry-on suitcase! Plus, you can wear the same outfit on the flight back home. An example of a comfy outfit to wear on the plane: jeans, tee, cardigan or light jacket and a pair of flats or sneakers.

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1 Comment

Nov 23, 2021

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