Pack smart, travel light – part 2, clothes

London, England

Part one was about equipment. If you missed that, you may want to go and read it before you continue. Go to it HERE

Now it’s all about the clothes.

Travel wardrobe = condensed capsule wardrobe

A travel wardrobe is a miniature capsule wardrobe. Once you have discovered how delightfully simple it is to assemble varied and practical outfits from a carefully curated capsule wardrobe, it is pure delight to pack for a trip.

Some simple guidelines

You should be able to use every item with all other items. If one of the garments you consider bringing really clashes with one of the pairs of shoes you bring, choose something else instead. This is much simpler when you have had a PCA and know your colour tone, and have started building a core wardrobe that fits your colour tone. Then little by little, you will have a wardrobe where everything does blend together. The longer you live with your colour tone, your wardrobe will evolve to a more harmonious selection of garments, over time. Be patient. And do not fret. Almost good enough is good enough, and your magical evening in Rome will not be ruined even if the shoes does not exactly match your dress, as long as the shoes are comfortable. Which brings me to the next point,

The actiall packing list

Two pairs of shoes. Yes, two. Well, three maximum. One pair good walking shoes, and one pair of more dressy shoes. No heels, speaking from bitter experience we spend a large portion of our trip on our feet, and even f you are used to heels, it is quite exhausting to be walking cobbled streets and hard muesum floors all day, and wearing heels add to the discomfort. So choose your shoes carefully. By all means, bring your comfy, broken in shoes that you KNOW do not pinch or cut. Bring trainers if you have to, but if you want to make an attempt at not sticking out as a foreign tourist, choose comfortable walking shoes instead of running shoes. The you can wear them with your skirt, to a restaurant in the evening and still look dressed for the occasion.

Three bottoms. Two pants and one skirt, or three pants. If you go for the three pants option, make one of them a bit dressy. I usually bring a dress, but if I do I make it a simple, close fitting dres that I can layer under one of the tops to make it look like a dress, and create more outfits that way.

Five tops. One or two of these should be jacket/cardigan and/or a fleece jacket, if you are of the fleece persuasion. In addition, bring one coat that fits the season and weather forecast of your destination (this you wear when traveling, no wasting space on this in your travel bag).  Also, choose one or two scarves, ideally in colours that picks up and tie together the colours in the tops and bottoms that you have picked, but in different ways.And of course you need a suitable number of undies for your trip. The picture below shows a travel capsule wardrobe consisting of 8 garments, two pairs of shoes and two scarves.

I have assembled a travel capsule wardrobe for a woman traveling to a city in Europe, perhaps Berlin, or Barcelona, in spring. She is planning on visiting museums, sitting down at sidewalk cafes and spending time in wine bars, wanderling the streets, and dining at nice restaurants in the evening. The weather forecast is showing nice warm weather. Here is what she is bringing:

Sensible walking shoes, sandals, jeans, pants, skirt, a camisole, a long sleeve top, a denim shirt, a cardigan and a fleece jacket, And two scarves that pick up the colours in the garments chosen. If the weather forecast was a little iffy i would have given her a couple of ballerina flats or low pumps instead of or in addition to the sandals.

Reisegarderobe for en storbyweekend vår/sommer
Reisegarderobe for en storbyweekend vår/sommer

This capsule wardrobe invites you to dress in layers if the day is cool and windy. So every top can be used under/or over any of the other tops, in any combination and still look nice.

The heaviest shoes and the thickest, heaviest garments is what you wear when traveling.

Reiseantrekk. I tillegg har du på en ytterjakke eller regnkåpe.
Outfit when traveling. Imagine one light coat in addition to this.

As you can see, our traveling woman friend has chosen to wear the jeans and the practical walking shoes and the comfortable denim shirt in transit, with one of the scarves and the fleece jacket. Also, she will be carrying a lightweight coat over her arm.

How many outfits can we create with what she is bringing?

Antrekk 1, dagtid
Outfit 1, museum
Antrekk 2, vinbar
Outfit 2, wine bar
Antrekk 3, shopping
Outfit 3, shopping
Antrekk 4, restaurant
Outfit 4, lunch at a sidewalk cafe
Antrekk 5, museum
Outfit 5, another day, another museum
Antrekk 6, sightseeing
Outfit 6, sightseeing by foot or in an open bus
Antrekk 7, restaurant
Outfit 7, restaurant
Antrekk 8, gatelangs
Outfit 8, wandering the streets

So as you can imagine, eight different outfits is plenty for a four day trip, and we could have made even more variations by piling on layers, wearing the shirt open as a jacket, et cetera. Make it your challenge to bring few, but sensible garments that can be combined in many ways, and layered. You will get better at this as you practice.

Your turn!

Practice in your own wardrobe, pretend you are planning a trip if you do not have one planned alreadu, it’s fun! I am positive you can put together a similar travel wardrobe out of what you have in your closet, without buying a single new item. And remember: It’s not religion. If you wear some outfits that are not perfectly matched, it will not be the end of civilization as we know it. It in doubt, sit down at the nearest sidewalk café and just look at other people for half an hour. I am quite sure that you will discover that the majority of people are more focused on having fun and enjoying their day than how they look while doing so. Unless you are in Milan where everyone look like they are striding down the catwalk, or Paris, where every woman has effortless chic down pat. OK so if that bothers you forget looking at the locals, look at the other tourists. You will know what I mean, so relax and join in the fun, and have a great trip!