Tips for creating a travel capsule wardrobe

July 28, 2016

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

We just returned from vacation and I packed a travel capsule. Three weeks, five different hotel rooms in six different cities plus six days in the car, a 90th birthday party and a 20th high school reunion. Here’s what I learned.

First of all, what is a capsule?

It’s a wardrobe of mix and match piece (as few as five and as many as 30 on average) that takes the guesswork out of getting dressed and helps you maximize each piece you own. It also encourages you to create a “signature look,” helps you shop more purposefully, and makes it easier to stick to a color palette.

My current capsule is at about 30 items but my dresses and blazers are separate. I wanted to limit myself for the trip so I didn’t have to pack ALL my jewelry, makeup and shoes. I ended up taking only my silver jewelry and two pairs of shoes. Amazing, right?

To read more about capsule wardrobes, check out Starting your capsule wardrobe here.

My best recommendation is to do the 27 Hangers Online Academy. Read all about it here

Here’s what I packed:


denim shorts

navy shorts

white jeans

black skirt

tropical pants


black and white check

navy and pink print

teal and navy print

green tee

teal tee

teal sleeveless top

white tee

black tee

black tank

royal blue tee


black sleeveless

blue print (only worn for my grandmother’s birthday party)


turquoise cardigan

royal blue cardigan


black capris

teal shorts


1 scarf

1 purse

2 pairs of shoes

all silver jewelry

Not pictured are my pajamas (two sets and one nightshirt) and my bathing suits (I packed one bikini, one one-piece and two SPF pieces).

I was surprised that I didn’t end up wearing my black skirt, white tee, the scarf and the teal sleeveless top.

I gravitated toward the other pieces and never had an occasion to wear the scarf. The teal top needs a camisole underneath to pair it with the pants I brought so it never left the closet.

What I wore most were my navy blue shorts and my black tops. They were all loose, comfortable and versatile.

Here are my tips for a travel capsule for you.

1. Stick to a strict color palette.

I decided to stick with only cool colors: blues, black and white. This way, I didn’t need my gold sandals or gold jewelry, and didn’t have to bring my warm makeup.

2. Pack for what you’ll be doing most.

We spent most of our time doing tourist activities (riding the trolley, sight-seeing, shopping). It was July in Florida so we were all about cool and comfortable. I only wore pants on days we were inside most of the time.

3. Don’t take items you rarely wear at home.

I never wear my black skirt normally…why did I think I’d wear it on vacation??

An exception would be lounge clothes for days spent in the car or playing cards at the lake.

4. Pack in outfits and in order.

I packed six outfits (including under garments) and my pajamas on top for easy access.

Set everything out and make sure the pieces all coordinate. 

5. Limit shoes to save space.

I took one silver and black pair and the same pair in metallic. We did so much walking that I wore sores into my toes so I ended up buying a pair of rubber flip-flops. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll take two DIFFERENT types of shoes.

6. Take a versatile jacket or cardigan.

I wore my soft turquoise cardigan to my grandmother’s birthday party, over my bathing suit and one night when the hotel room was cold.

7. Accessorize.

I took a few statement necklaces and a few basic pieces and wore them all. Most of the pictures we take are from the waist up so pay special attention to what you’re wearing near your face.

8. A travel capsule is a great way to test out a capsule wardrobe.

If you can pull mix and match pieces to wear for a week or two, you have a capsule! All you need are tops, bottoms, completer pieces and accessories. If you can “live on” your capsule while on vacation, you can probably make it work for everyday life.

I hope these tips help you with your travel capsule! If you need help creating a capsule wardrobe, or packing for a trip, let me know!


  1. Jennifer Crockford

    I am sooooo loving your blog! I am learning so much. I just returned from a 8 day holiday staying on our boat and used your summer capsule suggestions and didn’t pack all the wrong stuff for once!

    • Tabitha Dumas

      Aaawww, thank you!!! A boat vacation sounds AMAZING. I’m so happy you packed more efficiently. This was a first for me, too! Thanks for reading, and for commenting!


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