How to travel light with style

I’m not known for being able to travel light. Even armed with a near obsessive mental library of tips, I still find myself scrambling to get everything in my bag for a trip. Yet, I love avoiding queues to collect my luggage. So when an image consultant told me that a minimalist capsule travel wardrobe could enable me to travel light –according to my body type and my style– I found the idea and her tips worth sharing.
Some people say that ‘less is more’. I agree: when I realized just how time-inefficient my packing process was, I knew I needed a minimalist capsule travel wardrobe.

Minimalist doesn’t mean ‘boring’ or ‘unfashionable’ at all. The trend began in the 70’s and is the antithesis of fast fashion. Since it began transforming closets, it’s been adapted for our suitcases as well. It is a set of clothing that you can wear anywhere on your travels. It can be refreshed at the beginning of each season and it’s the best way to think about the planet, by using natural fabrics and stop impulsive shopping.

A minimalist capsule travel is meant to make packing quicker and easier, since you’ll always have a set of trusty items you can reach for. At the same time, it helps travelers be more prepared. It consists of ‘mixing and matching basics pieces all together, which is a magical technique because it gives you the impression to own a wardrobe bigger than a retail store, but with only few pieces. You just need the most stronger and powerful ones’, explains Fanny Pradier, a French image consultant living in New York City. Passionate about people and fashion, this event and style expert took two years classes at Parson ad FIT and started her own image consulting business. She also loves traveling and sustains that minimalism has many advantages. ‘It will not only help you in your daily life but also when the time will come to pack for your next trip’.

Personally, I find these two assets the most beneficial when traveling: spending less –since I would stop purchasing and accumulating stuff– and sleeping well –it would enable me to catch a few hours of sleep before waking up at 5am to take my flight. However, capsule travel wardrobes have ‘rules’. And if you have no idea about how to proceed, don’t panic, you can use the main guidelines bellow.

How and what to put in your capsule travel wardrobe?

Each person’s minimalist travel wardrobe will be different, but the most important thing is to define the purpose of your trip : ‘Depending on the travel, you might have a business, casual or honeymoon capsule in your bag. You need to define the goal of the travel, numbers of days and what is really necessary first. Don’t make the mistake to bring all of your wardrobe’ explains Fanny Pradier.

  • The rule of three: Pack all items with the intention of wearing each item in a variety of outfits that work in at least three different occasion types. 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 tens of great outfits on-hand for any occasion.
  • Choose around 10 items or less: Experts and stylists tend to agree that 10 to 8 pieces of clothing and 2 pairs of shoes, is a good number to focus on for a travel capsule wardrobe. For a women it could look like: 3 tops, 2 bottoms (pants/shorts/skirts), 1 dress or jumpsuit, 1 cardigan/sweater, 1 jacket, 2 pairs shoes. And, of course, “never forget 2 or 3 accessories, they will pop your outfit,” adds Fanny Pradier. For a man, a capsule could look like: 3 tops, 1 formal shirt, 2 bottoms (pants/ shorts), 1 mid layer, 1 shell and 2 pairs of shoes.
  • Focus on quality: Choose quality pieces that don’t go out of style and work for most situations. ‘I’m a huge fan of the timeless piece such as a silk camisole. It’s the perfect piece to mix and match with everything and for any occasion. For men, I would definitely recommend linen pants or/and a linen shirt. Super chic and natural at the same time’, explains Franny Pradier.
  • Start building two main capsule travel wardrobes: One for cold-weather travel, and one for warm-weather. When building your capsule for cold weather trips, you can reuse a few of the items from your warm weather capsule. You’ll just need to swap in some warmer layers, a heavier jacket, and other shoes.

If you need to fly during the pandemic, you can also adopt a minimalist and eco-friendly approach to your face covering by designing your own handmade cotton washable mask.

Whether you currently travel with one bag or are trying to downsize, a travel capsule wardrobe is eco-friendly, sustainable and time-saving. A capsule will definitely help you travel with less while always having what you need. Let the adventure begin!

Paper originally published on Travel Tomorrow.

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