Welcome to Day 10 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag.
You’ve been doing a great job of getting your packing list down to something more manageable, but if you still aren’t convinced that this type of travel is possible, it’s time to look at all the possibilities that exist with a minimal wardrobe.
If you do it right, you’ll have dozens of different outfit choices.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, it is important to think about your color palettes when packing a minimalistic wardrobe. That way, every item can be used to its full advantage, being mixed and matched with other key pieces
We recommend choosing a neutral base for your clothing, whether you choose to go with a black and gray base, earth tones, or beiges and tans. Once you have your key pieces in these neutrals, bring some color and some life to the mix, whether that be from brightly colored tanks and tees or from accessories, such as scarves, belts and headbands. Patterned material is best avoided unless you have a unique sense of style and like to merge several in one outfit.
In yesterday’s example, we removed all items that had a pattern, wasn’t in our desired color palette, or we just deemed unnecessary. In the end, we kept our neutral black and gray color palette and some bright, solid color pieces.
The key is to make sure that every item in your wardrobe can be mixed and matched with more than 2 other things. This is the only way we can ensure you will get full use of said item.
If you can only wear that one piece with one other specific clothing item, then chances are it won’t be as useful to you in the long run. (This point is moot if you are packing for a special occasion, of course.) Say no to wasted luggage space and extra weight!
Another important point to think about when choosing your minimalist wardrobe is to go with versatile pieces that could potentially be dressed up or down. One might not expect a pair of black, quick-drying technical pants from North Face to be anything other than gear you’d wear outdoor and hiking, but as shown in a previous post, Brooke has discovered they have the ability to be dressed up or down in a pinch.
Shoot for items like this.
The next step in how to make the most of a minimal wardrobe is to add pieces of flair. We’re talking about scarves, belts, necklaces, headbands, statement jewelry, and anything else that can take your outfit from normal to formal in seconds. A pair of jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt isn’t fancy by any means, but adding a chunky ring, a scarf, and a pair ballet flats can give it an entirely new look.
The Same Purple Cami
The following is a quick example of several outfits and looks that can be made using our purple camisole. When paired with different neutrals and accessories, this top is about as versatile as they come. It also helps that it is a technical piece of travel clothing, made of a blend of silk, merino wool and cotton. It’s the ultimate base layer for any trip style.
Casual, dressy, sporty, you name it. The right wardrobe can serve you many different purposes.
Some further information about the items in images:
Black Skirt – The one in the photo is a simple stretchy black skirt, but technical black skirts do exist that can be used as in this situation. Check REI, for example.
Leggings – A pair is always good to have when you travel.
Purple Camisole – A Silkbody base layer, made from silk, merino wool and cotton.
Black Jacket – Kathmandu’s Altica200, fleece lined.
Wool Cardigan – Get something similar from a merino wool product company, such as Icebreaker or Silkbody, for example.
Pashmina – Pashminas have so many purposes, from scarves and shawls to blankets and towels. This pashmina can class an outfit up in a pinch.
Colorful Scarf – This circle scarf is great for adding a pop of color into the most subdued outfits.
Capri Pants – These gray capri pants are both sporty and mildly classy (if done right). They are made of quick-drying material.
North Face Pants – These black pants are part of Brooke’s quick-drying travel ensemble. The material also possesses a UPF rating of 50. We love how they can go from day to night with the right accessories.
Blue Necklace – A little something picked up on your travels by chance. This necklace is from Thailand.
Take Action: Mix & Match Your Wardrobe
Challenge yourself. See how many different outfits you create from your minimalist wardrobe. Find ways to dress your outfits up or down with extra pieces of flair.
Must for Wanderlust says
Definitely attempting this! I say attempting because I’ve been trying to create a successful minimalist wardrobe for what seems like forever haha. x
I love these posts! I am leaving at the end of the month for a four month research stint abroad and they have helped me organize my packing plan!
I was wondering if we could get some info on the clothing that is featured in this post? I’d love to know about the skirt in particular.
Updating that info right now! Sorry, we’ve been so busy that we’ve overlooked that… the black skirt in the image is nothing special (just something I had in my closet) but there are lots of similar items at travel gear shops these days that can compare: http://www.rei.com/search?cat=4500361&jxColor=Black
This is EXACTLY what I needed. I always know in my head that I need to pack pieces that mix & match, and I try my best to stick to a color scheme, but seeing the various outfits laid out like that really hit home. Thanks for this! Enjoying this series!
I have been trying pack lighter. Has anyone bought the Chick on the Go set of 5 pieces and 2 scarves that come in a packing organizer? I might try a DIY version and add jeans, some colored tops and knitted scarves.
Rebecca Woods says
If writing down your packing list doesnt work I recommend laying out the outfits, like in the example above, and taking photos of each outfit making an album on your phone. It’s a great reference to keep looking back if your stuck for outfit choices. It also works to prevent you from buying unnecessary things on the lead up to the trip using the excuse that you’ll take it with you.
My capsule wardrobe for a 4 month trip consists of the following:
2 pairs of pants (1 black & 1 patterned)
1 light jacket (grey marle)
1 merino l/s top (coloured)
1 cream button up top
1 black lbd
4 basic tops/ tanks (black & white)
3 coloured tops/ tanks
2 pairs of shorts (denim & black)
1 black skirt
1 pair of black ballet flats
1 pair of tan/ black sandals
2x scarves for cooler temps (dbl as sarongs, shawls, pillows)
Along with the necesities of underwear, a hat & shower/beach thongs i should be set for the 4 months travelling through S/E Asia, India & Western Europe.
Any recommendations are warmly welcomed. 🙂
In my last trip I found that trying on the outfits before packing them helped make some quick decisions. Sure the colors work but the styles might not blend as well. Plus if you feel great wearing them at home you know you’ll like them when you’re away.
I love taking things (especially tops) with patterns! What I do is take 4 or 5 patterned blouses, but make sure that each one coordinates with all of the bottoms (and cardigan/jacket) I take, therefore, I can still mix and match.
I also like taking 1 or 2 pairs of wild leggings for lounging/sleeping/exercising, so I do the opposite and make sure that any t shirts/tank tops I pack match the leggings. It’s an easy way to have more fun in my travel wardrobe!