How to Travel with a capsule wardrobe

Are your bags overweight and overstuffed?

I used to get so stressed when I packed for vacation. I always wasted time overthinking and overpacking. I felt like I had to plan for every possible contingency, all of the what-ifs. 

But since I ditched my complicated wardrobe full of choices and decisions and switched to a much simpler capsule wardrobe, my choices have gone down considerably, as has my stress level just before a vacation.

I do still plan ahead, but now instead of planning for every possible contingency, I choose only the items I love to wear and plan ahead to launder them should the need arise.

All the questions I used to ask myself—How many tops do I need? How many pairs of pants, shorts, bathing suits, or how many sweaters, jackets, and scarves should I bring?—have all been replaced by one: What would I love to wear while I am away?

And I just pack that. Why pack superfluous clothes “just in case”? Any time I do that, I never end up wearing that extra top, sweater, or pair of pants anyway. 

I’ll give you an example. A few years ago, I was set to visit a friend in Tanzania, but fretting about what and how much to pack. By the time I was done, I was ready for my safari… but also a cruise… and dining with the queen in London. I had totally overpacked.

So I decided to use the principles of a capsule wardrobe to help me pair my choices way down. Believe it or not, I was able to pack everything in just my hand luggage–all of my favorite pieces that I feel good in and love, the ones I really wanted to wear. 

I was very pleased and amazed…until doubts started to creep in. What if this isn’t enough? What if I don’t have a washing machine? What if I get stranded in the bush? What if, what if, what if? 

So, I threw in an extra couple of tops just to make sure that I had covered all of the bases. But you know what? I wore everything in my carry-on, all of my favorite clothes, absolutely everything—everything except the tops I threw in at the last minute.

From that experience I learned a valuable lesson which I have carried over into my capsule wardrobe down to this day: No matter where you’re staying or going, even if it’s three weeks in Africa, as long as you have the right clothing, you don’t need a lot of it. Even if you pack only those pieces that you LOVE, you’ll be ready for anything.

If you need help turning your complicated wardrobe into a simplified capsule wardrobe, give me a call. I would LOVE to help you!

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