Creating a Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

35 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 3 bags

For most of us, travel is not the norm but a rare adventure. In recent years my trips have lasted about ten days maximum at a time, so I usually travel with a single carry on suitcase.

My wardrobe remains minimal as I travel. As always, my wardrobe is tonal, composed primarily of black, white and grey. Perhaps this isn’t the most exciting colour scheme for a tropical getaway, but I don’t think it’s worth buying a whole new wardrobe for a little trip.

A good travel wardrobe is an extension of a good day to day wardrobe. Generally speaking, if your daily wardrobe really works for you, it should adjust easily into a travel wardrobe. These tips are specifically for travel wardrobes but they can be applied to your whole wardrobe.

  • Know your purpose. Where (this week, but also in life) are you going? What are you going to do there? What are the weather conditions likely to be? Doing a bit of research helps you focus on what you should bring.
  • Keep things light. In life, much like in travel, I prefer light fabrics. This is especially important with knits and jackets. I like cashmere for knits because it is ridiculously soft, light and warm. I have a light down jacket which has similar qualities. All my summer items are similarly light and breathable, and I favour cotton, silk and viscose for warmer temperatures. Obviously it is a lot easier to pack when most of your clothing is compact and lightweight.
  • Quality over quantity. Spend your money on less items that are of higher quality. Choose good quality natural fibers over synthetic ones. This will help you travel light, be cool or warm depending on the climate, and always feel well dressed.
  • Neutral is your friend. The more neutral your clothing, the more flexible it is. I don’t feel like I need to explain this point further, just read any blog post I’ve ever written to see this in action. If you are someone who favours colours and patterns, make sure that these will match in different combinations to ensure flexibility.
  • Be creative. Experiment with matching different styles, shapes, textures, fabrics, colours and patterns. Mix and match in unexpected ways to avoid repetition and boredom. A dress can be worn as a top, a skirt, it can be layered under or over other items. Try to find as many uses for one item that you can think of. This is a necessity when you have a small wardrobe.

 

The video below shows you how I would pack for a ten day international trip. Most of my trips include outings in both urban and natural settings. I pack to allow flexibility between the two.

On this particular trip I am bringing 7 items of clothing 2 pairs of shoes and 1 scarf.

  • White tee
  • White crop top
  • White drape top
  • Grey ultralight down jacket
  • Black fitness tights
  • Black jeans
  • Denim shorts
  • Sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Pashmina scarf

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Whenever I travel internationally, I wear activewear on the plane. I cool easily on planes, so I bring a cashmere sweater or a jacket to wear during the flight.

You will notice that all of the items above match each other and can be worn in any combination. When I travel I have even more of a strict ‘uniform’ than at home. I make sure that the tops and bottoms are in similar tones so I can recreate a look with any of the options from a particular category of clothing.

You will also notice that all the tops I am packing are loose. This is to avoid washing my clothing as I travel.

As weather is somewhat unpredictable, I am bringing a cashmere scarf which will keep me warm and work as additional insulation if it gets much cooler.

Enjoy!

 


20 thoughts on “Creating a Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

  1. Hi there, I found this to be a really informative post and the accompanying video just brought it to life. I think your choices are very chic as well as practical and the whole concept of such a small capsule is amazingly liberating 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post is just in time for my trip to Florida next month. I have loads of summer cloths, but nothing that seems appropriate for graduation weekend. I’m going to follow your guidelines and purchase pieces, accordingly. Then, get rid of the ones I never wear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post and vid! I’m also going on my own 10 day tropical getaway to the Philippines and as per usual, will be packing carry-on. Love your versatile travel wardrobe!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wanted to mention that I’ve traveled with a single carryon for longer trips. A really great resource to use to plan for this kind of travel is http://www.onebag.com. I’ve been fortunate traveling internationally in the past and could wear t-shirts and jeans for work and enjoyed fast entry and exits to places like India, Singapore, and Japan. I use what I call the “rule of 4” for travel. Four t-shirts, four pair of socks, four pair of underwear. It means once a week I do laundry but I don’t really mind given the flexibility of having everything with me in case of some change to flight schedule or being able to dash right out and get the taxi or connecting light rail.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this post!!! I am currently on a three week vacation in Asia and managed to check one small suitcase. Your blog has completely inspired me over the past six months to shed those items taking up space in my closet that serve me no purpose and don’t bring me joy! Keep up the wonderfully informative and helpful posts!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really enjoyed this. I am expecting to travel in the coming months and this is sure to cut down my wardrobe. Would you or have you ever posted about minimalism in office/workplace environments? That would be super helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

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