Five years of travelling have taught me a lot about creating the perfect capsule wardrobe for all my summer travels and now I want to share all I've learnt with you. Because the truth is, we don't need three suitcases bulging at the zippers in order to feel stylish when we travel. What we really need – is to become more creative with our clothing, and a bit more organised! It doesn't matter how much of an over-packer you were in a previous life, there's potential for all of us to start creating a much more sustainable summer wardrobe that will keep us looking fabulous season after season.
Throughout the year so far, my travels have taken my to Thailand, and soon to Germany and Italy, with more trips coming up. But despite all these different destinations, I'm taking a very similar wardrobe made up of the same key items. That's because I've been limited myself to only buying items I will wear all summer and beyond, that means taking a closer look at both my style and the sustainability of clothing before I take it to the till. I used to be someone who would cram everything she owned into her suitcase, now I often travel just with hand luggage because I've managed to focus in on the items I really need. And now, I'm going to show you exactly how I did that.
The three S's for creating your capsule wardrobe
Don't get caught up in the latest styles when choosing the key items for your capsule wardrobe, instead focus on timeless shapes that suit your body and won't go out of style. Whether you want a capsule wardrobe to last one summer, or years to come, make sure all your chosen items can make multiple matches and that you can style them in different ways. If in doubt, always go classic with styles that come back into fashion every year when the shops bring out their summer ranges.
When planning a summer wardrobe which has to fit with lots of different trips and adventures, it's important to think about the materials you are investing in. When your clothing options are limited, you want to ensure you have only the most durable clothing which will last you throughout the summer and beyond. Look for crease-free fabrics to make packing a breeze, or, if you have an iron on hand, choose lighter fabrics such as linen to stay cool in the summer sun. Neutral colours are a good basis for a capsule wardrobe, with the option to brighten them up with flashes of colour in your accessories.
One big reason to create a capsule wardrobe that will last you all summer, and for years to come, is for the environment. Avoiding fast fashion and instead going for investment pieces by good quality and sustainable brands is a great reason to start cutting back on shopping. Not only is it sustainable for the planet, but it's sure to help your wallet in the long-run when you save on buying a whole new wardrobe for every trip this summer. Choose brands wisely and do you research to make sure you're buying from a company you want to invest in.
Five items you need in your summer capsule wardrobe
The perfect dress
Every woman needs the perfect summer dress. It doesn't matter if you're sunning yourself in an Italian piazza, gallivanting on the beach in Thailand, or even spending the summer at a UK festival. We all want something effortlessly gorgeous to throw on when we don't know what else to wear, instantly fabulous with a slick of lipstick and a pair of sandals. Choose a dress you know you can wear with sandals, trainers or heels, one that you can easily accessorise with a good hat and sunglasses. Most importantly, choose a style that suits you, go for a mini-dress and show off those tanned legs, or go for a longer boho style if you prefer.
Something for the chill
As much as we would love to believe summer is always blazing sunshine, you always need an extra layer. Think a light, cropped jacket for those cooler summer nights, or even a cover-up for when you're sightseeing in a foreign country. Pick a style that will go with anything – perhaps a classic denim jacket or blazer, or a kimono if you prefer something super light for more humid destinations. I never travel without an extra layer, and if you're spending a lot of time on planes, buses or trains, you might appreciate a light jumper you can throw on.
Swimmers at the ready
One of my fave summer items – whether you prefer a bikini, swimsuit or tankini – there's nothing like finding the swimmers that make you feel fabulous. No-one should feel uncomfortable on the beach, because every body is a bikini body. It's just a case of finding the style that makes you feel amazing! Experiment with styles and colours – don't want to show off that tum? Go for something high-waisted and perhaps a darker print. If you've got a big bum like me – go for tie-side bikinis to avoid that too-tight bottom look. Always be prepared for the beach, or the pool, with the ultimate swimsuit.
If you ask me, every gal should have a fine pair of trousers with all the girl boss vibes and plenty of sass on the side. I bought myself a fab pair last summer and they've become one of my most worn bottoms from my wardrobe. Pick a pair that can go from day, to night, and even to work, and you'll save yourself hours of choosing outfits for every occasion. Not into trousers? Find the perfect skirt, or even shorts, to fit your capsule wardrobe style for summer. If you're looking for a summer classic – why not invest in a pair of linen trousers? These never go out of style and look great exploring a new city in the sunshine.
The comfiest footwear
No pressure, but there's a lot riding on your choice of summer footwear. Think carefully before you invest and work out exactly what shoes you need to take you through all occasions. If you're someone who lives in trainers, invest in a classic pair that will work with all outfit combinations and can be either smart or casual. If you're all about the summer heel – why not look at a wedge style that can be dressed up for down whether it's a summer wedding or a picnic in the park? For those who prefer a simple sandal, make sure you choose one with a supportive sole. Perhaps a pair of hard-wearing sandals with thicker soles would suit those planning on exploring new cities on foot. Or for those who prefer something a bit prettier, go for a sparkly style that works for day or night.
Check out these posts:
- Why you should be investing in sustainable fashion
- How backpacking makes you more creative with your style on a budget
- The best shoes to pack for your travels
Are you an over-packer, or an essentials-only kind of traveller? What key items make up your holiday wardrobe?