My Capsule Travel Wardrobe

This week I'm addressing the topic of what and how to pack. I have learned how to pack efficiently for myself since I travel frequently. Also,  I help clients pack for travel. A client last week said somehow she always ends up with 10 pairs of shoes in her suitcase!? This makes for a very heavy suitcase! This blog post shows what I am packing for an upcoming work trip. The added complication for this particular trip is that the temperatures have dropped dramatically in NYC (there is SNOW in the forecast). I have put away most of my winter clothes but had saved a few late winter/early spring options for cold weather, thank goodness. I always try to pack pieces that 1) go from day to night, and 2) can be mixed and matched. For this particular trip, I will include long underwear, warm socks, black tights, gloves and a scarf because the temps are going to be really cold, and I will be walking a lot.


This is my travel outfit. The fabric is very comfy and warm, which works well on the plane. The booties slip on and off in case I need to remove them at Security.(I usually don't have to do this, because I am TSA PreCheck-if you are a frequent traveler, I HIGHLY recommend doing this. You can get more info here.) 


This is the same pant that I traveled in, but I will wear it with an oversized Silk blouse, scarf and dressier "cage" booties and smaller purse for going out to dinner. I can also easily take this look from day to night by switching from a comfortable boot or flat to a strappy heel and statement earrings for dinner or an event.  I simply stick the heels and jewelry into my tote, which serves as my briefcase, and switch them at the end of the day!


This is another outfit using the same pants, booties and silk top. I add the sweater for a casual vibe and warmth as well. This will be a good option for meetings and conferences- comfortable and stylish at the same time.


Besides the skinny black pant, I will pack a wide-leg pant. Adding a sleeveless turtleneck and fun jacket and scarf is an easy look that I can wear out to dinner or an event. As you all know, I love the functionality of scarves. You can read my blog post about how to wear scarves here.


This is the same jacket and top, but I can wear it with a dark wash flare jean and booties for day. I will switch back to a larger handbag as well.


This is the same wide-leg dressy pant, but with a different jacket. The fun and functional thing about this particular jacket is that you can wear it alone for a cocktail (you can't really see the details, but there are a few sparkly stones attached), or dress it down with jeans and a top for a more casual but statement look. 


This will be my dressiest outfit. It's easy to pack because it doesn't wrinkle too much. You can easily change up the look with different jewelry pieces depending on how dressy you want to go. I'm wearing the plaid black, white and navy coat with it because the event I am attending is not super dressy. If it were, I would add opera length pearls, cocktail shoes as opposed to navy suede ankle tie heels, and a fur. 


This is the same coat, but I have paired it with flare jeans and the sleeveless turtleneck for a chic, but more casual look for day or night.

So, I am packing two pairs of booties and one pair of heels. I am packing two pairs of black pants-one skinny, one wide-leg, one dress, one pair of flare jeans. I'm packing a sleeveless turtleneck, a silk blouse and sweater. I will have two jackets and a scarf. One statement coat and jewelry that goes with all. One day bag and one smaller for night. Because rain and snow are predicted, I will also pack a pair of black skinny jeans, snow/rain boots and an umbrella. 

I hope this post helps you see how you can pack a relatively small amount of clothes that can be worn in different ways; day-to-night by simply changing shoes and jewelry, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. This capsule wardrobe works for a five-day trip or a two-week trip! Happy packing! I will address vacation packing in April. You can read more of my travel tips here.

STYLE TIP: It can be a smart investment to add a statement piece to your wardrobe. The patterned jacket shown in this post and the plaid coat are both special pieces. They will be items that I can keep in my closet for years. The design houses (Libertine for the jacket, and Dior for the coat) create exquisite pieces that can last a lifetime if taken care of properly. They can be worn different ways, and you always feel glamorous just by wearing them! Once you have your basic core pieces like a turtleneck, white silk blouse, dark wash jean, and black pant in your closet, you can get creative and spend a little money on a few versatile jewelry pieces, statement jackets, scarves- that go with your style aesthetic-to create your personal, unique "look"!

I have put together a Lookbook of suggested core wardrobe pieces at various price points here.

Alison Bruhn