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Effortless Travel Wardrobes: How to Pack Smart and Look Fabulous

Packed suitcases on a light background.

Hey there, stylish traveler! Ready to hit the road but stressed out about packing? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Let’s dive into how you can pack smart and still look absolutely stunning on your adventures.


When I recently surveyed women about how they feel in regards to their travel packing skills, most told me they tend to overpack or have no idea what to pack.  This is also the #1 reason my clients enlist my services to plan their travel wardrobes. Taking too much seems like a good idea as you are tossing items into your suitcase. When you arrive at your destination, however, most of the items go unworn and only lead to a chaotic feeling of disorganization and overwhelm. You no longer remember what you packed to wear to which event/outing and you end up frustrated. Not exactly the emotions one desires to stir up on a would-be relaxing vacation!

It is quite possible though to travel in style and enjoy a relaxed trip with everything you need and nothing more. Keep reading as I share my travel wardrobe planning and packing tips!

#1 - Build a Versatile Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

First things first, let’s talk about creating a capsule wardrobe. This is your secret weapon for packing light and looking chic. Think of it as a mini wardrobe filled with essential pieces that mix and match perfectly. The key is to choose a color palette of 3 colors – a neutral, a light and a pop of color. This lays the foundation for a cohesive travel wardrobe and seriously cuts down on taking too many “just in case” items.

I like to build 16-piece capsules for my clients who are going on a 7-day or longer trip. With just 16 well-curated items, I can create more than a month’s worth of outfits that will cover the span of almost any trip one might take. If you are going on a longer excursion, there is no reason why outfits could not be repeated. Often, a longer trip is one of multiple destinations and no one would know what you had worn before. Here are some ideas of what to pack to build a successful travel capsule wardrobe:

  • 5 Tops: Grab a few casual tees, a couple of cute blouses, and a cozy sweater (Choose a lightweight option for a summer trip. You never know if nights will be cool or air-conditioned buildings will be too chilly.)

  • 4 Bottoms: You can’t go wrong with a pair of jeans, some comfy trousers, and a versatile skirt.

  • 1 Dress: A simple dress is a lifesaver—it can go from day to night with a quick accessory switch. And the right dress can be layered under a top to serve as a skirt!

  • 3 Layers: Don’t forget a classic blazer, a light cardigan or a stylish lightweight jacket. I am also counting a large scarf as one of the layering items. (More on that in the next section.) These layering pieces are perfect for adding a touch of sophistication.

  • 3 Pairs of Comfortable Shoes: Bring a pair of stylish sneakers, some comfy sandals, and one pair of dressy shoes. That’s it! If this feels limiting, remember that we are sticking to a cohesive color palette, so shoes in neutral colors will go with any look in your travel wardrobe without taking up too much space in your luggage.

Fashionable female clothing and accessories on a wooden background.

#2 - Pack Light: Must-Have Essentials for Every Trip

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of packing light without sacrificing style. It’s all about quality over quantity and picking items that do double duty.

  • Multi-Use Items: A scarf is a travel MVP. It can be a wrap, a blanket on the plane, or an accessory to jazz up an outfit. A lightweight scarf is easy to toss into a carry on and can elevate an outfit instantly! Plus, there is a plethora of scarves on the market, so you can find just the right one to suit your style and taste!

  • Choose Your Fabrics Wisely: To keep things light, be mindful of the fabrics you choose. There are many good, lightweight, packable options available today. The choice of fabrics can really make or break the travel capsule and impact packing efficiently.

  • Minimal Accessories: Pack a few key pieces of jewelry that can go with multiple outfits. I suggest leaving valuable fine jewelry at home to avoid the risk of losing it or having it stolen.

Woman wearing snorkel gear sitting in chair holding umbrella under rain clouds.
Be prepared for anything when you travel!

#3 - Weather-Proof Your Travel Wardrobe

Traveling often means dealing with different climates. Before you go, do your research regarding typical weather patterns for your destination at the time of year you plan to go. Then, look at the weather forecast for the days you will be there before you begin packing. You can also enlist the help of a personal stylist (like yours truly!) who will do this research for you and ensure you are prepared for any scenario during your trip.

Be prepared with layers and weather-appropriate clothing.

  • Warm Climates: Go for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. And don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

  • Cool Climates: Layer up! A base layer, a warm sweater, and a lightweight yet cozy jacket should do the trick. PRO TIP: In very cold climates, jeans will not keep you warm. They are heavy and add considerable weight to your luggage. There are many lighter weight, yet warmer options available.

  • Rainy Weather: A packable raincoat and waterproof shoes are must-haves. An umbrella might be a hassle and often ends up getting forgotten somewhere and left behind, so a stylish hat can work wonders.

Layers not only keep you ready for any weather but also give you more outfit options.


On a final note, if travel wardrobe planning and packing still leaves you feeling daunted, fear not! As an internationally certified master image coach and personal stylist, I can make packing the easiest and most stress-free part of your trip. Whether you live close to me or on the other side of the world, I can plan your wardrobe and lay it out day by day in an app on your phone. This way, you will know exactly what to put in the suitcase and what to wear each day of your trip. Here is an example of what that looks like:

If this sounds like the answer to your packing woes, shoot me an email at or click HERE to book a FREE, no-obligation chat with me to find out more.

So, there you have it! By following these tips, you’ll be able to pack light, stay comfy, and look fabulous no matter where you’re headed. Remember, the key to an effortless travel wardrobe is versatility, quality, and smart packing.

Come back next Thursday to learn Essential Packing Tips for Women Over 50.

Bon voyage!

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