Building the perfect capsule wardrobe is one of the trickiest parts of travelling. I always try to look cute when travelling and that requires certain wardrobe staples. It has taken me the better part of the last 5 years to figure out my essential items for travel, but I think I finally figured it out! To me, these are the perfect additions to any capsule wardrobe and all of them fill vital roles for your travel wardrobe. Now, I obviously do not pack these for every trip, but these are the items that(weather permitting) I will generally pack first for a trip. Now, start building your travel wardrobe with these stylish and functional essentials!
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1. The Perfect Coat
Unless you exclusively travel to warm destinations and never venture out in the winter, finding the perfect coat is key to building your travel wardrobe. Think first about what you want in a coat and what kind of travel you do. If you are more of an adventure traveller, I highly recommend the Patagonia Nanopuff series. It keeps you super warm and also takes up very little space in your luggage.
If you are more of a city traveller(guilty!), then I recommend investing in a good quality wool pea coat. Unless you are going somewhere in the dead of winter, a wool coat layered over appropriate sweaters will be plenty warm enough for most climates. I also love a good peacoat because it lets me look cute on my travels, even if I have to be bundled up. Personally, I LOVE my red peacoat from ModCloth. I have had it for 4 years and it is still in great condition.
2. A Great Pair of Dark Wash Jeans
I once drove an hour each way to find the perfect pair of dark wash jeans and I stand by that decision. I love Dark wash for travelling because it shows less dirt and is also dressier to me. Also, I love the sophisticated look of well fitted dark wash jeans and that I can dress them up or down. From a practical standpoint, if you are trying to pack more minimally, dark wash jeans are a safer bet for being able to rewear them. They are less likely to show stains than their light wash counterparts which comes in handy on the road. I personally love the Gap True Skinny jeans because they fit me well and hold up long term.
3. Boots that will last
Four years ago I took the plunge and invested in a pair of Frye Boots and haven’t looked back since. I am head over heels for my Frye Melissa Boots and can’t praise them enough. They are honestly the perfect travel shoe. I love how comfortable they are while still being classically stylish. They make it easy for me to look cute on my travels and are one of my favorite pairs of shoes. They can be a bit pricey, but it is worth it to invest in a quality pair of boots for your adventures that will hold up to the wear and tear of travel.
4. The perfect dress
Unless my entire trip involves me being out hiking, I always pack a dress. But, finding the perfect dress to travel with is tricky. You need to find a dress that can be more casual and also be dressed up. You want to avoid materials that will wrinkle and, especially for travel on extended trips, you want to avoid dry clean only items. My two favorite travel dresses are a cute black fit and flare dress I got on sale for $15 at Target forever ago(similar here) and an amazing Lilly Pullitzer Maxi Dress(similar here) I received as a birthday gift a year ago.
I love the simplicity and versatility of a little black dress because I can dress it up or down as needed. Also, I love the fun patterns of the Lilly Maxi dress and how its a bit longer which can be good if you are visiting religious sites, as I discovered on my trip to Italy a few years back.
5. Comfortable and Cute Flats
Anyone that knows me knows by now that I am obsessed with my Tieks flats. They are one of the best travel shoes out there and are so comfortable and stylish. Tieks come in so many great colors and I have been slowly growing my collection since I got my first pair over 5 years ago. They are definitely an investment, but they are well worth the money. They are durable, comfortable, and versatile. You can dress them up or down as needed and are one of the best things to pack for a summer trip.
6. A fun and flirty Skirt
I am generally anti-pants so packing dresses and skirts is a great alternative for me. I think a fun skirt is definitely one of the key items needed to round out the perfect travel wardrobe. I tend to opt for a skirt that hits at or below the knees like my favorite floral midi skirt(similar here). This skirt is perfect because its nice and airy, but also long enough to let you enter religious buildings. It makes it perfect for summer travels in Europe in my experience and would be perfect for pretty much any other trip.
7. An All-purpose crossbody purse
No girl’s travel wardrobe can be considered complete without a crossbody purse. I have a few different ones that I rotate into my travels depending on my needs. For those trips when I just need something to hold my phone and wallet, I love this tiny Target Crossbody because it fits just what I need and takes up almost no space in my suitcase. For days when I need a bit more, this Kate Spade crossbody is perfect because I can fit my phone, wallet and assorted other nonsense in it. Of course, some days I need to carry everything but my kitchen sink, so for those days this shoulder bag with crossbody strap is the perfect solution. It hols a spare pair of flats, my camera, a water bottle, and the 27 lipsticks I insist I need in my purse with no issues.
8. Stylish Sneakers for long days
I am one of those people that actually rarely wears sneakers. I generally opt for flats or sandals first because they are cuter, but some days require sneakers. When I finally retired my last pair of sneakers, I did a lot of research before buying a new pair and I landed on the Nike Free Run. I love these obnoxious pink sneakers. I have worn them around Europe’s museums as well as on various hikes on the Big Island of Hawaii last spring. They are lightweight, durable, and come in a bunch of fun colors. I truly think they are the perfect sneaker.
9. A Versatile Cardigan
From surviving long flights to wandering endless museums, there is nothing more essential to your travel wardrobe than a good cardigan. I love Target’s open front cardigans because they are soft and come in so many great colors. I think the cute is super flattering and they are a big part of crafting my plane ride outfits. Even for summer travel, I always pack a cardigan because you never know when you are going to walk into a museum and get blasted by the air conditioner. I opt for more neutral shades like black and grey because they go with more, but a cardigan is also a fun way to add a pop of color to your wardrobe.
10. The most comfortable T-shirts around
I believe that comfy T-shirts are highly under-rated when building a trave; wardrobe. I think it’s so important to find a T-shirt so perfect that you want to own it in every color. For me, that T-shirt is a V-Neck from Target that is so soft and comfortable that I don’t even buy other T-shirts now. These T-shirts and their corresponding Tank tops come in a variety of colors from the standard black and white to fun seasonal colors and I own probably about 20 of them at this point(I know I’m terrible). They are perfect for travel because they don’t get excessively wrinkled in a suitcase, are a breathable material, and are easy to mix and match with different bottoms. Definitely get yourself 2 or 3 (or 10) to help build your perfect travel wardrobe!
So many factors go into building the perfect travel wardrobe, but it all starts with a few key pieces. Are there any items you include in your travel wardrobe that I missed here? Let me know in the comments below!
From one Misguided Millennial to the world, I hope you have fun crafting your perfect wardrobe!