How to Create a Travel-Friendly Capsule Wardrobe

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Fun fact about me: I’m moving to Ireland in a month. And yes, it’s as terrifying as it sounds. Nope, I don’t have a job there. No apartment either. And I’m taking one suitcase full of stuff. Just one. For a whole year.

At first, that sounded absolutely overwhelming to me. How the heck was I going to fit enough stuff for one whole year into one suitcase?!

But then I started seeing stuff pop up on my news feed about the concept of a capsule wardrobe (by the way, how do our news feeds always magically know just what we need to see?!). I was intrigued and started doing some more research.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is just a broad term that means you’re paring your wardrobe down to just a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched to create many different outfits. Add a couple jackets, a few fancy shoes, some jewelry and accessories, and you’ve got yourself an easy, adorable capsule wardrobe. The idea is that you absolutely love every single piece in your mini wardrobe which means you feel wonderful in every outfit combination.

sweaters stacked up for a capsule wardrobe
via Pexels

When making a capsule, some people aim for a certain number of items – say, the Project 333 concept which challenges you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. For other people, a capsule just means having a small amount of versatile pieces. I’m the latter. I don’t have a certain number of clothing items in mind but I do know that I want the whole thing to fit into one large suitcase with room to spare for other odds and ends.

How to create one

The first thing you’re going to need to do is clean out your current wardrobe. This part was surprisingly easy for me because it felt like letting go of stuff that I didn’t need anymore. Start with your closet. Make three piles: keep/love, maybe, and donate/throw away. Every single item in your closet needs to be sorted in one of those piles, including your jackets, tank tops, scarves, and other random things. Like I said, this part was pretty easy for me. Anything that didn’t fit quite right, was the wrong color, the wrong size, or just plain ole didn’t make me feel beautiful went straight into the donate pile. I didn’t really even need a maybe pile.

close-up of multi-colored sweaters for a capsule wardrobe
via Pexels

When you’re done, take a good hard look at your keep/love pile. What about these pieces do you like so much? The color? The cut? You’ll probably see a natural color scheme forming based on the things you’ve kept. For me, it turns out that black, gray, white, olive green, blue, and any shade of plaid are my jam. Sure, you might think it’s boring but it’s what I like so it’s what I’ll be wearing! Find your color scheme and stick to it. It makes mixing and matching a total breeze. Pack up your maybe pile and put it out of sight – come back to it in a few months. Chances are, you will have totally forgotten about most of the items which means they can then be donated.

Add to it

I know this sounds counterintuitive but now that you’ve got the basis, feel free to build on it a little bit. If you’ve narrowed down your wardrobe with an iron fist, chances are you’ve got some gaps. I particularly noticed gaps in my wardrobe in the bottoms section. I had a lot of tops that I loved but only like two bottoms. So it was time to shop! The key when you’re shopping is to only buy things that fit into your wardrobe. This means you won’t be buying things just because they’re on sale. Do some research about good ethical brands and build on your wardrobe smartly (is that a word?) and ethically!

clothes on hangers on clothing rod for capsule wardrobe
via Pexels

One of the brands I’ve been loving for my capsule wardrobe is prAna. prAna offers organic, hemp, sustainable, and fair trade items so that you can feel great about the things you wear. More than ever, people just like you and me are seeking ways to spread positivity in our country. One way to do that is to make sure every purchase you make has a positive impact on our planet. prAna’s mission is to give people the option of reaching into their closet and dressing in items that reflect who they are. The versatile but classy clothing design makes for outfits that can be worn to work or on an adventure. Should I repeat that?! Clothing that you can wear to work OR on an adventure! Perfect for a capsule wardrobe! Versatile pieces are key and prAna clothing can fit right into your lifestyle for both casual wear as well as work clothes or dressier outfits. Plus you can save 15% off all the clothing you purchase between now and April 20, 2017 with the code

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How to mix and match

Mixing and matching outfits within your capsule should be incredibly easy if all your pieces follow a color scheme. Plus you should feel like a million bucks in every piece so you know you’re going to love any outfits that you put together.

I’ll show you just a few outfit possibilities with my awesome new prAna clothes! I’ve got the Mantra pants in Black Herringbone and the Cleo t-shirt in Vortex Blue. Together with some casual shoes like Converse, you’ve got a low-fuss, easy, casual outfit all on its own. Throw on a watch and a cute little dainty necklace to dress it up just a tiny bit if you want to. An outfit like this would be perfect for hiking or exploring around new cities. And the cool part is that prAna’s items are perfect for any journey because the designer’s create and test all of the clothing based on their own love for outdoor activities. So you know it’s going to be good!

clothing laid on the floor for a capsule wardrobe
via Maggie Collett

If you want to dress up the Mantra pant a little bit for a nicer dinner while out traveling, try pairing them with something more structured on the top like a blazer or leather jacket. Add some cute flats or a chunky pair of heels for the shoes and a bold statement necklace on top. Boom, now you’re ready for something fancy!

clothing laid on the floor for a capsule wardrobe
via Maggie Collett

To dress the Cleo up a little bit, try pairing it with some skinny jeans and booties for a dressier-but-still-casual feel. If you want to dress it up as a work-appropriate shirt, try tucking it into a pencil or midi skirt. With a pair of medium-height heels or printed flats, you’re ready for work!

clothing laid on the floor for a capsule wardrobe
via Maggie Collett

Rock it!

Mixing and matching within your capsule wardrobe should basically be a no-brainer. That’s the whole point! I’ve already started utilizing my capsule wardrobe even though I’m still stateside so I know it will work flawlessly when I’m in Ireland.

If you’re planning on starting your own capsule wardrobe, go for it! It’s really not intimidating at all and can be easy peasy if you’re smart about it. Clean out your closet and then add sustainable pieces that will blend in flawlessly. Don’t forget to check out prAna clothing to help you get started and save 15% off all the clothing you purchase between now and April 20, 2017 with the code


Have you tried to tackle a capsule wardrobe? Leave your tips in the comments below!

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