How To Pack A Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe For Travelling

You’ve probably picked this up over the last few years but recently I have well and truly drunk the minimalist kool-aid and it is delicious.

I’m not quite sure how this happened to be honest. I used to be a hard core collector of all the things. I had little tins full of bits of paper and treasures. I had boxes full of programs and tickets from every theatre show I’ve ever been in. There was a box in my cupboard that was overflowing with notes my high school best friend had passed me in class with Mrs Leo DiCaprio emblazoned across the front in her overly-swirly handwriting. A wrapper from Freddo Frogs we’d shared on the bus to an excursion in Sydney. Every single flower I was ever given, dried and kept in plastic takeaway containers.

All that stuff is gone now. I have a few things I’ve kept. Some sweet birthday cards from Mr Smaggle and little gifts from my mates over the years, but most of that stuff just isn’t a part of my life any more.

This minimalism has trickled down in to my wardrobe too. I used to have an overflowing wardrobe. I’d op-shop and add to my collection constantly. Slowly over the years I’ve pared my wardrobe back to a handful dresses, a few key pairs of shoes and very select accessories. It makes packing an absolute breeze. I know capsule wardrobes are all the rage right now so I wanted to share my 13 piece travel wardrobe that I can wear in almost any weather except for hard core snow. Note: I don’t wear pants because I find them hideously uncomfortable and plus dresses are more efficient anyway.

I travel a lot – I’d say about 4 months of the year, I’m living out of a suitcase at the moment and this is pretty much all that’s in it right now…

1. White cotton dress


capsule wardrobe


2. Black cotton dress


capsule wardrobe

3. Striped cotton dress


capsule wardrobe

4. Patterned cotton dress


capsule wardrobe

5. Over sized cotton/wool blend cardigan


capsule wardrobe

6. Nude ballet flats

Merrell Mimix

capsule wardrobe

7. Cute and comfy sandals

Woven Wedge Sandals from Toms

capsule wardrobe

8. Kick ass water proof boots

Gortex boot from Ecco

capsule wardrobe

9. Cotton scarf


capsule wardrobe

10. Crocheted wool wrap

Make one for yourself! 

capsule wardrobe

11. Black opaque tights

Big W

capsule wardrobe

12. Grey knit tights


capsule wardrobe

13. Navy down jacket


capsule wardrobe

capsule wardrobe


4 (nude flats) + 6 (patterned dress) + 10 (crocheted wool wrap) =

capsule wardrobe

This is one of my favourite go-to multi-activity outfits. I wore this for a walk into town to grab a coffee, a wander around a country town looking at all the shops, I slipped my shoes off for a walk along the beach in the afternoon and then I was able to wear this dress out for dinner to fancy-ish restaurant. It’s also super comfortable – I could happily wear this dress every day for a week. Bloody bonza.

Capsule Wardrobe Tips

1. Comfort is key

If it’s not comfy you won’t wear it. I like to do a nap test with an item of clothing before it’s accepted into the travel wardrobe club. I need to be able to comfortably have a nap in something. Then it passes the test. Any article of clothing you can wear all day and not rip off the second you walk in the door are also winners.

2. Stick to a simple colour palette.

Neutrals like black, white and grey go together quite easily without too much trouble. If you love colour, go for patterns to get your colour fix. I personally find matching blocks of bright colours very difficult so I tend to just avoid it altogether.

3. Be strict with yourself

If you only pack four dresses, that’s all you’ll wear because that’s all you’ll have. It’s so freeing and you don’t have that guilt of carting around a giant bag full of stuff you won’t use.

I had just the loveliest Easter weekend. I went to the Burrawang markets (and was lucky enough to get a smooch from my mate Beth who was manning the primary school bake stall), had a burger at Bernie’s in Moss Vale, went to just about the best Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to in Kiama, drank wine and whisky with one of our mates who came to visit and slammed through some serious crochet designs that I can’t wait to share.

What did you get up to this Easter?

What are your travel staples? Do you struggle with packing too much stuff?

P.S If you want more Smags sign up here. There’s always a Beyonce gif and a fact you didn’t know… last week’s fact was about Barbara Streisand. For real.
P.P.S If you want to learn to crochet, today is your lucky day. There’s a 7 day free trial on offer right now…. get on it!
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  1. Steph 5 years ago

    Wow that travel capsule is impressive!
    I went to Europe last June with about 20 pieces clothing plus shoes and accessories and I thought that was good!
    I agree with pants being mostly unbearable!
    I packed one pair of supersoft stretch jeans, 1 legging and one wide leg cotton stretch pant. Plus one tube skirt and 2 dresses. Tops to mix and match, 2 sandals and 1 Frankie4 sneakers and that was it
    It was so liberating to have 12kg of luggage instead of the GIANT bulky suitcases people were lugging on and off planes!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Exactly! I see people dragging their kitchen fridge around the airport and I’m like ‘Whhhhhhyyyyyy??????’

  2. Ruthan 5 years ago

    Four dresses and no slacks! You get me, you really get me!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I just do not understand the point of pants. They’re so uncomfortable and they have so many more points of contact on your body than dresses. It’s science.

  3. Lisa Fourman 5 years ago

    I definitely need to do the capsule wardrobe when I go shopping next. I need to replace my wardrobe anyway. I’ll probably end up being addicted to tights since my thighs are so darned thick at the moment.

  4. kylieclark 5 years ago

    Great capsule! For me – THESE pants are an non-negotiable! Plus a tee, and a singlet, oh – and some sort of flat canvassy sneaker type of thing!

  5. Helen 5 years ago

    How can you travel with only two pairs of tights? Mine get so stinky they must be washed out before wearing again.

  6. Debbie 5 years ago

    I love tights as much as the next person (A LOT), but no matter which brand I buy (cheapies through to expensive) they always have that elastic waist that kills me while the crutch is way too long and would only fit if I pulled the tights up under my boobs. I’m around 5’7″ and I wear Talls. If I go for Medium/Average the waist elastic is even smaller. *sobs*

  7. Barbara 3 years ago

    Your capsule wardrobe is brilliant. Most of the capsule wardrobes I’ve seen consist of skinny pants and striped jersey tees…ho hum! I love the dresses and simple accessories. Every piece looks comfortable and effortless for travelling, but has some originality and non-conformist appeal. Thank you for sharing your talent at putting a capsule wardrobe together. Your article is my inspiration for creating my capsule wardrobe for an upcoming trip to Japan in May.


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