Packing Tips


I’ve had requests about ideas for capsule wardrobes, here are some ideas that I used in a travel capsule.

I spent my Saturday afternoon helping one of my lovely clients pack for her trip to Europe this week.  She is spending a week in Berlin at a conference which will have both day and evening events, then a week in London on holiday, so two different needs, how to pack efficiently?

So here is most of what she’s taking (she’s in her 50s).

2 skirt suits
1 pair black dress pants (not pictured)
2 pairs jeans, one brown, 1 indigo (not pictured)
2 tank tops, 1 beige, 1 black to wear under various tops
2 light scarves
1 cotton patterned jacket
1 taupe soft and light leather jacket
5 tops for wearing with suits and jeans
1 teal ruffled cardigan that can be worn over most tops and tanks
2 pairs comfy heels for conference day wear
1 pair glamorous heels for evening events
2 pairs comfy flat shoes for walking and with jeans
Variety of jewellery to dress up and create interest with outfits
Yoga pants and long sleeve T (to wear on plane and as PJs) (not pictured)
Fold up umbrella (not pictured)
Evening bag (not pictured)

All the tops can be mixed and matched with each of the bottoms creating an easy 50+ different outfits which will give her enough variety for her 14 day trip, have her looking smart for the conference, but still comfortable and practical for her to see the sights of London, many of which she’ll do on foot.

The tops are all cotton mix, or polyester so easy to wash on the go.

You can see that the best way to create capsules is to look for colours that work together, in fabrics that can be dressed up or down to give them greater versatility.


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  • My dh is the supreme packer. It was always his job to pack up the kids for camp and school. He didn't do it alone, but with the respective child in hand. Consequently my kids are champion packers. List making is certainly the key and they are both champions.
    Considering the weight restrictions these days you've managed to fit a two week wardrobe into a manageable size and I assume weight.
    The yoga outfit is a great idea for long plane rides.

  • What's an effective way of packing shoes? I don't like my shoes to be crushed, but yet, there's no crush-free space-effective way to pack them.

  • Stuff your shoes with socks and underwear – that's a crush-free space-effective way.

    – tall & slim anon

  • This set sounds big enough to live with all season, nevermind just 14 days!

    I guess with a two-goal trip like hers, there's no choice but to take a lot.

    I also like the idea of yoga stuff on the airplane, but I wouldn't sleep in it without washing it because airplanes and related are filthy.

    – tall & slim anon

  • Imogen, this is great. Any tips for a 12-day trip to NYC (also leisure) – it's going to be WINTER … like nothing we know here!

  • Thanks so much for this Imogen – amazing that you can get that many outfits from this collection of clothes… x

  • Imogen, Thank you, this is very interesting.

    I am with Tiffany, any tips for a 14 day trip to Portland, Orogon in late February (6c). It will be purely sight seeing with a good part of it walking around inside very large sheds with no heating.

  • That seems like a lot though these mixed business/pleasure trips are hard. I would forgo the jeans and wear the skirts from the suits and the black pants for London. Jeans are bulky to pack; anywhere you would wear jeans, wear the yoga pants which wash and dry overnight. I'd pack a short nightie.

    I might also, given time of year, pack a light outerwear jacket instead of leather- even though soft and light

  • I totally agree with you. Last year, my sister-in-law went for a business trip to Dublin, which she combined with a holiday to London and Scotland. We followed pretty much the same technique to pack for her – mix and matched outfits, jackets and accessories like scarves, jewelry, and stoles to dress them up, tennis shoes that gave dresses a cool casual look and made walking comfortable, etc. The biggest wonder was that we were able to pack all of this in a 24” Briggs & Riley expandable upright that she borrowed from me for the trip. The expansion feature provided room for the gifts she picked up on her trip.

  • I know exactly how difficult it is to pack for a business/pleasure trip. What can help is packing a separate bag for your vacation, provided you can afford to take two bags. That’s what I did when I combined a week-long business trip to Seattle with a vacation in Vegas. To keep my stuff organized, I packed all my business outfits in my Briggs & Riley carry-onluggage and all my vacation stuff went into another bag that I checked. This had two advantages. Since all my business clothes were with me, I wouldn’t have been left high and dry in case my checked luggage got delayed. Secondly, although I had to carry two bags, I was saved the trouble of fishing out work outfits from a mass of clothing every morning.

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