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ULTIMATE Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

ULTIMATE Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Want to create a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe but don’t know where to start? In this guide we teach you how to put together the ultimate minimalist travel wardrobe that works for every season no matter the destination. 

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But before we get into the specifics of making our minimalist travel capsule wardrobe we first thought it would be a good idea to explain what exactly a travel capsule wardrobe is, why you should pack one and how to put it together.

What is a Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe?

Clothes flat lay
Minimalist travel capsule wardrobe

So what is a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe? In some ways you could say that all capsule wardrobes whether for travel or not are a minimalist way of buying and wearing clothes.

Any capsule wardrobe uses a few key pieces of clothing to make up several cute mix and match outfits. It basically means that every piece of your wardrobe, can be used in multiple outfits to create completely different outfits. And it is a great way to make sure that you pack light do not overpack for your travels.

A minimalist travel capsule wardrobe takes these a little more extreme and has 10 or less basic wardrobe items that can make multiple different outfits.

Depending on the length of our travels and the destination we also use other packing techniques to create our capsule wardrobes such as:

However this minimalist travel capsule wardrobe aims to have a few key pieces that can be used wherever you are traveling for whatever season and is the perfect base for all your travel capsule wardrobes.

Having said that however if you want to have more seasonal or destination specific minimalist travel capsule wardrobes you may want to check our other more specific travel capsule wardrobes for more specific guidance:

So now you know what a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe is how do you begin to put one together?

How to put together a Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Red and black clothes flat lay with leather jacket, shoes and jeans
Minimalist travel capsule wardrobe

Whenever I am putting together a capsule travel wardrobe I always start with the same principles for narrowing down my selection. The first being:

Select a color palette

Having a clear color palette is essential for creating any successful capsule wardrobe for travel. Without a clear color palette your items will not mix and match correctly and therefore will not create multiple cohesive outfits.

But a color palette does not have to be boring or monochrome in order to create a successful capsule wardrobe.

However for this example of the perfect travel capsule wardrobe for minimalist travelers we have stuck to a relatively muted color palette using neutral colors. That is because we aim to have only c.10 clothing items in this minimalist travel capsule wardrobe. However if you have a signature color or palette you prefer go for it!

Plan out your outfits in advance

Folded Linen Clothes for Travel
How to Pack Linen clothes for Travel

Whenever I am packing my travel capsule wardrobe, I always lay my clothes out and plan my outfit combinations in advance.

This way you know that everything you have goes in your outfits and can be used multiple times.

Have machine washable items

Although part of the success to many capsule wardrobe is having fewer but higher quality pieces there is a word of caution to be had when putting together a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe.

We recommend buying items of as high a quality as your budget can afford as you will only be selecting a limited number of clothes. But do check the washing instructions before purchase.

If you are going on a longer trip with a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe you are going to need to do some laundry. It will be easier if you can put items in a washing machine rather than sending them out for dry cleaning constantly.

Avoid lots of patterns

Although I LOVE patterns, and usually have at least one patterned item on my packing lists, I recommend avoid lots of patterns when doing minimalist packing. That is because it is harder to coordinate lots of bold patterns together and can restrict the number of outfits you can take.

Check weather and itinerary before travel

Obviously this is a generic minimalist travel capsule wardrobe. However a word of caution is to always check the weather at your destination 7 days before travel and keep an eye on it up until departure.

That is because you can always get heat waves and cold snaps no matter when and where you are traveling and may mean you need to alter some of the pieces on this packing list.

Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe Essential Items

So now you know the principles of how to put together a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe we will look at the essential pieces to include:

Best Pants for Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobes

Usually when I start putting together my capsule wardrobes I start with the pants / trousers first. I generally speaking own more tops than bottoms, therefore I like to pick our the pants first as I have more tops to play with.

Black Pants

No packing list or capsule wardrobe is complete without a pair of black pants in my opinion.

My absolute favorite travel pant of the moment has to be the Athleta Brooklyn Pant which happily come in black as standard (though there are also some great bold colors too).

These pants have a stylish but comfortable elastic waistband which for me make them my go to airplane outfit.

But not only that the fact that they do not wrinkle, along with the ability to machine wash and dry make them perfect for traveling and including in this minimalist capsule wardrobe.

I like to wear these as part of my airplane outfit which again saves room in your luggage and means as a minimalist traveler you may be able to travel with carry on only / hand luggage only.

Click here to shop the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel.

A Pair of Jeans

Although a pair of jeans may not be an essential as part of a summer capsule wardrobe they are absolutely an essential item for my minimalist travel capsule wardrobe at other times of year.

Although black jeans are super versatile pieces, the fact that you are traveling with a black pant means that you may want a different color.

Personally I prefer to travel with a dark blue pair of jeans as part of this minimalist wardrobe for travel. They are more versatile and hide stains better than light wash jeans. Also you will find in Europe in particular that dark blue are a popular style and more in keeping with more local fashion.

To have a pair of jeans that works in most locations around the world I would personally also go for a style that is more fitted or even a pair of skinny jeans as opposed to ripped or boyfriend style jeans.

I recommend packing your favorite pair of jeans where possible, however if you are looking for the best jeans for travel we don’t think that you can go wrong with the Eddie Bauer Voyager jeans! These jeans have amazing flex that mean they are comfy even on long haul flights, but are also completely machine washable.

Click here to shop the best jeans for travel.

Note: if you are traveling to a warm-weather trip these could be swapped out for a pair of shorts instead.


My final essential bottom has to be a skirt. I recommend trying to stick to a neutral color pallette again. I tend to select something in black, tan or navy.

Although you can go with any skirt style you like, my preferred length when traveling minimalist is a midi length skirt. This is because mini skirts are not allowed at religious sites such as the Vatican, Italian churches and the Sagrada Familia to name but a few.

While a maxi dress or skirt on the other hand can drag on the floor and can become a hazard especially when doing activities such as cycling in Amsterdam.

For this reason we think a midi skirt if the perfect compromise. I personally like these black pleated skirts however tulle skirts are also very popular amongst the digital nomads and travellers today and is great for getting that perfect instagram shot! However this is a personal style choice and you should pack the style you are most comfy in.

Click here to shop best skirts for minimalist travel wardrobes.


Dresses are a hard one to include in a minimalist capsule wardrobe as you will need accessories to style them differently, and they can be quite seasonal.

However one type of dress I love for a capsule wardrobe is the classic little black dress. This is one of those timeless pieces that every woman should have in their wardrobe, for travel or not.

While you can pick any style of little black dress (LBD) that you want, I personal think the most versatile style for a capsule wardrobe has to be the classic wrap dress. I tend to select a midi dress for the same reasons as above.

This can be paired with white sneakers for a daytime look, but can be smarter with some statement jewelry and a pashmina or cardigan etc.

Click here to shop wrap dresses for travel.

Best Tops for a Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

So now you know the best pants and dresses to take for your minimalist travel capsule wardrobe we will turn our attention to the best tops to pack for travel.

Basic Tee

No capsule wardrobe, no matter the destination or season is complete without a basic tee. Now you could go with a white t-shirt, however these show marks very quickly. For this reason I tend to avoid a plain white tee as part of a capsule travel wardrobe.

Instead opt for something neutral like tan or grey, but if you are looking to put some color in your wardrobe you can add something really bright. And because all of your bottoms are neutral you can really go with any color you like!

You could also pack a black top but I find this personally to be a little to monotone.

Note: you could go with something with a graphic or illustration. Personally I am partial to a band tee. However for Europe you will find that plain t shirts are more in keeping with local styles.

Also you could select a tank top over a tee with a cap sleeve. But as there are places where you have to cover your shoulders i.e. churches and temples I prefer to go with a cap sleeve t shirt.

Click here to shop tees for travel.

Patterned blouse

Although I limit the number of patterned items that I take when putting together a minimalist capsule wardrobe, I like to include a patterned blouse. It is a great way of adding a visual statement to your wardrobe and can be worn for both day and night looks.

Click here to shop blouses.

White Shirt

Although I don’t tend to pack too many white items in a capsule wardrobe, I think a crisp white button down shirt is a must have statement piece.

Personally I love to have an oversized blouse but this is a personal choice.

Click here to shop white shirt for travel.

Best Layers for your Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Camel Cardigan

For me a camel cardigan is one of those timeless pieces that everyone should have in their wardrobe as they are great for year-round capsule wardrobes.

They pair well will denim and black pants and are an elegant top layer for dinners and evenings out.

Click here to shop camel cardigans.


A sweater is another great day to night transition piece. I particularly like sweaters made of merino wool as they are light and easy to pack, but also look very stylish.

Click here to shop sweaters.


Although a casual item, my capsule wardrobe is never complete without a hoodie and is often worn as part of airplane outfit.

I tend to wear this for more day time sightseeing as opposed to nightwear.

Click here to shop hoodies for travel.

But I would also pack some top layers / Jackets. You won’t need all of these but it is best to pick in relation to the weather at your destination.

Best Jackets for a Minimalist Travel wardrobe

As you are traveling in a minimalist way, I recommend packing one of the below. However depending on the destination and type of year of travel / season will depend on which jacket is most appropriate. However here are our favorite jackets for travel.

Leather Jacket

I personally prefer a leather jacket over a denim jacket. That is just because I hate denim on denim and there are always jeans in my capsule wardrobe. However this is just my style.

For the color combinations in this minimalist capsule wardrobe a black leather jacket is most versatile. However if you go for a navy base color then a brown leather jacket would be a great pick.

Click here to shop leather jackets.

Trench Coat

A trench coat is a particularly stylish item that I usually include on my Europe travel capsule wardrobe.

Personally I like to have one that has at least some water resistance.

Shop trench coats here.

Waterproof Coat / Jacket

If you are traveling in the cooler months of late fallthen a heavier jacket or puffer is a good idea for chillier temperatures. In some rare occasion you may need a full coat but this is destination specific.

And dependent on the weather will depend on whether you need something that is water resistant or fully waterproof.

Click here to shop jackets for travel.

Want to know how to pack coats for travel? Check out this post?

Best Shoes for Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobes

So now you have the main staple items of our travel capsule wardrobe for minimalists we will turn our attention to the best pair of shoes to pack. I often find that shoes are the easiest item to overpack. However for my minimalist travel capsule wardrobe I recommend just two pairs of shoes. They are:


I never travel without a pair of sneakers. Some of my favorite travel sneaker brands are Hoka and All Birds for vacations that will involve lots of walking. Ecco are another good brand if you want a sneaker with some waterproofing.

However overall the most versatile sneaker for Fall travel has to be plain white sneakers. My current favorite brand is the Addidas Cloud Foam as they are just so comfy for walking in and work well worn with dresses, skirts, jeans and more.

On top of sneakers I also recommend packing one of the following two items depending on time of year and weather at your destination:

Ankle Boots

Ankle boots or chelsea boots are great for travel in the Winter or shoulder seasons and for destinations that won’t be hot. They look smarter for dinners than sneakers and can also cope with cold and even rainy weather if you pick the right pair.

For the color scheme of this minimalist travel capsule wardrobe I recommend packing a black pair.

Shop ankle boots here.


However if you are going to a warm weather destination, or beach location then sandals should be your choice instead of ankle boots.

Click here to shop comfortable walking sandals.

Note: flip flops really aren’t comfortable shoes for walking in, so I only pack these if I have plenty of room in my case and if I will be spending lots of time on the beach rather than sightseeing in a city.

I like to pick a pair that is good for walking and has arch support for walking too. Brands I love for this are Teva and Birkenstock but you should pick the style and look you are most comfortable with.

What else to Pack for your Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

All of the above are essentials in my minimalist travel wardrobe however the items in this section are nice to haves that can dress up and style outfits differently while not taking up much space in your case.


How much underwear you need to pack as part of your capsule travel wardrobe will depend on how long you are traveling for and what access to laundry facilities you will have. Therefore pack appropriately.

However one item we always include is a flesh colored bra. This will go under any color top and as is an essential in my book.

A Pashmina

Pashminas are my number one travel essential for women as they are so versatile as a great layering piece and are always part of my perfect fall capsule wardrobe.

They can be used as an extra layer in the cooler weather or even as a scarf, and can also make outfits more modest at religious sites. And of course they are a great day to style an outfit differently for a day to night transition.

Click here to shop pashminas.


Traveling with jewelry can feel a bit like a minefield especially if you are worried about traveling with expensive or precious jewelry.

The type of jewelry you travel with is really a personal choice about what you feel comfortable with. However we think even traveling with some costume jewelry is a good idea to help you make your capsule wardrobe outfits look a bit different.

For more information on how to travel with jewelry check out this post.

Crossbody Bag

crossbody bag,  the anti theft type is actually always on my packing lists especially for traveling in cities such as Rome and Barcelona.

It can add peace of mind for travellers by making you a harder target for pickpockets. When selecting a crossbody bag I would pick something in a neutral color such as brown, black or navy depending on the palette of your capsule wardrobe and think about one that can be sued throughout your seasonal capsule wardrobes.

Shop crossbody bags here.


Again, a hat is by no means an essential but they can transform an outfit and can make for some great instagram worthy photo.

For Summer I would pack a wide brimmed straw hat for extra sun protection, for the shoulder season a suede type floppy hair is a great idea but for Winter a beanie for added warmth is my go to.

Bathing Suit

Only required if you plan on swimming on your vacation.

Good Deodorant

As the point of a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe is to reuse items to create many different looks it is absolutely essential that you have a good deodorant that works for you. Otherwise you may find yourself short on the top front.

We hope this has helped you put together your own Minimalist Capsule travel wardrobe. But if you have any questions about how to create a minimalist travel capsule wardrobe leave us a comment below and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

And we always love to see your capsule wardrobe photographs so do send them in or tag us on Instagram or Facebook.