Traveling With a Capsule Wardrobe: Different Climates

How To Travel With Your Capsule Wardrobe In a Different Climate - The Calm Collective

The most comfortable leather leggings & my favorite gym shoes (on sale)

Happy Friday! This week flew by, and while I’m generally wishing for time to slow down, this time around I’m anxious and ready to get on a plane Monday morning to see my sister and her 3 babies.  I’ll be trick or treating with them for the very first time (up and down the major hills of San Francisco, so I’ll be working off the candy I’ll be consuming, no doubt) and celebrating my sister’s birthday in the flesh – which is so exciting since I can’t even remember the last time that happened. Living apart from family and close friends can be so insanely difficult, but can I get a major “hell yes” for FaceTime?  It’s a savior, really. I’m grateful for it every day.

Speaking of San Francisco, I had a total “uh oh” moment when I started brainstorming what I would need for this trip. My sister’s birthday gifts, comfortable walking shoes, a jacket, etc.  And then it hit me – the weather is different in San Francisco then what we’re experiencing here in the Midwest.  And I really don’t want to stray away from my capsule wardrobe, even if it’s just for a week! Because that’s how life changing and easy it’s made my days.  So, I brainstormed some alternatives:

How to travel to different climates when you’re dressing with a seasonal capsule wardrobe

Choose your number

When you start to pack for your trip that’s in an entirely different climate than where you’re living (think Chicago vs. Florida or Michigan vs Northern California) go ahead and pick a number. For my main capsule, I chose to have about 30 items.  This made it easier for me to narrow down what I really wanted to dress with for the season, and what wouldn’t make the cut. The same should apply for your travel capsule.  Now, I had to dip back into my spring and summer clothes for this trip, which I completely understand can be a pain if you’ve already stored away your seasonal clothes in your garage, attic, etc.  For me, they’re stored away in a separate closet, still hanging, so it wasn’t too bad.  I also decided that my number would be 10 (for a 5 day trip), so I didn’t have to sift through too much.

Keep your number low, if you’re able (and depending on the number of days that you’ll be gone) This will not only ensure that you’re traveling light, but that when you get back form your trip, you have less laundry and you’re able to put these items back in storage without much hassle.

Avoid high maintenance items

Make sure you’re traveling with items that won’t need to be laundered before each wear, steamed/ironed, or dry cleaned while you’re away. This not only causes some hassle on your end, but will most likely steer you away from wanting to wear it and either a) make you feel like you need to go shopping and off you are buying impulse items, or b) you’ll resent the item, wear it anyway, and feel self conscious all day.  Neither of those options sound good to me ;)

Write down your outfits

When you’re picking out your pieces for your travel capsule wardrobe, in the notes section of your phone it’s a good idea to jot down different outfits with the items that you’ve chosen.  For example, if you’re bringing your favorite jean shorts, you could create the following outfits:

With these 4 outfits, you’re working with only 8 items. 8! That’s pretty impressive. You’ve got jean shorts (your favorite pair and the pair you know you’ll wear just about every day, white sneakers for walking around, black sandals for dressing up or dressing down, white tank and a long sleeved top as your basics, a blazer to dress up a casual outfit, a moto jacket to add some edge and also give you warmth during the evenings, and a flannel for a casual relaxed look.  If your number is 10, you can easily throw in a pair of jeans in case the weather changes and you’d like to cover up your legs, and a basic jersey dress that can easily be dressed up or dressed down with your black sandals, Moto jacket & a fun pair of earrings.

How To Travel With Your Capsule Wardrobe In a Different Climate - The Calm Collective

Strategically pick out your suitcase

I have two suitcase options when I’m traveling: One is my Away carry on hard case bag (which I’m obsessed with) and the other is a leather duffle bag my mom bought me for my birthday while we were in Italy a couple of years ago. (If I’m going on a trip that requires me to check a bag – I bring this one) The reason I love these bags is that they force me to pack with purpose, and to pack on the lighter side. I absolutely hate stuffing my suitcase as it gets all of my clothes bunched up, shoes are rubbing on my clothes (kind of gross), and it makes me feel super cluttered and disorganized (two of my least favorite ways to feel) I always lay out all of my clothes on my bed that I’ll be bringing with me on a trip and have my suitcase displayed as well. This helps me keep in mind the size I’m working with, so I don’t go overboard (but again, your number will be a great guide as well)

Unpack as soon as you arrive

Lastly, this is something I started doing recently when I travel and it’s been a game changer. I immediately unpack my clothes (and since I’m traveling quite light these days, it doesn’t take much time or space). This way, my items are hung up nicely, they aren’t getting wrinkled, and it takes me maybe 10 seconds to choose an outfit in the morning since I’m not having to sift through my suitcase.  This paired with my outfit options that I’ve jotted down in my notes section of my phone is the recipe for stressless travel (when it comes to your wardrobe ;)

So there you have it – my tips for traveling with a capsule wardrobe when you’re headed into a different climate.  I hope this helps as you’re packing up, and relieves any stress you may feel should you be the queen of traveling heavy. There’s absolutely no reason that your clothes should be weighing you down – especially when you’re traveling/on vacation. I’ve also created a graphic below should you want to pin and save it for future reference! I promise, this is the BEST way to travel – and I can’t wait to hear your feedback should you give it a try! You can always reach out to me via email at, or come say hi over on Instagram where I’m always responding to direct messages – xx

PS: How to prepare for a month of travelwhat’s in my tote bag for an International flight, and more posts on simple living.How To Travel With Your Capsule Wardrobe In a Different Climate - The Calm Collective