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10 Piece Travel Capsule Wardrobes: What’s Really In My Bag

Since writing Women Over 50: the decisive guide to building a capsule travel wardrobe , I’ve had lots of requests to share how this works in real life. Below I’m sharing a few examples of the capsules I put together for special trips – what’s really in my bag.

When I was first faced with packing for an African Safari in just a medium duffel, I was stumped. How was I to fit in everything I ‘needed’? That trip was a great learning experience for me as I discovered I didn’t really ‘need’ that much if I chose my items carefully. When I narrowed my list to lightweight pieces that all coordinated together I could make a small wardrobe – a capsule wardrobe – work for even an extended trip.

As I’ve gotten older (I’m a woman over 60 now) the benefits of creating travel capsules has only increased. My shoulders aren’t up to hoisting heavy bags into the overhead bins, or dragging luggage through airport security. And how freeing to have fewer “what should I wear today?” decisions!

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Note: not all of these trips required one-bag travel. But even when adding additional pieces, creating a capsule as a base still helped me to pack light.

Nantucket | Jordan | Costa Rica | Florida Break | African Safari | European Cruise

A New England Getaway to Nantucket

What’s in My Bag:

  • The button-down Amara top by Coolibar is a cool, wrinkle-free solution for sun protection – rated at UPF 50+. Worn open it’s a cute jacket.
  • Two pieces from Diane Kroe – the shawl and the topper – add versatility to a packing light capsule. Both can be worn in several different ways!

Note: a Nantucket vacation is the ideal time to embrace the Coastal Grandmother style. Whites, soft neutrals, and classic lines are perfect for beach suppers, farmer’s markets, and summer-stock theater.

Massachusetts & New England Vacations

Petra Holiday: what I packed

6 days – beige neutrals*

Items of note:

  • black skort from Betabrand, worked for dinners and exploring
  • DKNY cozy wrap was perfect on flights and was worn covering my head in sacred spots.

Note: days in the deserts of Jordan are dusty and hot. Plan ahead.

*some of the items shown are merely examples of what I packed for the 2012 trip.

Visit to Petra: 48 hours in the Rose City of the Nabateans

Costa Rica: what I packed

2 weeks – January – Laundry 1x

Items of note:

Bonus points: the dress (by Diane Kroe) is a versatile piece which can be worn many ways. I wore it as a top, a swimsuit cover-up, and a skirt for a nice dinner out.

Focus Costa Rica: 5 of the Best Reasons to Travel to Costa Rica

Florida break: what’s in my bag

6 days – March Teal & Pink

Items of note:

  • 2 of the tops (teal and navy) were Icebreaker merino wool. Could be worn several times without laundering.

Note for next trip: both capri pants looked great but didn’t breath well in the Florida heat. Next trip I’ll look for lighter weight fabrics!

Safari in East Africa: what I packed

16 days – September – Laundry service available

Items of note:

  • Two pairs of quick dry, convertible, pants and at least one long sleeve shirt
  • Topper (by Smartwool), one top, and leggings all merino wool. Could be worn several times without laundering.

Focus East African Safari: photos to inspire
10 Steps to the Perfect Luxury Safari in Africa

European Cruise: what I packed

10 days – Summer Blue

Items of note:

  • You might want to pack a bit more than usual when cruising in Europe. Feel free to add an extra dress, top, or bottom, and maybe another scarf.
  • Merino options are ideal for travel! I included a Wool& merino dress, and two Icebreaker merino tops.

Bonus Points: the black skirt I packed is actually a skort from Betabrand! Perfect for touring!

And… a button down shirt worn unbuttoned makes a cute vest or jacket!

How to Plan the Perfect (relaxing!) European Vacation

Packing for a Mediterranean Cruise


For a Travel Wardrobe template you can use to build your capsule wardrobe…


#CostaRica #AfricanSafari ##Packinglight #packingLists

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